Tour des Alpages
A panoramic walk across the alpine pastures above Anzère, with the chance to visit working dairies and taste the fresh cheese. Gentle descent back to resort via the Bisse de Sion irrigation channel.
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Every summer, herds of cows graze the lush flower-filled alpine pastures on the sunny slopes high above Anzère. And every day, their rich milk is made into dairy products including not just traditional alpine hard cheese but also a much-loved seasonal delicacy: sérac, a soft, low-fat cheese made from the whey. This panoramic hike takes in three “alpages” or alpine pastures, all with their own herds of cows and dairy operation. Along the way, walkers have the chance to see the herders and cheese-makers at work and of course taste their fresh produce: pure alpine goodness! The hike begins at the gondola car park with a brisk climb of 3 km and 400 vertical metres to La Brune. (Walkers who prefer an easier start can take the gondola to the middle station, and join the trail there.) The following 7 km of trail cross three of the region’s “alpages”. First is the Alpage de Tsalan d’Arbaz, where Rose-Marie and her team also run a “buvette” restaurant selling a variety of refreshments alongside fresh produce. The trail then continues climbing gently to the Alpage de Duez, before following a flat and easy path to the Alpage de Serin, with its modern dairy – which also welcomes visitors on request. The return leg of the walk starts off following the Bisse de Sion, a historical irrigation channel built from 1901 to 1903 to carry water from the river La Lienne to the slopes above Sion. The trail as a whole takes its name from one of the best-loved sporting events of the summer, which follows the same route: the Tour des Alpages. This is the second-most popular mountain race in Valais, in terms of numbers, attracting more than 1,500 participants: not just keen runners but also walkers, Nordic walkers and children. Highlights Tour of three “alpages” – meet cheese-makers and taste fresh dairy produce Ever-changing panoramic views of the Rhône valley and the snow-capped summits Bisse de Sion – historical irrigation channel