Bisses are the historic irrigation channels of the Valais. A bisse is an open ditches delivering priceless water from mountain streams – often by daring routes – to arid pastures and fields, vineyards and orchards. Many bisses are still in use today and so are carefully maintained. Numerous trails accompany these historic watercourses, inviting visitors to varied hikes on historic trails.
Grand bisse de St-Jean
The long-abandoned Grand Bisse de St-Jean was carefully restored in 2012 using the traditional techniques. The irrigation channel captures water from the Marais stream. It crosses the village of St-Jean d’en Haut and finishes its course at Mayoux. Water outlets for irrigation by sprinkling have been installed in magnificent wooden distributors. Over most of its course, the irrigation channel has been dug straight out of the ground and strengthened with flagstones or large rocks.
Destination: Vissoie (1’204m)
Distance: 7 km
Vertical metres: +80m, -460m
Hiking time: 2h20
Restaurants and pubs: Grimentz, St-Jean d'en Haut, Vissoie, Mayoux