Bisses du Valais, an Easy Family Hike in Nendaz, Switzerland
The Bisses, the historic irrigation channels, are part of the culture in the Valais region in Switzerland. Their history sometimes even goes back to the 13th century. Many Bisses can be found in different villages and they offer a vast itinerary of walking trails by following the Bisses. Nendaz has several Bisses right in the village, which lead from Haute-Nendaz to Basse-Nendaz and which serve to water the pastures and raspberry fields in the village. Walking along the Bisses is definitely a good idea on a warm summer day, as the paths mostly lead you through forests in the shade. Along the Bisses walks in Nendaz, there are some spectacular viewpoints on the Alps which definitely remind you that you are in the mountains!
The Bisses walks in Nendaz are mainly flat, and so this is an easy and accessible family hike! Do check out the length of the hike you would like to do. If you did not choose a round loop, there are Postbus lines that can bring you back to Nendaz. A map of the Bisses trails can be found at the Tourism Office.
Bisse du Milieu and Bisse Vieux
We went on a 3,5 hour walk by combining 2 Bisses, the Bisse du Milieu, and the Bisse Vieux. This is a round loop, and there are some picknick tables along the way. Both Bisses are beautiful, but if we would choose only one, we would choose the Bisse Vieux.
The hike starts right in front of the Tourist Office in Nendaz, where you will see the yellow signs which will lead you to Bisse du Milieu. You follow the Bisse through the forest for a couple of kilometers until you get to Planchouet. Right where the walking path will shortly cross with the Bisse the Vex, you will see signs that can lead you to some of the mountain restaurants on Planchouet.
Your hike continues from Planchouet by following the signs to Bisse Vieux, which will lead you back down to Nendaz. At some areas along Bisse Vieux, you can see how well maintained and well thought of the Bisses system is, moving the water down, and showing a system of opening and closing little locks to make the water go into another direction if needed.
How to get to Nendaz
When you arrive in Nendaz, the tourism office is right on the little roundabout at the entrance of the village. This is where your hike starts!
To Nendaz by public transport
You can go to Sion by train and take a bus to Nendaz from the train station.
Bisses walk in Crans-Montana
Crans-Montana also has 5 Bisses walks. We did the walk along the Bisse du Tsittoret in Crans-Montana a long time ago. The starting point is in the area Vermala and it gets you along the Eco-museum Colombire where you can learn all about life in the valley and the traditional Mayens houses, and which has an on-site restaurant. You then continue your walk along the Bisse waterway towards a beautiful waterfall, la Tièche. You will find a little mountain restaurant right by the waterfall (Buvette du Sex, not our fault, that is what it is called…). You can choose to hike up the path next to the waterfall to get some more spectacular mountain views!
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