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Fitness
Hiking trail

The Three Lakes Walk, optional ascent of Bella Tola

· 1 review · Hiking trail · Wallis
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Bella Tolla Peak
    / Bella Tolla Peak
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • Looking across the range
    / Looking across the range
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • One of the lakes
    / One of the lakes
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • Mountain slopes into the lake
    / Mountain slopes into the lake
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • The high Alps
    / The high Alps
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • Ridge down from Bella Tolla
    / Ridge down from Bella Tolla
    Photo: Macs Adventure
2400 2700 3000 3300 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

A fabulous loop walk starting and ending at the Tignousa funicular station. Today's walk goes to pristine alpine lakes, past meadows and mountain cabins and there is also the option to summit the area's highest peak, Bella Tolla.  

difficult
15.9 km
6:30 h
999 m
1006 m

Return to Tignousa by funicular for the start of today’s walk; a circular route which visits the alpine lakes of Lac de Combavert, Lac de Armina and Lac de la Bella Tola. Each lake is as serene as the last and you will soon find yourself at the foot of Bella Tola, which at a height of 3,025m is the highest peak in the area.  The hardy may wish to continue to the peak for sublime views of the surrounding mountain range. Continue on the circular route and you will soon come across Cabane Bella Tola, a popular mountain lodge, also serving lunch. Why not try one of their gourmet salads topped with dried alpine flowers? (check opening times here: http://cabanebellatola.ch/  and always carry a packed lunch in case of unplanned closures) 

Author’s recommendation

If you have the energy and the ambition, do the summit walk of Bella Tolla! The views are astounding and the satisfaction of summiting such a peak is immense.

Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
3041 m
Lowest point
2147 m

Safety information

The weather can change rapidly in the Alps, always check the forecast before you start the days hiking and pack appropriately. If the weather is too rough, do not begin the trek.

There can be left over snow drifts early in the season, the can sometimes have melted underneath - particularly if it covers moving water. Just because it looks solid, it doesn't mean it is. Exercise extreme caution when crossing such snow drifts and if possible walk around them to where you can see the solidity of the ground clearly.

Some of the ground can be uneven, with rocky/pebbly paths and even ice. Ensure you have suitable footwear with ankle support, and step cautiously when needed. 

Much of the path is on clifftops and there has been some erosion, for this reason, the path is sometimes unclear, be careful of the drop and of loose rocks and edges to the cliffs.

Some of the gates are cattle deterrents and are electrified, be sure to use the plastic handles and reattach the cable to the housing when you pass through, they are 12 volts, so not dangerous but very unpleasant.

NOTE: attempting the summit walk adds an extra 400m of ascent/descent, bringing today's total ascent descent to nearly 1000m. If you do not summit Bella Tola, today's ascent/descent is approx. 600m. The summit should only be attempted by strong walkers, and in good weather conditions. 

Equipment

As well as the appropriate shoes and layered clothing for the changeable weather and other essentials, you should consider walking poles, UV sunglasses and factor 30 suncream. The sun is bright and high UV in the higher Alps and the snow can reflect it and intensify the exposure.

Tips, hints and links

Food and Drink

You can get lunch at Cabane Bella Tolla (details above), but it is a long day so make sure you have enough food and water in case of closure.

Points of Interest

Bella Tolla

The Bella Tola is a mountain of the Swiss Pennine Alps, overlooking Saint-Luc in the canton of Valais. With an elevation of 3,025 metres above sea level, it is the highest summit of the subrange north of the Meidpass. The views from the peak are astounding if you can face the 400 metres of extra ascent/descent!

The 3 lakes

The three lakes that you will explore on this walk each offer something a little different. This route is less used than some of the other routes, so you will often have the lakes to yourself. Although they are glacial, if your feet are hot and tired why not dip them into the cool waters. Swimming is not recommended as the water is very very cold!

 

This tour is available on the following itineraries: WSWITVD, WSTSOTM

Start

Tignousa Funicular (2187 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.229402, 7.609798
UTM
32T 392799 5120475

Destination

Tignousa Funicular

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - With your back to the funicular station and TURN LEFT and then after 30 metres TURN RIGHT ascending a narrow zigzag path, signposted for Bella Tolla

0.70 km - BEAR LEFT sharply, passing between the cabin restaurant and another hut before you BEAR RIGHT signposted for Bella Tolla

1.50 km - Pass over a vehicle track and continue STRAIGHT ON 

1.90 km - BEAR LEFT to join a bigger path for 200 metres then BEAR LEFT off the track onto a smaller path, the path crosses over some snow melt streams so be careful of your footing

3.20 km - You join a vehicle track and BEAR LEFT ascending

3.50 km - TURN LEFT here if you wish to ascend Bella Tolla, it is a simple zig-zag path that ascends to the summit, you begin to bear right when you reach the cabin, and you come back down the same way to rejoin the track. Continue straight on if you do not want to summit the mountain - the following distances presume you have summited.

NOTE: attempting the summit walk adds an extra 400m of ascent/descent, bringing today's total ascent descent to nearly 1000m. If you do not summit Bella Tola, today's ascent/descent is approx. 600m. The summit should only be attempted by strong walkers, and in good weather conditions. 

7.30 km - Rejoin the path and continue STRAIGHT ON

7.40 km - TURN LEFT sharply off the track, descending past the lake

7.80 km - After passing the lake, 30 metres on TURN LEFT ascending a narrow path

8.80 km - Pass the second lake, and then BEAR LEFT with the path

9.60 km - BEAR RIGHT descending down the path and crossing another stream

11.10 km - TURN LEFT to visit the final lake, after 150 metres you will reach it, begin to come back the way you came

11.70 km - TURN LEFT to descend and rejoin the main path a little further on than where you left it

12.40 km - BEAR LEFT to pass the farmhouse and descend on the track

12.90 km - Join a larger track, TURN RIGHT

14.10 - TURN RIGHT off the track, pass the picnic benches on the right and rejoin the ascending track

14.60 km - The track meets another track TURN LEFT and then continue on the track

15.90 km - Continue STRAIGHT ON until you reach the funicular station, you have arrived at the end of the loop.

 

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Reviews

5.0
(1)
Phyllis Grove
August 31, 2018 · Community
Beautiful even though I didn’t do the ascent of Bella-Tola. Open high alpine hiking combined with beautiful lakes, streams, marsh and views.
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Lac de l'Armina
Photo: Phyllis Grove, Community
marsh
Photo: Phyllis Grove, Community
Lac de la Bella-Tola
Photo: Phyllis Grove, Community
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Reviews
Difficulty
difficult
Distance
15.9 km
Duration
6:30 h
Ascent
999 m
Descent
1006 m
Scenic With refreshment stops Geological highlights Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Summit route

Statistics

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Highest point
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Lowest point
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