Distance: 9.5km (6 mi) | Time: 3.5h | Elevation: 400m (1,300 ft)
Summer and early fall is an amazing time to be in the Verbier – La Tzoumaz – 4 Vallées area. Although the area is known first and foremost for its spectacular skiing in the winter, visiting during the quieter summer and fall seasons allow you to experience the beauty of the Alps at a slower pace, but in an equally spectacular way. It’s a great time for hiking and picnics in the mountains. One of our favourite hikes in the region is the Savoleyres to Lac des Vaux hike.
Providing breathtaking views of the Vallon d’Arbi, the glacier de Grand Combin, and the town of Verbier, Lac des Vaus is a great day hike that can easily be made shorter or longer depending on what you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll outline our favourite iteration of this hike, along with the different iterations you can do to vary the length and vertical of it. Let’s go!
Hike Distance and Elevation Gain
The Savoleyres to Lac des Vaux hike is a 9.5km (6 mile) out-and-back hike with about 400m of elevation gain. Round trip, the hike takes about 4-hours, accounting for a couple of breaks along the way. And of course a picnic at the beautiful Lac des Vaux!
Where to Start the Hike
The hike starts at La Croix de Coeur, the round restaurant on the ridge of Savoleyres. To get here in the summer or fall, you can either drive up from La Tzoumaz or Verbier, or take the telecabine to the top of Savoleyres and then walk down. Or, if you’re feeling inspired, you can hike up. There are better ways to increase the vertical of this hike, but you do you, my friend.
From La Croix de Coeur, begin hiking up towards the Tête des Établons. Here, the path will veer to the right side of the peak. In late summer, there are lots of wild blueberries along the side of the path, just waiting to be picked!
Once you get around the Tête des Établons, you will pass through the Col des Mines. This stretch is a bunch of small ups, downs, and arounds as you walk by the avalanche barriers. Along the way you’ll have incredible views of Verbier and the surrounding valley.
Which Paths to Follow
After a small uphill, you’ll come to a point where you have the choice to go up again, or to the right. If you choose the up, you’ll get a nice viewpoint of the Vallon d’Arbi, but then you’ll have to come right back down on the other side. We advise to go to the right…there are plenty of great views to be had further along the hike!
The next part of the trail cuts to the other side of the ridge line. It traverses along the wide, well-defined path that skiers use to scout their lines before dropping into the Vallon d’Arbi. This slow climb cuts back before leading to the steepest part of the hike. Switchback your way up the steep part and it’ll take you right up to the Lac des Vaux. You can smell the gruyère and viande sechée hiding in your backpack…almost picnic time!
Once You Reach Lac des Vaux
There are plenty of great spots to post up for a picnic around the lake. And for the brave, some great spots to jump in too! The water is so clear and welcoming, it’s hard to resist. Bonus tip: If you’ve got an engagement ring burning a hole in your pocket, this is a great place to bend the knee 😉
From here, you’ve got plenty of options. You can keep going up to reach the Col des Vaux, and even beyond that. Alternatively, you can go down to La Tzoumaz through the Vallon. Or you can head back to Savoleyres along the same path that you hiked out on. We prefer the latter 🙂
Where to Enjoy Your Post Hike Beer ?
Once back to La Croix de Coeur, you can opt to grab a lounge chair and a drink here. But our preference is to walk 15 minutes or drive 5 minutes down the mountain to Chez Simon.
One of our top 5 favourite places in the world to eat, Chez Simon has a magnificent patio in the summer and fall. Grab a couple of beers, a croûte and a tarte aux pommes, and enjoy the spectacular valley views all afternoon. You’ve earned it after all. Santé!
Other Lac des Vaux Hike Options
We think the hike above is great because it gives you plenty of time in your day to hang out at the Lake and enjoy the beauty. But if you’re looking for a longer hike, here are some other iterations of the Savoleyres to Lac des Vaux hike.
Start at La Croix de Coeur, same hike as above to Lac des Vaux, continue up to the Col des Vaux, and return.
Distance: 12km (7.5 mi) | Time: 4.25h | Elevation: 650m (2,130 ft)
Start in La Tzoumaz, hike up the Vallon d’Arbi to Lac des Vaux, hike along the ridge to La Croix de Coeur.
Distance: 14.1km (8.8 mi) | Time: 6h | Elevation: 1,200m (3,900 ft)
(Same hike in reverse) Distance: 14.1km (8.8 mi) | Time: 5.25h | Elevation: 450m (1,480ft)