The surrounding sights of Sion are grouped into five different driving tours.
St-Pierre-de-Clages - Town and 11th C. Church
Sion to Val de Nendaz (driving tour)
This driving tour is 16km/10mi from Sion to Haute-Nendaz, 27km/17mi to the Lac de Cleuson.
Leave Sion on the Val d'Herens road and after crossing the Rhône take a road on the right which gradually leads uphill and comes in 5km/3mi to Arvilard (684 m/2,244ft), where a road branches off on the left to Mayens de Sion. 1km/0.6mi: Baar (738 m/2,421ft), beyond which the road turns south into the narrow Val de Nendaz. 2km/ 1mi: Brignon (895 m/2,936ft). 2km/ 1mi: Basse-Nendaz (992 m/3,255ft).
Haute-Nendaz (ski resort)
Haute-Nendaz (1,370 m/4,495ft) is a holiday and skiing resort high above the Rhône valley. Cableway (2,270 m/7,448ft, 12minutes) to Tracouet (2,200 m/7,218ft; skiing), at the foot of the Dent de Nendaz (2,463 m/8,081ft; two-three hours). The road continues south up the valley above an irrigation channel (bisse).
Le Bleusy (Siviez)
From Haute-Nendaz it is 2km/1mi to Le Bleusy (1,412 m/4,633ft), with a chapel. 3km/2mi: L'Antie (1,565 m/5,135ft). 3km/2mi Siviez (1,758 m/5,770ft; several ski-lifts). From here a road (2km/1mi) runs to the Alpe de Tortin (2,039 m/6,690ft), from which there is a cableway (2,280 m/7,481ft, 12minutes) to the Col de Chassoure (2,734 m/8,970ft); from there a chairlift to the Lac des Vaux. Cableway from Tortin-Col des Gentianes to Mont Fort.
Lac de Cleuson
Lac de Cleuson (2,115 m/6,939ft) is an artificial lake 1,200 m/3,937ft long created in 1958.
From Beuson a steep and narrow mountain road climbs 3.5km/2mi to Veysonnaz (1,233 m/4,045ft), from which a cableway ascends to the holiday and winter sports resort of Thyon 2000 (2,068 m/6,785ft; blocks of apartments; indoor swimming pool, ski-lifts), which can also be reached by road (13km/8mi) from Vex via Les Collons (1,800 m/5,906ft).
Sion to Mayens de Sion (driving tour)
This driving tour is 15km/9mi.At Arvilard (5km/3mi) on the Val de Nendaz road turn left into a road which climbs in large bends via Salins (847 m/2,779ft) to (13km/8mi) Les Agettes (1,030 m/3,379ft). 2km/1mi Mayens de Sion (1,300-1,400 m/4,265-4,593ft), a summer village of chalets widely dispersed over the Alpine meadows, which are supplied with water by irrigation channels (bisses). Magnificent views of the Bernese Alps, in particular the Wildhorn (3,248 m/10,657ft), due north above Sion.
Sion to Lac de Tseuzier (driving tour)
This driving tour to Lac de Tseuzier is 23km/14mi along the Rawil road.
The road runs up the Sionne valley and then climbs in sharp turns up the east side of the valley. 3.5km/2mi: Champlan (714 m/2,343ft). 2.5km/2mi Grimisuat (881 m/2,891ft), on a rocky spur. From here a narrow mountain road ascends steeply to Arbaz (1,146 m/3,760ft), immediately above Grimisuat to the north. From here it is 3.5km/2mi to Ayent.
Ayent (Praz Combeira)
Ayent (978 m/3,209ft) is a widely scattered settlement made up of a number of separate villages. Road to Crans via Lens. In neighboring La Giète (1,154 m/3,786ft) the road goes off on the left to Anzère. The main road now climbs up through the forest in two large bends. 7km/4mi: Praz Combeira (1,620 m/5,315ft), beyond which the road passes through three tunnels. From here it is 4km/2mi to Lac de Tseuzier.
Lac de Tseuzier
Lac de Tseuzier (1,777 m/5,830ft) is an artificial lake (1956-58) 1km/0.6mi long and 600 m/1,969ft across, in wild and lonely country. A footpath follows the west side of the lake.
From La Giète a road (5km/3mi) goes up to Anzère or Antsère (1,500 m/4,922ft), a developing winter sports resort beautifully set on a mountain terrace (ski-lifts). Cableway (2,180 m/7,153ft) to the Pas de Maimbré (2,362 m/7,750ft; view; ski runs). To the north is the Wildhorn (3,248 m/10,657ft), the highest peak in the western Bernese Oberland (5.5 hours, with guide). Several chairlifts.
Sion to Col du Sanetsch (driving tour)
This driving tour to the Col du Sanetsch is 27km/17mi; to the Sanetschsee 32km/20mi.Road 2-6 m/7-20ft wide, maximum gradient 18% (1 in 5.5); closed in winter. The winding road runs northwest from Sion - 5km/3mi: St Germain (820 m/2,690ft). The road then passes through the commandingly situated villages of Granois (857 m/2,812ft) and Chandolin (818 m/2,684ft) and turns north above the wild valley of the Morge.6km/4mi: Pont du Diable (919 m/3,015ft), where it crosses to the right bank. It then continues winding its way uphill, crosses the Morge again and later the Nétage, and climbs, with many turns to (16km/10mi) the Col du Sanetsch or Col de Senin (2,243 m/7,359ft), on a ridge between the Arpelistock (3,035 m/9,958ft) to the east and the Sanetschhorn (Mont Brun, 2,942 m/9,653ft) to the west. From both of these peaks (respectively 3.5 and 2.5 hours' climb from the pass) there are magnificent views. The road continues for another 5km/3mi to the dam (42 m/138ft high) at the north end of the Sanetschsee, a reservoir (2.7million cu. m/95million cu. ft) on the upper course of the River Saane (Sarine).
Sion to Val d' Hérens (driving tour)
This driving tour runs southeast from Sion, turns right over the Rhône bridge towards Val d'Hérens. The distance from Sion to Les Haudères is 52km/32mi.
Vex (957 m/3,140ft; pronounced Veh) is commandingly situated high above the gorge of the Borgne, which flows down through the Val d'Hérens. A narrow road goes off on the right and ascends the Val d'Hérémence, running from above the Val d'Hérens road to the picturesque village of Hérémence (1,236 m/4,055ft), with the church of St Nicolas (by W. M. Förderer, 1963-71).
Motôt (Grande-Dixence Dam)
The road runs up the Val d'Hérémence via Pralong (1,608 m/5,276ft) to Motôt (1,925 m/6,316ft), with a parking place (1,970 m/6,464ft). From here it is a two-hour walk (also private road, 5.5km/3mi) to the Grande-Dixence dam (2,365 m/7,760ft; completed 1961; 284 m/932ft high; top 748 m/2,454ft long, 15 m/49ft wide, in the Val des Dix. Its water is carried in underground tunnels to the Fionnay power station and beyond this, under pressure, to the main power station at Nendaz in the Rhône valley. At the end of the road, beneath the dam, is a hotel and restaurant with a large park lot. From here a cableway runs up to the lake (motorboat). At the southern end of the lake is an iron suspension bridge.Prominent among the peaks forming the magnificent mountain setting of the lake are the Rosablanche (3,336 m/10,945ft), Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3,871 m/12,701ft) and the Aiguilles Rouges d'Arolla (3,650 m/11,976ft).Walks: along the lake (2.5 hours); to the Cabane des Dix (4 hours; by boat two hours); to the Col de Riematten (four hours); to Arolla (six hours).
Val d' Herens - Earth Pillars
The road to Les Haudères runs along a hillside, following an almost level but winding course. On the opposite side of the valley is the pretty village of Vernamiège. After crossing the River Dixence, coming from the Val d'Hérémence, the road turns into the Val d'Hérens (German Eringertal) and passes through a tunnel under a series of earth pillars, columns of morainic debris which have been protected from erosion by a large boulder or capstone.
Euseigne or Useigne (970 m/3,183ft): road on right into Val d'Hérémence. On the opposite side of the valley is the village of St-Martin.
La Luette (Praz-Jean)
La Luette (1,020 m/3,347ft), beyond which the road crosses the gray waters of the Borgne on a high bridge, the Pont Noir de Lugnerez (1,001 m/3,284ft). 1km/0.6mi farther up the valley, at Praz-Jean (1,100 m/3,609ft), a narrow road goes off on the left and passes through a number of hamlets and the villages of St-Martin and Mase, standing high above the right bank of the Borgne and offering fine views. The road then runs down in steep bends to Bramois and across the Rhône to Sion (5km/3mi).
The Val d'Hérens road runs to Evolène (1,378 m/4,521ft), the chief town in the valley (pop. 1,500) and a popular holiday resort, lying in the wide green stretch of valley between Sasseneire (3,259 m/10,693ft; 5.5 hours with guide) to the east and the Pic d'Arzinol (3,001 m/9,846ft; 5-5.5 hours) and the Mont de l'Etoile (3,372 m/11,064ft; six hours, with guide) to the west. Higher up the valley the view is dominated by the bold outline of the Dents de Veisivi and the massive Dent Blanche (to left).
From Evolène the road runs along the right bank of the Borgne and in 4km/2mi reaches Les Haudères (1,433 m/4,702ft), a health resort. It is the highest village in the Val d'Hérens, which divides at this point into the Val d'Arolla and the Combe de Ferpècle.
Arolla (Mayens d'Arolla)
A good road ascends the Val d'Arolla to Arolla, properly Mayens d'Arolla (1,962 m/6,437ft), winter sports and mountain resort (ski-lifts, cross-country skiing, toboggan run, curling) magnificently set facing the Pigne d'Arolla (3,801 m/12,471ft; five-six hours) and Mont Collon (3,644 m/11,956ft; seven hours, with guide).
A narrow and sometimes steep road runs up the Combe de Ferpècle from Les Haudères to the huts of Ferpècle or Salay (6.5km/4mi, 1,800 m/5,906ft), near the end of twin glaciers, the Glacier du Mont Miné and the Glacier de Ferpècle.
From Ferpècle it is a two-hour climb to the Alpe de Bricolla (2,462 m/7,960ft), with the Dent Blanche (4,364 m/14,318ft; 9-10 hours, with guide) rearing above it on the left, and the Glacier du Mont Miné, with the Dents de Bertol, the Aiguille de la Za (3,673 m/12,051ft) and the Dents de Veisivi (3,425 m/ 11,237ft; 5.5-6 hours).
Ovronnaz offers a thermal spa and skiing opportunities. An annual festival takes place in July.