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Loop from Champéry to Lacs d’Antème

· 2 reviews · Hikes · Valais
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  • View to the Dents du Midi mountains
    / View to the Dents du Midi mountains
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Champéry Tourisme
  • / Lac d'Anthème mountain lake
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Champéry Tourisme
  • / Lac d'Anthème at sunset
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Champéry Tourisme
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Scenic loop to an idyllic lake high on the Dents du Midi. Highlights include a historical cliff trail, abundant alpine flowers and a welcoming mountain cabin.
difficult
Distance 16.2 km
6:00 h
1,241 m
1,242 m

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.

 

Highlights:

  • 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

Author’s recommendation

The “Multi Pass” for resort guests offers free use of swimming pools, tennis courts, indoor climbing wall and cable car in Champéry plus dozens of other attractions throughout the Portes du Soleil holiday region.
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Cabane d'Antème, 2,065 m
Lowest point
Champéry, 1,015 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

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 and hints

More information about the destination: 

Start

Champéry, railway station (1,033 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'556'117E 1'113'896N
DD
46.175099, 6.870399
DMS
46°10'30.4"N 6°52'13.4"E
UTM
32T 335622 5115707
w3w 
///complies.little.bedrock

Destination

Champéry, railway station

Turn-by-turn directions

Starting at the station, the trail leads south through Champéry to cross the river at Vièze for a short climb up to the Galerie Défago. The trail passes a small café and the entrance to the “Accrobranche du Dahu” – an adventure rope park through the treetops. Various itineraries include the “Tyro” course with 8 zip-wires, up to 180 m long.

At the end of the Galerie Défago, the Cantine des Rives restaurant enjoys fine views over Champery; specialities include Raclette cheese melted over an open wood fire.

Our trail continues to the river Tière, close to the end of an impressive via ferrata. This fixed-rope climb scales the cliffs that tower over the river downstream and its waterfalls. Access to the via ferrata is from Champéry below.

Our trail is clearly marked up to the lakes and again beyond across the open slopes and down through the forest. Our hike rejoins the outward leg below the entrance to the Galerie Défago.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Arriving from Brig or Geneva, take the Simplon line to Aigle and then take the AOMC regional train to Champéry. Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.

Getting there

A9 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.

Parking

Large car park at the railway station in Champéry.

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'556'117E 1'113'896N
DD
46.175099, 6.870399
DMS
46°10'30.4"N 6°52'13.4"E
UTM
32T 335622 5115707
w3w 
///complies.little.bedrock
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Champéry has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1304 Val d'Illiez

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download)  

For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

Questions and answers

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Rating

5.0
(2)
Ernst Frutiger 
June 16, 2020 · Community
Wunderbare Wanderung mit aussergewöhnlicher Aussicht.
Show more
Photo: Ernst Frutiger, Community
Luke Wu
September 21, 2019 · Community

Photos from others


Reviews
Difficulty
difficult
Distance
16.2 km
Duration
6:00 h
Ascent
1,241 m
Descent
1,242 m
Circular route Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna

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