The colour of the water in this lake is UNREAL. Located at 2090m, high in the forests of Arolla, the lake is fed by a fast flowing spring of glacial water. To get to the lake, it is a 45 minute walk up the mountain from la Gouille. I have done the hike in thongs once but I don’t recommend it as it is quite rocky and steep. (Yes I was being a little bit silly). Once you get to the lake, there are picnic tables and an incredible view. The steep mountains all around, the greenery and the blue lake are a lot to take in.
Lac Des Dix
This lake is actually a hydroelectric gravity dam and is the tallest in the world. Only accessible in summer, the dam is the starting point for many different nature hikes.
The building of the dam started in 1950 and was opened in 1961. At the information centre, you can watch old construction footage and the enormity of the engineering behind it hits you. As the area is not accessible in winter, workers had to live on site without their families for long, cold periods of time.
- Though it doesn’t look it in photos, the dam wall is 285m high. That’s almost as tall as the Eiffel Tower.
- As a gravity dam, water runs through hundreds of kilometres of tunnels from surrounding glaciers to fill the dam.
- The dam can hold 400,000,000m3 of water.
- The top of the dam wall sits at 2365m in altitude.
The top of the dam wall is reached by cable car or a 45 minute walk from the carpark. From the top of the dam there are many hiking trails. It is possible to walk over the wall and around the lower edges of the dam. There are also longer trails to cabins.
My favourite hike is to Cabane de Prafleuri and Col de Roux. This hike is a round trip and takes between three and four hours to complete. Due to the high altitude and the large elevation gain on the hike, it is only for people of moderate fitness.
Photos don’t do any justice to the sheer magnitude of the Swiss landscape. When you are there, walking amongst the rocky, glacial landscape, it really is something else.
Via Ferrata Belvédère
Located near the village of Nax, this via ferrata is relatively easy and has an amazing view over the Rhône Valley. The route takes about an hour and a half and requires moderate climbing experience. More information here.
Something to keep in mind with this Via Ferrata is that most of the climb is over rock with full sun exposure. We did the climb on a hot day and it was quite uncomfortable. The views are well worth it though.
At the end of the Evolène Valley lies the Ferpècle Glacier. Perfect for a short day walk, the area leading to the foot of the glacier is beautifully surrounded by steep mountains. In spring and summer there are wildflowers and waterfalls as the glacier melts down into the Valley.
If you have the chance to visit the Valais region in Switzerland, I cannot recommend it highly enough…