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Tour du Val d’Anniviers: Pontis - Chandolin - St-Luc (stage 1)

Hikes · Valais
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Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Le Touno above St-Luc
    / Le Touno above St-Luc
    Photo: Pascal Gertschen, CC BY-ND, Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • Le Touno above St-Luc
    / Le Touno above St-Luc
    Photo: Pascal Gertschen, CC BY-ND, Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • Watermill in Chandolin
    / Watermill in Chandolin
    Photo: CC BY-ND
Map / Tour du Val d’Anniviers: Pontis - Chandolin - St-Luc (stage 1)
1200 1500 1800 2100 2400 m km 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Les Pontis St-Luc, La Forêt

Panoramic hike high above the lower Val d’Anniviers taking in an idyllic hamlet and two of the valley’s most charming villages.

moderate
9.3 km
4:00 h
943 m
243 m

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.

 

Highlights

  • 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

Author’s recommendation

Funicular, observatory and watermills in St-Luc plus travel on postal buses all free with the Pass Anniviers Liberté.

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Chandolin , 1921 m
Lowest point
Les Pontis , 1001 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

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.

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, to download) 

For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

Tips, hints and links

More information about the destination: 

Start

Bus stop « Les Pontis » (1000 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.260595, 7.563897
UTM
32T 389322 5124004

Destination

St-Luc (or Chandolin)

Turn-by-turn directions

The trail begins at a remote bus stop on the main road leading up the valley (Les Pontis).

From the starting point (1,001 m), the path zig-zags steeply up the wooded hillside, reaching the idyllic hamlet of Soussillon (1,388 m) after about an hour. The climb continues for about another  hour up to Chandolin (1,956 m).

The route leads through the lower part of the village before turning southwards for the second half of the hike: a gentle descent via La Toueille and Lèbing to St-Luc (1,655 m).

For a shorter walk, finish at Chandolin and take the bus from there. (All buses pass through St-Luc before descending to Vissoie, for connecting buses to Sierre.)

Public transport

Train to Sierre, then postal bus towards Vissoie; dismount at bus stop « Les Pontis ». At end of walk, take bus from St-Luc (or Chandolin) to Vissoie, and change on to bus to Sierre.

Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.  

Getting there

A9 motorway, exit 29 (Sierre-Est), follow signs for Val d’Anniviers.

Parking

Park 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.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Sierre has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region Val d'Anniviers.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1287 Sierre and 1307 Vissoie


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
9.3 km
Duration
4:00 h
Ascent
943 m
Descent
243 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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