Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Lac Champex
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Highlights

  • The Matterhorn coming into view as you reach Zermatt
  • Crossing 11 famous mountain passes, each with a panoramic view
  • Enjoying a relaxed picnic lunch in a wildflower filled meadow
  • Being part of the camaraderie on the Walker’s Haute Route
  • Wandering through the greatest collection of 4000m peaks in the Alps

Trek the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. Regularly voted as one of the world’s top walks the journey from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn on the Walker’s Haute Route is filled with breath-taking mountain panoramas, challenging mountain passes and Alpine scenes lifted straight from a storybook.

The Walker’s Haute Route is a variation of the original Haute Route following alpine trails below 3000m and is a non-technical although a demanding high level walk, which explores the best of the Pennine Alps between Chamonix and Zermatt.

DAY 1:
Arrive Chamonix

Your Walker’s Haute Route begins in Chamonix, the centre of mountaineering in the French Alps and always a hive of activity. If you arrive early you may wish to walk the first section of the route to Argentière or take the cable car up to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi with views over Mont Blanc and into France, Switzerland and Italy.
Chamonix is easily accessible via numerous shuttles, buses and trains from Geneva Airport.


Overnight: Chamonix Hotel


Optional walk Chamonix to Argentière: 9km, 2hrs, 214m ascent. 


DAY 2:
Argentière to Trient

After breakfast take the free shuttle bus to Argentière, where you begin your ascent to the Col de Balme, which marks the Swiss border and rewards with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc massif including the Mer de Glace, Trient and Argentière glaciers.
From the Col de Balme you descend into the Valley of Trient, which is pretty, green and pastoral. This part of the route is shared with the Tour de Mont Blanc.


Walk Argentière to Trient: 12km, 950m Ascent, 925m Descent, 5 – 5.5 Hours


Overnight: Trient Auberge (private room)


DAY 3:
Trient to Champex

Today you can look forward to a truly amazing day of walking over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2665m). It is a very demanding but rewarding climb parallel to the frozen cascades of the Glacier du Trient. The descent into the green meadows of the Val d’Arpette passes steams, mountain meadows and broad leaf woods. There is an easier variation via Alp Bovine in case of poor weather or for a gentler start to your trek.
Champex is a lakeside village filled with attractive chalets and colourful flower boxes.


Walk via Fenêtre d’Arpette: 14km, 1400m Ascent, 1200m Descent, 6.5—7.5 hours.


Walk via Alp Bovine: 16km, 930m ascent, 710m descent, 5.5 hours.


Overnight: Champex Hotel


DAY 4:
Champex to Le Châble

Leaving Champex the trail becomes as you leave the Tour du Mont Blanc. Your day begins with a gentle descent into the Orsiére Valley through small Swiss farming communities, such as Sembrancher, an attractive stone-walled village. This is an easy day ends at the valley capital of Le Châble.


Walk: 13km, 105m ascent, 750m descent, 3.5 - 4 hours


Overnight: Le Châble Hotel


DAY 5:
Le Châble to Cabane du Mont Fort

From Le Châble you can choose either a long ascent through forests and villages, bypassing Verbier to the superbly situated Cabane du Mont Fort.
Alternatively you can skip most of the ascent taking the télépherique to Les Ruinettes, which is only an hour’s walk from Cabane du Mont Fort. (if you plan to take the cable-car we suggest combining day 4&5).


Walk: 9km, 1640m ascent, 50m descent, 6-6.5 hours


Overnight: Cabane du Mont Fort


DAY 6:
Walk to Cabane du Prafleuri

Once you leave Mont Fort you are committed to two days of challenging trekking, which is consistently at a high level and can be affected by snow early in the season.
You can look forward to a varied and interesting day of waling in superb mountain scenery. The vast panoramas of the Combin Massif are a highlight as you cross the Col de Louvie and Col de Prafleuri to the refuge at Col de Prafleuri.


Walk: 14km, 900m Ascent, 750m Descent, 6-6.5 Hours.


Overnight: Cabane Prafleuri, Prafleuri


Please note: We reserve Cabane de Prafleuri in advance for our customers, however due to the hut’s policy, the stay must be paid for by cash upon arrival by the customer. 


DAY 7:
Cabane du Prafleuri to Arolla

Leaving the refuge and make your way up to the Col de Roux. The Val de Dix lies before you; green pasturelands and big mountains centred on the turquoise Lac Dix.
Mountain lovers will be in their element today as you cross two mountain passes and traverse some challenging sections en route to the narrow notch of Col de Riedmatten. From here descend into a valley of grassland where the route curves east and down into Arolla, a small mountaineering and walking centre.


Walk: 16km, 735m Ascent, 1350m Descent, 6.5 Hours


Overnight: Arolla Hotel


DAY 8:
Arolla to Les Haudères/La Sage

After a couple of tough mountain days you can look forward to an easier day of valley walking. You walk by way of Lac Bleu with exquisite views when you take a backward glance. Pass the tiny hamlet of Louché before the path forks and you descend into La Gouille. From here take a wooded path to Les Haudères, an unspoilt Valsaisian village. A further hour and 200m as ascent brings you to the hamlet of La Sage.


Walk: 10km, 215m Ascent, 550m Descent, 4 Hours


Overnight: La Sage (or Les Haudères) Hotel



DAY 9:
La Sage to Barrage de Moiry/Grimentz

Here we have chosen to take the alternative route over the Col du Torrent to the Barrage de Moiry and gorgeous village of Grimentz. The views on the way up to the col are particularly lovely. When you reach the dam you can either walk or take the bus down to Grimentz.


Walk: 10km, 1250m ascent, 670m descent, 5 hours


Overnight: Grimentz Hotel


ALTERNATIVE DAY 9:
La Sage to Cabane de Moiry


If you would prefer to stick to the “official route” of the Walkers Haute Route then your route heads up and over the Col du Tsate to the spectacularly located Cabane de Moiry, which enjoys a head on view of the Moiry icefall. Although a tougher walk this alternative is a better option for purists who want to spend more time in the high mountains.


Walk: 10km, 1617m ascent, 460m descent, 5 - 5.5hrs


Overnight: Cabane de Moiry (Dormitory)


DAY 10:
Barrage de Moiry/Grimentz to Zinal

You have two choices today. Either catch the bus back up to the Barrage de Moiry to re-join the Haute Route and climb over the Col de Sorebois before descending into Zinal. (cable car available) Alternatively I would recommend following the route of the Tour d’ Val de Anniviers, which contours through the forested slopes of the Corne de Sorebois to Zinal.


Walk: 8km, 600m ascent, 1200m descent, 4 - 4.5hours


Overnight: Zinal Hotel


ALTERNATIVE DAY 10:
Cabane de Moiry to Zinal


Leaving the high alpine splendour surrounding Cabane de Moiry the trail contours through high alpine meadows above the blue green waters of the Barrage de Moiry before crossing the Col de Sorebois and descending steeply to Zinal. The final steep descent can be avoided using a cable car.


Walk: 14km, 5 - 5.5 hours, 465m ascent, 1610m descent.


Overnight: Zinal Hotel


DAY 11:
Zinal to Gruben


Your day begins by climbing through forests and alpine meadows to Col de Forcletta before descending into the Turmanntal and to the hamlet of Gruben.


Walk: 14km, 1200m ascent, 1050m descent, 5.5-6 Hours.


Overnight: Gruben Hotel


DAY 12:
Gruben to St Niklaus


Your day begins with a climb to cross the Augustbordpass, which links the Turmanntal with the Mattertal and has been used since the Middle Ages as a trading route.
The climb is worth the effort as this is the last major pass on the Haute Route and the views are as spectacular as ever. The descent brings you to Jurgen, a tiny traditional hamlet of wooden chalets clinging to the mountainside above St Niklaus. Purists can tackle the steep descent to St Niklaus but most will opt for the cable car.


Walk: 16km, 1100m ascent, 1800m descent (1000m if taking the cable car), 6.5 - 7 hours.


Overnight: St Niklaus or Gasenreid


DAY 13: Gasenreid to Europa Hut

For your final two days of walking on the Haute Route you follow the Europaweg, a high level mountain route to Zermatt.
The climbs are steep and the going can be tough and exposed. But with views of the Bernese Alps and the Grosser Aletschgeltscher, Pass Mattsand, Herbruggen and Breitmatten it’s a fitting end to the Haute Route. 

The Europaweg can be unsafe in poor weather in which case there is a low level alternative on the valley floor. If you think you would prefer not to take on the Europaweg, contact us for an alternative itinerary.


Walk: 14km, 1131m ascent, 570m descent, 5.5 - 6.5 hours.


Overnight: Europa Hut


DAY 14: Europa Hut to Zermatt

From Randa make your way to Tasch and join the Europaweg at 1930m. This high balcony path follows the Zermatt valley and it is here where you finally have a magnificent view of the Matterhorn and Zermatt, your final destination. You will also be walking across the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, the longest hanging bridge in the world at just under half a kilometer in length!
Located at the foot of the Matterhorn Zermatt is one of the great mountaineering and winter sports centres in the Alps. A beautifully preserved old town, mountain railways, cable cars and wonderful walking will tempt you to spend a few more days.


Walk: 18km, 348m ascent, 962m descent, 6.5 - 7.5 hours.

Overnight: Zermatt

DAY 15: Onward Travel


Everything about car free Zermatt is a delight. Wander the narrow streets of the old town, walk up to the village of Zmutt for close up views of the Matterhorn or take the cable car to the glacier at Kleine Matterhorn. If time permits, we recommend taking an extra night or two in Zermatt. If you are not staying longer in Zermatt you can connect by train to Geneva(4h00) and Zurich (3h30).




Accommodation


14 nights* accommodation are included in your trip. 9 Nights in 2 and 3 star hotels, 2 nights in auberges (private rooms) 3 nights in mountain refuges (dorms).
We carefully select small friendly establishments that offer great value, food and welcomes.


*Please note: we reserve Cabane de Prafleuri in advance for our customers, however due to the hut's strict policy, the stay must be paid for by cash upon arrival by the customer.  


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms


This trip is not available to solo walkers. Single rooms are available on 11 nights if you require single rooms in your party, but there is a supplement payable. 


Meals


14 Breakfasts and 11 dinners are included (Chamonix, Prafleuri & Zermatt not included). Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop on the way. Allow about 10 - 15 CHF per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.




Availability

You can start your Walker’s Haute Route anytime between mid July and the beginning of September.


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms


This trip is not available to solo walkers. Single rooms are available on 11 nights if you require single rooms in your party but there is a supplement payable. 


Meals

14 breakfasts and 11 dinners are included ( Chamonix, Prafleuri & Zermatt not included). Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop on the way. Allow about 10 - 15 CHF per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.


Baggage Transfer

Due to the remoteness of many of the overnight stops, bag transfer is not available. You will therefore need to carry your kit with you each day. You will need to bring a sleeping bag liner for when staying in dormitory-style accommodation. Bedlinen is provided when staying in private rooms. If you have excess baggage with you, it is possible to send this from Geneva ahead of you to Zermatt by train. For more information, please have a look here.


Navigation

The Walker’s Haute Route is comprehensively way marked at all junctions and by regular paint marks along the trail. We supply you with detailed 1:50 000 Swiss Topo maps, a comprehensive guidebook and personal route cards so the route finding is straightforward.


Experience & Fitness

This is a challenging high mountain trek and the weather can be poor so you should have previous high mountain experience and good navigation and mountain skills. As this is a self guided trek you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. The daily height gain is substantial and over the course of 13 days of walking you will gain approximately 12,000m. Therefore you must have an excellent level of walking fitness and be capable of negotiating challenging terrain. The route can be affected by large snow fields early in the season.


Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack (and the supplied guidebook) have detailed advice and a kit list on what to take on the Walker’s Haute Route. This includes warm and waterproof gear, hats and gloves, a sleeping sheet and lots of other useful bits and bobs. Walking poles are recommended as the WHR is tough on the knees.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Getting to Chamonix

By Air: Geneva is the best airport for the Chamonix. To get from Geneva to Chamonix you can catch a train or bus but the best option is a pre-booked shuttle. Chamexpress or Mountain Dropoffs are both good and cost around €30 each way.


By Rail: TGV to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet and from here catch a regular train to Chamonix. More information on train times and schedules may be found on www.voyages-sncf.com


From Zermatt take a train to Zurich which will take 3-4 hours with one change. You can also return to Geneva if you wish and this train journey takes about 3 hours.


By Road: To get to Chamonix take highway A40-E25 Mont Blanc-Chamonix. More information at www.viamichelin.fr If you wish to return to Chamonix from Zermatt again you can check the Via Michelin website.


Parking: In Chamonix, free parking at the Aiguille du Midi & the parking Planards (Montenvers station).


Getting from Zermatt

From Zermatt regular trains connect to Zurich Airport (3h30) or Geneva Airport (4h00).


If you wish to return to Chamonix from Zermatt at the end of your trip the train takes between 4h37 and 5h11.


Optional ski-lifts and transfers during the walk


You can use ski-lifts/cable cars to skip several of big ascents/descents during the trip. These sections are as follows: Le Châble to Les Ruinettes, above Zinal to Zinal village, and Jungen to St Nicklaus. If you wish to skip a stage completely it may be possible to do so using public transport or taxis. We provide you with a detailed transport guide including alternative transport options and timetables for each section. Ski lifts and optional transfers are not included in the package price.

Getting to Chamonix

By Air: Geneva is the best airport for the Chamonix.  To get from Geneva to Chamonix you can catch a train or bus but the best option is a pre-booked shuttle. Chamexpress  or Mountain Dropoffs are both good and cost around €30 each way.  


By Rail: TGV  to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet and from here catch a regular train to Chamonix. More information on train times and schedules may be found on www.voyages-sncf.com


From Zermatt take a train to Zurich which will take 3-4 hours with one change. You can also return to Geneva if you wish and this train journey takes about 3 hours.


By Road: To get to Chamonix take highway A40-E25 Mont Blanc-Chamonix. More information at www.viamichelin.fr If you wish to return to Chamonix from Zermatt again you can check the Via Michelin website.


Parking: In Chamonix, free parking at the Aiguille du Midi & the parking Planards (Montenvers station).


 


Getting from Zermatt


From Zermatt regular trains connect to Zurich Airport (3h30) or Geneva Airport (4h00).


If you wish to return to Chamonix from Zermatt at the end of your trip the train takes between 4h37 and 5h11.


Optional ski-lifts and transfers during the walk

You can use ski-lifts/cable cars to skip several of big ascents/descents during the trip. These sections are as follows: Le Châble to Les Ruinettes, above Zinal to Zinal village, and Jungen to St Nicklaus. If you wish to skip a stage completely it may be possible to do so using public transport or taxis. We provide you with a detailed transport guide including alternative transport options and timetables for each section. Ski lifts and optional transfers are not included in the package price.

Included

  • 14 Nights accommodation
  • 14 Breakfasts
  • 11 Dinners (Chamonix, Zermatt & Prafleuri not included)
  • Detailed maps, information pack, route notes and guidebook
  • Organisational assistance and backup

Excluded

  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Chamonix and from Zermatt
  • Overnight, breakfast and dinner at Prafleuri (payable locally)
  • Luggage transfers
  • Lunches (allow 10 to 15 CHF per day)
  • Local transfers and ski lifts
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Mountain rescue/emergency assistance

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Single room supplement if required (only available for 12 nights)

How fit do I need to be?

This is a high mountain trek and the weather can be poor so you should have previous high mountain experience and good navigation and mountain skills. As this is a self guided trek you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip.The daily height gain is substantial and over the course of 13 days of walking you will gain approximately 12,000m.  Therefore you must have an excellent level of walking fitness and be capable of negotiating challenging terrain.

Which is the best airport to fly to?

The closest airport is Geneva which is served by flights from throughout Europe and around the world.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a light weight sleeping bag, a daypack (if you are using our luggage transfer) and hats/gloves etc. Also it is best to take a compass and altimeter. A detailed kit list is included in your information pack.

When is the best time of year?

The season for the Walkers Haute Route runs from mid July to the beginning of September. The trail could still be affected by snow in late July, in which case your tour would need to be rescheduled or cancelled.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureWalker's Haute Route
 
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(based on 1 review)

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5.0

Great adventure, great customer service!

By VS

from San Francisco

About Me Occasional Traveller

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Great Accommodations
  • Well Organised

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Trying Something New

    Comments about macs adventure Walker's Haute Route:

    This is a great adventure for a little over a week of time! Breathtaking views, nice accommodations, decent exercise!

    I'd also like to stress how Macs Adventure helped us to organize the trip. Due to uncertainty of our vacation dates, we had to do it very last minute. While many other adventure companies declined right away, Macs Adventures (we worked with Minna) tried very hard to make it happen.

    In the end, our trip was confirmed 2 (two) days before the start date, and we ended up having a great vacation!

    Of course I don't recommend anyone to postpone their trip planning to the last moment, but this situation just shows Macs Adventure's dedication and willing to go an extra mile.

    Thank you guys!

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