This hike crosses the ridge separating the Zinal and the Moiry valley at the Col du Sorebois, a scenic pass with panoramic views of the peaks towering above the east side of the Zinal Valley, the rugged summits rising to the west of the Lac de Moiry and the distance high-peaks around Arolla.
The ascent to the pass travels through the pastures of the Sorebois ski area marred with ski apparatus and related small buildings. After crossing the Col du Sorebois the trail drops steeply into the Val de Moiry and then traverses the steep slopes along the east side of the valley high above the Lac de Moiry. The trail enjoys nice views of the minor summits and the ridge running along the west side of the valley. For much of the traverse the glacier-clad peaks at the head of the valley are hidden by the slopes along the west face of the Garde de Bordon protruding into the valley.
As the trail approaches the head of the valley it curves around the protruding slopes of the Garde de Bordon and grand views of the Moriy Glacier, spilling down the slopes of the Grand Cornier, spring into view. Near the head of the valley the trail drops down to the valley floor. The hike can be cut short at this point by taking the bus back to Grimentz and Zinal.
At the head of the valley hikers can opt to visit the Moiry Hut with splendid views of the Moiry Glacier. This side trip climbs over 1,500-ft. on a 4.0 mile out-and-back hike to the hut. Alternatively, hikers can walk to the Barrage de Moiry (dam) on a pleasant trail traveling along the west side of the lake. At the dam, regularly scheduled buses return to Grimentz and Zinal.
Sorebois to the Moiry Glacier via Col du Sorbois
Distance from Trailhead: 5.6 miles (one way)
Ending/Highest Elevation: 9,370-ft.
Elevation Gain: 2,000-ft.
Take the cable car from Zinal to Sorebois (7,999-ft/2,438-meter) situated high above the west side of the Zinal valley. Exit the lift and find the trail signs behind the lift station. Walk west on a dirt road toward the Corne de Sorebois (1h 20min) and the Lac de Moiry (2h 20min), ascending on moderate grades through pastures marred with ski apparatus and buildings. As you ascend enjoy great views of the high peaks towering above the east side of the Zinal valley including the Weisshorn, Schalihorn, Zinalrothorn, Besso and Ober Gabelhorn.
After walking a half mile the trail curves to the north. Soon views open south to the Garde de Bordon towering along the ridge separating Zinal Valley from the Val de Moiry (Moiry Valley). The grade steepens as the trail climbs to the top of a ridge extending west from the Corne de Sorebois at 1.2 miles. From atop the ridge, views stretch north up the Val d’Annivierns to the Bernese Alps.
The trail now turns left (west) and climbs steeps along the south face of the ridge, slightly below the ridge crest. Soon the path curves to the left, ascending along the east face of the Corne de Sorebois to the Col de Sorebois (9,301-ft/2,835) at 1.8 miles.
The pass, on the ridge separate the Val de Moriy from the Val de Zinal, enjoys fine views of the Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn and Ober Gabelhorn to the southeast. To the southwest, the Bouquetins, Aiguille de la Tsa, Dents de Veisivi, Pigne d'Arolla, Mont Blanc de Cheillon, Grand Combin and Aiguilles Rouges d'Arolla rise beyond the ridge separating the Val de Moriy from Val de Herens. Below, Lac de Moriy covers the floor of the Val de Moiry. Sasseneire, Sex de Marinda and Bec de Bosson fill the skyline to the west. Garde de Bordon rises along the ridge to the south of the Col. Unfortunately views of the peaks rising at the head of the Val de Moiry are mostly blocked by a ridge of the Garde de Bordon extending into the valley.
Hikers with the time and energy can make the short side trip to the summit of the Corne de Sorebois (9,501-ft/2,896-meters), which features terrific 360-degree views that include the Bernese Alps to the north.
From the pass the trail drops down the west side of the ridge on steep switchback to a trail junction at 3.1 miles, losing 1,500-ft. from the Col de Sorbois. At the junction take the trail called the Haut Tour de Lac 2500, which heads south toward the Glacier (2h 30 min) and the Cabane de Moiry (4h). The trail branching right descends on steep switchbacks to the dam at the foot of the Lac de Moriy where buses return to Grimentz and Zinal.
The path now follows an ascending traverse along the eastern slopes of the Val de Moriy high above the lake. At 4.0 miles the grade abates as the trail contours along the hillside. After a half mile of easy walking the trail briefly climbs up a gully beside a stream to avoid an eroded section of the hillside. Soon the trail crosses the stream and drops a short distance down the slope.
The trail now curves to the southwest and then south as it traverse around the slopes protruding into the valley below the west face of the Garde de Bordon. To southwest are views of the Point de Mourti, Point de Moiry and Couronne de Breona.
At 5.0 miles the trail rounds a minor ridge and curves to the southeast. The Moiry Glacier, flowing down the north face of the Grand Cornier at the head of the valley, springs into view. The tip of Dent Blanche rises beyond the Grand Cornier. Pigne de la Le towers above the glacier to the east.
Reach a “Y” intersection (8,235-ft/2,510-meters) at 5.6 miles. The trail branching to the left drops down to meet the trail to the Cabane de Moiry in 0.8 miles. The trail to the right drops down steep switchbacks to the Glacier parking lot. Here buses return to the dam at the foot of Lac de Moiry, Grimentz and Zinal, or hikers can opt to walk back to the dam on the trail along the west side of the lake.
See the description of the hike to the Cabane de Moiry for more information on visiting this scenic hut with terrific views of the Moiry Glacier.
From Moiry Glacier to Lac de Moiry Barrage
Distance from Trailhead: 8.9 miles (one way)
Ending/Highest Elevation: 7,723-ft.
Elevation Gain: -343-ft.
To walk to the dam along the west side of the Lac de Moiry, turn right at the “Y” intersection on the trail dropping down toward the parking area at the foot of the Glacier. Reach a four-way junction at 6.0 miles. The trail straight ahead drops down to the parking area, the trail to the left leads to the Cabane de Moiry and the trail to the right heads to the Barrage de Moiry (dam) (1h).
If you wish to visit the area at the foot of the glacier, drop down to the parking lot. After exploring the area walk down the road toward Lac de Moiry for 0.2 miles and then take the trail branching to the left that drops down to the outlet stream carrying meltwater from the glacier.
Otherwise, turn right on the trail that descends to and crosses the road at 6.25 miles. On the west side of the road the path drops steeply through meadows and then travels on easy grades along the right (east) side of the outlet stream, passing a trail branching right and climbing up to the road.
Rock hop across the stream at 6.6 miles and then follow the trail as it cuts across meadows to the southwest end of the Lac de Moiry at 6.9 miles. Nice views extend north across the aquamarine lake to Sasseneire rising to the west above the dam. Turn around for fine views of the Moiry Glacier. The tip of the Grand Cornier peeks above the ice sheet.
The trail now drops down to lake and heads north, traveling along the west side of the lake on easy grades. Turn around occasionally for views of the glacier. Soon you will see the tip of Dent Blanche appear to the south of the Grand Cornier.
A rocky outcropping at the foot of the lake forces the trail to climb to meet a road near the foot of the lake at 8.4 miles. After walking a short distance along the road the trail drops down to the west end of the Barrage de Moiry (7,381-ft/2,250-meters) at 8.5 miles. Here signs point north to a trail dropping steeply down to Grimentz (1h 40min), losing over 2,250-ft. in 3.8 miles.
We turn right (east) and cross the top of the dam on a wide paved road. Reach the café and bus stop at the eastern end of the barrage at 8.9 miles. During the summer regularly scheduled buses depart for Grimentz and also travel to the Glacier Parking area at the head of Lac Moiry
Note: You can start this hike either from the foot of the Moiry Barrage (Dam) or Sorebois. I prefer to start the hike from Sorebois so that I get over the Col de Sorebois in the morning when skies are typically clear. Clouds obscuring views of the glacier and surrounding peaks are more likely in the afternoon.
From Zinal to the Sorebois Cable Car: From the post office in Zinal, walk north along the main street for a short distance to the Zinal Telepherique (Cable Car station) and take the cable car to Sorebois.
From Grimentz to the Sorebois Cable Car: From the Grimentz post, board the bus to Zinal and get off at the post office stop. From the post office, walk north along the main street for a short distance to the Zinal Telepherique (Cable Car station) and take the cable car to Sorebois
If possible catch a direct bus to Zinal. Otherwise, take the Vissoie Bus to Vissoie where you will need to change for a bus headed up valley to Zinal. The direct buses take 15 minutes. If you need to change in Vissoie the ride will take 58 minutes.
The buses make several stops in Grimentz. Schedules are posted at the bus stops and are available online at the SBB website or download the SBB app.
From the Moiry Barrage to Grimentz or Zinal: At the dam, board a bus headed toward Zinal or Vissoie. There are several stops in Grimentz, about a 20 minute ride from the dam. If you are headed to Zinal, the best bet is to catch a bus headed directly to Zinal. Otherwise, take the Vissoie Bus to Vissoie where you will need to change for a bus headed up valley to Zinal. The direct buses take a little over a half hour. If you need to change the ride will take an hour and 15 minute or more, depending on the time of day. Schedules are posted at the bus stop by the dam and are available online at the SBB website or download the SBB app.
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