L’Etivaz to Montreux
The final two stages, (Stage 18 and 19) of the Via Alpina pose some logistical challenges for most hikers. The designated route leaves something to be desired, and there are no accommodations at the end of Stage 18, Rochers de Naye. Even if there were, the hike down to Montreux doesn’t really seem like a fitting conclusion to the kind of alpine wonders we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks.
What I recommend is to make a modification, one suggested by Kev Reynolds in his book Trekking the Swiss Alpine Pass Route – Via Alpina 1. He titles it Stage 17A – Col de Mosses – Col de Chaude – Montreux. It’s 28 km and about 8 hours of hiking. And if you want to remove 5 km of less interesting hiking from the start of the trail, you can begin the day by taking the bus from L’Etivaz to La Lécherette.
Moving westward, you’ll pass through some beautiful valleys and still have those big wow views as you make your celebratory descent into Montreux and your journey’s end. If you’re stamping your Hiking Passbook at each stage along the way, you can always return to Rochers de Naye on the classic narrow-gauge cog railway for the best view—overlooking Lake Geneva, with Eiger views to the east and Mont Blanc views to the west.
Narcissus, sometimes referred to as the white daffodil, is the emblematic flower of the Montreux Riviera. You’re not likely to see it hiking the Via Alpina, since it blooms in late April and early May, but the region takes this poisonous flower very seriously. They even have an Association for the Preservation of the Narcissus. This beautiful flower is named after Narcissus, the figure in Greek mythology who was so handsome that he fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
You’ve probably been eating Swiss chocolate all along the way. But now that you’ve arrived at the shore of Lake Geneva and nearby Vevey, you’ve arrived at the birthplace of chocolate. Chocolate as we know it, has its roots in the 1820’s in the town of Vevey, when François-Louis Cailler produced the first chocolate in Switzerland. Then in 1875 Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate in Vevey. And in the 1930’s white chocolate was invented in Vevey. Today Vevey is the world headquarters of food giant Nestle.
The Via Alpina in Retrospect
- The National Three Peaks Challenge Doesn’t Have to be a Beast - January 11, 2022
- Corries, Becks, and Crags: British English Helps for the American Hiker - January 7, 2022
- Aletsch Arena: Commanding Views and Panoramic Hikes - November 22, 2021