Climb high above the Rhône valley
Via ferrata (Moderately difficult / K2) | Mountain biking, hiking & skiing nearby
The Belvédère via ferrata (or klettersteig) is one of the easiest around — and so a good introduction to this alpine sport. In addition to the adrenalin rush of scaling cliff faces and crossing tightrope bridges, you’ll have fabulous views of the Rhône valley and Sion far below.
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Getting there & away
The Belvédère via ferrata is located below the village of Nax and above the town of Sion, at the start of the beautiful Val d’Hérens in the Swiss canton of Valais/Wallis.
The route starts near the “Via ferrata” bus stop on the road from Sion to Nax. There is a car park off the same hairpin; note that it can get full very quickly.
What to bring
You need a via ferrata set and helmet, which you can hire from the tourism office in Nax.
You don’t any other special hiking equipment, but be prepared for sudden changes in weather and take enough water and snacks. I recommend sturdy shoes.
There are no facilities at the car park, or restaurants, shelters or water sources on the trail. The village of Nax has a hotel and restaurant as well as a tourist office. There’s also a camping area near the start of the via ferrata, which has a restaurant and pool in summer.
Dangers & annoyances
Like all via ferrata/klettersteig routes, the Belvédère via ferrata has steep drops offs — so you must remain properly attached to the cables at all times. Failure to do so is extremely dangerous and could result in your death! Be aware that even when attached, you could still be injured if you slip and fall.
Also guard against:
- Heat stroke/dehydration
Note that the route is extremely popular so you may have to queue a little.
Trail description and map: Belvédère via ferrata
Highest point: 1,220 m (Belvédère lookout)
Height gain: 220 m
Via ferrata level: Moderately difficult / K2|Exposed, two wire bridges
Trail level: T2 | Steepish path down in parts
Return distance: approx. 1.2 km
The Belvédère via ferrata route is easy to follow, well-secured and mostly straightforward.
I’ve seen different difficulty ratings for this via ferrata, from easy to very difficult. We believe that “moderately difficult” is appropriate. The route is exposed in places and has a tricky wire bridge to negotiate — but as long as you are reasonably fit and not afraid of heights, there should be no problem. Kai and our neighbour’s boy, both 9 at the time, did it easily, as did a friend who had never done any rock climbing.
The whole route takes 60-90 minutes to finish. You can even do it in winter if there is no snow.
Once at the top it’s a short walk up to the Belvédère lookout, from which you have a view of the entire Rhône valley. You can either walk on to Nax to catch the bus back to Belvédère, or else follow the short and easy path down to the starting point.
Nearby mountain fun
Eating & sleeping
You’ll find more eating and sleeping options in Sion and other nearby towns in the Rhône valley, as well as further up the Val d’Hérens.
Other hiking options
You’ll find many hiking options in the Val d’Hérens — a lovely valley running past Nax up to Arolla and ending in high in the Swiss Alps. See SwissMobility for all trails; three trails of note near Nax are:
- The 2 day “Tour pédestre du Val d’Hérens” between Nax and Le Sage
- The local “217 Vallon de Réchy” trail
- The long-distance regional “58 Chemin des bises” trail
You can also follow snowshoe trails around Nax in winter.
Nax and the wider Mont-Noble commune suggest 6 mountain bike trails, which are also suitable for e-bikes. You can rent e-bikes at the Nax tourism office, and also charge them in the village.
►Nax mountain and e-bike info & trails (English, French & German)
There are also many biking trails in the Rhône valley below Nax; see Swissmobility for details.
A small Swiss ski resort operates from Nax, with 3 chairlifts and a T-bar. The resort is covered by the Magic Pass.