The Chemin du Vignoble follows a scenic route through the sunny, south-facing vineyards and their charming villages. There are also versions for cyclists and motorists, but it is the 4-stage, 66-km hiking trail that allows the most leisurely experience of the many pleasures en route.
Along this third stage, from the northern edge of Sion to the vineyards above Sierre, the valley of the river Rhône is noticeably narrower. Water plays a starring role from the very beginning of this leg of the hike: the route leads along a “bisse”, one of the historical irrigation channels built to carry precious water from the glaciers to the sunny vineyards, orchards and fields of Valais.
The Bisse de Clavau was built in the mid-15th century and leads through some of the world’s steepest terraced vineyards – with superb views over the ancient city of Sion. This first section features several “guérites” – open-air vineyard restaurants, shaded by vines, ideal for exploring the local wines.
When the path reaches the gorge of the river La Liène, the trail leaves the “bisse” to drop down to the village of St-Léonard to cross the river before climbing back up to the vineyards on the far side. And here, the path passes over one of the most unusual attractions in Valais: the largest navigable underground lake in Europe. Access is from the village below; the 30-minute guided boat tours over the crystalline waters are magical.
The trail continues through a string of winemaking villages to finish in charming Venthône, home to a cluster of medieval buildings including a 12th-century fortified tower that now houses a restaurant and exhibition space.
- Bisse de Clavau – historical irrigation channel with superb views over Sion, attractive “guérite” vineyard restaurants along the way
- Europe’s largest navigable underground lake at St-Léonard
- String of pretty winemaking villages, tasting opportunities en route
Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.
For all hikes:
- Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on «Print» icon, top right of this page.
- Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
- Close gates after passing through.
- Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
- Do not leave any waste in nature.
For mountain hikes:
- Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
- Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
- Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
For high-altitude hikes:
- Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
- Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
- Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.
Tips, hints and links
More information about the destination:
Getting thereA9 motorway, exit 27 (“Sion-Est”). Follow signs for Grimisuat to drive through bypass tunnel. At roundabout at tunnel exit, take left turn; start of walk is a few metres downhill, and car parks are a couple of hundred metres away.
ParkingPublic car parks in Sion near “Brasserie” bus stop. Follow the local car park routeing in Sion.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
- good footwear
- clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
- hat or cap
- bottle for water
- binoculars (optional)
- hiking poles (optional)
- printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download)
For certain walks: