This delightful hike leads to an overlook with front row seats to the amazing spectacle of massive rivers of ice joining to form the Gorner glacier, the second largest glacial system in the Alps.
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- Distance: 3.9 miles (one way) to Gorner Glacier Viewpoint
8.6 miles (round trip) to Complete Hike back to Riffelalp
- Elevation: 8,471-ft. at Trailhead
8,670-ft. at Gorner Glacier Viewpoint
7,254-ft. at Complete Hike back to Riffelalp
- Elevation Gain: 782-ft. to Gorner Glacier Viewpoint
-2,000-ft. to Complete Hike back to Riffelalp
- Difficulty: moderate
- More Hikes in:
Zermatt / Valais
Why Hike Gorner Glacier Viewpoint
The Gornergletscher (Gorner Glacier) viewpoint offers a unique experience to get up close and personal with the second largest glacial system in the Alps. The lookout, perched on a grassy knoll atop the moraine wall, offers a bird’s-eye view of the convergence of two massive rivers of ice, the Gorner and Grenz Glaciers, spilling down the flanks of Monte Rosa.
Towering above this spectacle of ice are the Monte Rosa, Lyskamm and Breithorn massifs along with Castor and Pollux and the Kleine Matterhorn, capped in snow and ice. The tributaries of the Gorner Glacier, the Grenz, Monte Rosa, Zwillings and Schwarze glaciers, spilling down the slopes of the peaks, combine with the Gorner Glacier to form an imposing glacial sea flowing in motionless waves down the Gorner Valley.
Further down the valley the Breithorngletscher, Triftjigletscher, and Unter Theodulgletscher, former tributaries of the Gorner Glacier, no longer reach the valley floor but instead hang from flanks of the Breithorn and Klein Matterhorn. Completing the scene the majestic Matterhorn stands alone, rising to the west of the Gorner Valley.
The hike to the viewpoint, starting at Riffelberg, is filled with scenic delights. The Gornergrat Cog Railway and the extensive network of hiking trails allow parties to tailor their day and modify itineraries on the fly. This description includes return routes to Riffelberg, Riffelalp (recommended) and Zermatt.
Get an early start on this hike. In the afternoon clouds often move in, covered the tops of the peaks and obstructing the views.
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