© Aletsch Arena AG, Geri Berchtold

Riederfurka – Knebelbrücken Trail

  • start: Riederalp, cable car station (West)
  • destination: Riederalp, cable car station (West)

Starting in Riederalp, this hiking trail takes you around the Riederhorn. The trail begins with a climb up to Riederfurka, then gently loops round around the Riederhorn below the Casselweg trail down to Oberried and then back to Riederalp. On the way, you pass three ‘Knebelbrücke’ bridges, and some trail sections are somewhat exposed. From mid-June to mid-October, this hiking trail at the heart of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site offers huge variety: you cross a total of three bridges (German: Brücken) made of round wooden logs (German: Knebel) – hence the name “Knebelbrücken” Trail. In the past, the constructions were a little more primitive and hazardous. Today, the bridges are passable without difficulty, though somewhat exposed. As you go, you look out towards the villages in the valley and the Gibidum reservoir above the Massa Gorge. The gorge was carved into the rock long ago by the ice of the Great Aletsch Glacier. One particular highlight of the hike is the historic Villa Cassel, built in 1902, on Riederfurka. Surrounded by green meadows and set against a backdrop of snow-capped 4000-metre mountains, the magnificent building doesn’t quite fit into the unspoilt landscape. It was the private holiday residence of Sir Ernest Cassel, an extremely wealthy Anglo-German banker. Before descending towards the Knebelbrücken, we recommend a bite to eat in the tea room of the Victorian villa, where illustrious guests such as Winston Churchill once came and went. Today, the historic house is home to the Pro Natura Centre Aletsch, a nature conservation centre plus guesthouse – and at the same time the gateway to the Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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