Tour du Val d’Hérens: Arolla to Evolène (stage 3)
The 3rd stage of the Tour du Val d’Hérens links the ancient villages of the upper valley: well preserved and full of historical charm, they bear witness to traditional life in the Valais Alps.
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The third leg of the 5-stage Tour du Val d’Hérens offers a complete contrast to the two previous high-altitude stages, focusing on the lower slopes and charming historical villages. The stage starts at its highest point: Arolla, the village takes its name from the tree that dominates the forests along the valley floor: the Arolla pine (pinus cembra). These trees are a constant companion along the first part of the trail, which leads the length of the Val d’Arolla, criss-crossing the river – at one point via a 75-metre suspension footbridge opened in 2017. The second half of the walk is a tour of the villages that form the cultural heart of the Val d’Hérens. From Les Haudères by the river, the trail climbs up to La Forclaz and La Sage, perched on the sunny slopes a couple of hundred metres above the valley floor, before twisting back down to Evolène. These villages of ancient houses and wooden barns, framed by flower-filled meadows, have preserved all their authentic charm. At summer markets, visitors still see merchants, artisans and farmers in traditional local costume. The valley is also known for its fascinating geology, which visitors can explore with the help of a free app, «GéoGuide Val d’Hérens» (details at www.evolene-geologie.ch). Les Haudères has its own «Centre de géologie et de glaciologie», with a permanent exhibition; the tourist office at Evolène can provide further printed information. This stage of the Tour du Val d’Hérens also offers a number of variants: alternative routes via idyllic mountain lakes, plus the option to finish and stay the night at one of the other villages. Highlights Descent of the Val d’Arolla – idyllic high-altitude valley Sequence of historical villages, beautifully preserved and full of period charm Fascinating geology, with local museum, app, online guide and theme trails