Hiking Tours Valais
Exquisite Hiking Tours Valais
We‘ll walk you through the Valais: quite literally! On our mountain tours lasting one or more days, keen hikers will experience everything that their hearts could possibly desire. Demanding ascents, walks along narrow ridges and across passes up to the peaks that will reward you with panoramic views from their dizzying heights – we‘ll leave you to describe them in your own words. But never fear: although it‘s naturally an advantage to be in good physical shape, we‘ve also gathered together some suggestions on this map that don‘t require you to be in peak athletic condition to observe ibexes at first hand as they seek out the juiciest foliage. But whichever route you choose, and even if you‘re an experienced hiking enthusiast, you‘re well advised to take along extra maps, hiking guides and suitable equipment. You should also divide up the stages of your route properly – paying special attention to the many welcoming venues along the way that will tempt you with their regional specialties. You‘ll find restaurants and inns where you can experience the truly magical ambience of traditional Alpine huts. Why not take a look at our website right now, or come to us for personal advice? We look forward to helping you enjoy the loveliest tours, with sunshine and pleasant temperatures to accompany you every step of the way thanks to our mild climate.
Sunny Forecasts Valais
Of course we don’t have a direct line to Petrus the weather-maker, but one thing is certain – there is nowhere else in Switzerland where you can soak up as much sunshine as here in Valais. And if you want to double-check on such a comment, then why not take a look on the net to see where the sun shines most with the aid of our Live Cams. By following the links you also receive more detailed information on the local weather. Info: www.valaistourism.ch SEARCH 337593 »
There is Always Something Going On It’s spoken about throughout the country – and even around the world. And mountainous Valais is slowly but surely becoming a great insider-tip for all kinds of events. Small, traditional festivities that shine with unmistakable charm, as well as large and international events in the arts, music and sports – and what could be a nicer or easier way of getting to know a place and it’s people better? We suggest you take a quick look on the internet to see what’s going on where and when – according to the date, location and the type of event you’re interested in. Info: www.valaistourism.ch SEARCH 2713 »
A Distinguished Spot We are proud as well as most honoured to have received both the “Valais Excellence“ label together with ISO 9001 rating for quality and 14001 for environmental affairs. What does this mean for you? It means the security of knowing you are getting the best! The label is given to companies in Valais who are engaged in a sociably and environmentally responsible manner – rewarding their constant striving to improve their offers. “Valais Excellence“ is a guarantee that all companies bearing this distinguished label are a genuine part of Valais.
Pointe de Bellevue, Morgins
Hiking Tours Overview Valais
1 Dents du Midi Tour The Dents du Midi mountain range has very distinct aspects. On the north side, everything is dark green and often in shade, while on the south, everything is white and sparkling with light, until you get to Mont-Blanc. You’ll experience very varied landscapes on this tour: from beautiful broadleaf or conifer forests, high mountain pastures and rock heaps to gorges, waterfalls, fast-flowing streams and mountain lakes. The lunar landscape of the Susanfe pass is incredible. This tour does not present any great difficulty but the climb up the Jorat pass (1,400 metres difference in height) and the Encel pass (narrow section with a handrail) requires a good level of physical fitness. You’ll need to take some longer rests to make the most of the stunning panoramic views: the Cime de l’Est and the Vierge as you climb the Jorat, the Lac de Salanfe and Tour Salière as you descend the pass, the Ruan Glacier from the Susanfe
cabane, the Souffla gorge and waterfall as you leave the Encel pass, the walls of rocks from the Anthème cabane, and the Chablais up to Lake Geneva. All along the Dents du Midi Tour, you’ll see different species of wild animals: ibex, royal eagle, bearded vulture, marmot, viper, alpine triton . . . The vegetation is even more impressive: aster, gentian, aconite, lily, glacier buttercups and sycamore rub shoulders with wild strawberries, blueberries, thyme and chive.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4–5 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Chablais valaisan www.dentsdumidi.ch
2 Dents Blanches Tour It takes four to six days to complete this stunning Franco-Swiss circuit. This route crosses the administrative border between Haute-Savoie and Valais. This demarcation line is completely relative bearing in mind the friendly ties that have existed between the two alpine peoples for centuries. Given this situation, the Dents Blanches Tour is a superb hike, on which urban and rural mountain dwellers are plunged into the heart of a dizzying chain of summits with stunning landscapes, welcoming rest stops, legends and traditions that will transport and amaze the most blasé of mountaineers. It was right in the middle of this exceptional place that a certain Balmat (who conquered Mont-Blanc) disappeared forever as he was looking for gold. It was between these passes and these high mountain pastures that generations of bandits played cops and robbers with customs agents to traffic ciga-
rettes, chocolate and cattle. The tour is wellmarked with comfortable, welcoming mountain huts at every stage. In spring, certain snow-covered sections require the use of ropes and ice axes.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 4–6 days www.tourdentsblanches.com
3 Vallée du Trient Tour The Vallée du Trient Tour can normally be done in four to five days. All along this route, there’s a succession of stunning landscapes: the mountains of Trient, Mont-Blanc and Dents du Midi, the Triège gorges, Trient, Dailley, the Salanfe, Emosson and VieuxEmosson dams and several nature reserves. In 1976, following the melt of an old névé, over 800 dinosaur prints, of nine different species, were discovered at Vieux-Emosson. More than 200 million years ago, about forty dinosaurs strolled along the seashore, leaving traces of their steps behind; they seem to have weighed 300 to 400 kilos and measured 3 to 7 metres long. After they passed, the sea covered these prints with green and red clay, setting them for good. When the Alps rose, these prints rose with them to an altitude of 2,400 metres. It’s the stuff of dreams! This tour could also be called the Pass Tour since, starting from the La Forclaz
pass, there’s a whole succession of passes: Balme, Posettes, Terrasse, Barberine and finally, Emaney. From the ridges, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the fantastic views and discover a rich and varied flora and, above all, an extraordinary wild life.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4–5 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Vallée du Trient
4 Mont-Blanc Tour This route, through France, Italy and Switzerland, shows you Mont-Blanc seen from all angles. The path passes through the low mountain chain but offers a stunning view of the mountains of eternal snow. The MontBlanc Tour has attracted generation after generation to one of the most prestigious natural sites on the planet: the roof of Europe at 4,807 metres, Mont-Blanc fascinates everyone, from the simple walker to the most experienced mountain climber; the king lords it over a crown of majestic 4,000 metre peaks linked by a multitude of sublime glaciers: the Mer de Glace, the Argentière glacier, the Trient glacier, the Saleina glacier, the Bossons glacier, etc. Our route passes through seven valleys surrounding more than 400 snow-covered summits. It’s a hike of high valley passes, both magical and famous, where the proximity of the great glaciers is one of the main attractions. This route will
afford you views of some exceptional locations: Chamonix, the mythical town of mountaineering, Les Houches and Les Contamines, famous French ski resorts, Courmayeur in the Aosta valley and the entrance to the Mont-Blanc tunnel, the two Val Ferret, Italian and Swiss, Champex and its lovely little lake . . . You’ll finish this loop tired but enchanted.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 10 –14 days Hiking Map: Topo-guide TMB
5 Combins Tour Viewed from the hikers’ route, the Combins stand out as the most powerful summits of the Pennine chain, lording it as if there were a vacuum around them. This exciting 4 to 6 day adventure offers you a chance to admire this vast glacial, snowy and rocky mountain range, full of hidden wonders. You’ll be able to see it from Verbier, Chanrion, the Aosta valley, Val d’Entremont, Champex, from everywhere. You’ll learn about the harsh life of the inhabitants and shepherds of these valleys: areas fashioned and modelled by generations rooted in their past. These are men who’ll welcome you with all the modesty of mountain people. The particularly rich wildlife is well protected thanks to the Mont-Pleureur and Combe de l’A protected areas. In these vast reserves, you’ll be able to get close to the wildlife of the Alps: ibex, chamois, stags, roes, marmots and royal eagles.
Nature will introduce you to very varied and admirably protected plants and flowers. The rich religious life is above all marked by the Maison du Grand-St-Bernard, present everywhere on the route.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4–6 days Hiking Map: 1:50 000 –5027T Grand St-Bernard – Combins – Arolla www.tourdescombins.ch
6 Val de Bagnes Tour On this tour, which can be done in four or six days, depending on the route chosen, you’ll experience an extraordinary variety of alpine landscapes, with the majestic mountains of Combins, Vélan and Mont-Blanc in the background. You’ll enjoy the view over the famous resort of Verbier crouching in its nest of greenery and discover a variety of plants and flowers, a unique biotope in Bonatchiesse, many well-maintained cabanes along your hike and the Mauvoisin dam, an imposing monument to the glory of human genius. A majestic panorama awaits you, either at the summit of Attelas, or Mont Brûlé. You’ll go through many alpine passes including the Col des Otanes, the high point of your hike at 2,846 metres. The rich wildlife in the Haut Val de Bagnes with the Mont Pleureur federal reserve and the Mauvoisin marmot reserve, the second biggest natural reserve in Switzerland, is also exceptional;
in these vast spaces, you’ll easily be able to get close to the wildlife of the Alps: ibex, chamois, marmot, stag, roe, royal eagle, etc. You’ll also meet the Hérens breed of cows, so characteristic by their aggressive instinct, in all the magnificent mountain pastures you hike across.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4–6 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Val de Bagnes/Verbier
7 Val d’Hérens Tour Visiting the Val d’Hérens brings you right into the heart of the Kingdom of Holidays. Many poets have described this valley privileged by nature, these exceptional landscapes, these costumes that are happily worn in several villages, these paths that flirt with waterways, forests, mountain pastures or glaciers . . . So many wonders you have to see for yourself. You have to spend time in the Val d’Hérens, a region of generous sunshine and a particularly healthy climate, to experience its many aspects. You can escape in this veritable alpine paradise, an ideal place for family holidays, inhabited by women and men who willingly offer a combination of hospitality and generosity from the first time you meet them. This Val d’Hérens we’re inviting you to get to know is full of contrasts. Wide prairies, steeper slopes, forests of larches, broadleaf trees or pines, solitary
Swiss stone pines burned by the sun or split by a stroke of lightening. You’ll find charming little villages, where houses are squeezed together tightly, but also modern and well-equipped resorts, where quality soft tourism is on offer. Whether you want a rest or active holiday, there’s something for everyone.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –6 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Val d’Hérens
8 Val d’Anniviers Tour Val d’Anniviers, the main side valley of French-speaking Valais, opens onto the Rhône plain opposite Sierre, the City of Sun, and rises to the south up to Dent-Blanche. The tour through this valley takes you on an amazing journey among the most beautiful peaks of the Alps, discovering all the natural riches of this region. A spectacle enhanced by the light due to the altitude and the contrasts between pastures, rocks and glaciers. The famous Ponchet ascent brings us to Chandolin, at an altitude of almost 2,000 metres, or St-Luc and its magnificent Planets path. To return to Zinal, at the bottom of the Navizence valley, you take the upper part of the famous Sierre-Zinal race, pass by the Weisshorn hotel, enjoy the view of the majestic imperial crown created by the five 4,000 metre peaks of Dent-Blanche, Ober Gabelhorn, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn and Bishorn. The path that leads to the Corne de
Sorebois at 2,869 metres offers you a unique panoramic view of the whole valley with its chalets and wooden barns clustered together in the beautiful villages of Chandolin, St-Luc, Vissoie, Zinal and Grimentz. You return to the plain via Vercorin, an eyrie perched on the left side of the Valais Alps, from where your eyes can fly and soar over the Rhône valley, make their way up the river to the vines, forests and pastures and take in the whole extraordinary panorama of the alpine chain.
Degree of Difficulty ★★ Duration of Hike: 4–5 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Val d’Anniviers
9 Muverans Tour The Muverans Tour, with its very particular geology, its flora and fauna, its many cabanes, its working mountain pastures, the pass to Derborence, and all its possible variants, has everything a big hike has to offer. On this route one can learn many interesting things. Situated right on the elbow of the Rhône, a raised path offers you some of the most beautiful views of the Alps: Mont-Blanc, Combins, the Valais Alps, Dents du Midi and, in certain places, Lake Geneva. The geology is exciting too. Every period, from the cretaceous to the Jurassic, has deposited treasures here: carboniferous rocks, ammonite fossils, flint nodules and lapies tell the story of our planet. Not to be outdone, the flora on this hike includes some very rare species: the Nant valley represents more than forty per cent of Swiss species and in Derborence, white pines reach the venerable age of half a millennium. There is no
shortage of wildlife in this Eden: chamois and ibex flourish in an unspoilt environment. And how can we not mention Derborence, known for its two landslides and recorded for posterity thanks to the pen of the writer Charles Ferdinand Ramuz? Between literature and science, hiking and nature, this tour has everything a big hike has to offer.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4 –5 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Du Rhône aux Muverans www.tourdesmuverans.ch
With Valais You Can’t Go Wrong Valais
Accommodation with us is never purely a place to sleep; it is always a part of our naturally in-born and greatly appreciated hospitality. Regardless of whether you select a hotel, an apartment, bed and breakfast, a moutain hut or even a camping site, our first priority is your well-being. Our range of overnight accommodation is as diverse as guests themselves, but always warm and friendly to make you feel entirely at home; typical Valais-style family hotels in contrast to non-plusultra luxury hotels and more. Wellness resorts and protected historical hotels are just as easy to find as simple, comfortable inns, together with children’s hotels that bring an unmistakable sparkle to their eyes! Beds of straw too, enjoyed by all who’d like to take a trip back in time. However, one thing all the various types of accommodation have in common is their culinary spoils; ranging from tasty, authentic Valais dishes to traditionally rustic specialities – and naturally those to suit the palates of gourmets. The choice is yours, depending on the mood of the day and your budget. On viewing www.valaistourism.ch you will find plenty of offers and also be able to directly compare prices, as well as make direct bookings. A small tip: watch out for our attractive special offers and all-inclusive deals. Simply give us a call in case of any questions! Telephone +41 (0)27 327 35 70.
Info: www.valaistourism.ch SEARCH 40008 »
10 Diablerets Tour When the pioneers created the Diablerets route, they wanted good walkers to get to know this amazing mountain and its surroundings. Today, mid-mountain range walking has been popularised to such an extent that this circuit has become an ideal goal for everyone new to hiking. In fact, walkers from all backgrounds have been passing each other on the different paths of the route for several years: students, sportsmen, retired people, but also many foreigners. With the many refuges, cabanes and restaurants that mark this path, everyone can complete this loop at their own pace. Other objectives might come up along the way, both flora (one of the richest in Europe) or fauna (vulture, wolf, lynx, etc.) and above all an enjoyable discovery of the extraordinary environment brought to you by the Derborence valley and the landscape around the Prarochet cabane. Stunning view points are
dotted along this walk: above Gryon, les Chaux is a breathtaking view point over Lake Geneva, Val d’Illiez, Dents du Midi and the Rhône plain and from the Tsanfleuron plateau, you’ll be able to take in the big chain of Valais Alps, from Mont-Blanc to Mont Rose. Completing this circuit also brings you through three Swiss cantons: Berne, Vaud and Valais.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4 –5 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Les Diablerets – Massif des Diablerets
11 Wildstrubel Tour The Wildstrubel Tour starts at Crans-Montana, tourist resort and sunny plateau at 1,500 metres altitude, and sets off towards the east. This tour brings us first of all to a panoramic summit, Mont Bonvin: from Goms to Mont-Blanc, to the south of the Rhône valley, there’s a whole row of summits; only the Mont Rose is hidden, concealed behind the ridge that connects the Weisshorn to the Zinalrothorn. Following the path of ancient peasants, we return to the stadium of the Alps, Leukerbad, the biggest spa in Europe surrounded by impressive rock walls. At Lötschental with its typical masks we climb the Lötschenpass, the oldest pass between Valais and Berne, a really interesting geological area with exceptional flora and fauna. The descent to Kandersteg reveals a wild and romantic valley. We return to Valais via Lenk and Iffigenalp taking us to the Rawyl pass. At the foot of the pass, the Zeusier dam, in
an unspoilt valley, leads us back to CransMontana, our starting point.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 6 –8 days
12 Monte Rosa Tour If permitted describing the Monte Rosa Tour in a single word, this would surely be kingly or majestic. Along mountainous trails – the most famous being the European path – the tour leads past stunning four-thousandmetre-high peaks around the Monte Rosa and Mischabel group, Switzerland’s highest chain of mountains. And while the Weisshorn, Weissmies and Matterhorn steal the limelight on Swiss horizons, it’s the Monte Rosa that steals all the glory from an Italian point of view! The Saas Valley Walser settlements, and particularly the Macugnaga and Alagna regions, are permanently subject to curiosity – and it’s believed that during the 13th and 14th centuries, the Walsers conquered the Monte Rosa via the Theodulpass in the southern territory, to henceforth settle in this splendid region. The “Walsertitsch” dialect is still heard today, and said to be similar to the
Walliser-German nowadays widely spoken in the Valais. The Monte Rosa Tour is physically very demanding, but buses and cableways ease the way for those who enjoy a more comfortable pace. Thrilling point along the way is the Theodul Glacier crossing, with singular hiking path along the route. However, although this might be classed as summer ski resort, potential dangers should never be underestimated and the use of security ropes is highly recommended.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 9 –11 days Hiking Map: 1:50 000 Tour Monte Rosa www.tmr-matterhorn.ch
13 Simplon-Fletschhorn Trekking Those who love nature, privacy and freedom simply have to give the Simplon-Fletschhorn Trekking Route a go. The leg over the Antronapass, Nanztal and section along the Swiss-Italian border boasts stunning natural views no words can adequately describe. The Simplon and Fletschhorn have gained fame for entirely different reasons. The Fletschhorn was considered part of the 4000-metre-high league for ages – until years later, with the introduction of accurate measurement methods in the 50’s, it came to light that a good 6 metres were lacking! Not infrequently, Simplon is described as “door to the south” – as it represents one of the most significant Alps crossings already since the 17th century. Kaspar Jodok von Stockalper took the path in medieval times, and almost 150 years later Napoleon took advantage of the favourable topographical conditions to build roads over the
Simplon Pass. The 1990s saw further stretches of the Stockalperweg path restored in original form and an ecomuseum created. Medieval construction methods are admired with typical dry walls and the special structure of paths; hence explaining the international success of this trail – and an exhibition at the “Alter Gasthof” in Simplon-Dorf sheds light on the various elements observed. The Stockalperweg forms the eastern axis of the Simplon-Fletschhorn trekking path – with the tour as a whole a natural and culturally interesting highlight.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 7–10 days
14 Jungfrau – Aletsch Tour Views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau are a must for tourists from Asia. Not to mention the seemingly never-ending expanse of the adjacent Aletsch Glacier. And the “UNESCO World Heritage” label, awarded in 2001, can only be described as the crown in glory! The Jungfrau – Aletsch Tour circles the perimeters of the UNESCO World Heritage site and discloses the natural pearls embedded within, while at the same time linking upper Valais with the highlands of the Bernese Oberland. These two regions are often mentioned in a single breath – yet striking differences exist either side of the Bernese Alps. Vegetation couldn’t be more different when comparing the dry, sparsely vegetated southern slopes of the Lötschberg to the lush meadows of the Innertkirchen region – and such varying conditions have influenced the lifestyle and character of the peoples either side of the Bernese Alps for centuries. The differences
are still witnessed today, with contrasting customs, language, culinary habits, architecture and even religion clearly depicting two very different regions. The entire tour thus consists of a varietal firework that awakens a thirst for more knowledge – so rather than attempting the tour all in one day, why not enjoy the tour at a more leisurely pace over a longer period of time!
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 17–20 days
15 Portes du Soleil Tour It’s the symbolic yoke of the Portes du Soleil, above Les Crosets, that gives its name to this skiing and hiking resort with over 400 km² of natural space forged around the grouping of 14 villages, which have become resorts without losing their soul. From the peaks of the Cornettes de Bise or the Tour de Don, you’ll have an amazing view of the blue waters of Lake Geneva and opposite you, Montreux and Lausanne. Further away, in the distance, you’ll see the silhouette of the Jungfrau and the Eiger as well as the Matterhorn pyramid. Turn around slightly, and before you tower the majestic, powerful and famous Dents du Midi while, nearby, on the right, Mont-Blanc stands out. You follow a path from Portes du Soleil, through mountain pastures, crossing the border, one minute in France (Haute-Savoie), the next minute in Switzerland (Valais). This hike is in two countries but only one province, Chablais,
with its exceptional vegetation, its landscape with a thousand chalets, incomparable local flavours, stunning views, cows of all colours, the benefits of thermal baths, the main route of migratory birds, bandit paths, panoramic viewpoints to take your breath away, the history of the Chablais abbeys and many cool mountain lakes.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –7 days Hiking Map: 1:33 333 Portes du Soleil
16 Ruan Tour Ruan is the name of the peak to the north of the Emosson dam. This mountain which peaks at 3,044 metres has two satellite summits: to the west, Petit Ruan at 2,847 m, and to the east, Grand Ruan at 3,057 m. At its feet, it is encircled by the glaciers of Les Fonds and Ruan. The tour itself straddles two countries, France with the Haute-Savoie region, to be more precise the Vallée du Haut-Giffre, and Switzerland in the canton of Valais, district of Saint-Maurice, and upper part of the Trient Valley. The highest point of this tour, the Cheval-Blanc, at 2,830 metres, offers a fantastic view, where you can take in with one glance the Bernese Alps, the Rhône plain, the Valais Alps, Mont-Blanc, Chablais or the Jura. As you follow this route, you wind through a maze of big limestone rocks in the form of forts, you come upon the End of the World, a magnificent amphitheatre that bears its name well, pass through diffi-
cult sections helped by handrails, face snowbound sections in the Ottans region, cross into this mythical place with its 80 metre funnel via ladders, stirrups and chains and, finally, end the route edging along ledges, small combs or big whales’ backs polished by glaciers.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –6 days www.tourduruan.com
17 4 Vallées Tour The 4 Valleys are much better known as one of the biggest ski areas in Switzerland than a hiking trail. But walking through these wide open spaces, in summer, is a real delight. This hike offers both an alpine path at the foot of tall mountains and superb walks along the waterways of central Valais. The alpine part leads us through a world of green mountain pastures, above the forests, where we come upon lots of welcoming cabanes, go through a series of passes culminating at nearly 3,000 metres (Col de Prafleuri), admire the impressive Grande Dixence dam and many mountain lakes, get close to the wildlife found everywhere, enjoy discovering protected flowers and delight at the grand views that only the Alps can offer us. The second part leads us to the heart of the ski area: from Savoleyres, admire Verbier in the midst of its greenery, imagine the immense winter ski slopes, then drop down to the
La Tzoumaz resort. The Bisse de Saxon leads you, above Isérables and Nendaz, to the Cleuson dam: it’s a world of enjoyment and relaxation! Walk further down through the mountain pastures inhabited by herds of Hérens cows and you’ll complete your excursion at the bottom of the famous ‘Piste de l’Ours’ ski slope.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 4–5 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 4 Vallées
18 Augstbordhorn Tour The Augstbordhorn Tour is one of contrasts – with rural, agricultural nature between Embd and Oberems and wildly romantic features, comprising the Turtmann valley and Augstbordpass. Hospitable villages between 1,000 and 1,350 metres in altitude surround the Augstbordhorn like a beautiful string of pearls – and here where agriculture still plays an important role in the livelihood of folks, one appears to view a perfect world. Village centres harbour tanned houses and barns and, with a little luck, even yaks are viewed along with the sheep, goats and the Hérens breed of cow that inhabit the villages. This tour is easily accomplished from May to early November, and thanks to possibilities of doing it in short legs, an ideal experience for families. Again and again, the tour can be interrupted and resumed with the help of public transport. The Turtmann valley impresses with its stunning, natural
character – and the crossing of the Augstbordpass a unique experience, but one not to be attempted until end of June, early July, as the 2,894 metres in height is undoubtedly the most demanding leg of the tour, which shouldn’t be underestimated! Those who love varied panoramas are exactly in the right spot here – with views of the Turtmanntal mountains, Mischabel chain, the almighty Bietschhorn and plenty more to delight the eye.
Degree of Difficulty ★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –6 days Hiking Map: 1:25 000 Visp
Wellness D/F (Web E/I)
A number of interesting hiking guides and books are available with tips for hikes in Valais. At www.valrando.ch you find a selection of the most important publications, which you can order there and then. Hiking D/F/E/I/NL
Hiking by “Bisses” D/F/E/I/NL
Hiking Tours D/F/E/I/NL
You can also leaf through the Valais brochures online or download them. Additional brochures are available on order through Valais Tourism:
Rue Pré Fleuri 6, P.O. Box 1469, 1951 Sion, Switzerland T +41 (0)27 327 35 70, F +41 (0)27 327 35 71 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.valaistourism.ch
Info: www.valaistourism.ch SEARCH 40013 »
ersonne ne peut rester hermétique aux charmes de cet élégant compagnon.
Choyez votre plaisir.
Faster into the Valais. Kandersteg–Goppenstein in only 15 minutes. Services in both directions every 30 minutes during the day, every 15 minutes at peak times and even more frequently during periods of heavy demand. www.bls.ch/autoverlad
bls.Car transport Lötschberg
CHALETS AND HOLIDAY APARTMENTS www.interhome.ch Phone 0840 84 88 88
19 Mineral Tour Lengbach in the Binn Valley is one of the world’s most significant mineral sites. No less than 19 types of mineral have been discovered in this particular place – and total of over 100 minerals throughout the Binn valley. But also on Monte Cervandone, on the Devero Alps, significant finds have been made. The Mineral Tour circles the 160 km² Binntal natural park, and peripheries of the adjacent Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero (85 km²) natural parks – and certainly takes some beating as far as natural wonders are concerned! But even from archaeological or historic points of view there’s plenty to see. Ceramics, weapons and jewellery dating back to the 4th century BC have been found in the Binn region – and around Veglia, objects dating back even as far as the 8th century BC. Between the village of Simplon and Simplon Pass, the tour leads along the Stockalper-
weg, historic path per se, employed as interesting hiking trail and ecomuseum since 1994. And if you want to learn more about hidden treasures, you can do so in one of the informative museums along the Mineral Tour path. Due to its length, the Saflischpass is often given a miss – but as an old proverb says, no journey is too far when greatly rewarded – and the long climb is rewarded with one of the best viewpoints in the region.
Degree of Difficultyd ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 6 days
20 Walser Tour Goms is considered the cradle of Walser migration – where an industrious folk arrived around the 13th century, having crossed the Albrun Pass in the Eschental valley (known today as Valle d’Ossola) and over the Griespass in Pomatt (Val Formazza). Constructed in 1761, the magnificent bridge by Ladstafel in the Ägenetal valley pinpoints the importance of the Griespass in medieval times for trade between the Bernese Oberland and northern Italy. And driving up from the Val Formazza, one can’t help but notice the bilingual place names. Cross-border contact is still maintained today, although unfortunately, the former German language largely spoken appears to have faded into the distance through the centuries, to be replaced by Italian. Despite the Walser story being reason enough to do the tour, additional highlights line the path. Extensive stretches lead through the beautiful landscapes of
the Binntal Park, classified as natural park of cantonal and national importance in 2008, characterised by its unique minerals and diverse flora and fauna – Val Formazza with its abundance of mountain lakes and waterfalls, the most famous of which the Toce Waterfall in Sotto Frua with a drop of 143 metres. And of course unforgettable views from the popular Gommer Höhenweg trail along the gently rolling hills of the upper valley – which has also earned a name in cultural and culinary spheres.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –7 days
21 Wildhorn Tour There are some classic routes for tours that take several days. The Wildhorn circular trail goes in this category. Five days crossing between Valais and Berne, five days of spectacular views over the icy summits of Wildhorn, five days of pure nature. The Wildhorn Tour offers you days of extremely varied walking full of surprises: paths cut into the cliff, sections equipped with cables, steep ascents up scree-covered slopes, a climb through loose stones, a walk under a spectacular waterfall, a descent down four or five vertical ladders in quick succession, a climb across stony and unstable terrain, a narrow relati-vely exposed path with cables to hold onto if necessary, lots of small mountain lakes, a walk amongst aconites and a few edelweiss, a climb through beautiful pastures shared by cows and lots of marmots, a panoramic view over the Plaine Morte glacier, Diablerets, Mont-Blanc, Grand Combin
and the summits around Val d’Hérens, through a maze of white rocks, with lots of stunning waterfalls descending vertiginous walls and no trace of greenery for two days . . . As you’ll see, the Wildhorn Tour is a really interesting circuit, but only for fit, experienced walkers who have no fear of heights.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 4 –5 days www.tourduwildhorn.ch
22 Grands Barrages Tour Between the Grand Combin and Dent d’Hérens, both culminating at over 4,000 metres, enormous dams were erected by man to make use of the melt waters of the big alpine glaciers, including the Grande Dixence dam. Astride the Swiss Valais and the Italian Valpelline, in a region where superb lakes abound, the Grands Barrages Tour is a mountain walk culminating at 3,087 metres, which is not very difficult physically and only has one or two steep sections and one walk across a glacier, at the Collon pass. This route links four big dams: Mauvoisin in Val de Bagnes at 1,962 metres, the Place Moulin dam in Valpelline at 1,970 m, Grande Dixence in the Val d’Hérens at 2,364 m and Cleuson in the Vallée de Nendaz at 2,186 m. There are many surprises in store: the path overlooking the Lac du Mauvoisin, the Crête Sèche pass, crossing the border to Italy, the Place Moulin dam which shuts off the Val-
pelline upstream, the Collon pass that brings us back to Switzerland, the seracs of the north face of Mont Collon forming an impressive spectacle, the Arolla glacier which requires ropes, the de Riedmatten pass and many cabanes to visit, the beautiful landscapes of the passes crossed.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 7–9 days Hiking Map: 1:50 000 –5027T Grand St-Bernard – Combins – Arolla
23 The Matterhorn Tour The limestone pyramid, Switzerland’s ambassador, is the focus for a magical hike. With the elegant beauty of Breuil Cervinia on the Italian side and Zermatt on the Swiss side, this is one of the most stunning alpine circular routes. The Matterhorn Tour with its eight stages, six valleys and three cultures (Swiss-German upper Valais, French-speaking central Valais and the Aosta valley in Italy) is a high altitude hike. Leading along more than twenty five summits over 4,000 m high, it passes through many mountain pastures boasting an unspoilt flora and fauna and stops in at many traditional villages where the joy of walking is present at every stage. From one valley to the next, this richly varied hike introduces you to a different history, culture and local architecture. But it’s a hike that requires experience and endurance because it includes 3,000 metre passes and two glaciers. The Matterhorn Tour is much
more testing and technical than the MontBlanc Tour, so it’s only for experienced hikers who know how to adjust their progress according to mountain conditions, the weather and their physical fitness. This 120 km route shouldn’t take long finding its place among the most beautiful hikes in the Alps. So, go on, put this walk on your winners’ list!
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 8 –10 days Hiking Map: 1:50 000 Tour Matterhorn www.tourducervin.ch
24 Saint-Bernard Tour You’ve most probably heard of Barry the Saint Bernard dog before, with his barrel round his neck, the famous rescuer of people trapped in the mountains following in the footsteps of Saint Bernard . . . More mythical than its dog, the Saint-Bernard pass is a route between Switzerland and Italy travelled by Napoleon, Hannibal and many others. But the Saint-Bernard Tour also includes areas of wilderness, stunning landscapes, natural reserves and unexpected encounters. On this hike, you leave civilisation behind at Combe de Drône, climb up to the Chevaux pass, follow a historic path to cross the Saint-Rémy pass into Italy, cross the Malatra pass and enjoy the stunning view of MontBlanc, admire the edelweiss, stroll in the Combe de l’A nature reserve watching the chamois and ibex, climb Mont Rogneux at 3,032 metres, the high point of our itinerary,
admire the alpine mountains – the Valais and Bernese Alps, the Jura ridge and MontBlanc –, pass through Bourg-St-Pierre, walk along the Toules dam, descend through fields of flowers and return to the Grand-StBernard hospice. There, at 2,469 metres, the canons of St. Augustine maintain a simple spirit of welcome and respect, through sharing and love of the Saviour. Visit the museum and see the diaporama on the history of the hospice. At the end of the Saint-Bernard Tour, your head will be full of fantastic landscapes, majestic ibex and so much more . . .
Degree of Difficulty ★★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –6 days Hiking Map: 1:50 000 –5027T Grand St-Bernard – Combins – Arolla www.tourdusaintbernard.com
25 Les Deux Rives Tour Between the Dents du Midi chain and the Muverans mountains, an immense geological, zoological and cultural heritage is available to families via the Deux Rives Tour. At an altitude of 418 to 2,544 metres, with 80 km of paths marked according to Swiss hiking standards, 30 hours of actual walking and 5 to 7 daily stages, this circuit is intended for good walkers with mountain equipment. There are lots of hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and cabanes ready to welcome you after your hike. 90 minutes from Geneva, with motorway exits at Bex, St-Maurice and Martigny, lots of train stations, cable car from Dorénaz to Champex d’Allesse, cog railway train or mountain coach, there are lots of options offering you easy access to this amazing tour and allowing you to cut short your hike if you’re tired. Here are some of the many curiosities and attractions that await you: nature
reserves, educational walks, salt marshes, swamps, glacial potholes, alpine botanical garden, fortifications, fortresses, castles, grottos, basilisks, archaeological digs, an observatory, mountain pasture farms, dams and mountain lakes, alpine zoological park and pool, gorges, waterfalls, windmills, climbing walls and thermal baths.
Degree of Difficulty ★★ Duration of Hike: 5 –7 days www.tourdesdeuxrives.ch
26 Chamonix – Zermatt To cross from one legendary Mecca of mountaineering to another and thus bring together two massifs, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa under the watchful eye of the Matterhorn, a hiking trail reaching from Chamonix to Zermatt has long been the dream of many hikers. This route reveals some of the most beautiful views in the Alps, including the most prestigious of the 4,000 m peaks, while crossing splendid valleys in which nestle picturesque villages typical of the enchantment of Valais. Extensive alpine forests, flower-strewn meadows, glaciers and passes at around 3,000 m altitude are the principal components of this journey to the centre of the Alps. Observe the fauna, admire the flora and get a feeling for this exceptional terrain. There is no particular difficulty in adding this route to your achievements: let yourself go on the impressive downhill stretches and generous climbs,
enjoy walking along balcony paths and take a well-earned rest in mountain huts, these are the experiences awaiting the adventurer in you. On the French side the trail climbs the upper valley of the Arve and crosses the Swiss border at the Col de Balme pass 2,200 m. The Swiss side stretches out to the South of the Rhône and lies between 1,300 and 2,900 m altitude. The route passes by mythical sites: the Great Saint Bernard Pass, Mauvoisin, Dixence and Moiry Dams, Riedmatten Pass, the Weisshorn Hotel and Topali Cabin . . .
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 17–20 days
27 ALPtrek It’s a dream come true. With ALPtrek, you won’t have to go to the Himalayas for a big mountain hike anymore. ALPtrek has as its setting the most prestigious 4,000 metre peaks of the Alps – Mischabel, Mont Rose and Pointe Dufour, Matterhorn, Weisshorn, Dent Blanche, Combins, Mont-Blanc – and the stunning route takes you through 3,000 metre passes, runs along lakes and dams, takes you to welcoming cabanes, descends into valleys to meet the inhabitants and passes through grand and varied landscapes. ALPtrek links the Mont-Blanc Tour and Mont Rose Tour, following, to the North or the South, the outer sections of the SaintBernard Tour, the Combins Tour, the Grands Barrages Tour and the Matterhorn Tour. ALPtrek is an Italian-French-Swiss trek, which is over 500 km long and has a difference in altitude of over 60,000 metres. It can be covered in 25 to 40 days of walking, offering
everyone the joy of self-discovery as they explore a grandiose nature. Even though you hop over the borders of three countries, you stay in the same region because the Valais, Savoie and the Aosta valley have a common heritage and past and offer us the chance to discover a multitude of alpine landscapes where nature and man cohabit.
Degree of Difficulty ★★★★ Duration of Hike: 25–40 days Hiking Map: 1:50 000 –5027T Grand St-Bernard – Combins – Arolla 5028T Monte Rosa – Matterhorn Topo-guide Alptrekking www.alptrekking.com
Photos: Grégory Gex-Fabry, François Perraudin, Christian Perret, Michael Portmann, Thomas Ulrich, www.sion-region.ch Printed in Switzerland
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