This route describes the hiking trail from Leysin to the summit of Tour D'Aï, which has a height gain of some 700m, depending on which tier of the village you start. You will need about 5 hours for this route.
From the 'Grand Hotel' station in Leysin, walk down past the American College and the Hiking Sheep. Opposite the Grand Chalet there is the beginning of a path.
on a clear morning, plan to be at the trackway for sunrise.
Follow this path and when it splits, take the left hand fork climbing above the cliffs. The trail is well used and will climb through the forest before reaching a trackway.
Once you have joined the trackway head left until it joins a road (about ten minutes walking). Once you have joined the road turn right (turning back on the direction you have come). The road passes through a farm and pastures and eventually leads to Téte D'Aï, the top of a chairlift and summer village. Before this however there is a path, which follows a ski run up below La Berneuse to lac D'Aï and is the faster option.
At the small village follow the signpost marked for Tour D'Aï and ignore the turn off marked for the Via Ferrata. This will lead to a gully in along the cliff, which the access point for Tour D'Aï. The path is well marked with red and white markers. After a time it moves away from the cliff and moves through pasture, with excellent views of Tour de Mayen on the right and La Berneuse on the left.
The path comes up to the cliff which cuts across the width of the ridge. There is a ladder to the left. After this point the ridge becomes narrower and metal chains follow the path. Follow the footpath to the summit.
Water and good boots. In winter time the route will be a lot more demanding.
Via Ferrata & climbing.
The western cliffs of Tour D'Aï have some famous climbing routes set up by some top climbers. For access to these and the Via Ferrata route, follow the trail description to the Téte D'Aï and follow the sign posts for the Via Ferrata route. The path follows the base of the cliffs and bolts begin to appear the further along it goes. The Via Ferrata route begins at the col between Tour D'Aï and Chaux de Mont.
Allow half an hour from Téte D'Aï to the base of the Via Ferrata route. This route is rated K4 (Difficult), allow 2 hours for this and another hour down the trail back to Téte D'Aï.