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Cultural pathway Dala

· 2 reviews · Hikes · Valais
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Leukerbad Explorers Choice 
  • Vineyards between Leuk and Varen
    Vineyards between Leuk and Varen
    Photo: Frederic Huber, CC BY-ND, Valais/Wallis Promotion
m 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Weinmuseum Wallis Salgesch Thermalbadeort Leukerbad Kirche in Varen Kulturweg Dala-Raspille Varen Salgesch
Descent of the dramatic Dala river valley to vineyards overlooking the only untamed stretch of the river Rhône. Charming villages, fascinating history and superb wines.
Distance 13 km
3:00 h
230 m
850 m
1,401 m
573 m

This dramatic walk packs in tremendous variety, even for Valais: culture and history, spectacular mountain scenery, dramatic gorges, winemaking villages and glorious views of the wildest stretch of the Rhône valley.

The hike falls into two halves. It begins at the spa resort of Leukerbad with a descent of the wild Dala valley. Lower down, the trail diverts through the vineyards of two of Valais’ most charming winemaking villages. The route finishes just short of the river Raspille, which marks the border between German- and French-speaking Valais.

The trail is marked as a Kulturweg – «Cultural Pathway» – for good reason. The ancient Romans came this way to frequent Leukerbad’s hot mineral springs, the most abundant in the Alps. For centuries, the Dala valley was an important trade route into Valais – from the Bernese Oberland via the Gemmi Pass. The very first group package tour to Switzerland, organised by Thomas Cook, travelled up the Dala valley in 1863, and the route is now commemorated as the ViaCook.

Part of our trail follows the route of a disused railway line, which ran between Leuk and Leukerbad from 1915 to 1967. But it was another railway line that definitively diverted traffic away from the valley: the Lötschberg, which opened in 1913. In 2007, the pioneering new Lötschberg tunnel opened: 400 metres lower, it can accommodate trains travelling up to 250 km/h.

The first half of the trail follows a scenic route through the Dala valley, incorporating sections of the old Roman path and former railway line. The second stretch leads through the vineyards of Varen (known for its Pinot Noir wines made with grapes grown by natural methods) and Salgesch (home to one of the two sites of the Wine Museum of Valais).



  • Leukerbad spa resort – the most abundant hot springs in the Alps
  • Wild Dala valley: Roman path, historical villages, picturesque chapels
  • Winegrowing villages of Varen and Salgesch, superb views over untamed Rhône

Author’s recommendation

Allow plenty of time in Varen and/or Salgesch to enjoy the delicious local wines.
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My Leukerbad AG
Update: May 13, 2022
Highest point
Leukerbad, 1,401 m
Lowest point
Salgesch, 573 m
Best time of year

Track types

Asphalt 13.49%Forested/wild trail 33.25%Path 35.66%Road 17.58%
1.8 km
Forested/wild trail
4.3 km
4.6 km
2.3 km
Show elevation profile

Safety information

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.

Tips and hints

The tourist office in Leukerbad has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region and will give you detailled information about this hike.


Leukerbad (1,382 m)
2'614'537E 1'136'503N
46.379744, 7.627597
46°22'47.1"N 7°37'39.3"E
32T 394461 5137156



Turn-by-turn directions

The trail begins at Leukerbad’s Sportarena sports centre, and is clearly marked and easy to follow throughout. To the right of the Dala the path leads out the valley to Inden. About one kilometre after the historic village, the path branches off to the right towards Varen. The route runs along the edge of the Varnerwald and leads via Bärde down to the wine village Varen.

For a slightly shorter walk, finish in Varen. The journey back to Leukerbad usually involves two bus rides, with a change in Leuk; total travel time is about 1 h 25. Transport connections are better, however, from Salgesch: train to Leuk and bus to Leukerbad (about 40 min).

In Varen, it is worth detouring about 200 m south to the hilltop church for a sensational view of the untamed Rhône and the pine forests that form the heart of the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park. Then the route leads through the seemingly endless vineyards to Salgesch.

Salgesch is home to one of the two sites of the Wine Museum of Valais, a gentle walk (800 m) from the station. The other site is in Sierre; the fascinating Sentier Viticole («Vineyards Trail») links the two.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


Leuk can be reached by train (SBB), then by bus (LLB - Leuk Leukerbad Bus Reisen) to the starting point in Leukerbad.

Getting there

From Basel and Zurich: A1 motorway to Bern; A6 to Spiez; direction Kandersteg; Kandersteg - Goppenstein car transport; direction Gampel; Leuk - Leukerbad.

From Geneva: Motorway A1 to Lausanne; direction Sion/Sierre; Leuk - Leukerbad.

From Milan: Motorway A8/A26 direction Simplon; car transport Iselle-Brig; direction Leuk - Leukerbad.


Various parking options in the village of Leukerbad. Follow the local parking guidance system.

Car parks in Leukerbad: Sportarena parking, Rathaus parking, Torrent parking, Leukerbad Therme parking, Alpentherme parking.


2'614'537E 1'136'503N
46.379744, 7.627597
46°22'47.1"N 7°37'39.3"E
32T 394461 5137156
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1267 Gemmi / 1287 Sierre 


Day hiking bag (approx. 20 litres) with rain cover, sturdy and comfortable footwear, multi-layered clothing suitable for the weather and hard-wearing, telescopic poles, sun and rain protection, provisions and drinking water, first aid kit, pocket knife, mobile phone, maps.

Questions and answers

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Phil S
May 26, 2019 · Community
Leider keine Top Tour. Dafür ist die Konkurrenz an schönen Wanderungen in der Schweiz zu gross. Der untere Teil durch die Weinberge ist deutlich reizvoller. Die Bewertung wäre ohne die Strassen und Stromleitungen merklich besser.
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When did you do this route? May 26, 2019
Phil S
May 26, 2019 · Community
Blick auf Leuk
Photo: Phil S, Community
Photo: Phil S, Community
Delia Inniger
June 11, 2018 · Community
Abwechslungsreiche Wanderung von der Felslandschaft in Leukerbad bis ins von Rebland geprägte Rhonetal. Als abenteuerliche Variante können die Varnerleitern begangen werden.
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Foto von Wanderungen: Kulturweg Dala-Raspille • Wallis (11.06.2018 21:23:10 #1)
Photo: Delia Inniger, Community
Blick nach Leukerbad
Photo: Delia Inniger, Community
Blick auf Susten
Photo: Delia Inniger, Community
Photo: Delia Inniger, Community
Foto von Wanderungen: Kulturweg Dala-Raspille • Wallis (11.06.2018 21:23:11 #5)
Photo: Delia Inniger, Community

Photos from others

+ 3

13 km
3:00 h
230 m
850 m
Highest point
1,401 m
Lowest point
573 m
Public-transport-friendly Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna Linear route Insider tip


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