The Lacs d’Antème are a cluster of alpine lakes below the serrated pinnacles of the Dents du Midi – one of the most recognisable mountains in Switzerland. The highest peak, Haute Cime (3,257 m), towers above the lakes, which are framed by flower-filled meadows: a bewitching sight.
The trail begins at the railway station in Champéry, one of the earliest tourism destinations in Switzerland: the first hotel opened here in 1857. Our route quickly leads up to one of Valais’ first tourist attractions: a vertiginous path across the sheer cliffs that overlook the resort. A local entrepreneur called Emmanuel Défago opened the “Galerie Défago” in 1864: the trail mostly follows a natural ledge across the cliffs, but in places workmen had to cut into the rock to produce a continuous path. A century later, the cliff trail was extended to a total of 600 m. The views of Champéry and the whole valley become ever more spectacular along the way.
Our route then continues across the mountain flank to reach the river Tière, fed by the Lacs d’Antème high above. The trail zig-zags up the steep slopes to reach the first of the lakes (2,032 m) and, close by, a welcoming mountain hut: the Cabane d’Antème.
The refuge can provide information on a separate nature trail that leads from the hut to the other small lakes, linked by filigree streams. Audio guides available from the refuge reveal the secrets of the many alpine plants that flourish in these peaceful hanging gardens, the legacy of vanished glaciers. The nature trail is under 2 km long, and takes around 45 minutes.
The main itinerary leaves the lakes to trace a different route westwards, before zig-zagging steeply down through forest to rejoin the outward leg of our hike just above the river La Vièze.
- Dramatic path along the Galerie Défago cliff trail
- Idyllic mountain lake, framed by alpine flowers, with glorious views
- Friendly mountain refuge, local nature trail at the lake
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 18 (St-Triphon) if approaching from Lake Geneva or exit 19 (Bex) if driving from higher up the Rhône valley. Follow signs for Monthey and then Champéry.
ParkingLarge car park at the railway station in Champéry.
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: