St-Luc is known for its clear air, sunshine and star-filled night skies. Hence the astronomical observatory high above the village, open to visitors for star-gazing evenings – and solar observation sessions by day.
Our trail begins near the observatory, at the top station of the St-Luc funicular. The route initially follows the observatory’s «Sentier des Planètes» (The Planets Trail): an exploration of our solar system reduced to a human scale. The sun and planets are each represented by a work of art; each metre of the trail corresponds to a distance of 1 million km in space, with walkers effectively travelling at about 3 times the speed of light.
About 1.5 km before the end of the theme trail, hikers reach one of the valley’s historical gems: the Hôtel Weisshorn, built in 1882 at a panoramic, isolated viewpoint (2,337 m). Today, the atmospheric hotel is accessible in summer on foot or by mountainbike, and in winter on snowshoes or touring skis.
Our hike continues southwards, high above the Val d’Anniviers and then into the Val de Zinal. Straight ahead, walkers enjoy magnificent views of the «Couronne Impériale» – the «Imperial Crown» of five peaks, all higher than 4,000 metres and draped in glaciers, which form a sparkling backdrop at the end of the valley.
The trail finally drops steeply down to Zinal, a picturesque village of ancient larch houses bronzed by the sun. Attractions here include a museum in a house built in 1768 and a fascinating historical trail.
Zinal is also the finish point for one the best-loved sporting events of Valais: the Sierre-Zinal run, also known as the «Race of the five 4,000s». Our hike roughly follows the latter part of this race, which participants often describe as one of the most beautiful mountain runs in the world.
- Funicular ride, observatory and fun astronomical trail in St-Luc
- Hôtel Weisshorn – spectacular views, legendary «gateau aux myrtilles» (bilberry tart)
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:
Getting thereA9 motorway, exit 29 (Sierre-Est), follow signs for Val d’Anniviers.
ParkingPark in Vissoie, take postal bus to start of walk at St-Luc. At end of walk, take bus from Zinal back to Vissoie.
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: