The Lake of Villa Natural Reserve

The Lake of Villa offers a pleasant surprise in the heart of the low-altitude Val d’Ayas, set in the municipality of Challad-Saint-Victor. A rare example of glacial lake, whose basin is excavated from magmatic rocks of an ancient ocean floor, then metamorphosed as a result of folding of the Alps. A rich vegetation of Reeds and Sedges, including the very rare Slender Sedge Carice tomentosa, is found along the lake’s shores, and in its waters, precious aquatic species as the wonderful white lily and amphibious Polygon.
This mirror presents itself like a mirror of water of notable dimensions and depth, immersed in a beautiful forest of Scots Pine, White Oak and Sweet Chestnut trees. Is one of the main breeding sites for many species of amphibians. A perfect destination for quiet walks.


  • Hiking

    The Reserve can be reached in two ways.
    All itineraries are described in the TRAILS section.

  • Horseback riding

    Expert riders can use the Torille-Villa trail to reach the Reserve. The site, however, cannot be crossed on horseback.

Discover the site

In order to appreciate the flowering of the Lily, it is best to visit the Reserve in June and July. In general, late spring and summer are the ideal months for a stay by the Lake, while autumn offers all the richness of the forest colours.
Because of its modest dimensions, the Lake site is better suited to small groups of visitors who can discover the area while walking along the marked trail. In the case of school outings, we request a maximum of 30 persons in order to appreciate the environment without disturbing its naturalness. For those who wish to discover the site on mountain bikes or on horses, it is obligatory to leave your means of transport at the limits of the protected site, and to continue your visit on foot.

Behavioural conduct rules

We remind you that you can contribute to the preservation of these sites by following these simple rules:

visit the natural reserve on foot, avoid using motorized vehicles, boating equipment, hang-gliders, para-gliders or similar; mountain bikes and horseback riding are permitted only in specific authorized areas (external to the site): please respect hikers;

please stay within the marked trails, as trampling can ruin the fragile grass and undergrowth areas;

osserva da lontano gli animali selvaticiplease observe wild animals from a distance, do not capture them, do not disturb them nor feed them, and do not photograph occupied nests;

keep your dog on a leash and on the marked trails;

do not pick minerals or flowers;

do not make fires;

please bring your garbage, where you will find many recyclable waste-collection points.

How to get there

By car

The municipal road which leads to the site is well indicated at the junction on route S.R.45 of Val d’Ayas, after the village of Challand-Saint-Victor (c'è a signboard indicates “Natural Reserve of Lake Villa”). 2,5 km after this junction, you will reach a small parking lot located directly on the side of the road. There you will find a signboard with the description of the site and its principal trails.

By bus

Although a bit distant from the lake, there are two stops in the neighbouring municipality of Challand-Saint-Victor on the “Verrès – Champoluc – Saint-Jacques” busline.

Accessibility codification of sites

VIVA has chosen to supply everyone – youngsters, adults, the elderly and the disabled – with all the sites’ information so as to allow the visitor to choose a destination in an autonomous way.
An “Accessibility Codification”has thus been defined.

The Lake of Villa Natural Reserve

Information to reach the site 2
Accessibility from main roads 3
Parking for the disabled 2
Accessible restrooms 0
Information panels 1
Slopes (max 8%) 1-2
Trail width (min 90cm) 2
Road surface 3-0
Resting areas approx every 10 m 2
Safety and protection of trails 1
Periodic maintenance 2

0 corresponds to ABSENCE of the indicated parameter;
3 corresponds to the PRESENCE of the indicated parameter, in optimal condition;
1 – 2 are INTERMEDIATE VALUES: in general, they indicate the presence of the parameter which must however be improved (1 = sufficient, 2 = close to optimal)


More paths :

VIVA suggests:

Short path

Lago di Villa e resti castello

  • Elevation gain : 160 m
  • Travel time: 1h 30 m
  • Signposting: -

What to see:


Easy trails: routes that present no major technical difficulties or too challenging slopes. They can be covered in full or in small sections, allowing in both cases to come into contact with unspoilt nature, discovering its pace and balance …

Medium difficult trails: routes that can be covered in a day, varying considerably in terms of height differences and technical difficulty; the benefit is in being able to reach wildlife destinations of great impact.

Long trails: excursions lasting several days which provide for stopover places and catering along the route.

cartina The Lake of Villa Natural Reserve

SIC SIC IT1203050

Municipality: Challand-Saint-Victor, Montjovet

Surface: 28 ha

Altitude: 820 ÷ 822 m s.l.m.

Responsible forest station:


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