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⛰️ Borgne Gorges

Keyword
2018 Août
  • Date de Visite
    06.08.2018

The Borgne gorges


The Borgne gorges were formed by the Borgne river for 3 km in its terminal part just before it flows into the Rhône. The Borgne River originates from the confluence of the Borgne d’Arolla and the Borgne de Ferpècle at the level of the Haudères. It forms the Val d’Hérens. In Euseigne, the Borgne river receives the waters of the Dixence river which forms the Val d’Hérémance up to the Grande Dixence dam.

A map showing the Val d’Hérens, the villages of Ferpècle, Arolla, Evolène, Hérémance, the Grande-Dixence dam and the Borgne river.
A map showing the Val d'Hérens

Gorges summary


  • 🏆 Gorges ranking: ⭐
  • 🏃 Course ranking: ⭐⭐
  • 📍 Region: Val d’Hérens VS
  • 📐 Length: 9.8 km
  • ⌛ Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • 👍 Special features: Pyramids of Euseigne, Hot water springs of Combioula, Hermitage of Longeborgne.
  • 📝 See all the details

The route


As the difference in altitude between the start and the finish is 500 metres, it will be more pleasant, especially with children, to go down the gorges from Euseigne to Bramois than the opposite.

Parking and bus


The Topille team leaves its car in the free parking lot in the vineyards near the Bramois bridge, next to which we wait for the bus. Two buses are required to reach the beginning of the route. The first, a bus from the city of Sion, to reach the terminus at Sion station. The second, a post bus, in the direction of Les Haudères and Val d’Hérens. We leave at the Pyramides d’Euseigne stop. The journey from Bramois to Evolène by bus with the waiting time in Sion takes about 65 minutes.

Parking in the vineyards at the foot of the Borgne Gorge.
Parking in the vineyards at the foot of the Borgne Gorge.

Postal buses at Sion SBB station
Post buses at Sion SBB station

The castles of Valère and Tourbillon in Sion from the postal bus going up into the Val d’Hérens.
The castles of Valère and Tourbillon in Sion from the postal bus going up into the Val d'Hérens.

Euseigne and its pyramids


The tour begins with a rare geological curiosity, the pyramids of Euseigne. As the glacier retreated, it left a compact moraine with rocks. With erosion, the moraine has dug itself under large rocks that compress it and protect it, forming pyramids.

The pyramids of Euseigne.
The pyramids of Euseigne

Then, we go up along the cantonal road paying attention to the cars and we quickly reach the small village of Euseigne with its church and old wooden chalets. We then follow a paved road and a dirt road in strong descent to the bed of the Borgne river after crossing a small bridge over the Dixence river.

The picturesque village of Euseigne.
the picturesque village of Euseigne.

The hot water springs of Combioula


We cross the seoncd bridge over the Borgne river to reach the hot water springs of Combioula. These are very small hot water springs at a temperature of about 28 degrees. A small basin is formed next to the Borgne by rocks to enjoy the hot water. A cave, normally prohibited at the entrance, also allows you to enjoy hot water to a depth of about 50 cm.
The source of hot water comes from rainwater that infiltrates the rock and rises to the surface after being in contact with the heat from the depths after a journey that could take several years.

The entrance to the cave.
L'entrée de la Caverne des sources d'eau chaudes de Combioula

The small external “basin”.
The small external "basin" of the hot water springs of combioula

The descent of the Borgne gorges


The route continues along the Borgne Gorge by a path through a terrain often on a steep slope. Be careful not to slip beside the trail or on the trail itself when it slopes steeply. After about 1h30 of walking, the path crosses a small bridge to reach the bed of the Borgne river.

The path along the gorges of the Borgne river.
The path along the gorges of the Borgne river.

The path along the gorges of the Borgne river.

The path along the gorges of the Borgne river.

The footbridge on the Borgne river to reach the riverbed.
The footbridge on the Borgne river to reach the riverbed.

The hermitage of Longeborgne


A few minutes before arriving in Bramois, we go up to the hermitage of Notre-Dame Longborgne. It is a religious construction in the cliffs dug by the Borgne river that will remind us of the one of Notre-Dame du Scex in Saint-Maurice. Built before 1500, it had, at its beginning, in addition to its religious assignment, a defensive function for the inhabitants in times of danger.

The hermitage of Notre-Dame de Longeborgne.
The hermitage of Notre-Dame de Longeborgne.

The Bramois power plant


The final route follows a small asphalt road along vineyards from which you can see the hydroelectric power station which turbines the water taken from the Dixence and Borgne rivers and brought into a basin at the level of at Vex 367 metres higher than the Bramois power station. The latter operates on a run-of-river basis because there is no possibility of accumulating water at Vex as for a dam. The power plant is very old since it came into service in 1918 to process aluminium from the Chippis energy-intensive plant and is operated by the Forces Motrices de la Borgne SA.

The Bramois power plant.
The Bramois power plant.

Back to parking


Finally, we take the first road on the right to reach our car.

The Grande Dixence hydroelectric complex


Part of the water from the Borgnes de Ferpècle and Arolla is pumped into the large collector bringing the water to the Grande Dixence dam. In summer, by hot weather, the flow of the Borgne River can be relatively high due to water releases, especially if the dam is already full.

A diagram showing the collection of water in the Grande Dixence dam with the Ferpècle and Arolla pumping stations. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A diagram showing the collection of water in the Grande Dixence dam with the Ferpècle and Arolla pumping stations.

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