The walker's Haute Route - Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn
|Location||France and Switzerland|
|Grades||Strenuous, Strenuous Plus|
|Accommodations||Hotels, Mountain Hut|
Aug 26, 2023 - Sep 06, 2023
|Single Supp Cost||
The Haute Route was established almost a hundred years ago as a high mountaineering route that linked together two of Europe’s premier mountaineering centers, Chamonix and Zermatt. It was then developed into a ski route and, more recently, a high-level alpine hiking route.
Few long-distance hikes offer the variety and grandeur of landscape as does the Walker's Haute Route. Beginning in Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak, the Haute Route winds its way through the Swiss canton of Valais. Taking in what is thought to be the greatest collection of four-thousand-meter peaks in all the Alps, it culminates at the foot of the Matterhorn in Zermatt. As we leave Mont Blanc behind us, we will become familiar with other equally-impressive peaks such as the Grand Combin, Mont Blanc de Cheilon, Pigne d’Arolla, Dent Blanche, and the Weisshorn. This hike is nothing short of fantastic!
As with all of Europe’s long-distance footpaths, this route offers the rewarding experience of traveling by foot. We will hike beneath imposing peaks and glaciers of the Swiss Alps, wander through alpine meadows and larch forests, cross high, barren passes and descend into lush green valleys. We’ll picnic beside cool mountain lakes, stay in remote mountain huts, visit bustling Swiss villages, and relax in the tranquility of isolated old-world hamlets. Join us for this classic hike through the heart of the Swiss Alps on the Walker's Haute Route.
Day 1: Arrive in Switzerland. Independent travel to Chamonix, France. Chamonix is home to a dazzling array of many of the highest peaks in the Alps including Mont Blanc (15,866'). Overnight in a very comfortable 5-star hotel. Trip orientation and welcome dinner. There are several options for travel to Chamonix.
Day 2: Chamonix to Trient and transfer to Champex: From the end of the Chamonix Valley, we begin our journey ascending to the Col de la Balme (7,230′). Magnificent views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks and glaciers will grace us as we enjoy the first day of our hike ending in the quiet hamlet of Trient. We have a short transfer to the lakeside village of Champex. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 3: Champex to Cabane Louvie: Morning transfer from Champex Lac to the gondola in Verbier. From Verbier, we take the gondola to gain easy elevation to Ruinettes from where we begin our hike to Cabane Louvie, where we spend the night. This narrow trail leads us close by several clusters of chamois and bouquetin. In the distance rise the stunning Grand Combin (14,149′), draped with its numerous glaciers, and the Mont Blanc Massif. Cabane de Louvie is situated on a beautiful alpine lake. The accommodations are shared bunkrooms and shared facilities. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 4: Louvie to Hotel du Barrage: This is a day of great variety. The route rises to a high belvedere with expansive views of the Val de Bagnes and the Grand Combin before reaching the Col Louvie at 9,640′. From Louvie we traverse a landscape of barren rock with views of massive, remote mountains including the Rosablanche (11,000′), tumbling moraines, and drying glaciers before ascending to Col de Prafleuri (9,785′), and then north to the Barrage des Dix and the Hotel du Barrage situated near this immense dam. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 5: Hotel du Barrage to Evolene: This is a wonderful and varied day: a leisurely start in the morning, a steep climb through the forest, a stop at a mountain restaurant or picnic spot, a wonderful hike on the high belvedere on a wide track with fantastic views of the Rhone Valley and the Matterhorn.
From the Hotel du Barrage we catch the 10:30 bus for the short trip north to Leteygeon from where we begin a steep climb to Mandelon, a wonderful stop for lunch. From Mandelon the track winds its way around the nose of the mountainside offering immense views of the Swiss Rhone Valley, and the Berner Oberland to the north and the distant Matterhorn in the south. We take the chairlift to the valley and walk to Evolene. Dinner is on your own. Breakfast included.
Day 6: Rest Day in Evolene: There are many ways to spend your day in this pretty village. Walking, hiking, sitting at a café... The choice is yours. Breakfast included. Dinner is not included.
Day 7: Evolene to Cabane de Moiry: This is a strenuous plus hike with significant elevation gain. Short transfer to La Sage, where we begin our hike to the remote Col de Tsate. The trail climbs steeply, passing by farms and rugged, stark landscape all the way to the pass. The downhill trek leads to the south end of Lac de Moiry. We now climb on the rugged, rocky trail to the Cabane de Moiry. Cabane de Moiry is spectacularly perched overlooking the tumbling Moiry Glacier. The cabane is nothing short of astonishing, with enormous glass windows allowing views of the glacier below and the rising peaks above. Bunkrooms and shared facilities. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 8: Cabane de Moiry to Zinal: Descending from Cabane de Moiry, we join the trail on the east side of Lac de Moiry. This trail, high above Lac de Moiry leads to the Col Sorebois. We'll have a wonderful morning hike as the sun rises, shining on the mountain peaks to the west. A 30-minute hike from the col leads to the gondola station. We have a quick trip via gondola to Zinal. Overnight in a hotel with private bathrooms. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 9: Zinal to Gruben: We begin with a bus transfer from Zinal to the small village to St. Luc followed by a funicular ride to Tignousa. From Tignousa the route leads to the Meidpass (9,207'). This is a wonderful hike and has an entirely different feel than the other hikes. The descent to the hamlet of Gruben in the Turtmanntal is like a hike into the past. Remote and relatively undisturbed, this valley with its one hiker’s hotel affords a beautiful and restful stopover. Private rooms, triples, and twins with shared facilities. Dinner and breakfast included. This is a hiker’s hotel, simple and basic.
Day 10: Gruben to St. Niklaus and train to Zermatt: Today we cross the last pass of the Haute Route, the Augstbordpass. During the Middle Ages the Augstbordpass was an important trading route between the Berner Oberland and Italy. One of the finest stages of the route, today’s hike leads through woodlands, pastures, and stony wilderness offering spectacular views of high mountain peaks including the Dom and the Weisshorn. Today’s hike is not as arduous as the elevation gain and loss might suggest. Our hiking day will end in St. Niklaus from where we will transfer by train to Zermatt. We will arrive at our hotel late in the afternoon about 5:00 pm. Dinner is not included tonight. Breakfast included.
Day 11: Free day to explore Zermatt: Prior to our farewell dinner you will have a full day to explore Zermatt. While it can be busy, there are quiet places to hike or relax. Farewell dinner.
Day 12: Depart Zermatt: Individual departure from Zermatt. Please allow for travel time when making plans. The earliest train departs Zermatt at 5:40 am, arriving the Geneva and Zurich Airports at about 9:45 and 9:20, respectively. Please plan flight times accordingly.
If you would like to spend extra nights in Chamonix or Zermatt, please let us know when you book your trip and we will try to make reservations at the same hotel.
If you wish to have your own room, there is a single supplement charge. However, single rooms are not available at the cabanes – Louvie, Moiry - or at the hiker’s hotels at Trient or Gruben.
If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If a roommate is not available a “forced single" supplement rate of $400 will apply.
Airfare, travel to Chamonix, lunches, 3 dinners, individual transfers from Zermatt, extra nights in Chamonix or Zermatt, optional excursions, unexpected or unplanned transfers, extra luggage transfer costs, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, insurance, tips to guides/leaders, items of a personal nature.
This hike is not vehicle supported. You will need to carry a moderate-sized pack with all the clothing and gear you will need for the duration of the hike. (See our sample packing list.) With advances in synthetic clothing and other travel gear, it’s possible to keep your pack weight less than 20 lbs., including lunch and water. Any extra luggage or belongings not needed on the hike will be in Zermatt when we arrive.
Hotels: In Chamonix, Champex, Evolene, Hotel du Barrage, and Zermatt, we stay at comfortable hotels with private baths.
Hikers’ Hotels or hostels: We spend two nights in hiker’s hotels or hostels, Trient and Gruben. They offer private double/twin rooms with shared facilities. These hiker’s hotels offer simple, though comfortable accommodations.
Refuges or Cabanes: Two nights are spent in refuges or cabanes: Louvie and Moiry. They are situated high in the mountains. Each has its own charm, unique character, and spectacular view. Louvie and Moiry are comfortable cabanes. They have bunk rooms called dortoirs with 15 – 20 bunks per room, though Moiry has smaller bunk rooms with 4 – 6 bunks. There are blankets and pillows on each bed. There are shared, basic washing facilities including showers. These are wonderful places.
Breakfasts and dinners are served at the hotels or refuges and lunches are picnic style along the trail.
Geneva is the closest airport to Chamonix. We have detailed information regarding travel to Chamonix.
Day 1 in Chamonix.
The hotel in Zermatt the last morning. From Zermatt, it will take about 3 1/2 hours to reach either the Geneva or Zurich Airports. The earliest train departs Zermatt at 5:40 am arriving in Geneva or Zurich at about 9:30 or 9:15 respectively. Depending on your flight times it may be necessary to plan an extra night in either of these cities.
Our Haute Route is one of Europe's great classic long-distance routes, traversing some of the most spectacular sections of the French and Swiss Alps. This a great trip for strong hikers who have always dreamed of hiking hut-to-hut and village-to-village between two of the Alps most iconic mountain peaks, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. A challenging and varied route including many passes over 9,000′, this is an authentic alpine experience with accommodations include comfortable hotels as well as high mountain huts (cabanes).
If you would like to register or would like to receive more information, including a detailed itinerary (including elevation gains, loss, and distance), please contact us. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share their insights into this guided Hiking the Haute Route experience.
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 75 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment and no later than 30 days prior to your trip start, you will receive trip rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.