Hiking in Valais to and on the world’s longest suspension bridge – The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge – is a must if you love suspension bridges.
NOTE: Since I have written this post, Portugal has broken the record of the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge. The Worlds Longest pedestrian suspension bridge is now (2021) located in the Arouca Geopark in Portugal and is 516 metres long.
…Back to the The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge.
Not only will you be 85m above the ground at one point, but you will also be hiking one of the world’s longest suspension bridges – The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge.
You may also have heard of the “Europabrücke”, which is another name for it as it completes the Europaweg from Grächen to Zermatt.
A two-day hike considerd by many to be the most beautiful adventure when hiking in Valais or even more so, in the Swiss Alps.
You can find more information on the Europaweg website.
But for us we’re not yet at this hiking level with the kids, so let’s concentrate just on hiking in Valais on the once longest suspension bridge in the world – The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge starting in Randa.
Do you need more options to do some hiking in Switzerland? Then check out our Swiss hiking map
Where is The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge?
Situated in the Canton of Valais in Switzerland, just before Zermatt in the Mattervalley is the beautiful little village of Randa. Here one can find the deepest valley in Switzerland, The Grabengufer. It is here where one of the longest Suspension Bridges in the world- the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge traverses from the Lärchberg to the Höüschbiel and is 85 m above the valley at its highest point.
What to expect when Hiking in Valais on a long Suspension Bridge?
We knew it was a steep hike, and when I investigated some websites, one was saying, suitable for the whole family.
I don’t agree with this! I would rather call it, a family hike if the children have good hiking experience.
Not only is it steep to go up, it is also a long and steep downhill path back to your car or the train station. Our kids were just short of 5 years old when we hiked up the steep goat trail through the Larch forest. But if you have been following and reading our posts, then you also know that they are very advanced hikers for their age.
I do not want to discourage you, but I feel you need to know that it is a straight two hours plus uphill hike. Having said that, the hard-uphill hike is all worthwhile! After a couple of hours hiking you are standing at the beginning of the 494m Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge.
One of the longest Suspension Bridges in the world! How can they build such a long Suspension Bridge?
Well, I will not get into these details, but for us it was just amazing to cross it. And surprisingly it did not wobble like expected. The bridge is narrow, only 60cm wide, and I guess this is why.
The closer we got to the middle, the more the wind picked up and it got quite chilly. Chloe’s hat blew away and it was time to put our jackets on. So keep that in mind. (we got the hat back 🙂 )
All I heard was Lucas saying, that’s so amazing! And he was right, it was!! When hiking in Valais this is often an impression I hear from the kids, which is so rewarding!
Let’s start the Hike to the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
We parked our car at a payable parking place pretty much at the beginning of the actual path. You have to drive through Randa towards the church. I guess in high season this parking will fill up quickly because there are not many spaces and church visitors are also using it.
Alternatively, park at the train station and start your hike there. It is not much further. Either way, follow the signs for the “Europabrücke”.
Randa is a very picturesque tiny Valaisanne Vilage and you will be amazed how picture perfect it is. When you look between the old and beautiful Valais Mazots towards Zermatt, you can see in the far distance the “Klein Matterhorn”
The hike is a loop and I would suggest to do it ANTI-Clockwise. By the last village house, you start your climb taking the small goat or maybe more sheep path on your right leading you through larchwood forests.
At that point you will also see a large enclosure. We wondered what is in there and had all kind of ideas, from a bear to a mountain leopard. We discovered at the end of our hike that this was a deer enclosure. So even if you do not see them now you may be lucky to see them at the end of your hike to the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, as you will be passing the other side of the enclosure where their feeding station is located.
Still climbing up..
After a good hour or so you will get to an area with lots of rock towers, also called – cairns. Which are never far away when hiking in Valais!
This is a good place to build your own cairn and have a well-deserved rest. On the hiking sign at that point it says 45min to the Europabrücke – the longest Suspension Bridge in the world.
We felt quite happy at that point that it did not say another 2h, but it is still uphill.
Nearly at the longest Suspension Bridge in the Alps
Every time when we look up and thought that must be the end, there was another turn and some more effort needed. Until suddenly the path straightens out and you find yourself in a beautiful meadow. Wow, that was a surprise to see. A beautiful picnic place looks inviting to stop and have lunch. But the excitement to finally see and walk over the Charles Kuonen Suspension bridge was too great and so we carried on for another 5 min to the bridge.
Arriving at the longest Suspension Bridge in the Alps
Wow, we have crossed many suspension bridges even whilst hiking in Valais, but this one is incredible.
Looking down the middle of the bridge gives you such an amazing feeling. A real piece of art. There was nobody at nor on the bridge. How lucky! We made the most of it and enjoyed it all to ourselves, made pictures and enjoyed this magnificent 360 ° view.
Despite the bridge being 494m and only held in place by 2 suspension points, one at each end, it was not wobbly.
It takes about 10min to cross the bridge, more when taking photos.
When we crossed The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, we saw the Alpine Europa Hut. It would be an option to add on another 300m altitude gain and hike to the hut. For us it was already enough especially for the kids and so we enjoyed a picnic at the other side of the bridge whilst marveling at the stunning view.
Heading back down…
I have got to be honest with you, it is not a pleasant downhill path. It is steep and long. So, my suggestion is, to make quite a lot of breaks and take your time. Having said that, we are not fans of downhill hiking anyway, or should I say our knees do not like it 🙂
You might have luck and spot some Ibex. We did not but a friend hiked it 2 days after us and they saw a big group on their descent, so keep your eyes open!
Finally, down and on a normal hiking trail we passed through a beautiful meadow of wild alpine flowers and the village of Randa came into sight again.
Remember that enclosure I talked about at the beginning, you will now pass it from the other side and it is here where their food stand is situated and therefore we also saw the deer.
Tips & Suggestion
- I would suggest to hike it anti-clock wise. It just felt easier looking at the whole hike
- If you have some more energy add on the detour to the Europa hut. This would make it a good 980m gain in altitude.
- You could have a nice BBQ picnic before the bridge. Check though with the local commune if they are not on a fire ban due to hot weather.
Hiking map for the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
How the map works: Click on “Learn More” to get to the full map layout with profile and interactive route indicator.
Location:: Randa, Haute Valais /Wallis near Zermatt, Switzerland Valais
Length:: 7.0 km, we hiked 2h to the bridge
Level:: T3, medium + The hike is not difficult but steep, hiked with kids age just one month short of their 5th birthday
Highest point:: 2076 m
Ascent 636m / Descent 636m
Good to know
- It is a steep hike up and down
- Hike it anti clock wise
- The upper parking lot is payable and there are not too many places available. Further parking available at the train station.
- Refreshments such as toilets and restaurants are available at Randa Village
- Not pushchair friendly
- This hike should not be done in bad weather or from November to April
Facts about the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
The facts in brief: Bridge length: 494 m, Highest point: 85 m, Width: 65 cm
You may also like these hikes within the Valais Switzerland
- Vercorin – Val d’Anniviers – Marmoth path from Crêt-du-Midi
- Evolène – A Stroll to the Foot of the Mont-Miné Glacier at Ferpècle, Also possible to with the bikes
- Zermatt – Family Hike from Sunnegga to Zermatt
- Wallis – 12 der schönsten Familien – Wanderungen im Wallis
- Arolla – Lac Bleu – eine magische Walliser Wanderung für jede Jahreszeit
So, I hope you enjoyed reading our hike to the Longest Suspension Bridge in the Alps – the Charles Kuonen Suspension bridge.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below and share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well
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