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Fitness
Hiking Trail

Chapel trail and Bodmeri irrigation channel in Visperterminen

Hiking Trail · Wallis
Responsible for this content
Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Chapel above Visperterminen
    / Chapel above Visperterminen
    Photo: Heidadorf Visperterminen
  • Forest chapel above Visperterminen
    / Forest chapel above Visperterminen
    Photo: Heidadorf Visperterminen
  • Columns at the forest chapel in Visperterminen
    / Columns at the forest chapel in Visperterminen
    Photo: Heidadorf Visperterminen
  • Small chapel in the forest above Visperterminen.
    / Small chapel in the forest above Visperterminen.
    Photo: Heidadorf Visperterminen
  • Chapels long the theme path above Visperterminen.
    / Chapels long the theme path above Visperterminen.
    Photo: Heidadorf Visperterminen
  • Chapel in Visperterminen.
    / Chapel in Visperterminen.
    Photo: Heidadorf Visperterminen

Inspiring ascent of a “sacred mountain” via a series of historical chapels, followed by a delightful walk along an irrigation channel. A descent through forest and pastures completes the loop.

moderate
9.3 km
2:45 h
353 m
353 m

The tradition of the “sacro monte”, or “sacred mountain”, evolved from the late-15th century in the region between Piedmont and Lombardy in Italy. Visperterminen has its own version: a sequence of ten historical chapels leading up to a hauntingly beautiful pilgrimage chapel in the forest dedicated to the Visitation of Our Blessed Virgin Mary.

Over the centuries, believers would walk from one rosary chapel to the next, stopping at each to pray. Each chapel contains life-size sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Christ; the pilgrimage church contains one of the oldest playable organs in existence, believed to date from the 16th century. Today, the climb up to the pilgrimage chapel offers one of the most uplifting and beautiful walks in Valais.

The next stage of our round walk follows one of the region’s historical irrigation channels – known in Upper Valais as “Suonen”. Our circuit joins the Bodermi, built in 1915, at Muttji, where the water emerges from a tunnel that has brought it from the neighbouring Nanztal valley. The Bodmeri still carries water from early April to mid-September.

The trail leads through the forest to an intersection with an older Suone that the Bodmeri replaced: the Niwa. This was one of the most spectacular Suonen in Valais, and our hike follows it for a short distance: look out for the ancient warder’s hut, the “Hüoterhüsi”, and the old walkways and conduits.

Clearings in the forest offer gorgeous views of the Rhône valley and the snowy peaks beyond. The trail leaves the irrigation channel to turn south, leading gently downhill through forest and pastures back to Visperterminen.

 

Highlights

  • Uplifting walk via ten historical chapels to a beautiful pilgrimage chapel in the forest
  • Next: a gentle, level walk along a working irrigation channel

Author’s recommendation

After the hike, enjoy a glass of wine grown in Visperterminen’s vineyards, the highest in Europe. The local Heida is known as the “pearl of alpine wines”, made from a native white grape. Heida is often served with a cold platter of local cheeses and Valais air-dried meat.

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Muttji , 1688 m
Lowest point
Visperterminen village, 1335 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

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.

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, top right, to download) 

For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

Tips, hints and links

More information about the destination: 

Start

Visperterminen, chairlift Giw (1376 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.259211, 7.904485
UTM
32T 415568 5123431

Destination

Visperterminen, chairlift Giw

Turn-by-turn directions

The circuit begins in the village with a zig-zag climb up the chapel trail, roughly below the course of the Giw chairlift. From the pilgrimage chapel at the end, our route climbs a little higher through the forest before striking northwards to join the Bodmeri irrigation channel at Muttji.

Our route leads northwards along the Bodmeri as far as its intersection with the disused Niwa channel, and then follows this a short distance before heading back south to Visperterminen.

Public transport

Train to Visp, then postal bus to Visperterminen. Find full timetable information at www.sbb.ch.

Getting there

Different possiblities to access Visp by car: 

  • Lötschberg car shuttle train, then drive to Gampel and take the main route to Visp.
  • Furka (pass or car shuttle train), then drive through the Goms valley to Brig and then to Visp.
  • A9 motorway via Sion and Sierre, then main route to Visp. 

Turn off in Visp and follow signs for Visperterminen.

Parking

Parking at the chairlift in Visperterminen. Follow the local car park routeing in Visperterminen.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Visperterminen has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1288 Raron


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
9.3 km
Duration
2:45 h
Ascent
353 m
Descent
353 m
Loop Scenic Family friendly Cultural/historical value Insider tip

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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