Exposed to the north and often covered in deep snow, this trail leads to the beginning of the Val d’Arpette, on to the Relais d’Arpette and then down along the Champex bisse.
The route will allow you to discover the unspoilt beauty of the Val d’Arpette, a small, protected valley near Champex-Lac. The Relais d’Arpette hotel and restaurant, ideally situated halfway along the path, is the ideal spot for a well-earned break directly opposite the Col des Ecandies, a very popular ski touring route. The Durnand river rises in the Val d’Arpette and flows through the famous Gorges du Durnand towards Martigny.
After this pleasant break, return along the right side of the Champex-Lac bisse, before crossing over to the left bank, an idyllic stretch accompanied by the soothing sound of the water as you make your way back to the bottom of the slopes and La Breya chairlift.
Best period to go there
The Val d’Arpette is an unspoilt paradise in winter and in summer alike, and much appreciated by hikers on the Tour du Mont-Blanc.
From the Champex télé bus stop, head northwest along the road (you’ll see the cross-country ski track on your left). Then take the forest path to the west, which climbs gently for about 700 m. Leave the road 100 m after the bridge which crosses over the Durnand river and continue heading west, whereas the road goes on to the north. Continue uphill through the forest until you meet the road again and carry on south/southwest towards the Relais d’Arpette.
Cross the mountain stream and follow the toboggan run on the right bank for the next 100 metres. Turn left and follow the river, which you will cross several times until you reach the water intake of the bisse. Follow the path to the east, on the left side of the bisse, until you reach the ski slopes and the lower La Breya chair lift station.
Take the 22-Gd-St-Bernard motorway exit in Martigny. Stay on the right and follow the E27 to Chamonix/Gd-St-Bernard/Verbier/Martigny-Expo. After the tunnel which bypasses Martigny, follow the signs for Grand-Saint-Bernard/Italy. Turn off the main road in Orsières and head for Champex-Lac.
You can also leave the main road in Bovernier and get to Champex via Les Valettes, but the road is narrower.
There is a large, free car park at the foot of the La Breya chairlift, at the start of the excursion.
Take the train from Martigny to Sembrancher, and then to Orsières. Then, get the bus to Champex Télé. Check the timetables here: www.cff.ch.