Cultural pathway Dala

Descent of the dramatic Dala river valley to vineyards overlooking the only untamed stretch of the river Rhône. Charming villages, fascinating history and superb wines.

This dramatic walk packs in tremendous variety, even for Valais: culture and history, spectacular mountain scenery, dramatic gorges, winemaking villages and glorious views of the wildest stretch of the Rhône valley. The hike falls into two halves. It begins at the spa resort of Leukerbad with a descent of the wild Dala valley. Lower down, the trail diverts through the vineyards of two of Valais’ most charming winemaking villages. The route finishes just short of the river Raspille, which marks the border between German- and French-speaking Valais. The trail is marked as a Kulturweg – «Cultural Pathway» – for good reason. The ancient Romans came this way to frequent Leukerbad’s hot mineral springs, the most abundant in the Alps. For centuries, the Dala valley was an important trade route into Valais – from the Bernese Oberland via the Gemmi Pass. The very first group package tour to Switzerland, organised by Thomas Cook, travelled up the Dala valley in 1863, and the route is now commemorated as the ViaCook. Part of our trail follows the route of a disused railway line, which ran between Leuk and Leukerbad from 1915 to 1967. But it was another railway line that definitively diverted traffic away from the valley: the Lötschberg, which opened in 1913. In 2007, the pioneering new Lötschberg tunnel opened: 400 metres lower, it can accommodate trains travelling up to 250 km/h. The first half of the trail follows a scenic route through the Dala valley, incorporating sections of the old Roman path and former railway line. The second stretch leads through the vineyards of Varen (known for its Pinot Noir wines made with grapes grown by natural methods) and Salgesch (home to one of the two sites of the Wine Museum of Valais).   Highlights: Leukerbad spa resort – the most abundant hot springs in the Alps Wild Dala valley: Roman path, historical villages, picturesque chapels Winegrowing villages of Varen and Salgesch, superb views over untamed Rhône

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Valais Sun Trail

Scenic high-level trail with panoramic views of the Valais Alps and views down into the Rhone Valley...
From 689 CHF

Mountain trails in Valais

The sun is high in the sky and the dry earth crunches beneath your hiking boots. It is a hot day in Valais and the Sonnenweg lives up to its name. Luckily, you can spend the evening after the long trek on the first day in the spas of Leukerbad. Recharge your batteries, because you are going to be tested again the next day with the Albinenleitern on the way to Gampel. You will then have reached the southern slope of Lötschberg. An adventurous railroad trial, which offers views of the tunnels and viaducts of the Lötschberg railway line. The sun is low on the horizon, and the setting sun accompanies you as you climb down to Naters where your hike along the Valais Sonnenweg (sun trail) comes to an end.


Day 1: Arrival in Crans-Montana

Day 2: Crans-Montana - Leukerbad

Pleasant hike from Montana along the Bisse du Tsittoret, past inviting mountain inns into the valley of the Tièche. Then on a sunny slope over Varneralp to Leukerbad, where weary hikers can relax in the warm thermal spa.

Details: approx. 24 km, ↑ 1’150m, ↓ 1’250m, Length: 7.5h

Day 3: Leukerbad – Steg VS

An age-old trail leads to the quaint village of Albinen in a superb location above the Dalaschlucht (gorge); along the way, the ancient hamlets of Brentschen, Engersch and Jeizinen also sit on the sunny slope, linked by peaceful hiking paths.

Details: approx. 24 km, ↑ 1’000m, ↓ 1’750m, Length: 7.5h

Day 4: Steg VS – Ausserberg

Panoramic hike along the high-level BLS railway Südrampe (south ramp), a popular, classic hike beside the Lötschberg Railway tracks to the imposing Bietschtal bridge. Follow the magnificent path that runs alongside historic water channels (bisses) to the suspended bridge and enjoy superb views from Brägji and Riedgarten.

Details: approx. 12 km, ↑ 680m, ↓ 300m, Length: 3.5h

Day 5: Ausserberg – Brig

Bisses (irrigation channels) and the BLS railway line accompany this stage which offers an impressive view of the Baltschieder viaduct. You’ll encounter pipes for irrigating the dry south-facing slopes line the route, while information boards on the BLS Südrampe section and the Swiss Guards Museum provide fascinating information.

Details: approx. 17 km, ↑ 560m, ↓ 900m, Length: 5h

Tour characteristics

The paths are well developed and easy to walk on, only the first stage is a little more difficult. However, the Valais Sun Trail is challenging because of the long stages and the many metres of altitude difference that have to be overcome each time. Good basic fitness and a head for heights are required for the suspension bridges and Albinen ladders on the second day.

What’s included:

  • 5 overnight stays with breakfast

  • Daily Luggage transfers

  • Admission to the Alpentherme in Leukerbad (3 hours)

  • Carefully elaborated route

  • Detailled travel documents (1x per room)

  • GPS data available

  • Service hotline

Not included :

  • The long first stage can be shortened with an optional bus ride from Crans-Montana to Aminona. Trip not included in the price of the journey. Approx. CHF 2 with half-fare card.

  • Tourist tax, if due, is not included in the price!

Option of additional nights - booking after your payment (you will be contacted by our booking team):

  • Crans-Montana: CHF 75.- (per person in double room)

  • Single room surcharge: CHF 40.-

  • Brig: CHF 89.- (per person in double room)

  • Single room surcharge: CHF 40.-

Cancellation conditions:

  • Up to 29 days before start of the trip: 20%

  • 28 – 15 days before start of the trip: 50%

  • 14 – 08 days before start of the trip: 70%

  • 07 – 1 days before start of the trip: 90%

  • 0 day before start of the trip / No–show: 100%

Your accommodation in a click

On our e-Shop, you can easily find and book the accommodation of your dreams from a wide selection of offers throughout the canton.

Turn-by-turn directions

The trail begins at Leukerbad’s Sportarena sports centre, and is clearly marked and easy to follow throughout. To the right of the Dala the path leads out the valley to Inden. About one kilometre after the historic village, the path branches off to the right towards Varen. The route runs along the edge of the Varnerwald and leads via Bärde down to the wine village Varen.

For a slightly shorter walk, finish in Varen. The journey back to Leukerbad usually involves two bus rides, with a change in Leuk; total travel time is about 1 h 25. Transport connections are better, however, from Salgesch: train to Leuk and bus to Leukerbad (about 40 min).

In Varen, it is worth detouring about 200 m south to the hilltop church for a sensational view of the untamed Rhône and the pine forests that form the heart of the Pfyn-Finges Nature Park. Then the route leads through the seemingly endless vineyards to Salgesch.

Salgesch is home to one of the two sites of the Wine Museum of Valais, a gentle walk (800 m) from the station. The other site is in Sierre; the fascinating Sentier Viticole («Vineyards Trail») links the two.

Start: Leukerbad (1382 m)
Destination: Salgesch (573 m)

Author's recommendation

Allow plenty of time in Varen and/or Salgesch to enjoy the delicious local wines.

Technical information

  • Altitude

    1401 m 573 m

  • Ascent

    230 m

  • Descent

    850 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

Leuk can be reached by train (SBB), then by bus (LLB - Leuk Leukerbad Bus Reisen) to the starting point in Leukerbad.


From Basel and Zurich: A1 motorway to Bern; A6 to Spiez; direction Kandersteg; Kandersteg - Goppenstein car transport; direction Gampel; Leuk - Leukerbad.

From Geneva: Motorway A1 to Lausanne; direction Sion/Sierre; Leuk - Leukerbad.

From Milan: Motorway A8/A26 direction Simplon; car transport Iselle-Brig; direction Leuk - Leukerbad.


Various parking options in the village of Leukerbad. Follow the local parking guidance system.

Car parks in Leukerbad: Sportarena parking, Rathaus parking, Torrent parking, Leukerbad Therme parking, Alpentherme parking.


Day hiking bag (approx. 20 litres) with rain cover, sturdy and comfortable footwear, multi-layered clothing suitable for the weather and hard-wearing, telescopic poles, sun and rain protection, provisions and drinking water, first aid kit, pocket knife, mobile phone, maps.

Safety information

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.

Additional information

The tourist office in Leukerbad has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region and will give you detailled information about this hike.


SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1267 Gemmi / 1287 Sierre