Walker's Haute Route15 Days & 14 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:
- Personal Growth
- 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.
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.
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.
- 14 Nights accommodation
- 14 Breakfasts
- 11 Dinners (Chamonix, Zermatt & Prafleuri 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 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).
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 from the End
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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 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.
Optional walk Chamonix to Argentière: 9km, 2hrs, 214m ascent.
Enjoying a quiet location with great views, despite being so close to the centre of Chamonix, the hotel has 37 comfortable rooms and a friendly welcoming atmosphere.
Situated right in the heart of Chamonix this small three star hotel occupies a charming former mill and is a great base for exploring Chamonix.
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.
Ascent/Descent: 950m/925m Descent
This simple mountain accommodation was recently refurbished and offers both dormitory and private accommodation. Bathroom facilities will be shared.
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 streams, mountain meadows and broadleaf 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.
The Hotel Glacier has been in the Biselx family for over 100 years. The hotel enjoys lovely views from the terrace and garden.
Le Belvedere is a lively yet discreet little hotel with delicious home cooking which provides a warm welcome to its guests. Traditional styles are combined effortlessly with modern facilities as all rooms are in arolle wood; all are individually styled, and have cable TV, shower, bath and balcony
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.
A simple but clean and comfortable small hotel with an on-site restaurant (closed Mondays).
A cosy typical mountain hut, Le Chable’s facilities include a bar, restaurant and free wifi.
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).
A traditional Swiss mountain hut offering comfortable dormitory accommodation in a spectacular location.
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 walking in the 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.
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.
A privately owned hut with dormitories only. This is the most basic of the accommodations along the route but the isolated location and camaraderie you will experience will more than make up for it!
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.
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.
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 bring you to the hamlet of La Sage.
Overnight: La Sage (or Les Haudères)
Welcoming family run hotel in rural La Sage. A popular hotel with charming proprietors and great food!
Family-run for 5 generations, the Hôtel des Haudères is situated in the centre of Haudères. It offers free WiFi and free parking.
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.
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.
*Please note in the summer of 2020 - the Sorebois to Zinal Cable Car is closed for refurbishment: https://www.valdanniviers.ch/en/grimentz-zinal-1937.html. This means you will need to walk the descent from Sorebois to Zinal*
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.
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 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.
Ascent/Descent: 1100m ascent, 1800m
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.
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.
Hotel Perren is centrally located and only a 10 minute walk from the train station and 5 minutes from Sunnegga funicular.
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 La Couronne is located in a quiet and central location in Zermatt. It has a sunny terrace with views of the Matterhorn.
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).
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