The larch trees in the forests in Valais add magnificent touches of colour throughout the seasons.
There are more than 250 trees in the Balavaux pastrurelands, aged from about 300 to nearly 1,000 years old. One veteran has a circumference of overs 14.6 metres, and is considered to be the largest in Europe. The outing begins with a gondola ride from Haute-Nendaz to Tracouet, a summit offering panoramic views of the whole Rhône valley. Head for the Lac Noir (“Black Lake”) and subsequently the Cabane de Balavaux. You'll hike through a forest of imposing larch trees before reaching the largest of them all, nicknamed the "King of Balavaux", thanks to a small purpose-built footbridge. Continue to the "Chalet des Alpes" restaurant, then take a path that leads to the Bisse de Saxon, the longest in the Valais. Once at Pra de Dzeu, return to the resort via the Gouille d'Ouché and Les Rairettes.
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:
- Do not leave any waste in nature.
- Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
- Close gates after passing through.
- Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
- Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on “Print” icon, top right of this page.
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:
Getting thereA9 motorway, exit 26 (Sion-Ouest) if driving from the west or exit 27 (Sion-Est) if approaching from the east. Follow signs for Haute-Nendaz up to centre of resort.
ParkingVarious car parks in resort (Prameira, Mer de Glace, Pré de la Patinoire); fee payable.
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: