Bettmeralp: Alongside the Aletsch Glacier
Trail running alongside the Alps biggest glacier
This Run is featured in Run the Alps Switzerland: 30 Must-Do Trail Runs
Running along a piece of the Aletschgletscher, the Alps biggest glacier, isn't a run you should do, it's a run you must do.
First, the trail could not be better for running. It's clean, smooth, rolling and for 10km from Riederalp all the way to Märjelenseen, has nothing but full panorama views as you run above this massive river of ice. You came to run, but you'll never forget what you saw.
The Aletsch Glacier is 23km long, as much as 1000 meters deep, and in 2001 the Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reason to run alongside this glacier is for the beauty of such a sea of ice, to witness the scale, to see what a glacier can do to a landscape, and of course to try to comprehend what the melting of these glaciers means for the environment. The whole experience of being in such a place is staggering.
But, there is a run to do. We actually did this run in the opposite direction when we ran it for the book so, head's up, our photos are facing the opposite direction. Only later did we realize that it should go in a clockwise direction to keep you looking at the view up the glacier. This is a relatively easy run with only 1000 meters of gain over the 28km length. It's long, but with views like this, time flies.
As of the summer of 2017, large sections of trail between Riederalp and Mossfluh have been closed due to slope instability. Re-routing may be necessary, but being Switzerland, markers will guide you to be able to continue on.
While in the area, don't miss the Simplon Pass Run.
Detailed GPX Track
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Start: 46.39251, 8.06447
Allow some extra time on this run, surely you'll have a sit to take it all in.
- The village of Bettmeralp is a great place to wake up. Consider staying the night and having at least part of a second day to explore.
- Don't fear starving, there is a restaurant at Gletscherstube, near the Märjelenseen.
- Our Run the Alps Switzerland guide book has lots more info!
Leaving Bettmeralp requires getting through forest trails en route to glacier views.
Cruising the glacier shoreline.
The trail is wide and worn from so many other feet.
High above the glacier and closing the circle as we arrive at the descent back to Bettmeralp.
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