Starting the Haute Route
Hiking down to Trient, Haute Route
Afternoon snack at Bovine, Haute Route
Cabane Louvie, Haute Route
Hiking the Haute Route
Haute Route Hikers
Grimentz, Haute Route
Approaching Zermatt, Haute Route

Self-Guided Hiker's Haute Route

Chamonix to Zermatt

Trip Details

Location France and Switzerland
Length 12 days
Grades Strenuous, Strenuous Plus
Accommodations Hotels, Mountain Huts
Group size 1 - 12+
Jul 05, 2023 - Sep 15, 2023
Jul 05, 2024 - Sep 15, 2024
Land Cost
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. Incorporating 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 you need for the duration of the trip (it is possible to send extra bags to Zermatt), you hike beneath imposing peaks and glaciers of the Swiss Alps, wander through alpine meadows and larch forests, across high, barren passes and descend into lush green valleys. You'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 and strenuous plus route crossing eleven passes, many over 9,000′. While there will be some ambitious days, there will also be leisurely days. We have tried to incorporate as little alternative transportation as possible and have used it only when necessary to allow for a smoother day. The Hiker's Haute Route is a classic hike through the heart of the Swiss Alps.


Show itinerary

Additional Information


  • General consulting regarding hiking dates and abilities
  • Travel information and suggestions
  • Detailed Swiss Topo maps covering the route
  • Detailed trail notes – we keep our notes updated and as accurate as possible
  • Additional information covering various aspects of your trip (i.e., lunches, laundry, water, refuge routines, alternate transportation, etc.)
  • All overnight accommodations, which include breakfasts and most dinners (hotels with private baths as described in itinerary, other overnight accommodations may vary)
  • All private taxi transfers, if any, as detailed in the final itinerary

The above may change, depending your final confirmed itinerary.


Airfare, lunches, any transfers or excursions on trains, lifts, buses, taxis, luggage transfer, Swiss Travel Passes, extra charges due to changes in itinerary, items not on set dinner menu, some dinners as described in the final confirmed itinerary, beverages (except what is served at breakfast), insurance, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, excess baggage charge, medical expenses, evacuation costs, insurance, passport fees, etc.). This may change depending on your final confirmed itinerary.


Switzerland has a wonderfully extensive, organized and efficient public transportation system. There are any number of passes available through the Swiss Rail service that can help economize on your travel within Switzerland, as well as help make your travel go more smoothly. Passes can allow for reduced fares on most, but not all, trains, buses, lifts, and ferries as well as on transfers on unaccompanied luggage.

For more information on how your self-guided trip might benefit from a Swiss pass, please contact us or you may also like to visit My Switzerland and Swiss Rail.


This trip is not luggage supported. You will be carrying a pack with all you need for the duration of the trip. We provide a detailed packing list, however, plan on carrying a (roughly) 15-18 pound pack. (See our Sample Packing List.) With advances in synthetic clothing and other travel gear, it’s possible to keep your pack weight under 20 lbs., including lunch and water.

Any extra luggage you will not need, if you have any, can be sent to Zermatt to meet you at the end of your hike. There are several ways to transfer your extra bags to Zermatt, taxi, train from the Geneva or Zurich Airport Rail stations or mail. All options are detailed in final information. Luggage transfer costs are not included in the cost of the trip.


The accommodations on the Hiker’s Haute Route vary from comfortable 3-star hotels to rustic mountain cabanes. Your trip may or may not include the following depending on your final confirmed itinerary. The atmosphere is friendly and jovial as hikers from many countries gather to spend the night. We believe that staying in the cabanes and small hotels offers a wonderful opportunity to meet hikers from other parts of the world, experience something new and wonderful, and take part in the simple tradition of the European style of hiking hut-to-hut.

Hotels: Hotels with private baths included Chamonix, Champex, Evolene, Grimentz, Zinal, Grachen and Zermatt. These hotels are comfortable and welcoming.

Hikers’ Hotels or hostels: The hiker’s hotels/hostels offer simple and basic, though comfortable accommodations. They have private double, triple or quad rooms with shared facilities.

Cabanes or Refuges: They are high mountain huts and have shared bunkrooms, called dortoirs, complete with blankets and pillows. The shared facilities include washing and bathroom areas, most have showers.

Meals: Breakfasts are served each morning at the hotels, hiker’s hotels and cabanes. Lunches are picnic style on the trail. Dinners are served at most hotels, hiker’s hotels and cabanes.


The nearest airport to the starting point is Geneva. The nearest airport to the ending point is Zurich. It's about a 4-hour train trip from Zermatt to either the Geneva or Zurich Airport. The first train departs Zermatt at about 5:30 am. Please allow for travel time when making plans.


This route normally starts in Chamonix; however, if you are short on time there are many other logical places to start this hike. Call us with your travel timeframe and we can come up with some ideas.


Normally this route ends in Zermatt; however, you can end the hike in other Swiss villages.


Our Haute Route is a great trip for strong, able 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.


We are a small company. As founders, we take part in every aspect of the business, from designing our trips, to speaking directly with prospective hikers, to guiding. We are intimately familiar with our trip areas, the hotel and hut owners and service providers with whom we work. At the end of a day of hiking on one of our self-guided itineraries, whether you are ending your day at a mountain hut or village hotel, you will be greeted with the same anticipation and welcome as if we were arriving along with you. We are dedicated to providing personal attention and crafting a quality experience, at good value, that is just right for you.


For more information, a more-detailed itinerary that includes elevation gains, loss, and distance, or to register, please contact us. We're happy to share a list of past participants willing to share insights into this self-guided Hiking the Haute Route experience.

Reserving This Trip

A non-refundable 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.

Before registering for this, please read our Terms and Conditions in their entirety and then refer to our Self-Guided Trips page for specific information regarding the process.

The balance is due 90 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, 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.

Reserve Your Spot
Self-Guided Hiker's Haute Route map click map to zoom

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Tom D. and Penny D., NH