The Orzival route is relatively demanding, with nearly 1,000 vertical metres of ascent to Orzival followed by a long descent to reach Mayoux. But the various stages of the itinerary, which take walkers through wild and pristine natural landscapes, plus the magnificent views from Orzival, make for a hike in a class of its own.
Distance 8.9 km
Highest point2,138 m
Lowest point1,202 m
This itinerary, which will test your fitness, takes you from Saint-Jean to Mayoux via Orzival. To begin, you follow the ski run as far as Crêté, then continue along a path to the Pierre d’Avoin, and finally follow a forest track for several kilometres. You then embark on a steady climb through fragrant forest. When you reach Orzival, highest point of the walk, you enjoy a sensational panorama, which amply rewards all the efforts of the climb. After you have taken your fill of the glorious views, you set off again, your legs somewhat weary from the climb, for the descent to Mayoux. This walk may be rather demanding, but it offers a sensational experience of unspoilt nature.
The route follows a short stretch of the St-Jean ski piste.
Use of the snowshoe 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.
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.
Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals. Do not leave any waste in nature.
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.
Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible, avoid going alone.
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.
Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger, especially the danger of avalanches.
The route begins at St-Jean. It first follows the ski run as far as Crêté and then continues along a path to the Pierre d’Avoin. From here, it leads along the Taougdires forest track and then along the path to Chiesso d’Orzival. Afterwards, the descent to Mayoux leads via Les Luisannes, Les Bouesses and Le Ché. From Mayoux, it is possible to return to the starting point (St-Jean) by PostBus.
all notes on protected areas
Regular trains to Sierre, then Car Postal in the direction of Vissoie. In Vissoie, take the bus towards Grimentz and get out at St-Jean.
Detailed schedules on cff.ch.
Motorway A9 to Sierre, exit 29 Sierre-Est, then continue towards Val d'Anniviers to Vissoie. Follow the signs to St-Jean.
Car park in St-Jean d'en Haut, near the start of the tour.
32T 390720 5116940
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Book recommendation by the author
Contact the local Tourist Office for details of snow conditions before setting off on the walk.
Author’s map recommendations
SwissTopo national maps 1:50'000 : 273S Montana
Good, waterproof footwear
clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
hat or cap
bottle for water, picnic
printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, top right, to download)