Top Ten Switzerland Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Hike the Valais Solar System
By Mark Honan

Imagine yourself as a colossus, striding across space. In just a few minutes you can cross the vast expanse from Earth to Mars. Next stop, Jupiter! Okay, so there's a certain element of cheesiness to this walk—the "Planetary Path" in the Anniviers Valley in southern Switzerland. The planets are displayed as scale models alongside information boards showing a mass of statistics. It starts at the Tignousa Observatory (which is open to the public, though at $140 per group, it's an expensive sideline for just a couple of people). The walk itself is reasonably priced and worth taking even without the planets and stars. It's a beautiful stroll along the eastern slopes above the valley, at an altitude of between 7,216 feet and 8,200 feet. The solar system is represented on a scale of 1:1 billion, so it takes about two hours to walk from the sun to Pluto.


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