St. Luc to Zinal

Distance: 9.7 miles (one way)

Valais, near Zinal in Valais

Looking toward the Zinal Valley

Looking toward the Zinal Valley


Highlights of this scenic walk between St. Luc and Zinal include magnificent views of the high peaks and glaciers gracing the skyline at the head of the Zinal Valley along with panoramic views of the rugged summits towering above the Rhone and Anniviers valleys.
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  • Distance: 9.7 miles (one way) to Zinal
  • Elevation: 7,145-ft. at Trailhead
    7,975-ft. at Zinal
  • Elevation Gain: 830-ft. to Zinal
  • Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Zinal / Valais

Why Hike St. Luc to Zinal

This high traverse above the Anniviers Valley is one of my favorite hikes in the Zinal area. The trail features almost nonstop, breathtaking views of the massive peaks rimming the cirque at the head of the Zinal Valley and/or the summits rimming the Annivers and Rhone valleys.

The day starts with a ride up the St. Luc funicular to Tignousa (7,145-ft.) where we get an introduction to the coming attractions. Just outside the upper funicular station views stretch south to the Matterhorn rising above the high peaks at the head of the Zinal Valley. A rugged ridge rims the west side of the Anniviers valley with vistas stretching to the summits rising above Gimentz.

An easy walk traveling through meadows and trees along the Path of the Planets soon leads to a trail ascending to the Hotel Weisshorn, set atop a grassy knoll with panoramic views of the high peaks towering above the Rhone and Anniviers valleys.

For the next 5.0 miles we travel above timberline with almost nonstop views. From the hotel the trail ascends along the east side of the Anniviers Valley. As we gain elevation views slowly unfold to the magnificent cirque of jagged summits, clad in glistening glaciers, ringing the head of the Zinal Valley. The distinctively-shaped peak of the Matterhorn rises beyond the cirque. For the remainder of the hike these views evolve and improve as we approach the Zinal Valley.

After reaching the high point the path gradually descends, contouring around side valleys as we head toward Zinal. Along the way we traverse meadows sprinkled with wildflowers, travel past hillsides cloaked in heather and pass through small alps (farms).

With 1.5 miles left to go the trail starts the steep descent to Zinal, traveling through trees with some intermittent meadows providing our last views of the high peaks. The trail ends above the east side of Zinal, where signs lead down through the village to the shops, hotels and the bus station.

This trail can be hiked in either direction. I strongly advise walking from St. Luc to Zinal so that the amazing views are constantly right front of you. Some parties choose the hike the trail starting in Zinal and then spending a night at the Hotel Weisshorn before crossing Meidpass to Gruben. If you do walk in reverse, be sure to stop frequently and look behind you.

Whatever way you walk pick a day full of promise and get an early start so you can spend a leisurely day enjoying the amazing views on this great hike.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile of the hike from St. Luc to Zinal

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

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