Walker's Haute Route (East)
- Spot the Matterhorn coming into view as you reach Zermatt
- Enjoy classic Swiss Alpine mountain scenery
- Savor a relaxed picnic lunch in a wildflower filled meadow
- Be part of the camaraderie on the Walker’s Haute Route
- Wander through the greatest collection of 4000m peaks in the Alps
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Arolla and overnight
Arolla, an unspoilt Valaisian village, is easily accessible from Geneva Airport (3h30) or Zurich Airport (4h45) by train and a connecting bus.
Ideally located on the trail in a tranquil spot surrounded by forest and above the town of Arolla. An historic, splendid mountain hotel with all the necessary amenities for a pleasant stay.
Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, in Valais, nestled at the top of the Val d'Hérens, Hotel du Pigne offers incredible views and comfortable rooms to relax after a day walking.
An easy day of walking to get you started on your Haute Route East adventure. 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 Valaisian village. A further hour and 200m of ascent bring you to the hamlet of La Sage.
Hotel de la Sage is a welcoming family run hotel in rural La Sage. A popular hotel with charming proprietors and great food!
Hôtel des Haudères is situated in the centre of Haudères and has been family-run for 5 generations.
This charming hotel is run by Claudia and her partner Michel who take great pride in their hotel and customer service. Beautifully bursting with flowers, the hotel regularly wins the local flower box competition. Rooms are modern and impeccably clean. Dinner is a real treat – expect local cheeses, charcuteries and classic Swiss roesti.
Here we have chosen to take the alternative route over the Col du Torrent to the Barrage de Moiry and the 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.
Hotel de Moiry is a family run traditional hotel in the centre of charming Grimentz.
Hotel with charm and character, centrally located in Grimentz. Recently entirely refurbished with sauna, whirlpool, Wi-Fi and underground parking.
Owned by the Swiss Alpine Club, this mountain hut is spectacularly located with a head on view of the Moiry icefall.
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.
Hotel Europe has a swiss comfort lodge style and offers 34 rooms. It is ideally situated in the unspoilt, picturesque little village of Zinal in the Valaisan Alps and only 300m from the Zinal-Sorebois cable car.
Pension de la Poste is a small, family-run guesthouse located in quiet surroundings. Bedrooms are furnished in a mountain style, with materials such as wood and rustic fabrics that give them the feel of an Alpine chalet.
Ideally situated in the middle of the village about 200m from the lift system. The hotel comprises 18 rooms with bathrooms (shower or bathtub) and TV. Free Wi-Fi connection is provided in your room and in the breakfast room.
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.
Hotel Schwarzhorn is a basic but comfortable mountain hotel. The only hotel in Gruben, it’s almost purposely built just for walkers on the Tour of the Matterhorn and the Walker’s Haute Route, so it’s got a great atmosphere. Relax in the inviting beer garden and get chatting to fellow hikers. Rooms are private with shared facilities.
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.
Ascent/Descent: 1100m ascent, 1800m
The lovely Janneke and her friendly team are ready to welcome you to their small family run hotel. Rooms are comfortable, having been recently renovated they offer everything you need for a pleasant stay. The restaurant specialises in regional dishes, as well as pizzas and an extensive wine list focusing on Swiss wines.
This newly renovated hotel enjoys a central location in Grächen, only 3 minutes from both cable cars. The Desirée hotel has a relaxing spa and a restaurant with a bright terrace, serving Valais specialities such as their secret recipe fondues.
Start your day with a bus ride to Gasenreid to start today's walk.
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.
Ascent/Descent: 1131m/570m descent
The Europahut is a mountain refuge which benefits from a fantastic location on the Europaweg. As well as being a convenient stop on the trail, it also boasts wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding peaks which can be admired from their sunny terrace.
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 kilometre 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.
The family-run Bristol hotel is situated in a central yet quiet location in Zermatt, between the train station and the Klein Matterhorn cable car.
Hotel Perren is centrally located and only a 10 minute walk from the train station and 5 minutes from Sunnegga funicular.
Hotel La Couronne is located in a quiet and central location in Zermatt. It has a sunny terrace with views of the Matterhorn.
If you are not staying longer in Zermatt you can connect by train to Geneva(4h00) and Zurich (3h30).
Other InformationIs it for me?
The eastern section of the Walker’s Haute Route is a tough but fine walk through some of Switzerland’s finest scenery. You do need to be physically fit and as this is a strenuous high mountain trek you should be happy navigating in poor conditions and have a head for heights.
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
Long-Distance Trails, Alpine Walking
The Walker’s Haute Route is a tough trek with considerable ascent and descent on each day. We have rated this tour strenuous. 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. You must have an excellent level of walking fitness and can negotiate challenging terrain. The route can be affected by large snowfields on the highest passes early and late season.
The terrain is mountainous, exposed, rocky and rough underfoot. There are several sections that include the use of fixed ropes and handrails to aid ascent/descent over, particularly tricky sections.
5 nights accommodation in 2 and 3-star hotels,1 night in an auberge (private rooms/shared bath) and 1 night in a mountain hut (in a mixed-sex dorm) If you choose the variation via Cabane de Moiry you will spend another night in a mountain refuge in a shared dormitory.
We carefully select small friendly establishments that offer great value, food and welcomes. The accommodation we normally use is detailed on our website, but we may use alternative accommodation of the same or better standard depending on availability.
Solo Walkers & Single Rooms
This trip is not available to solo walkers. Single rooms are available on 7 nights if you require single rooms in your party.
8 Breakfasts and 7 three-course dinners are included (not Zermatt). 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.
The Walker’s Haute Route follows well-marked trails, although generally it is not marked as the WHR but rather to the next destination. The trail marking in Switzerland is particularly good. We supply you with detailed 1:50 000 Swiss Topo maps, a comprehensive guidebook and route suggestions for each day.
You will need to use your own experience to decide which route to choose each day and navigate the route from one overnight stop to the next. The Walker’s Haute Route does cross high mountain passes, snow can lie on the ground late into the summer and the weather can change quickly, with snow possible at any time of year. You should be able to navigate with a map and compass in poor visibility and be experienced in the mountains.
- 5 Nights in a combination of 2 and 3 star hotels (in twin/double room with private bathrooms)
- 2 Night in an auberge (private twin/double room but shared bathrooms)
- 1 Night in a mixed sex dorm in a mountain hut
- 8 Breakfasts
- 7 Dinners (Zermatt not included
- Detailed maps, information pack, route notes and guidebook
- Organisational assistance and backup
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to start/from finish point
- Luggage transfers
- Lunches (allow 10 to 15 CHF per day)
- Local transfers and ski lifts
- Drinks and snacks
- Personal equipment
- Mountain rescue/emergency assistance
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
You can start your Walker’s Haute Route anytime between mid-July and the beginning of September. This short season is due to the weather and potential snow being on the trail. The is a chance of snow patches remaining into early July across the higher passes and the chance of the weather deteriorating into late September.
By Air: Geneva is the best airport for getting to Arolla. Regular trains continue to Sion from where you can catch a connecting bus to Arolla. For more information, please refer to www.sbb.ch
From Zermatt regular trains connect to Zurich Airport (3h30) or Geneva Airport (4h00).
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.
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.
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.
6 Days 5 NightsEnjoy a tough trek with unrivalled views of the iconic pyramidal peak of the MatterhornHighlights
- Walk the southern loop of the Tour the Matterhorn
- Embark on two glacier crossings
- Visit iconic mountain villages and huts
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