In autumn, this hike promises a very special experience. The larch needles change colour from green to yellow and then rust-red. Here, it’s easy to understand why walkers talk so enthusiastically about golden autumn walks. In winter, the trees are bare.
For centuries, local people hunted nutcrackers. These birds were considered pests: because their diet consists mainly of pine seeds, it was thought they prevented regeneration of the forest and hindered growth of new trees.
Only in the 1950s did scientists discover the secret of the nutcracker. On balance, these birds are of great benefit to the forest: the relatively heavy seeds of the Swiss stone pine are not dispersed by wind, as with other species of conifer, but through the activities of the nutcracker. Each bird gathers between 30,000 and 100,000 seeds a year, which it buries in the ground as a food supply. In winter, it has to dig up to 1 m deep in the snow to retrieve them. However, it does not find all the seeds again…
- Larch wood is extensively used as a building material in Valais
- Larches are resistant to vermin (because of high levels of resin)
- Larches lose their needles in late autumn
- Information panels in German, English, French, Japanese
- Plan every mountain tour carefully and adapt to participants’ fitness level as well as the weather and season.
- Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
- Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible avoid going alone.
- Do not leave the marked routes; do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
- Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.
- Take note of the warning signs drawing attention to the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs.
Getting thereZermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.
Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.
ParkingTäsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.
Onward travel: see “Getting there”.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
- Good footwear
- Hiking poles (optional)
- Clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof)