A steep climb up one of the side valleys of the Val d’Illiez, just above the resort of Champéry, offers a condensed experience of the exceptional scenic variety of this region.
The ascent begins at the evocatively named expanses of Grand Paradis, a couple of kilometres south of the resort centre. Here our trail leaves the main river of La Vièze to follow a tributary called La Saufla. The name means «breeze» in local dialect, no doubt after the cooling currents of air that the cascading stream conjures along its course.
At Roc Coupé – which translates as «carved rock» – the path traces a dramatic passage hewn into the cliffs. Eventually the trail reaches one of the river’s most picturesque waterfalls at an altitude of 1,494 m. The path crosses the river just upstream – via a graceful suspension footbridge that opened in 2016.
A level stretch of the trail on the far side of the valley leads to a delightful mountain refuge, the Buvette de Bonaveau. All the dishes are cooked on a wood fire, as this traditional chalet has no electricity. The views from the terrace – up to the waterfall, the footbridge and the glaciers on the Mont Ruan above – are gorgeous.
From here, the path drops steeply through the forest to Grand Paradis. To get back to the centre of Champéry and the railway station, it’s worth following a different route to the outward leg.
The resort is full of historical charm, with its wooden chalets and traditional restaurants – plus one of the oldest working bell foundries in the country. Champéry boasts modern attractions, too – not least the Palladium cultural and sports centre, which features ice rinks for championship curling, skating and ice hockey, plus indoor climbing, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a hotel.
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.
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