Walker's Haute Route (East)9 Days & 8 Nights 5 Read 5 reviews
- The Matterhorn coming into view as you reach Zermatt
- Classic Swiss Alpine mountain scenery
- 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
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Groups > 10, Avid Adventurers
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- National Parks & Trails
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.
Experience & Fitness
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. 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 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.
- 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
- 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
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
When To Go
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.
Getting to the Start
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
Getting from the End
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.
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/loss is substantial, normally over 1000m. Therefore you must have an excellent level of walking fitness and be capable of negotiating challenging terrain.
The closest airport is Geneva which is served by flights from throughout Europe and around the world.
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.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a light weight sleeping bag, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Also it is best to take a compass and altimeter.A detailed kit list is included in your information pack.
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.
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.
In the heart of the Swiss Alps, in Valais, nestled at the top of the Val d'Hérens, spared from mass tourism that lies the village of Arolla at 2000 meters altitude.
In Arolla, The mountain is generous. It fills, summer as winter, the lovers of true nature and intact. Wherever you look, there are only grandiose mountains and glaciers. You will spend a sporting or relaxing stay and enjoy the benefits of fresh air.
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.
Welcoming family run hotel in rural La Sage. A popular hotel with charming proprietors and great food!
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.
Family-run for 5 generations, the Hôtel des Haudères is situated in the centre of Haudères. It offers free WiFi and free parking.
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.
Ascent/Descent: 1250m /670m
ALTERNATIVE DAY 3: 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
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.
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.
ALTERNATIVE DAY 4: 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.
Only a few minutes’ walk from the bus and cable car stops, tourist info and a supermarket. The hotel is modern, clean and comfortable and has everything you may need for an enjoyable stay. Dinner is served in the on-site restaurant with the chef mixing French, Swiss and Italian cuisine.
Only a few minutes’ walk from the bus and cable car stops, tourist info and a supermarket. The hotel, built in 1893, is located in the heart of the resort near the ski lifts and has just been renovated.
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.
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 purpose 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.
The lovely Peter and his 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are not staying longer in Zermatt you can connect by train to Geneva(4h00) and Zurich (3h30).
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