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Via Valais Cabane d’Essertze - Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges (Stage 2)

Trail Running · Valais
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Valais Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Cross lunar landscapes and walk along the snowy summits.
    / Cross lunar landscapes and walk along the snowy summits.
    Photo: Patitucci Photo, Alps Insight
  • / The path starts through the shrubs above the Val d'Hérémence.
    Photo: Patitucci Photo, Alps Insight
  • / The Mandelon Alp
    Photo: Luca Dughetti, Valais Wallis Promotion
m 3200 3000 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 30 25 20 15 10 5 km Cabane Aiguilles Rouges Pas de Chèvres Grande Dixence Lac des Dix
Thirty kilometres long and 1,783 metres high, this second leg of the Via Valais takes you from hut to hut in the heart of an exceptional alpine landscape.
Distance 31.3 km
6:25 h
1,547 m
904 m
2,859 m
2,135 m
Start this second leg by crossing the pastures above Hérémence before quickly reaching Grande Dixence, the highest gravity dam in the world. The path which then runs along the Lac des Dix is fairly wide and relatively flat. The ease of the first few kilometres is soon interrupted by a rugged landscape and a very steep climb leading to the Pas de Chèvres. through glacial moraine, scree slopes and rocks, especially below the Mont Blanc de Cheilon. To facilitate the crossing between the valleys, the Pas de Chèvres has been equipped with a series of stairs and ladders. Once over the pass, take advantage of this leg’s unique descent to increase your pace and admire the splendid view of the valley below. A final climb takes you to the Aiguilles Rouges hut, perched at 2,810 metres, and which offers delicious home-made tarts.

Author’s recommendation

Follow these tips should you encounter guard dogs protecting their herds:

Profile picture of Josianne Jaggi
Josianne Jaggi
Update: May 11, 2021
Highest point
Pas de Chèvre, 2,859 m
Lowest point
Le Mirio, 2,135 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at your 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 trails:

  • Use marked trails only, and take note of all signposting – for both your own safety as well as that of grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please treat other trail users, as well as the plants and animals, with respect.


For mountain trails:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at high altitudes. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan your trail carefully: take the fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season into consideration.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In case of uncertain weather conditions, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Take note of warning signs indicating 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:


Cabane d’Essertze (2,197 m)
2'594'809E 1'110'716N
46.147906, 7.371464
46°08'52.5"N 7°22'17.3"E
32T 374235 5111770


Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges

Turn-by-turn directions

From the Essertze hut, the path takes you over the Grande Dixence dam and continues for seven kilometres along a flat stretch of Lake Dix. The route becomes significantly steeper on the path leading to the Pas de Chèvre. Follow the markers and cairns used as markers to help runners find their way through the rocks of the former Cheilon glacier. There are several ladders and stairs for crossing the Pas de Chèvres. On the other side of the pass, the Val d'Hérens opens up over Arolla with magnificent paths leading you through the Pra Gra mountain pasture to the Aiguilles Rouges hut.


Cabane d'Essertze - Lac de Dix - Pas de Chèvres - Pra Gra - Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

For the 1st Stage Via Valais : Take the train to Martigny station, then to Le Châble. Take a first gondola lift between Le Châble and Verbier, then a second one from Verbier to Les Ruinettes in order to get to the start of the trail.

Getting there

For the 1st Stage Via Valais : Take the A9/E62 motorway to Martigny, then continue on the Grand-Saint-Bernard/route 21 via Sembrancher to Le Châble.

It is advisable to use public transport however as this is a multi-leg route that ends in Zermatt.


For the 1st Stage Via Valais : 240 free parking spaces are available at the Le Châble Aerial Cableway station for a maximum of 10 days.


2'594'809E 1'110'716N
46.147906, 7.371464
46°08'52.5"N 7°22'17.3"E
32T 374235 5111770
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Evolène will provide information regarding trail running in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo Maps:

1:50’000 : 5003 Mont Blanc – Grand Combin 

1:50’000 : 5006 Matterhorn – Mischabel


We recommend: 

  • Good footwear
  • Weather-appropriate clothing: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • Hat or peak cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Hiking poles

Questions and answers

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Photos from others

31.3 km
6:25 h
1,547 m
904 m
Highest point
2,859 m
Lowest point
2,135 m
Multi-stage route Scenic Family-friendly Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Botanical highlights Flora and fauna Linear route Insider tip


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