||France and Switzerland
||Strenuous, Strenuous Plus
||Hotel, Mountain Hut
Aug 9, 2019 - Aug 20, 2019
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
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 mountain hike.
Few long distance hikes offer the variety and grandeur of landscape as this 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. While Mont Blanc will remain in view for much of the hike, we will also 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 experience of traveling by foot. Carrying everything we will need for the duration of the trip (extra bags sent ahead to Zermatt), we will hike beneath imposing peaks and glaciers of the Swiss Alps, wander though 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.
This is a strenuous route crossing eleven passes, many over 9,000 feet. While there will be some ambitious days, there will also be leisurely days. We’ve tried to incorporate as little alternative transportation as possible and have used it only when necessary to allow for a smoother day. Join us for this classic hike through the heart of the Swiss Alps. It is a wonderful journey!
Since 1987, Distant Journeys has been guiding hiking adventures in the Alps. We pride ourselves on attention to detail, personalized service and safety. This is a great hike and we encourage you to speak with our past participants. They will give you honest insight to our Haute Route.
Day 1: We rendezvous at the Geneva Airport at 1:00 pm for a group transfer to our hotel in Chamonix, France. This transfer is included in the cost of the trip. Welcome dinner and orientation.
Day 2: Chamonix to Trient: 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. Our day will end in the quiet hamlet of Trient.
Day 3: Trient to Champex: Our hike takes us from Trient to the high alpine pastures of Bovine with expansive views of the Rhone Valley. Our hike will conclude in the picturesque lakeside village of Champex and our wonderful hotel. All rooms with private bathrooms. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 4: 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.
Day 5: Cabane Louvie to Cabane Prafleuri: 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′), our final col, and on to the Cabane Prafleuri for the night.
Day 6: Cabane Prafleuri to Arolla: Today is a wonderful hike with some “easy” sections interspersed with very steep, rugged and challenging trails. From Cabane Prafleuri we hike along Lac des Dix, across the decaying Glacier of Cheilon and over the Pas Chevres by way of the “ladders” route and to Arolla.
Enroute there are great views of the great triangular mass of Mont Blanc de Cheilon and the green pastures of the Val des Dix bordering the huge five-kilometer lake. We may even get our first glimpse of the Matterhorn off in the distance. This is a stunning hike.
Once over the pass the route soon becomes less demanding as it parallels a grassy moraine carved out by the long Tsijiore glacier. The hike concludes in the small village of Arolla. Overnight in a hotel with private bathrooms. This is a classic older style hotel, with simple rooms. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 7: Arolla to Evolene: A short but pretty day leads down the valley to Les Hauderes to Evolene. The last 2 miles are alongside the very pretty stream, La Borgne. Evolene is situated in a wide-open basin offering plenty of sun and open green space. Overnight in a hotel with private bathrooms. This is a classic older style hotel, with its simple rooms is like stepping back in time. The family is friendly and they have been welcoming Distant Journeys hikers for over 25 years. Dinner on your own, breakfast included. The small village of Evolene is a classic Valasian village with old farmhouses, called mazots, narrow lanes and a pretty main street with small shops and restaurants.
• Extra luggage from Chamonix will be at the hotel in Evolene when we arrive. You can swap items from your pack. Luggage will then be transferred to our hotel in Zermatt.
Day 8: Evolene to Cabane de Moiry: Short transfer to La Sage where we begin our hike to the remote Col de Tsate. This spectacular route is well worth the effort. The trail climbs steeply, passing by farms and rugged, stark landscape all the way to the pass. The downhill leads to the south end of Lac de Moiry. At this point 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 is enormous glass windows allowing views of the glacier below and the rising peaks. Dinner and breakfast included. Bunkrooms and shared facilities. This is a strenuous plus hike with significant elevation gain.
Day 9: 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. This a wonderful morning hike as the sun rises, shining on the mountain peaks to the west. A 45-minute hike from the col leads to the cable car station from where we take the cable to the pretty village of Zinal. Overnight in a hotel with private bathrooms. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 10: Zinal to Gruben: From Zinal we hike to Gruben via the Meiden Pass or the more challenging Col Forcletta. The weather will dictate which option we select.
The most challenging and longest route departs right from Zinal and leads over the Col Forcletta. The initial climb is steep, long and not for the faint hearted; however, this is a magnificent hike worthy of extra efforts. Eventually we reach the Col Forcletta and begin the long descent to Gruben.
The other option, shorter and less strenuous but still magnificent, begins 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 11: Gruben to Zermatt: Today we cross the last pass of the Haute Route, the Augstbordpass. During the middle ages, this was an important trading route from the Rhone Valley to Italy. It is a varied route through woodlands, pastures and stony wilderness and offers stunning views of the high mountain peaks including Balfrin, Nadelhorn, Lenzspitzen, Dom and Taeschhorn to the east and the Bruggenhorn, Bishorn and Weisshorn to the south. To the north and well across the Rhone Valley the Bietschhorn and the Breithorn stand tall and massive each rising well over 12,000′. The day will end in the village of St. Niklaus from where we board the train to Zermatt. We arrive Zermatt later in the afternoon. Celebration dinner and breakfast included.
Day 12: Individual departure from Zermatt. Please allow for travel time when making plans. The earliest train departs Zermatt at 5:40 am arriving the Geneva or Zurich Airports at about 9:45 and 9:20 respectively. Please plan flight times accordingly.
If you would like to spend an extra night(s) in Chamonix or Zermatt please let us know when you book your trip and we will make reservations at the same hotel.
Singles: If you wish to have your own room there is a single supplement charge. However, single rooms are not available at the cabanes – Louvie, Prafleuri, Moiry – or at the hiker’s hotels at Trient or Gruben. Please let us know if you would like a single at the time of registration. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If there is no one with whom you can share, we will not charge you extra for this “forced” single during the hike.
- All accommodations
- Group transfer from the Geneva Airport on day 1
- All breakfasts
- All dinners except 1
- All group transfers on ski lifts, buses and trains as described in the itinerary
- Luggage transfer for 1 bag per participant to Zermatt
- Great hiking and memories!
Air fare, lunches, 1 dinner, 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 personal nature. (phone calls, laundry, postage, excess baggage charge, passport fees, etc.).
This hike is not vehicle supported. You will need to carry a moderate sized pack with only the clothing and accessories you will need for the duration of 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.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FACILITIES
Hotels: In Chamonix, Champex, Evolene, Grimentz 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.
Cabanes or Refuges: Louvie, Prafleuri and Dix . They are high mountain huts and have shared bunkrooms, called dortoirs. Each bunk has blankets and pillows. The shared facilities include washing and bathroom areas. All have hot showers except Cabane des Dix which has a cold water outdoor shower! The cabanes are rustic, but wonderful. You should be prepared to share bunk rooms with other hikers.
Breakfasts and dinners are served at the hotels or refuges and lunches are picnic style along the trail.
It is easiest to fly to Geneva where we will rendezvous at 1:00 pm on the first day for transfer to our hotel in Chamonix. This is included in the cost of the trip. It is possible to fly to Zurich or Paris, be sure to allow for travel time.
Day 1 at 1:00 pm at the Geneva Airport.
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.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS TRIP?
Our Haute Route is a great trip for strong hikers looking for a fantastic long distant route. It is a challenging and varied route including many passes over 9,000′. The accommodations include hotels as well as high mountain cabanes.
WHY TRAVEL WITH DISTANT JOURNEY?
The founders and staff plan the trips, talk to prospective hikers on the phone carefully answering any questions or concerns. We want you to take a trip with us that is suited to you. All this allows for flexibility, value, personal attention and safety. We are very proud of our trips and our high return rate of hikers. Please ask us for a list of past participants as they will give you honest insight to Distant Journeys.
If you would like register, would like to receive more information including a detailed itinerary (including elevation gains, loss and distance) and/or request a list of past participants please contact us and specify which trip.
Reserving a Trip
A deposit of $400 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 60 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 60 days prior to
departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit and registrations, 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, you will receive trip
rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.