Tour du Val d’Hérens: Arolla to Evolène (stage 3)

Lac Bleu


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.




17.09 km


5:10 h


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.



  • 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

Turn-by-turn directions

This stage begins with a descent of the entire Val d’Arolla from Arolla to Les Haudères – first along the valley floor, then a little higher along its western flank. At Les Haudères, the trail turns eastwards, looping into a side valley before threading through La Forclaz, La Sage and finally Evolène.

Longer variant: from Arolla follow a higher path across the western slopes of the valley to the piercing blue Lac Bleu (2,090 m) before dropping down to join the main route at La Gouille. This adds about 45 minutes to the hike.

Shorter variant: take the postal bus from Arolla down the valley as far as Farquèses, then follow the high trail to Lac d’Arbey (1,766 m) on a panoramic plateau. Finally, zig-zag down to Evolène. This version takes about 2 hours 15 minutes.

Further options: finish the walk at Les Haudères, and take a postal bus from there to Evolène. Alternatively, stay the night at Les Haudères or La Sage, and start the next stage of the Tour du Val d’Hérens from there.


Arolla (2011m)


Evolène (1373m)

Author's recommendation

At Arolla, the Sentier des Arolles is a charming nature trail through an ancient forest of Arolla pines. About 300 metres.

Technical information












Best time of the year

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec


  • Linear route
  • Scenic
  • Geological highlights
  • Refreshment stops available
  • Cultural/historical interest
  • Flora
Getting there

Public transport

Train to Sion, then postal bus to Arolla (change at Les Haudères). At end of walk, take postal bus from Evolène to Sion. Find full timetable information at www.cff.ch.


A9 motorway, exit 27 (Sion-Est), follow signs for Evolène / Les Haudères / Arolla.


Either park at Evolène and take postal bus to reach start of walk at Arolla (change at Les Haudères); or park at Arolla and take bus back at end of walk (change at Les Haudères).


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

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.

Additional information

More information about the destination:


The tourist office in Evolène has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.


SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1347 Matterhorn and 1327 Evolène


This activity is brought to you by Valais/Wallis Promotion

View of the Cervo hotel with the Matterhorn in the background, Zermatt. Valais, Switzerland.

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