Loop to the Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges and Lac Bleu
Panoramic loop from Arolla up to a high mountain refuge, down to the piercing blue waters of the idyllic Lac Bleu and back via a geological trail.
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This hike up to the high slopes overlooking Arolla promises a thrilling experience of mountain terrain, spectacular views, fascinating geology and a wealth of alpine flora. The trail starts at Arolla, which takes its name from the tree that shapes the local forests: the Arolla pine, also known as the Swiss stone pine (pinus cembra). The aromatic wood from the tree is said to help sleep: beds are made from the timber, and pillows stuffed with its shavings. The tree propagates with the help of a distinctive alpine bird, the spotted nutcracker, which splits open the cones with its powerful bill to reach the seeds, some of which it buries in the ground as a food store for winter. The bird invariably forgets a proportion of the seeds – some of which may grow into trees. Our trail climbs out of the village and above the tree line, steadily scaling the slopes to a welcoming mountain cabin. The Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges stands at the foot of a dramatic chain of peaks, draped with glaciers, known as the Aiguilles Rouges d’Arolla – the “Red pinnacles of Arolla”. The views across the valley are bewitching. The trail then leads down to a lake, the Lac Bleu, framed by Arolla pines. A spring just above the lake, fed by glacial water, feeds a cascade that tumbles straight down to the piercing blue waters. The path from the Lac Bleu back to Arolla leads along a geological trail – one of several in the valley, known for its variety of rocks and minerals. Visitors can explore with the help of a free app, “GéoGuide Val d’Hérens” (details and online version at www.evolene-geologie.ch). The tourist office at Arolla can provide further printed information. Highlights: Fragrant forests of Arolla pine and larch Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges – friendly high-altitude refuge, spectacular views Lac Bleu – idyllic forest lake, piercing blue water, with spring and cascade