Roc de la Vache

Distance: 8.2 miles (loop)

near Zinal in Valais

Besso, Pointe de Zinal, Dent Blanche, Grand Cornier and Pigne de la Le from Roc de la Vache

Besso, Pointe de Zinal, Dent Blanche, Grand Cornier and Pigne de la Le from Roc de la Vache


This steep hike leads to Roc de la Vache, a panoramic overlook high above the east side of Zinal Valley.
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  • Distance: 4.1 miles (one way) to Lac d’Arpitetta
    8.2 miles (loop) to Roc de la Vache
  • Elevation: 5,480-ft. at Trailhead
    7,375-ft. at Lac d’Arpitetta
    8,468-ft. at Roc de la Vache
  • Elevation Gain: 1,895-ft. to Lac d’Arpitetta
    2,988-ft. to Roc de la Vache
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Zinal / Valais

Why Hike Roc de la Vache

A steep hike through varied terrain leads to Roc de la Vache, a popular viewpoint offering a superb perspective of the Zinal area. Starting in Zinal, the trail travels up the Zinal Valley along La Navisence River with fine view of Besso rising to the east. Near the Petite Mountet hut the trail crosses the La Navisence to the east side of the valley and then the Torrent de l’Arpitetta to the north side of the Arpitetta Valley.

The trail now climbs steeply up the hillside at the foot of the Arpitetta Valley. A recommended detour leads to the Lac d’Arpitetta with wonderful views of the east and south sides of the cirque at the head of the Arpitetta valley. To the south are views of the high peaks rising along the west side of the Zinal Valley.

Beyond the lake the trail ascends steeply up the slopes beneath the Pointe d’Arpitetta to Roc de la Vache. From the overlook enjoy terrific panoramic views. To the south Besso and the Pigne de la Le guard the entrance to the head of the Zinal valley. The Grand Cornier, Dent Blanche and the Pointe de Zinal, adorn with glaciers, tower above the west side of valley’s headwall. To the southeast up the Arpitetta valley the Zinalrothorn, Moming massif and the Moming glacier dominate the view while to the east the Tete de Milon and the Pointe d’Arpitetta frame the Weisshorn. Zinal lays 3,000-ft. below on the valley floor while to the north views stretch up the Val de Anniviers to the Bernese Alps.

Beyond the viewpoint the trail descends on steep to very steep grades to Zinal. Along the way are nice views of the Torrent du Barme and the peaks towering above the west side of the Zinal Valley.

The loop can be hiked in either direction. The climb is not quite as steep in the counter-clockwise direction. Another option is to hike to the Roc de la Vache viewpoint after visiting the Cabane d’Arpitettaz.

Elevation Profile

Elevation profile for the hike to Roc de la Vache

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

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