Tracking down the secret of the Suonen

Hikes along the “Holy Waters”

As part of the water cycle, glaciers act as important reservoirs. With its 23 km the Swiss Great Aletsch Glacier is the longest ice stream and the largest freshwater reservoir of the Alps. In summer, during the dry periods, its meltwater is used to replace rain.

For centuries, the people of the Valais have used open watercourses, the so-called ‘Suonen’, to redirect the glacial meltwater to dry meadows and pastures. Without these channels which carry the precious water in sometimes a very adventurous way to its final destination – on wooden structures or mounted onto steep rocky slopes – large parts of the mountain area in the Valais would literally have dried up! Nowadays the watercourses, which are packed with history, are beautiful places to go for a hike. The trails lead down gentle slopes and hikers are accompanied by the enchanting sound of running and splashing water. The scenery is wildly romantic and the views are sometimes simply spectacular. The paths along the watercourses are still considered an insider tip. The guided tours of the Suonen which present the history of the ‘Holy Waters’ in such an exciting way are especially recommended.

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"Tracking down the secret of the ‘Suonen’"

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