Hikes

Hikes

Chemin du Vignoble: Saillon to Sion (stage 2)

The second stage of the long-distance Chemin du Vignoble («Vineyard Trail») leads from the pretty medieval village of Saillon to the capital of Valais.

Three versions of the Chemin du Vignoble lead through the sunny vineyards of the Rhône valley: for walkers, cyclists and motorists. Of these, the 4-stage hiking trail, totalling 66 km, offers the most intimate experience of the Valais vineyards and the colourful culture surrounding them. Stage 2 links two of Valais’ most fascinating sites: the medieval village of Saillon and the capital city, Sion. Each has an ancient heart with towering crags topped by castles, and both are well worth exploring. The scenery boasts this operatic grandeur all along the hike. Soon after leaving the twisting alleys of Saillon, the trail crosses the river La Salentse, at the entrance to a gorge steeped in legend: it was here that Joseph-Samuel Farinet, the 19th-century counterfeiter known as the «Swiss Robin Hood», hid from the authorities. This is just one of several rivers that the trail crosses as they emerge from spectacular, deep gorges before joining the waters of the Rhône. Above Leytron, the path passes below high cliffs before traversing the giant alluvial fan of Chamoson. The shallow, sweeping cone is formed of rubble that cascaded down from the peaks above in prehistoric times; today it is blanketed in vines. The exceptional variety of the topography and geology along the route has made for a tremendous diversity of wines. Many of the villages are associated with a particular grape variety: for example, Humagne in Leytron, and Amigne in Vétroz. All along the way, atmospheric restaurants and cellars offer the chance to taste them, along with local delicacies.   Highlights Saillon – exquisite medieval village. Attractions include the Bains de Saillon spa, vineyard trail, via ferrata and suspension footbridge across gorge. Dramatic scenery of cliffs and canyons, spectacular views throughout Many wine-tasting opportunities in ancient villages framed by terraced vineyards Sion – thousands of years of history: castles, museums, cathedral and chapels

Turn-by-turn directions

The closest bus stop to the starting point of this stage of the Chemin du Vignoble is «les Moilles» on the main road that runs along the foot of the crag on which old Saillon stands. A lane leads from here up to the medieval village centre and the trail proper. 

The route is well-signposted and easy to follow. It leads close to a number of attractions worth a visit in their own right, including the Swiss Museum of Speleology just above Chamoson. A delightful wine trail links Chamoson to the medieval village of St-Pierre-de-Clages; just before Sion, a nature trail explores the reed beds around the peaceful lake just below the Mont d’Orge.

 

The trail finishes at the northern edge of Sion, where the river La Sionne emerges from its ravine. Walkers have the choice of taking a bus down to the railway station – or, time- and energy-permitting, walking through the historical city centre, beneath the castle and fortress that look down from Sion’s iconic twin crags. 

Start: Saillon (bus stop «Les Moilles») (509 m)
Destination: Sion (bus stop «Brasserie») (562 m)

Author's recommendation

Check with local tourist offices for special events en route: many of the villages host wine festivals, especially in autumn.

Technical information

  • Altitude

    694 m 483 m

  • Ascent

    716 m

  • Descent

    655 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 2.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 6 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

Train to Martigny or Sion, then postal bus from either town to Saillon (bus stop «Les Moilles»). At end of walk in Sion, take bus from bus stop «Brasserie» to railway station – or simply walk downhill through the historical city centre (2 km). Find full timetable information at sbb.ch.

Approach

A9 motorway, exit 23 (Saxon) if approaching from the west or exit 24 (Riddes) if driving from the east. Follow signs to Saillon.

Parking

Car park in Saillon (thermal baths or historical village). Follow the local car park routeing in Saillon.

Equipment

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:

Literature

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

Maps

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1305 Dent de Morcles and 1306 Sion