I stayed in Saas-Fee for a week in mid-September 2016, and was rather unlucky with the weather, only three days being suitable for mountain-top visits.
Fortunately, my last day there was perfect for a trip up to Hohsaas, a high alpine location at an altitude of over 3,100 metres. It’s reached by gondola from Saas-Grund, a village in the valley below Saas-Fee. After a 10-minute trip in the PostBus from Saas-Fee to the stop “Saas-Grund, Bergbahnen”, it’s just a short walk to the valley station of the gondola, which goes up to Hohsaas via the mid-station “Kreuzboden”.
Going up to Hohsaas was quite a thrill! The first gondola, to Kreuzboden, travelled over forest, meadows and rocky streams, as the village of Saas-Grund got smaller and smaller down below. Saas-Fee could also be seen perched on its plateau above the other side of the valley. At Kreuzboden there are wonderful views of the Allalinhorn, Fee Glacier and the village of Saas-Fee. Also at Kreuzboden are a restaurant, playground, hiking trails and plenty of space for casually strolling around.
After Kreuzboden, as the gondola ascends above the tree line, the terrain changes almost immediately into rocky, high-alpine terrain, which was sporting fresh snow from the previous days of poor weather. As the gondola crested ridge after ridge, the snow cover became more widespread and deeper. The area at the top station, Hohsaas, had quite a deep snow cover.
At Hohsaas, a superb view encompassing eighteen 4,000 metre peaks is the reward! A short path cleared through the snow lead to a small restaurant with the same superb views from the outdoor terrace. About a dozen people were at the restaurant, some of whom were about to set off on the “Eighteen 4,000-Metre Peaks Trail”, a short theme trail of about 1.4 km that takes around 45 minutes.
After taking in the wonderful views and enjoying some refreshments on the restaurant terrace, I descended back to Saas-Grund in the gondolas and walked for about 5 minutes to the “Saas-Grund, Post” bus stop. This is a very pretty bus stop with two wooden benches in front of a traditional dark wooden building adorned with flowers. From here, I took PostBus #513 up to the Mattmark Dam for a quick visit. This bus only runs in the summer, which in 2017 is from 10 June until 15 October.
From Saas-Grund to the Mattmark is quite a scenic route and takes around 25 minutes, first passing through the village of Saas-Almagell before climbing over 500 metres up winding roads: initially through wooded areas, then through a largely treeless landscape with rocky streams, a few grazing sheep, and numerous rivulets cascading down rock faces. The bus stopped outside the restaurant adjacent to the dam wall. Built in the early 1960s, the Mattmark dam is used for generating electricity and is the biggest earthen dam in Europe. There’s a fairly level “Wanderweg” circuit trail around the lake that takes about 2.5 hours to walk. The restaurant, with a view over the dam and surrounding mountains, is open daily from 8:30 until 18:30 between mid-June and mid-October.
Attached are some photos from Saas-Grund, Kreuzboden, Hohsaas and Mattmark. Photos taken through the gondola windows are marred by scratched glass, but hopefully they still give a good idea of the terrain.