4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Via Valais, links two iconic Swiss mountain towns, Verbier and Zermatt.
From Verbier, a gondola takes you up to the trailhead at Les Ruinettes.
The first kilometers follow the Bisse de Levron.
The bise are old irrigation ditches, and the trails beside them tend to be smooth for running.
This one is a classic that serves as a great warm-up for the day. As you move away from Verbrier’s ski infrastructure, things start to turn wild.
From the first pass, Col Termin, the view overlooks Lac Louvie and into the Val de Bagnes far below.
The Grand Combin towers across the valley.
A high traverse takes you to the Col de Louvie and a rocky downhill past Lac de Desert, already feeling like a distant journey. A quick up takes you to a second bisse trail, the Ancien Bisse de Chevré, before one more climb over Mont Rouge to descend to the first overnight at the Cabane d’Essertze tucked into the hillside. It’s a long first stage, and a teaser for all that lies ahead; single track, steep climbs, and massive snow-capped summits… Bonus Peak: Le Crepon Blanc (2713m) 2km, 250m+/- Download the GPX file here: http://bit.ly/ViaValais_Stage1