Hot Water Springs of Combioula
The Hot Water Springs of Combioula are located at the level of the Borgne river in the Val d’Hérens in the commune of Saint-Martin. The water comes out of the ground at a temperature of about 28 degrees just beside the river.
Access by car
From Sion, you have to go up the Val d’Hérens in the direction of Evolène. Between Vex and Euseigne, turn left before a small tunnel and go down to the Borgne River first by a small asphalt road then on a dirt road to a small car park along the river.
From the car park, you have to cross a small wooden bridge that takes you from the municipality of Hérémence to Saint-Martin. You follow the Borgne river down its course. The springs can be observed in a small cave currently officially closed to the public and on the banks of the Borgne River, which form a small basin with large stones in which to dip. Children will not forget to take shovels and buckets to dig the sand.
Origin of hot water
Rainwater seeps into the rock higher up at an altitude of nearly 2000 metres before exiting at the level of the Borgne River after being warmed by the depths of the Earth. The path of water from its entry into the rock to its exit at the spring level could take many years. Dozens of small springs come out of the ground but only three have been significant flow.
The exploitation of sources
The Hot Water Springs of Combioula have been known since at least the 15th century. From the 16th to the 19th century, various galleries were dug to extract the salt contained in the water. Isaac de Rivaz (1752-1828), Swiss inventor and politician, was the last to carry out work until 1820 before the research was definitively abandoned. De Rivaz is known to have invented the internal combustion engine.
In 1986, drilling was carried out in order to exploit the thermal water from the springs, but without further action.
The Borgne Gorges
On the Internet, there is an interesting article on the high geological sites of Val d’Hérens written by Gérard Stampfli. In particular, it contains geological information on:
- the Borgne Gorge
- the Nax Dolinas
- the Euseigne Pyramids
- the Combioula Hot Springs
- the Luette
- the Praz-Jean Mining Museum
- the Lana Ice Lock
- the southern edge of the European Tectonic Plate
- the Alpine Ocean.
A video about the Hot Water Springs of Combioula.