The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail (Murmeliweg Spielboden in German) is a popular hiking trail located in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. This easy trail offers an exciting opportunity to see and feed alpine marmots amidst the stunning scenery of the region, including glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and green meadows. The hike is very easy to do and suitable even for younger children.
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is well-marked and maintained, beginning right after you exit the middle station of Spielboden. It is easy to navigate even for novice hikers. Along the way, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Saas Valley, and encounter the friendly marmots of Saas-Fee. It is a great option for families and groups.
Overview of the Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Spielboden, Switzerland, 2,448 meters above sea level. You can reach it by taking the Spielbodenbahn Gondola from the valley station in Saas-Fee. From Spielboden, you are rewarded with awesome views of the Saas Valley.
Saas-Fee is home to a large population of marmots, which are commonly seen in the Spielboden area. Visitors to the area can often hear the distinctive whistling sounds of these furry little animals, and they can easily be seen peeping from their homes or playing about on the rocks.
Marmots are ground squirrels found throughout the Swiss Alps. They are active during the day in summer and are known to hibernate for six to eight months in winter. Visitors to Spielboden have the chance to observe and interact with the marmots in their natural habitat.
The marmot trail is known for its beautiful scenery and easy terrain. The trail is approximately 500 meters long and takes about 45 minutes to complete. However, you can expect to stay longer in case you want to observe and feed the marmots.
The hiking trail starts after you exit the Spielboden Mountain Station. From there, you will enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The hiking path is located directly under the gondolas. You will encounter relatively easy terrain without steep ascents and drops all while enjoying fantastic views around you.
Well-marked and maintained, the trail is easy to follow. People who like local wildlife, especially marmots, will find this an enjoyable experience.
Key Features of Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is a 0.5-kilometer-long circular trail that starts and ends in Spielboden, Saas-Fee. Without stopping, the trail takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. Should you decide to feed and observe the marmots, you will likely spend more time.
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is a very easy hiking trail suitable for hikers of all levels of experience. The trail is well-marked and with only a few gentle inclines and declines. The trail is suitable for families with children. However, it is not wheelchair accessible, and hiking shoes are recommended.
Encounters with Marmots
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is known for encountering marmots. You will have ample opportunities to spot and photograph these animals in their natural habitat.
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Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail Review
Preparation for the Hike
Preparation is key. Before setting off on our marmot adventure, we purchased a bag of nuts from the Tourist Office in Saas-Fee village. The nuts are reasonably priced and come in generous quantities. Fresh carrots are also an option.
While you may be eager to feed the marmots, you might find that even with your best efforts, they can’t possibly consume all the nuts you bring along. So be mindful that marmots can reach a point where they’re full and no longer interested in your treats.
Feeding and Observing Marmots Up Close
Unlike typical hiking trails that involve continuous walking, the Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail introduces an element of anticipation and interaction. The trail is designed for those who wish to see and even feed marmots.
One of the highlights of the Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is the comfort level that these marmots have around humans. Visitors can approach them without causing alarm, creating a unique opportunity for up-close encounters.
This means that other than just walking through, hikers have the chance to wait at strategic points near stone outcroppings where the terrain widens. This provides the perfect vantage point to observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. If you are patient, one or two marmots will come close to you and get treats from your hand.
Informative Sign Posts
Throughout the hiking trail, you’ll encounter informational signposts that provide insights into marmots in the alpine environment. While these posts offer valuable information, the real stars of the show are undoubtedly the marmots themselves.
The signs may not capture your attention as much as the engaging interactions with these furry animals. Reading didn’t seem to interest the other hikers much, as they were more interested in the marmots themselves.
Suitable for All Ages
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail offers an experience that’s perfect for families with young children, including toddlers. The activity’s child-friendly nature adds to its appeal.
As you encounter these captivating creatures, you’re likely to encounter a wide range of visitors, from children to teenagers and older adults.
Practical Tips for the Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail
- The marmots like eating nuts and carrots.
- You can buy a bag of nuts from the Saas-Fee Tourist Office.
- Do not leave garbage on the trail.
- Do not frighten the marmots.
- Wear proper shoes for the hiking trail, preferably hiking boots.
- Stay on the designated hiking trail to avoid damaging their habitat.
Best Time to Visit the Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail
Summer is the best time to observe marmots since they have emerged from hibernation during this time. In general, these creatures sleep for 6 to 8 months a year.
In Spielboden, it is common to spot marmots starting in May. We encountered a large number of them when we visited in August.
How to Get to Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail
Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail is located in Spielboden, in the canton of Valais. You can reach it by taking the Spielboden Gondola from the valley station in Saas-Fee.
|Spielboden (2,448 meters above sea level)
Final Thoughts: Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail
The Saas-Fee Murmeli Trail offers a unique experience where hikers can anticipate close encounters with marmots. Designed for observing and feeding these creatures, the trail provides strategic waiting points near stone outcroppings for observing them in their habitat.
Nuts can be purchased from the Saas-Fee village Tourist Office for feeding. Informative sign posts dot the trail, but the real attraction is the engaging interaction with marmots.
These friendly creatures are accustomed to humans and offer an up-close experience, emphasizing the need for responsible environmental behavior. The trail is family-friendly, catering to all ages, making it a recommended activity for diverse visitors. I highly recommend doing it.
- 1Wildtiere im Saas. Saas-Fee. Accessed on 30 August 2023. https://www.saas-fee.ch/blog/2019/09/wildtiere-im-saas/.
- Murmeli Trail at Spielboden. https://www.outdooractive.com/en/route/nature-trail/saas-fee/murmeli-trail-at-spielboden/60046902/.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.