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Hiking Trail Stage

Tour du Val d'Anniviers : la Rando des cinq 4000 (étape 2)

Hiking Trail · Valais
Responsible for this content
Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Hotel Weisshorn
    / Hotel Weisshorn
    Photo: CC BY-ND, Val d'Anniviers Tourisme
  • /
    Photo: Joris Hollebosch, Intersoc Belgium
  • Jupiter
    / Jupiter
    Photo: Joris Hollebosch, Intersoc Belgium
  • Saturnus
    / Saturnus
    Photo: Joris Hollebosch, Intersoc Belgium
Map / Tour du Val d'Anniviers : la Rando des cinq 4000 (étape 2)
1800 2100 2400 2700 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Tignousa Observatoire FXB Jupiter Saturnus Bec de Nava Zinal, poste

Scenic funicular ride, heavenly astronomical trail, historical hotel and glorious views of the «Imperial Crown» of five 4,000-metre peaks.

moderate
16.2 km
5:00 h
525 m
1040 m

St-Luc is known for its clear air, sunshine and star-filled night skies. Hence the astronomical observatory high above the village, open to visitors for star-gazing evenings – and solar observation sessions by day.

Our trail begins near the observatory, at the top station of the St-Luc funicular. The route initially follows the observatory’s «Sentier des Planètes» (The Planets Trail): an exploration of our solar system reduced to a human scale. The sun and planets are each represented by a work of art; each metre of the trail corresponds to a distance of 1 million km in space, with walkers effectively travelling at about 3 times the speed of light.

About 1.5 km before the end of the theme trail, hikers reach one of the valley’s historical gems: the Hôtel Weisshorn, built in 1882 at a panoramic, isolated viewpoint (2,337 m). Today, the atmospheric hotel is accessible in summer on foot or by mountainbike, and in winter on snowshoes or touring skis.

Our hike continues southwards, high above the Val d’Anniviers and then into the Val de Zinal. Straight ahead, walkers enjoy magnificent views of the «Couronne Impériale» – the «Imperial Crown» of five peaks, all higher than 4,000 metres and draped in glaciers, which form a sparkling backdrop at the end of the valley.

The trail finally drops steeply down to Zinal, a picturesque village of ancient larch houses bronzed by the sun. Attractions here include a museum in a house built in 1768 and a fascinating historical trail.

Zinal is also the finish point for one the best-loved sporting events of Valais: the Sierre-Zinal run, also known as the «Race of the five 4,000s». Our hike roughly follows the latter part of this race, which participants often describe as one of the most beautiful mountain runs in the world.

 

Highlights

  • Funicular ride, observatory and fun astronomical trail in St-Luc
  • Hôtel Weisshorn – spectacular views, legendary «gateau aux myrtilles» (bilberry tart)

Author’s recommendation

Funicular, observatory, watermills & tennis courts (St-Luc), cable car, indoor pool, mini golf (Zinal) plus travel on postal buses all free with the Pass Anniviers Liberté.

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Bec de nava, 2429 m
Lowest point
Zinal, 1661 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

St-Luc (funicular) (2183 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.229134, 7.610222
UTM
32T 392831 5120445

Destination

Zinal

Turn-by-turn directions

The trail begins at the top of the St-Luc funicular, at Tignousa (2,186 m). Follow the signs for the «Sentier des Planètes», which leads high above the valley floor, roughly at the level of the treeline. The theme trail finishes about 1.5 km after the Hôtel Weisshorn (2,337 m).

Our hike continues southwards – roughly level at first, and then descending gently as it enters the narrower Val de Zinal. About an hour from the hotel, the trail reaches the alpine pastures of Barneuza (2,211 m), overlooking the village and reservoir of Mottec.

From here, the trail continues southwards up the valley before embarking on a steep zig-zag descent to Zinal.

Public transport

Train to Sierre, then postal bus to St-Luc (change at Vissoie). At end of walk, bus from Zinal to Sierre (change at Vissoie). 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 to start of walk at St-Luc. At end of walk, take bus from Zinal back to Vissoie.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in St-Luc has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1307 Vissoie and 1327 Evolène


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
16.2 km
Duration
5:00 h
Ascent
525 m
Descent
1040 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Mountain railway ascent/descent

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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