Rhône le début / The origin of the Rhône
Rhône Glacier
River Rotten
Source of the Rhône


  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    317 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    46°34'N 08°22'E
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The Site consists of the tongue of the Rhône glacier, which is the source of the Rhône River, and the recent glacier foreland. It is located between 1,750 and 2,485 metres above sea level. The Site is one of the most remarkable alpine alluvial plains in the Western Central Alps, due to its size, structure, and the unregulated dynamics of the Rhône and a long tradition of research. The flat alpine alluvial zone of Gletschbode contains various stages of plant successions from the pioneer associations on raw ground, up to the forests of larches and different types of vegetation developing on wet, moist and even dry ground. A variety of ecosystems provide a habitat for mammals, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates and support many rare and endangered species. More than 280 vascular plant species are present on the Site, with 12 plants and 23 animal species included in the Swiss red lists, and two plant and 16 animal species protected at European level. The glacier foreland is an important place for mountain birds, with 25 nesting species including the rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) and the common rock thrush (Monticola saxatilis). In summer and autumn, the Site is a well-frequented place for recreation, and restricted areas are grazed.

Administrative region: 
Canton de Valais

  • National legal designation: 
    • Inventaire fédéral des paysages, sites et monuments naturels d'importance nationale (1977, SR 451.11) - Rhônegletscher mit Vorgelände (object no. 1710)
    • Inventaire fédéral des zones alluviales d'importance nationale - Rhonegletscher (object no. 1215)
    • Zone protégée cantonale - Gletschboden und Gletschervorfel Rhonegletscher
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

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