Walker’s Haute Route (Chamonix to Zermatt) | Complete Guide

Everything you need to know to determine if this epic multi-day hike is for you


What is the Walker’s Haute Route?

High-level map showing where the Walker’s Haute Route is located in the Alps. The route marked is the path that cars and trains take

The Walker’s Haute Route is a world-renowned multi-day hiking journey starting in Chamonix, France near the Mont Blanc Massif and finishing in Zermatt, Switzerland where the Matterhorn towers above. It is regarded by many as the most magnificent hut to hut hiking trail that the Alps has to offer.

There is not one single trail that leads hikers between the two mountains, rather a trail network offering 13 main route variations with a total distance ranging from 174km (108mi) to 227km (141mi). No matter which path is chosen, hikers are required to climb over 11 mountain passes and accomplish between 21,000m (69,000ft) and 28,000m (93,000ft) of total elevation change (ascent + descent) as they wind their way through some of the most breathtaking scenery the Alps has to offer. Our gallery has a sample of what is on offer.

 

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Is there only One Walker’s Haute Route?

To answer this question, we need to travel back to the discovery of the trail. The term “Haute Route” is French in origin and translates to ‘High Road’ in English, however, the labelling of this journey actually came from a group of British Alpine Club mountaineer’s, who named it the ‘High Level Route’ after forging a mountaineering route between Chamonix and Zermatt in the 19th century. Once the first skiers successfully completed the journey using a variation of the mountaineer’s route in early 1900’s, the English translation dropped ‘level’ in its name as the Haute Route became predominately known as a classic ski tour. As the trail system developed over the 20th century, an easier way was identified for hikers to make the journey between Chamonix and Zermatt, without needing to climb above 3,000m (9,850ft) or requiring mountaineering equipment. This journey became known as the Walker’s Haute Route.

Other events and adventures that use ‘Haute Route’ in their name

  • The ‘ski touring Haute Route’ noted above is still a famous multi-day journey between Chamonix and Zermatt. It does not follow the same path as the summer hiking trail, instead, it takes a much more direct path by crossing glaciers and high altitude mountain ranges connecting the Mont Blanc massif to the Matterhorn. This route is typically completed in March and April when there is more certainty of an adequate snow base and the longer days ensure touring can be completed during daylight. More details on this ski tour can be found here.

  • The ‘summer glacier Haute Route’ follows a similar path to the ski tour mentioned above. Most of this journey will be spent above 2,800m (9,200ft) so a strong level of fitness is required. Mountaineering experience is also necessary to complete this trip as you need solid knowledge of the Alps, the weather, and especially how to travel safely on glaciers. It is highly recommended that anyone completing this route for the first time engages a certified mountain guide with experience on the Haute Route. Alps Insight has a great summary of their summer glacier Haute Route trip.

  • The world's most prestigious multi-day amateur road cycling events, renowned for courses that include legendary cols (mountain passes), is also called “Haute Route”. Its name is representative of the type of cycling events it hosts, rather then it being related to a journey between Chamonix and Zermatt. More details on these cycling events can be found here.

  • Given the popularity and global status of the Haute Route journey from Chamonix to Zermatt, destinations like Norway and Slovenia have decided to market their own version of ‘The Haute Route’, to attract hikers and back-country skiers who are looking for a new challenging high altitude terrain to explore.

Although the Walker’s Haute Route shares part of its name with these other events and adventures, you can rest assured that this epic Alps hike is truly an original that has been in the making for well over 100 years.


What is the distance of the Walker’s Haute Route?

180km (112mi) is typically promoted as the total distance of the Walker’s Haute Route. It does entirely depend on which route you take because the most common combination of trails can take between 174km (108mi) and 227km (141mi). There are 13 main variations to the shortest route that will add more than a marathon of distance to your hiking plan. Depending on which route you decide to take, your hiking speed and the desired number of hiking hours per day, it can take between 6 and 15 days to complete the Haute Route. You can see a summary below or click here to find our detailed blog post on how to determine your hiking style which will help you determine how many days you should plan to complete this hike.


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HIKE the Walker’s Haute Route?

As I’ve mentioned above, it does depend on the route you choose from Chamonix to Zermatt and your hiking style but the following can be used as a rough guide.

Elite: For those that are fastpacking or trail running sections, the Walker’s Haute Route could be completed starting from 6-8 days. This would require 28km (17mi) per day with total daily elevation change of up to 5,300m (17,300ft).

Speedy: For those that want to hike between 6-7 hours per day, and can consistently hike at a pace above average, due to their fitness and/or experience, an itinerary between 9-11 days is suitable.

Steady: For those that want to hike between 6-7 hours per day, at an average hiking pace, completing the Haute Route in 11-13 days is suitable.

Wanderer: For those that plan to be moving for an average 6.5 hours per day but at a speed slower than average pace, and spend the rest of the time breaking to enjoy the many vistas and villages along the way, an itinerary of 14-15 days is most suitable.

You can find a comparison of the trail/hiking statistics for each of these hiking styles by reading our blog post here.

What are the different route options?

The best way to provide details on the 13 different route options available, is to first focus on the shortest hiking route between Chamonix and Zermatt as a baseline, then highlight each of the variant options, describing why you would choose or need to include them in your hiking itinerary.

Shortest trail for the Walker’s Haute Route

The shortest path has been designed by selecting trails between Chamonix and Zermatt that allows a hiker to complete the journey in the minimum distance possible. This route has enough accommodation options along the way to allow you to go as fast or slow as you would like. The below map highlights the shortest route 174km (108mi), with the accompanying 6-day itinerary summary designed for elite fastpackers that can handle up an average of 29kms (18mi) a day, with total daily elevation changes (accents + descents) of up 5,100m (16,700ft). Don’t worry if this isn’t for you, most hikers complete the trail between 10 and 14 days - you can see the itineraries we offer for these lengths here.

For those hikers keen to complete the Walker’s Haute Route by taking the shortest distance, this high-level map shows you the path to take using a 6-day itinerary. The 5 locations marked are where hikers are expected to stay the night on this 6-day journey from Chamonix to Zermatt

Speedy 6 day summary

All measurements have been rounded | Beware of reading before bed…it may make you too excited to sleep!

Day 1 - Walker’s Haute Route

Distance: 31km (19mi) | Total Elevation Change: 4,200m (13,800ft)

At Col de Balme, standing on the border between France and Switzerland

At Col de Balme, standing on the border between France and Switzerland

Summary: Starting in Chamonix, hikers head up the valley through Argentiere and Le Tour to Col de Balme, which is where the border between France and Switzerland is located. After waving goodbye to France and Mont Blanc, hikers should choose the trail to the right which goes to Refuge Les Grands, rather than left to Le Peuty and Trient. The trail descends after Refuge Les Grands to arrive at Chalet du Glacier just after crossing the glacial run-off from the Trient Glacier. This is the point where those who took the Le Peuty/Trient route to find accommodation for the night will reconvene to join the climb up Fentre dÁrpette. After reaching the top and enjoying a close-up view of the Trient glacier, hikers descend to Arpette where the first night is planned.

Day 2 - Walker’s Haute Route

Distance: 29km (18mi) | Total Elevation Change: 2,800m (9,200ft)

Summary: Begin with a gradual descent through the forest that has a network of streams running alongside the trail. Hikers will shortly arrive at Champex-Lac which is a town situated on a beautiful alpine lake. This marks the point where the Walker’s Haute Route branches away from the Tour du Mont Blanc trail and also the first place in Switzerland with an ATM for hikers to stock up on Francs (CHF). The trail continues past the end of the lake descending through farmland on the way to Sembracher. The route follows a combination of bitumen and dirt roads before reaching Le Chable and starting the climb up to Verbier and Les Ruinettes or choosing to skip these sections by taking a sneaky shortcut. The path from Les Ruinettes to Cabane du Mont Forte takes hikers through the Four Valleys (or 4 Vallées) ski area. Although you shouldn’t find any skiers at this time of the year, this timelapse on the cable car to Mont Forte shows what this area looks like in the depths of winter - Cabane du Mont Forte can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner in the final seconds of the video. As you can see, the hut sits just below its namesake mountain and providers lucky hikers with a distant view of Mont Blanc on a clear day.

Day 3 - Walker’s Haute Route

Distance: 28km (18mi) | Total Elevation Change: 4,000m (13,00ft)

Entering the Grand Desert on the Walker’s Haute Route

Entering the Grand Desert on the Walker’s Haute Route

Summary: Hikers should start with a big breakfast today because they’ll be spending most of their time above 2,700m (8,850ft)! Follow the trail that cuts to the right side of Mont Forte as it climbs to Col de la Chaux. Hikers will have an early view of the Grand Desert glacier on their left before a short descent to a trail junction that reconnects with those who took the Col Termin route. Climb through the boulders and rocky scree to Col du Louvie and formally enter the desolate (and likely snow covered) Grand Desert. This is a high altitude section of trail that all Haute Route hikers must complete. Cross the baron plane to Col de Prafleuri on the other side before descending to the backcountry outpost of Cabane de Prafleuri. A short climb from here brings hikers to Col Des Roux where Lac Des Dix and green pastures can once again be seen. Descend to the lake and follow the dirt road to the opposite end before once again climbing into rocky terrain left in the wake of Glacier Chellion’s recession. The final scramble over boulders and loose scree to Col de Riedmatten is difficult but chains are available in some parts to assist or ladders if the climb over Pas de Chevres is preferred. Descend through the ski area while enjoying the glaciers on your right before arriving at Arolla ready for a break.

Day 4 - Walker’s Haute Route

Distance: 33km (20mi) | Total Elevation Change: 4,900m (16,000ft)

Traditional Swiss Alpine House on the Walker’s Haute Route hike

Traditional Swiss Alpine House on the Walker’s Haute Route hike

Summary: Begin by climbing up to Lac Bleu (Blue Lake) before continuing down the valley, crossing the main road just after La Gouille to reach the larger village of Les Hauderes. There is a short climb to the villages of Le Sage and Villa which have many cute traditional houses decorated with potted flowers before the trail continues through alpine farmland to Col de Torrent. Descend to Barrage de Moiry situated on the dammed Lac de Moiry which is fed from the namesake’s glacial run-off. Climb up the exposed trail to Col de Sorebois before travelling down through the Zinal ski area to eventually reach the town which like many in the Swiss mountains, close over lunch so the shopkeepers can have a break too! Spend a night here with many restaurants and accommodation options to choose from.

Day 5 - Walker’s Haute Route

Distance: 34km (21mi) | Total Elevation Change: 5,100m (16,700ft)

View up Mattertal Valley on the Walker's Haute Route hike

View up Mattertal Valley on the Walker's Haute Route hike

Summary: Start by climbing up the opposite side of the valley to the mountain pass of Forcletta which marks the linguistic border where hikers will need to swap their French greetings for German phases. Descend through the rocky terrain then lush alpine meadows with the trail passing through a farm usually filled with Swiss cows on entry into town. Climb out on the opposite side of the valley to Augstbordpass which is the last of the 11 mountain passes on Walker’s Haute Route hike from Chamonix to Zermatt! Start the descent which involves some boulder hopping before the trail meets the Mattertal valley to given hikers one of the most picturesque landscape views of the trip. After taking a break here to soak it all in, descend through Jungen past the stations of the cross monuments that line the trail to St Niklaus where you’ll spend the night.

Day 6 - Walker’s Haute Route

Distance: 20km (12mi) | Total Elevation Change: 700m (2,300ft)

After celebrating your arrival into Zermatt and completion of the Walker’s Haute Route, make sure to set your alarm for sunrise to witness the Alpenglow of the Matterhorn. It may be the last thing you want to do in the morning but a special moment that will stay with you forever.

After celebrating your arrival into Zermatt and completion of the Walker’s Haute Route, make sure to set your alarm for sunrise to witness the Alpenglow of the Matterhorn. It may be the last thing you want to do in the morning but a special moment that will stay with you forever.

Summary: Today is much easier than the others so a little sleep in is possible. The trail gradually climbs all the way up the valley floor to Zermatt. You’ll follow the same path as the train line and glacial stream, mostly staying to the right of them but crossing over from time to time as the trail demands or if you need to stop in town for supplies. Mattsand is only marked by a single chalet, Herbriggen is bigger but it is a short walk from the trail to restaurants, with Randa and Tasch being larger villages with many food options near the trail stations. The trail is well worn with numerous picnic spots, particularly from Tasch which is the last place Zermatt tourists can leave their cars before catching the train or hiking into Zermatt. The Matterhorn will remain hidden until about 45minutes before you reach Zermatt where a high point and clearing will provide the first sightings. When you are ready, continue into town where there are many restaurants, hotels and places on the street where unimpeded views of the Matterhorn are available. You have just completed the Walker’s Haute Route hike in 6 days, celebrate accordingly!

Hopefully, this summary has given you a taste for the Walker’s Haute Route. With this understanding of the shortest route, let’s now layer on the alternative routes available so you can see how 95%+ of hikers enjoy this trail.

Alternative Routes on the Walker's Haute Route

There are 13 main trail variations available to those hiking the Walker’s Haute Route. The following map shows where they are located between Chamonix to Zermatt, using the shortest route (in blue) described above as the baseline. It must be noted that there are many stretches of the trail which do not have accommodation for more than 10kms (6mi) and in some sections, it is up to 16km(10mi). For this reason, a hiker of average fitness may take double the time to complete the shortest route to ensure they end each day at a location with accommodation, which is why nearly everyone chooses a longer route that includes huts and highlights well worth extra distance.

Shortest hiking route from Chamonix to Zermatt marked in blue with the 13 alternatives labelled in other colours

Shortest hiking route from Chamonix to Zermatt marked in blue with the 13 alternatives labelled in other colours

The 13 variations from left to right on the map above are;

  • 1. Le Peuty (Lemon yellow)

    Reason for taking this route: Need to find accommodation before Arpette or planning to take the lower Alp Bovine route

    Details: Col de Balme is the first mountain pass that hikers need to climb over. Although it is the smallest of the 11 on the Walker’s Haute Route at just over 2,200m (7,200ft), most will find it challenging as their legs get used to hiking with a backpack again. Arpette is a further 14km (8.5mi) and 3,050m (10,000ft) in elevation change away, which will likely be too much for most people. Refuge Les Grands is 3.75km (2.5mi) further along the shortest route from Col de Balme, however its basic facilities (loft with 20 beds, bring your own food) and difficulty to reserve in advance makes it hard to incorporate into most itineraries. Descending to Le Peuty for a night to enjoy showers and catered meals will add 2.25km (1.5mi) and 250m (820ft) in total elevation change before rejoining the shortest route at Chalet du Glacier to climb over Fentre D'Arpette. However, for those planning to take the lower Alp Bovine route to Champex-Lac, decending to Le Peuty for the night will be 2.75km (1.75mi) shorter with 100m (325ft) extra elevation change compared to taking the route via Refuge Les Grands.

 
The Trient Church at dawn on the Walker’s Haute Route

The Trient Church at dawn on the Walker’s Haute Route

  • 2. Trient (Doritos orange)

    Reason for taking this route: More accommodation options (including hotels with private rooms) and a cute pink church

    Details: Le Peuty only has one dorm style accommodation option for 20 people that services the Walker’s Haute Route, Tour du Mont Blanc and local area hikers. This creates a need for hikers to find nearby alternative accommodation which Trient offers. There are over 200 beds offered as single rooms through to 20 person dorms at the different accommodation providers. Trient is a small town with a beautiful pink church that has a special glow at dawn and dusk, whereas Le Peuty is just a couple of buildings. Trient is an additional 1.25km (0.75mi) from Le Peuty but it is a similar distance to reach Chalet du Glacier the following day

 
  • 3. Alp Bovine (Yoda green)

    Reason for taking this route: The Fentre dÁrpette pass has poor trail (snow/errision) conditions, there is bad weather or you'd just prefer an easier day!

    Details: Fentre dÁrpette pass is steep at the top and dangerous when still covered with winter snow. In 2017 there was only a light covering in late June, however, in 2018 there was still a heavy covering at this time which resulted in a number of accidents (including a fatality) due to ill-prepared hikers still attempting it. The local huts on either side receive daily reports from hikers checking and crossing these passes so ask them what the conditions are like when you are there. Microspikes are sufficient if there only some thin patches of winter snow left on the trail. If there is still a heavy cover of snow, only take this route if you have the skills and equipment to cross a steep mountain pass in these conditions. Leave plenty of time to turnaround and take the Bovine route If in doubt, take the Alp Bovine trail. From Chalet du Glacier, this alternative route adds ~6.5km (3.0mi) but has 800m (2,625ft) less total elevation change between Col de Balme and Champex-Lac

View from the high point on the Alp Bovine trail on the Walker’s Haute Route which is the alternative option to climbing over Fentre dÁrpette

View from the high point on the Alp Bovine trail on the Walker’s Haute Route which is the alternative option to climbing over Fentre dÁrpette

 
The views at Col Termin are the cherry on top after traversing the Sentier balcony trail along Val de Bagnes on the Walker’s Haute Route

The views at Col Termin are the cherry on top after traversing the Sentier balcony trail along Val de Bagnes on the Walker’s Haute Route

  • 4. Sentier Trail & Col Termin (Banana yellow)

    Reason for taking this route: Magnificent balcony trail with landscape views of Val de Bagnes and the Grand Combine massif

    Details: The trail climbs out of the ski area and onto a high balcony that traverses Val de Bagnes (Bagnes Valley). Hikers can enjoy the views of Le Chable and Sembracher disappearing behind them as they become fixated on the Grand Combine massif that dominates the landscape ahead. These open landscape valley views with snow-capped peaks in the background are highly recommended for all hikers of the Walker’s Haute Route. From Cabane du Mont Fort, taking this alternative route adds 3.75kms (2.25mi) with a little less total elevation change compared to taking the direct route over Col de la Chaux to Col du Louvie

 
The view from outside Cabane du Louvie on the Walker’s Haute Route

The view from outside Cabane du Louvie on the Walker’s Haute Route

  • 5. Cabane du Louvie (Pink Panther)

    Reason for taking this route: Accommodation required

    Details: For hikers that stayed in Cabane du Mont Fort and take the Col Termin route, it is possible to continue to Cabane de Prafleuri in one day given it is located 14.25km (8.75mi), however, those who stayed at Verbier or Le Chable a night at Cabane du Louvie will likely be required before venturing into the high alpine area of the Grand Desert. It is a beautiful remote hut situated on an alpine lake below Col Termin. Stopping here will increase your hiking distance by 4.75km (3mi) and 700m (2,800ft) of total elevation change to descend and climb back to the trail between Col Termin to Col de Louvie.

 
  • 6. GRANDE-DIXENCE (Purple Grapes)

    Reason for taking this route: Would like private accommodation and/or see a Swiss hydroelectric engineering masterpiece.

    Details: Grand-Dixence is located at the base of Lac Des Dix dam which is the tallest gravity dam in the world and the tallest dam in Europe. During summer, you can join a tour to learn about it and even catch a cable car from the top to the bottom for those interested in a hiking shortcut :)/ For those that would like private accommodation, there is a hotel here which is a alternative to staying in the dorm at Cabane de Prafleuri. From Cabane de Prafleuri, including a stop at Grand-Dixence adds 4km (2.5mi) and 325m (1,075ft) before rejoining the trail at Refuge La Barma

 
Cabane Des Dix overlooking the Cheilon Glacier on the Walker’s Haute Route

Cabane Des Dix overlooking the Cheilon Glacier on the Walker’s Haute Route

  • 7. Cabane Des Dix (Strawberry red)

    Reason for taking this route: Accommodation required and a trail highlight

    Details: Cabane Des Dix is the highest alpine hut on the Walker Haute Route at 2,928m (9,600ft). It is perched on a rocky mound overlooking the stunning Cheilon Glacier that you’ll get to cross on your way to Pas de Chevres. The cabane has beds for 109 and is known for serving up delicious hearty meals and cool tunes for their guests to enjoy. It is also a stop on the ski touring Haute Route route which is evident by the photos decorating the dining room walls celebrating past alpine adventurers who have made the journey. Taking the route via Cabane Des Dix instead of hiking direct to Col de Riedmatten/Pas de Chevres adds 1.25km (0.75mi) and 300m (975ft) of elevation change. For those planning to stay at Cabane de Louvie, it will be 23km (14.25mi) to Cabane Des Dix which is a very challenging day for even fit and experienced hikers given most of the trail is above 2,500m (8,200ft). For those planning to stay at Cabane de Prafleuri, the hike to Cabane Des Dix is 11.5km (7.25mi) which can either be an enjoyable shorter day on the remote backcountry trails, or the perfect lunch stop before continuing a further 7.25km (4.5mi) to Arolla and beyond.

 
Cabane de Moiry has a dining room with a glass facade that allows guests to enjoy views of Glacier de Moiry throughout their stay

Cabane de Moiry has a dining room with a glass facade that allows guests to enjoy views of Glacier de Moiry throughout their stay

  • 8. Cabane de Moiry (Kale Green)

    Reason for taking this route: A trail highlight

    Details: Cabane de Moiry is situated directly beside the amazing Moiry glacier. In 2010, a new building was installed which includes 8 rooms with only 4 beds in each (extra charge) and a dining with a magnificent glass facade that provides sweeping views of Moiry Glacier. The 90-year-old dormitory also underwent a renovation. It is truly a special experience to sit in the comfort of the dining room and watch dusk fall on the glacier as you catch up with fellow hikers over dinner, then see the first light breaking on it as you re-fuel at breakfast. This is a very popular hut for overnight visitors of the glacier and mountaineers who are summiting nearby peaks so it is important to reserve a bed ahead of time, especially on weekends. From La Sage, choosing to take the Cabane de Moiry alternative route adds ~7.25km (4.5mi) and 1,575m (5,175ft) total elevation change before rejoining the shortest route at Barrage de Moiry.

 
  • 9. GRIMENTZ (Mauve wildflowers)

    Reason for taking this route: Require accommodation

    Details: From Barraige de Moiry, the next location on the shortest route with accommodation in Zinal. If coming direct from La Sage, it requires hikers to complete 21.5km (13.25mi) with 3,694m (12,125ft) of total elevation change before reaching Zinal. While there is a Gondola that lets hikers take a shortcut to Zinal, an alternative is hiking to Grimentz from Barraige de Moiry which is 1.75km (1.1mi) shorter with 1,125m (3,700ft) less elevation change. If you take this route and continue over Meidpass, it ends up being a just over 1km (0.6mi) longer than the shortest route by the time you re-join the trail at Gruben. For those that have stayed at Cabane de Moiry, taking the direct route to Zinal is just under 16km (10mi) which means hikers are unlikely to need a stop at Grimentz

 
  • 10. Hotel Weisshorn (Pumpkin orange)

    Reason for taking this route: A trail highlight

    Details: Located above St-Luc at an altitude of 2337m (7650ft), the Hôtel Weisshorn has been in service for over 130 years. It is perched in isolation with views of the Rhone Valley and the Bernese Alps that come alive at sunset. It is a luxury hotel that only offers single and double rooms starting at 155 Swiss Francs per person including half board. Choosing this alternative route adds an extra 5km (3mi) and 350m (1,150ft) elevation change before re-joining the shortest route at Gruben. Despite being a worthy stop, the challenge to include Hotel Weisshorn will be evident on the following day. Gruben lies 10.5km (6.5mi) away which will be too short for most itineraries, however, the next accommodation option on the Walker’s Haute Route is St Niklaus which is too far for most at a further 17km (10.5mi) which includes another mountain pass too. For those wishing to include Hôtel Weisshorn, it is recommended to add as an additional day by breaking the day that you travel between Zinal and Gruben into two. The shorter hiking days will ensure you have an opportunity to enjoy this luxury experience.

 
  • 11. Cabane BelLa Tola (lime green)

    Reason for taking this route: A trail highlight

    Details: Cabane Bella Tola was built in 1962 and renovated in 2000 to include all the modern comforts such as showers and wifi. It has 9 dormitories with between 6 and 16 beds in each and is priced in the same range as other alpine huts along the Walker’s Haute Route. The Cabane has magnificent views back up Val de Zinal which treats hikers to see the Matterhorn in the far distance for the first time. Similar to Hôtel Weisshorn, the main challenge with including Cabane Bella Tola in your hiking itinerary is what you decide to do the following day. Cabane Bella Tola is located an achievable 4.75km (3mi) past Hôtel Weisshorn, however, the main challenge with including it in your hiking itinerary is what you decide to do the following day. Gruben is ~10km (6mi) away and St Niklaus is ~26km (16mi) which will make it too short or long for most hiking to a fixed plan. Similar to above, it is recommended that hikers who want to stay at Cabane Bella Tola add an additional day by breaking the stage that you travel between Zinal and Gruben into two.

 
  • 12. GRACHEN (ferrari red)

    Reason for taking this route: Require accommodation

    Details: Given St Niklaus only has one hotel and Gasenried does not have any accommodation available, most hikers will choose to stay in Grachen that has a range of accommodation options for all budgets. For those hikers planning to complete the Europaweg trail, staying at Grachen adds 2.75km (1.75mi) compared to going direct between St Niklaus and Gasenried. For those planning to hike along the valley trail to Zermatt, you can either hike the 4.75km (3mi) trail there and back, or, catch the public bus that runs at least once an hour

 
Europaweg trail leads hikers on the Walker’s Haute Route into Zermatt along the balcony trail that provides landscape views of the Matterhorn and other mountains lining the Mattertal Valley.

Europaweg trail leads hikers on the Walker’s Haute Route into Zermatt along the balcony trail that provides landscape views of the Matterhorn and other mountains lining the Mattertal Valley.

  • 13. Europaweg Trail (Cabbage purple)

    Reason for taking this route: A trail highlight

    Details: The Europaweg trail between Grächen and Zermatt is considered to be one of the most beautiful 2-day hikes in the Alps. The views along this mountain panorama include the Weisshorn and Matterhorn are famous around the world. This high balcony trail prone to rockfalls and despite trail associations best efforts to erect various safety and defence structures along the trail, sections are sometimes closed which will require hikers descend into the valley to continue their journey to Zermatt. In 2017, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world was installed on the Europaweg trail. The bridge is 494 m long and 85 m above the chasm below at its highest point making it a true highlight for those completing the Walker’s Haute Route hike. Including the Europaweg section adds ~17.75km (11mi) and over 3,700m (12,150ft) of total elevation change due to the trail constantly undulating along the balcony. It is recommended that hikers include the Europaweg trail plan to stay a night at either the Europa Hut or Europaweghut which are roughly halfway, however, be sure to book ahead of time as this section of the trail is very popular.



ready to Start Planning your own Walker’s Haute Route Hike?

With all the different route options available, it can be difficult to decide which is the best itinerary for you. Not to mention be confident with your directions, given the Walker's Haute Route is not marked on any of the trail signs on the entire journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. My name is Brendan and I experienced these challenges when preparing and hiking the Walker’s Haute Route for the first time in 2017. To help other Haute Route hikers, I decided to do something about it. Over the last two years, I’ve collected all the trail details and used them to create products for self-guided Haute Route hikers so they are in control of planning their epic trip with confidence and feel well supported on the trail. The result is a range of self-guided itineraries, accompanying mobile maps and portal that lets hikers review/book accommodation and services direct with local providers, offering lots of options to meet different budgets and needs.

 

SELF-GUIDED HIKING ITINERARIES

Self-guided hiking is the best way to complete the Walker’s Haute Route because it allows for independence, and freedom to move at your own pace. It also saves you a lot of money, with guided hiking companies charging upwards of £2,500 / $3,500.

Most guidebooks provide a 14-day itinerary, however, this is not suitable for fit, experienced hikers or those with time constraints that would like to complete this trail in fewer days.

Since August 2018, I’ve worked with Haute Route hikers from all over the world to create more than 30 different itineraries variations based on their hiking style, number of days and accommodation preferences and trail highlights. There are 7 main itineraries that over 70% of hikers have been requesting which can be downloaded instantly. If none of these meet your needs, I can create you a personalised itinerary just for you and your hiking party.

Walker’s Haute Route Map for mobile phone

Walker’s HAUTE ROUTE MAPS

The Walker’s Haute Route is not marked on any trail signs along the entire journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. Most guidebooks only provide high-level sketches, and if you purchase additional topographical maps they don't highlight which trail to take or where you currently are on the trail.

Over the last two years, I’ve record over 5,000 GPS coordinates along the trail, including key point of interest such as water refill and bathroom locations. This information has been is used to create a mobile map aligned to each self-guided itinerary that can be used on any Apple and Android smartphone device.


HAUTE ROUTE Planning Portal

This portal was created based on feedback from hikers who wanted help on understanding what their accommodation and service options were for their itinerary. It’s now become the central planning space for hikers that have committed to self-guiding the Haute Route with all the information you need before, during and after your hike on accommodation, transport, baggage transfer options, etc. It offers lots of options to cater to the preferences of first-time multi-day hikers, those doing the trip on a shoestring, those looking for a little more luxury and those going as part of a group. I’ve been thrilled with the response so far, especially from experienced multi-day hikers that have been through the time-consuming planning process for similar multi-day trips before!

The portal is tailored to each itinerary so start by selecting which one best meets your preferences to gain access now.


I received more than enough information for us to plan the route ourselves rather than using a private company, which will save us so much money on the trip! Our route was tailored to us and we were given so many helpful tips (where to stay, how to book hotels, what to bring, offline maps etc).
— Jonah, USA