A walk around the landscape created in a remote valley by two colossal rockslides in the 18th century. A tranquil lake, pristine forest, abundant wildlife: Derborence is now a national nature reserve.
On 23 Sep 1714, a geological cataclysm devastated the pastures of Derborence: part of the mountain above collapsed, wiping out the community of animals and herders who spent the summer there. Locals believed the disaster the work of the devil; the mountain became known as Les Diablerets.
Because the “cursed” valley was largely abandoned, there were fewer casualties from an even bigger rockfall 35 years later. Giant boulders covered the valley floor, damming the river and creating Europe’s youngest natural lake. Scientists believe that about 50 million cubic metres of rock in all tumbled down from the mountain. Today, the “new” landscape – a national nature reserve – is the delight of biologists, geologists, photographers and visitors all ages.
This hike links two tours: one of the rockslide debris (“Tour de l’éboulement des Diablerets”) and one of the lake (“Tour du Lac de Derborence”). Highlights include the virgin forest west of the lake with monumental fir trees up to 450 years old and undergrowth exceptionally rich in plant species. Walkers have excellent chances of spotting wildlife: local mammals include ibex, deer, chamois, marmot and lynx; birds include golden eagle, black grouse and bearded vulture.
Families may prefer to opt for just one of the two tours that form our circuit. Each has a dedicated guide book (free download) with activities for children. A friendly mountain restaurant close to the two main lakes on the circuit offer rest and play stops.
The journey up to Derborence is an adventure in itself. The only access is via a narrow, twisting road along the gorges of the river La Lizerne.
Bring camera, binoculars and also a hand lens for plants and rocks: nature lovers are in for a treat!
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:
For mountain hikes:
For high-altitude hikes:
For certain walks:
More information about the destinations:
A9 motorway, exit 25 (Conthey). Follow signs for Pont-de-la-Morge, Conthey, Aven, Derborence. Note that the road to Derborence is closed from the beginning of November to the end of April.
Parking shortly before the Lac de Derborence (also below the Lac de Godey, halfway round the loop).