This dramatic hike scales the wooded slopes at the entrance to the wild Val d’Anniviers to reach a sequence of delightful hamlets and villages. Either finish at Chandolin or continue to St-Luc: both are served by postal buses.
The approach to the start of the hike is an adventure in itself: by postal bus along switchback bends above deep gorges. Starting at a remote bus stop, the trail climbs the valley’s steep, wooded mountainsides via the idyllic hamlet of Soussillon, revealing ever more spectacular views.
At Chandolin, the trail levels off for the second half of the hike: a panoramic trail to St-Luc. Each of these historical villages has its own unique charm.
Perched on exceptionally sunny, south-facing slopes at an altitude of 1,956 m, Chandolin is one of the highest villages in Europe inhabited year-round. The pioneering photographer, writer and journalist Ella Maillart – one of the great women travellers of the 20th century – spent her final years here; a former chapel houses a permanent exhibition. Other attractions include a wildlife museum, a working watermill, a historical trail, and 4 botanical trails (guide available at the tourist office).
St-Luc is also famous for its clear skies – hence the astronomical observatory, open to the public, near the top station of the funicular. Attractions in the village include a planetarium in a converted 19th-century barn; a cluster of working 18th-century watermills; a historical trail; and the « Chemin du Pain » (« Bread Trail »For centuries, locals have grown hardy rye to make bread, which they baked 3 or 4 times a year in communal ovens. Today, visitors can join workshops at which they prepare and bake their own Valais rye bread – in authentic traditional style.
- Variety of terrain: dramatic gorges, climb through woodland, panoramic high trail
- Chandolin – one of Europe’s highest villages inhabited year-round
- St-Luc – picturesque village, historical trails, working watermills, planetarium
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 back to start of walk (Sierre bus, dismount at « Les Pontis »). At end of walk, take bus from St-Luc (or Chandolin) 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: