Route des Diligences / ViaCook
This hike can easily be done from Vernayaz (up) or Finhaut (down). The Mont-Blanc-Express train connects the arrival and departure points. The itinerary offers a multitude of discoveries (spectacular gorges, alpine zoo, listed village, etc.) in the footsteps of the travellers of the Belle Epoque.
- Vernayaz - Finhaut: approx. 5h
- Finhaut - Vernayaz : approx. 4h
Horse-drawn carriages from the Rhone valley to the Haute-Savoie
In the middle of the 19th century, the Trient Valley was only accessible by narrow mule tracks. To attract foreign visitors on their Grand Tour between Valais and Chamonix, local
authorities decided to upgrade the path into a road suitable for vehicles. The section between Vernayaz and Salvan was built between 1855 and 1867. In later years, several
improvements were carried out, and the number of tight corners was reduced from around 50 to 35, making the route even more accessible.
Sixty hotels in the valley
With the construction of the Route des Diligences, the villages along its path experienced an economic boom. Hotels were built one after the other in Vernayaz, Salvan, Les Marécottes, Le Trétien, Finhaut, and Giétroz, with village inhabitants becoming hoteliers, porters, coach drivers, laundry workers, guides, and grocers. The level of comfort previously only encountered in cities gradually reached the mountains, and members of the European aristocracy began to spend their summers in luxurious alpine hotels.
A cultural and tourist route
Ensuring a much faster journey between Martigny and Chamonix, the new railway line inaugurated in 1908 soon replaced the coaches and further contributed to the region’s development. However, the First World War brought a sudden halt to this boom. Today, the Route des Diligences is listed on the Federal Inventory of Switzerland’s Historic Traffic Routes and is part of the ViaCook, which retraces the path taken by tourism pioneer Thomas Cook in 1863.
Distance 12.41 km
Positive elevation 1'080 m
Negative elevation 1'080 m
Highest point 1'450 m
Location / Access
GPS coordinates :