Les Gorges Mystérieuses de Tête Noire

Useful Information

Location: Near Trient.
At the Tête-Noire parking lot, at the road between Trient, Le Châtelard, and Finhaut. Where the Émosson valley and the Trient valley meet.
(46.0744542, 6.9750419)
Open: MAY to OCT daily weather dependent.
Fee: free.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided, L=2.7 km, VR=252 m, D=75 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Les Gorges Mystérieuses de Tête Noire.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


24-JUL-1884 trail opened.
06-AUG-1884 Temple des Nymphes (Temple of the Nymphs) discovered.
1906 railroad between Martigny and Châtelard opened.


The Gorges Mystérieuses de Tête Noire is the uppermost gorge of the Trient valley. Starting at the parking lot Tête Noire, at the road between Trient and Le Châtelard, there is a trail down into the gorge. Wooden bridges along the walls lead down through the gorge until the narrow gorge widens below Finhaut, and the Trient river meets the Eau Nire (Black Water). There is a trail to Finhaut and another one towards Le Châtelard which finally goes up to the road and back to the parking lot. The round trip from the parking lot has a height difference of about 300 m, is 2.4 km long and takes about two hours.

The development of the gorge is connected with the hotelier Valentin Gay-Crosier. He owned the hotel which was erected in 1834, renamed Hôtel de la Couronne (Crown Hotel) in 1836, enlarged in 1850 and renamed Hôtel de Tête-Noire. It was located at the road between Trient, Le Châtelard, and Finhaut. One day in August 1883, he showed the belvédère (outlook), only 50 m from the hotel, to a tourist. His guest was very interested in the gorge below, so he had the idea to build a trail through the gorge for his guests. Only one year later, on the 24-JUL-1884, the trail was opened to the public. On 06-AUG-1884 the Temple des Nymphes (Temple of the Nymphs) was discovered, a huge cavern with diameter of 12 m and a depth of 15 m. It made the gorge famous all over Switzerland.

The hotel was a famous stop at the route to Chamonix, Martigny, and Zermatt during the 19th century. It was the place where the horses of the coaches were changed. Around 50 coaches stopped here per day. But the heyday ended with the construction of the railroad between Martigny and Châtelard in 1906. The road was now much less frequented, and with the rise of the automobile the need to change horses ended too. In 1964, after a long decline, the hotel was finally closed and in 1974 it burned down. Today there is no trace of it left.

The spring of the Trient torrent is the Trientgletscher (trient glacier) above the village Trient. Along its course between Finhaut and Vernayaz four sections of the gorge are developed with trails.