This hike up to the high slopes overlooking Arolla promises a thrilling experience of mountain terrain, spectacular views, fascinating geology and a wealth of alpine flora.
The trail starts at Arolla, which takes its name from the tree that shapes the local forests: the Arolla pine, also known as the Swiss stone pine (pinus cembra). The aromatic wood from the tree is said to help sleep: beds are made from the timber, and pillows stuffed with its shavings. The tree propagates with the help of a distinctive alpine bird, the spotted nutcracker, which splits open the cones with its powerful bill to reach the seeds, some of which it buries in the ground as a food store for winter. The bird invariably forgets a proportion of the seeds – some of which may grow into trees.
Our trail climbs out of the village and above the tree line, steadily scaling the slopes to a welcoming mountain cabin. The Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges stands at the foot of a dramatic chain of peaks, draped with glaciers, known as the Aiguilles Rouges d’Arolla – the “Red pinnacles of Arolla”. The views across the valley are bewitching.
The trail then leads down to a lake, the Lac Bleu, framed by Arolla pines. A spring just above the lake, fed by glacial water, feeds a cascade that tumbles straight down to the piercing blue waters.
The path from the Lac Bleu back to Arolla leads along a geological trail – one of several in the valley, known for its variety of rocks and minerals. Visitors can explore with the help of a free app, “GéoGuide Val d’Hérens” (details and online version at www.evolene-geologie.ch). The tourist office at Arolla can provide further printed information.
- Fragrant forests of Arolla pine and larch
- Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges – friendly high-altitude refuge, spectacular views
- Lac Bleu – idyllic forest lake, piercing blue water, with spring and cascade
At Arolla, the Sentier des Arolles (about 300 metres) is a charming nature trail through an ancient forest of Arolla pines.
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 Evolène / Les Haudères / Arolla.
ParkingSeveral parking possibilities in Arolla. Follow the local car park routeing.
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: