Three easy walks along the Valais Bisses

The paths that run along the ancient irrigation canals cut into the mountains are ideal for the less trained. And for the more curious

Monica Conforti

Slopes reduced to a minimum, almost imperceptible. The walks on the paths traced next to the ancient irrigation canals between the Valais mountains they are truly for everyone. In addition, they offer unusual views far from the usual itineraries and tell pages of the tiring history of man’s work at high altitude. The original excursion is served.

Among the vineyards around Sion

Built in 1453 by the bishop of Sion to irrigate the vineyards of Ayent, Grimisuat and Sion, the Bisse de Clavau it starts in Icogne, below Crans-Montana, to finish its route in Sion. It is about an easy path, within everyone’s reach, which can also be further shortened with respect to its full development. From the woods you pass to the vineyards which, on the right side of the Rhone valley, grow on an intricate system of dry stone walls, the highest in Europe (reaching 21 meters).

Some wooden walkways go beyond the most exposed points and a short tunnel leads to the area of ​​the vineyards, where a level path runs alongside several “guérite”, the old refuges of the winemakers now used as tasting centers, where you can experience first-hand the proposals of the Enoparco dei Celliers de Sion. Length 14 km; difference in altitude: -665 m; time needed 3.30 hours

The other side of Crans Montana

It starts from the Tseuzier dam and descends to Crans Montana following the Bisse du Rho, characterized by spectacular passages on vertical walls and, despite being without technical difficulties, it is not recommended for those suffering from vertigo. The first section of the Bisse has been replaced by a gallery, but then along the original path of the fourteenth, between waterfalls and truly spectacular views. From spring 2020 a suspension bridge, 120 meters long and 70 meters above the ground, allows to avoid a section exposed to landslides. This is the time for selfies. Length 12 km; difference in altitude: -440 m; time needed 3 hours.

The channels of Nendaz

Easy circular route that runs along two different canals around Nendaz. We first follow the Bisse du Milieu through the center of Haute-Nendaz before irrigating the Bleusy area, with its raspberry and strawberry fields, and crossing a coniferous forest. Then you reach it The Bisse Vieux which makes its way through the alders before plunging into a dark fir forest and crossing a rocky ridge, where with a waterfall it overcomes a drop of 5 meters, ending its run by irrigating pastures rich in wild thyme and oregano. Length 11.9 km; difference in altitude: -320 m (and 270 d +); time needed 3 hours. Info:

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