Cycling routes

Cycling routes

Dixence - Trophy of the Dams

From the capital of Valais, Sion, you leave the Rhone Valley for an adventure into the Val d’Hérens. After riding through the villages of Vex and Hérémence, you have a few kilometres of flat road. Use this time to contemplate the unique structures of the earth pyramids of Euseigne before you attack the second half of the climb to this majestic dam.

  • Difficulty

    difficult

  • Length

    26.9 km

  • Duration

    3:30 h

  • Show on map

The first section of the climb between Sion and Vex is on a fairly steep primary road. After taking a split to the right towards Hérémence, the road becomes much more calm. Just below the road on your left are the earth pyramids of Euseigne, a natural work of art! The village of Hérémence is famous for its history with the legendary mountain-bike race the Grand Raid. This will be your last place to stop for a snack before the final climb to the base of the dam. The last few kilometres are steep but worth the effort to reach the tallest gravity dam in the world, and the biggest dam in Europe.

Turn-by-turn directions

The climb to the Grande Dixence is an absolute must if you are in the Valais. Not only will you discover the Val d’Hérens – famous for its breed of cows, but also the Val d’Hérémence, crossing impressive landscapes on your voyage to discover a unique structure in the world. The Grand Dixence dam, at a height of 285m and a base thickness of 200m, is the biggest gravity dam in the world. The construction began on August 3, 1953, and the dam was commissioned on September 22, 1961. On the same river, just upstream, sat the Dixence Dam, an arch dam built in the 1930s. This dam was submerged after the filling of the Grande Dixence but can still be seen when the lake level is low. More than a 100 kilometres of tunnels bring water to the reservoir from the surrounding valleys via 75 different catchments!

Start: Sion train station (488 m)
Destination: Grande Dixence dam (2099 m)

Author's recommendation

The interior of the dam can be visited on request.

Technical information

  • Altitude

    2107 m 487 m

  • Ascent

    1620 m

  • Descent

    9 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 5.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 5 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

Arrive in Sion by train from all Swiss towns and cities (SBB) or by the regional trains.

Approach

From the A9 autoroute (coming from Lausanne or Brig), take Sion exit 26 or 27 and follow signs to centre-ville.

Parking

Park + Ride at the train station in Sion. Follow the car-park routeing.

Equipment

We recommend: bike in excellent working order, helmet, gloves and bell, clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof), food and drink.

Safety information

Use marked bike trails and routes only, and observe all signposting. Please close gates after passing through. Please be considerate to walkers and to plants and animals. As a rule, walkers have priority. When planning, take into account participants’ fitness level and ability. All riding is at one’s own risk.