May 23, 2024


Hiking guide as an app: Out and about in Valais on the Flag Trail

Teaser image source: Stefan Lehner, Unslpash

Hike in the Footsteps of Science in Valais: A free app from WSL, Canton and Pfyn-Finges Nature Park invites you to participate in eight tours focused on research topics. Among other things, it is about melting glaciers, avalanches, debris flows or the history of settlements.

Source: ETH Library Zurich, photo archive / Photographer: Hahn, Peter / Dia_348-04430 / CC BY-SA 4.0

On a stroll around the theme of “Annual Rings,” you also pass Kippel, the community that houses the Lötschental’s most authentic settlement structure.

The three oldest buildings in the Lötschental are over 700 years old: Brigischiir, Rotigostadel and Oberdoorfschiir in the municipality of Ferden. The village has 59 buildings built before 1800. “Although the mapping of the house from 2004 is very informative, it is only a snapshot. Remains of numerous settlements in the present landscape show that there were more ancient buildings in the Lötschental.” , says the free smartphone app, released by the Swiss Federal Research Center for Forests, Snow and Landscapes as well as the canton of Valais and the Baffin Fengs Nature Park together.

“Walking Where Others Are Looking”

The app is the digital version of the hiking guide “Hiking Where Others Look”. It gathers into eight walks, each dedicated to a specific topic. Werden takes a tour on the theme of ‘tree rings’: it follows largely the Lötschentaler Höhenweg and focuses on the growth of trees and wooden buildings in the area. The other seven hikes deal with melting glaciers, wildfires, debris flows, rockslides, the history of settlements or the particular climate of the Rhone Valley, where there is less rain than any other region in Switzerland.

Screenshot, Wander-App

Coil: WSL

The app provides a lot of detailed information about hiking.

In addition to maps and general information such as inclination and duration, the app provides a wealth of detailed background information in the form of texts and videos on individual tour topics. In addition, it has pictures of the types of animals, plants, and rocks that you can come across while hiking. You can also use a file

Valais is an ‘early warning zone’ for climate change

The idea for this hiking guide came from forest ecologist Thomas Wohlgemuth of WSL, because Valais has so much to offer both researchers and nature lovers. “In the past few decades, warm and dry Valais has become an early warning area of ​​environmental change,” says Wohlgemuth. For this reason, WSL has been investigating the consequences of these changes for more than 30 years, whether it be large avalanches, wildfires, or increasingly drying pines. (May)

The application can be found at

Hiking Where Others Look: Upper and Central Valais From Kristen Houvenen and Thomas Wollgemot (2021)

Haupt Verlag, WSL Federal Research Institute, Bern; 367 pages ISBN 978-3-258-08206-6 ;
38 francs