This enchanting hike through wild landscapes between the Simplon Pass and the Italian border boasts spectacular scenery, a wealth of flora and fauna – and an experience of how our ancestors travelled through the Alps centuries ago.
Starting point for the hike is the hamlet of Gabi on the historical Simplon Pass road, just upstream of the dramatic Gondo gorge. The Simplon route was already used in Roman times, but it was a 17th-century entrepreneur from Valais, Kaspar Stockalper, who developed the network of mule trails over the pass to lay the foundation of a mighty trading empire. Later, in the first decade of the 19th century, Napoleon ordered construction of a route wide enough to transport cannon – regarded in its day as a masterpiece of engineering.
Our hike begins on this road – but instead of following Stockalper’s track through the gorge, leads up an ancient mule trail that bypasses the ravine by zig-zagging up through the pastures to the south and past a picturesque chapel to the col of Furggu. From here, our route turns to the right to follow a high panoramic trail across the slopes of the Guggilihorn. The views of the trio of glaciated peaks at the head of the Laggintal valley – Fletschhorn, Lagginhorn and Weissmies (4,017 m) – are mesmerising.
A tranquil mountain lake makes an ideal spot for a picnic – to a soundtrack of marmot whistles and cascading streams. From here, the path drops steeply to the Laggina river, and then leads along the valley floor back to Gabi. The pristine Laggintal is known for its rich fauna and flora, wealth of flowers and especially its abundance of butterflies. These include one of the rarest in Europe, a species of international importance: Raetzer’s ringlet (Erebia christi).
- Variety: ancient mule track, panoramic high trail and peaceful path through a hidden valley
- Glorious views of the Laggintal valley, framed by 4,000-metre peaks
- Exceptional wealth of wildlife – and especially butterflies
Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.
For all hikes:
- Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on “Print” icon, top right of this page.
- Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
- Close gates after passing through.
- Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
- Do not leave any waste in nature.
For mountain hikes:
- Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
- Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
- Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
For high-altitude hikes:
- Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
- Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
- Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.
Tips and hints
More information about the destinations:
Getting thereA9 motorway and/or main road along Rhône valley towards Brig, then follow signs for «Simplon». Continue beyond pass through Simplon Dorf to the tiny hamlet of Gabi.
ParkingSmall parking area in Gabi.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
Book recommendations for this region:
- good footwear
- clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
- hat or cap
- bottle for water
- binoculars (optional)
- hiking poles (optional)
- printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, to download)
For certain walks: