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Hikes recommended route Stage 3

Tour du Val d’Hérens: Arolla to Evolène (stage 3)

Hikes · Valais
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  • Lac Bleu
    Lac Bleu
    Photo: Valais/Wallis Promotion
m 2200 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Arolla, poste Lac Bleu Zentrum für Glaziologie und Geologie
The 3rd stage of the Tour du Val d’Hérens links the ancient villages of the upper valley: well preserved and full of historical charm, they bear witness to traditional life in the Valais Alps.
Distance 17.1 km
5:10 h
342 m
981 m
2,012 m
1,371 m

The third leg of the 5-stage Tour du Val d’Hérens offers a complete contrast to the two previous high-altitude stages, focusing on the lower slopes and charming historical villages.

The stage starts at its highest point: Arolla, the village takes its name from the tree that dominates the forests along the valley floor: the Arolla pine (pinus cembra). These trees are a constant companion along the first part of the trail, which leads the length of the Val d’Arolla, criss-crossing the river – at one point via a 75-metre suspension footbridge opened in 2017.

The second half of the walk is a tour of the villages that form the cultural heart of the Val d’Hérens. From Les Haudères by the river, the trail climbs up to La Forclaz and La Sage, perched on the sunny slopes a couple of hundred metres above the valley floor, before twisting back down to Evolène.

These villages of ancient houses and wooden barns, framed by flower-filled meadows, have preserved all their authentic charm. At summer markets, visitors still see merchants, artisans and farmers in traditional local costume.

The valley is also known for its fascinating geology, which visitors can explore with the help of a free app, «GéoGuide Val d’Hérens» (details at Les Haudères has its own «Centre de géologie et de glaciologie», with a permanent exhibition; the tourist office at Evolène can provide further printed information.

This stage of the Tour du Val d’Hérens also offers a number of variants: alternative routes via idyllic mountain lakes, plus the option to finish and stay the night at one of the other villages.



  • Descent of the Val d’Arolla – idyllic high-altitude valley
  • Sequence of historical villages, beautifully preserved and full of period charm
  • Fascinating geology, with local museum, app, online guide and theme trails

Author’s recommendation

At Arolla, the Sentier des Arolles is a charming nature trail through an ancient forest of Arolla pines. About 300 metres.
Profile picture of Corrado Wyssen
Corrado Wyssen
Update: June 18, 2018
Highest point
Arolla, 2,012 m
Lowest point
Evolène, 1,371 m
Best time of year

Track types

Forested/wild trail 65.93%Road 34.06%
Forested/wild trail
11.3 km
5.8 km
Show elevation profile

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.

Tips and hints

More information about the destination:


Arolla (2,011 m)
2'603'271E 1'097'105N
46.025481, 7.480885
46°01'31.7"N 7°28'51.2"E
32T 382425 5098000



Turn-by-turn directions

This stage begins with a descent of the entire Val d’Arolla from Arolla to Les Haudères – first along the valley floor, then a little higher along its western flank. At Les Haudères, the trail turns eastwards, looping into a side valley before threading through La Forclaz, La Sage and finally Evolène.

Longer variant: from Arolla follow a higher path across the western slopes of the valley to the piercing blue Lac Bleu (2,090 m) before dropping down to join the main route at La Gouille. This adds about 45 minutes to the hike.

Shorter variant: take the postal bus from Arolla down the valley as far as Farquèses, then follow the high trail to Lac d’Arbey (1,766 m) on a panoramic plateau. Finally, zig-zag down to Evolène. This version takes about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Further options: finish the walk at Les Haudères, and take a postal bus from there to Evolène. Alternatively, stay the night at Les Haudères or La Sage, and start the next stage of the Tour du Val d’Hérens from there.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Train to Sion, then postal bus to Arolla (change at Les Haudères). At end of walk, take postal bus from Evolène to Sion. Find full timetable information at

Getting there

A9 motorway, exit 27 (Sion-Est), follow signs for Evolène / Les Haudères / Arolla.


Either park at Evolène and take postal bus to reach start of walk at Arolla (change at Les Haudères); or park at Arolla and take bus back at end of walk (change at Les Haudères).


2'603'271E 1'097'105N
46.025481, 7.480885
46°01'31.7"N 7°28'51.2"E
32T 382425 5098000
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Evolène has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1347 Matterhorn and 1327 Evolène


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

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Photos from others

17.1 km
5:10 h
342 m
981 m
Highest point
2,012 m
Lowest point
1,371 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Flora Linear route


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