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Bettmeralp Aletschgletscher

Trail running along the Aletschgletscher, the Alps largest glacier and UNESCO site, while doing the loop trail from Bettmeralp, Switzerland

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

→ 28km   

↑ 1062m

Δ 2393M 

♦ Easy

Θ Clockwise

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.

LOCATION
Start: 46.39251, 8.06447
Town:  Bettmeralp
Canton:  Valais
Country:  Switzerland
TIPS
  • 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.

Bettmeralp Aletschgletscher


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Leaving Bettmeralp requires getting through forest trails en route to glacier views.

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Cruising the glacier shoreline.

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The trail is wide and worn from so many other feet.

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High above the glacier and closing the circle as we arrive at the descent back to Bettmeralp.

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Comments 2

  1. I did a somewhat shorter part of this route. I started at Moosfluh. And since I was staying in Fiesch, the goal was to run to Fiescheralp (in time for their last cable car ). It was great to run beside the glacier. Note that it drizzled for a while along the route, so make sure you have a light wind/rain jacket to keep yourself warm. We met a herd of goats with huge horns along the route & also a small section required you to scamper over snow. I saw another runner out on the course as well.

    Because of our late start, we were not sure how long it would take us to reach Fiescheralp. So we had to rush and used the 1km Tälligrat tunnel; which turned out to be amazing. I still had my Petzl headlamps from a previous trail race, and that helped to navigate the wet tunnel floors.

  2. Just ran the trail today, really enjoyed it! Currently the closed part of the Panoramatrail requires a 200hm detour, I was glad I brought some poles. Other than that the flowy trail with awe inspiring views as described. Thanks for the suggestions in your book, keep up the great work!

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