A lovely walk up a pretty valley leads to a remote and wild saddle on the Swiss-Italian border, offering a degree of solitude not found on many hikes around the Saas Fee area.
Antrona Pass from the Furggstalden Lift
Take the bus to Saas Almagell and then ride the chairlift to Furggstalden (6,234-ft.). (See the trailhead directions below.) At the top of the lift walk north toward Antrona Pass (4-hr). The trail passes a house and storage shed before turning turn right (east) at the signed junction toward Antrona Pass. Ascend steeply up a hill past a small restaurant and then follow the trail as it curves to the right (southeast) and enters the trees.
At 0.4 miles turn right (south) on a broad dirt track. (There is a yellow arrow on the hydro plant (left) pointing right toward the track). Walk a short distance and then take the trail branching left that ascends above the track. Continue along the trail, passing a junction on the right where the road ends at the trail.
Soon the trail curves to the left (southeast) into the Furgg Valley. Along the way enjoy views of the Strahlhorn, Fluchthorn and Allalin Glacier to the southwest. The Mittaghorn and Egginer rise to the west.
In the valley the trail rises gently as it travels through pastures, staying to the left (north/northeast) of the Furggbach, the stream draining the valley. The trail will remain on the north/northeast side of the stream for the entire hike.
Reach Furggalp (6,808-ft.) at 1.0 mile. Beyond the Alp the ascent steepens as the trail passes beneath talus slopes and travels by a small hydroelectric intake facility. Past the hydro facility the trail ascends on moderate grades through meadows, passing a pretty waterfall cascading down a rocky cleft at 2.4 miles. As you head up the valley more waterfalls, fed by glacial meltwater, are seen spilling down the rugged cliffs along the west side of the valley.
Pass the remains of some old stone walls at 2.8 miles. A short distance beyond the trail ascends a low hill where the trail fades a bit as it climbs through rocky meadows and travels by a second hydroelectric intake facility. Crest the hill and follow the trail as it winds through beautiful emerald green meadows sprinkled with wildflowers, crossing a small stream at 3.2 miles. In the distance, the low saddle on the ridge at the head of the valley is Antrona Pass.
Soon the grade steepens as the trail climbs through rocky meadows beneath talus slopes. This section of the hike enjoys great views of the Stellihorn towering above the west side of the valley. Waterfalls, felt by glacial meltwater, spill down the sides of the valley.
At 3.9 miles the trail starts a steep climb up a rocky slope. Rock cairns and red/white blazes on the rocks will keep you on track.
At the top of the slope the trail takes a jog to the right along the former rocky bed of the Furggen Glacier. Soon the trail climbs a dirt hill and then begins a very steep ascent along the remains of the glacier's lateral moraine along the left (east) side of the valley. The grade abates as you top the moraine wall at 4.9 miles. Here views open to a landscape of huge polished rock slabs. The pass is now in sight on the ridge.
Follow the trail, marked by red/white blazes, as it weaves its way up and around the large rock slabs. The markings can be hard to follow, especially if portions of the route are covered in snow. If this is the case, follow the footsteps in the snow or plot your own course to the ridge.
Reach Antrona Pass (9,311-ft.), located on the Swiss-Italian border, at 5.2 miles. The pass enjoys nice views of the peaks lining the east side of the valley and the Stellihorn to the west. To the southeast is Italy where views extend to the peaks forming the south wall of the Troncone Valley. Looking down you will see the Lago del Cingino (Lake Cingino).
From the pass a trail descends toward Antronapianna in Italy, a multi-day excursion. The trail to Jazzilucke (Jazzilicke) climbs south/southwest along the ridge on a challenging trail that leads to the Mattmark area. For more information on this hike see the Mattmark – Antrona hike description.
When you are done enjoying the views retrace your steps to the Furggstalden lift for a 10.4 mile round trip hike. Alternatively, return via the new trail to Heidbodme which travels along the valley’s northeast slopes, rising and falling to circumvent landslides and avoid crossing steep ridges. Over the 5.2 miles the trail loses a little over 2,000-ft. and climbs about 500-ft. At Heidbodme there is a chair lift that descends to the Furggstalden area. Total round trip hiking distance if you are returning via Heidbodme is also 10.4 miles.
If you are tired and/or pressed for time the route to Furggstalden is the best bet. If you have the time and energy then select the trail to Heidbodme, which has the best views. For more information see the Antrona Pass via Heidbodme hike.
Note: If returning via the Heidbodme chair lift, at the bottom of the lift you need to walk north for 0.25 miles to the Furggstalden chair lift and take the lift down to Saas Almagell. (See the trailhead directions below.)
From Saas Fee to Furggstalden: Obtain a bus ticket from Saas Fee to Saas Almagell Dorfplatz. In Saas Fee, take the bus heading toward Brig. Change at Saas Grund for the bus going to Mattmark or Saas Almagell Sportsplatz (south up the valley). Get off the bus at the Saas Almagell Post (Dorfplatz). Follow the signs to the Furggstalden Sesselbahn (chair lift). Make note of the time when the last ride descends to the valley. For more information on the lifts see the Saas Fee Lift Schedule and look at the section labeled Saas-Almagell.
Return directions from Heidbodme (Saas Almagell) to Saas Fee: At Heidbodme, purchase a ticket for the two stage lift to Saas Almagell. Take the Heidbodme Sesselbahn (chair lift) and then walk north, following the signs to the Furggstalden Sesselbahn (chair left) in Furggstalden. The walk is a little over a quarter mile.
Take the Furggstalden lift down to Saas Almagell and then follow the signs to the postbus stop. Get on a bus bound for either Saas Fee or Saas Grund. If you are on a Saas Grund bus, change at Saas Grund for a bus going to Saas Fee. (During busy times in the summer you may not need to change buses – always check the front of the bus to see its ultimate destination.) For more information on the lifts see the Saas Fee Lift Schedule and look at the section labeled Saas-Almagell.
Other Hiking Regions in: