Sentier des Chamois in Val de Bagnes
The “Path of the chamois” into the nature reserve of the Haut Val de Bagnes leads along steep slopes high above the valley floor, offering dramatic views and plenty of chances to spot local wildlife.
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The chamois is the iconic animal of the Haut Val de Bagnes nature reserve, the second-largest in Switzerland at 150 sq. km. The nimble-footed mountain goats can negotiate the steepest rock faces, and are perfectly adapted to the steep terrain. This trail offers a thrilling experience of this wild landscape: from high pastures across precipitous slopes to the idyllic Lac de Louvie, with its charming refuge, and down to the village of Fionnay on the valley floor. The Sentier de Chamois proper begins at La Chaux, but for a contrasting prelude, start at Les Ruinettes and follow the flat trail through the Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park. The original works of art, commissioned by the 3-D Foundation, enjoy a spectacular natural setting. At La Chaux, the “Path of the chamois” begins in lush pastures, home to the distinctive black Herens cows of Valais, before leading across rocky slopes into increasingly wild terrain. As the slopes become steeper, the views become more dramatic: a sure foot and a good head for heights are required, especially at the giddy section around the Col Termin. Here, the views open up towards the upper Val de Bagnes, crowned by the sparkling glaciers on the Combin massif. The trail twists down to the Lac de Louvie, with its traditional vaulted stone stables. The welcoming Cabane de Louvie (2,250 m), with its sunny terrace overlooking the lake, is ideal for a refreshment stop. From the refuge, the path zig-zags down steep slopes to Fionnay. NB For a slightly shorter version of the walk, take the La Chaux Express gondola/chairlift from Les Ruinettes to La Chaux, and start there. Highlights Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park – sculpture trail in a spectacular natural setting Haut Val de Bagnes nature reserve – opportunities to spot wildlife including ibex, marmots and birds of prey Dramatic, steep terrain – thrilling views of the whole valley, from sleepy villages to glaciated peaks Cabane de Louvie – idyllic refuge by the sparkling Lac de Louvie