The Hiker’s Haute Route is an alpine classic. Starting in Chamonix, France, we’ll cross a series of high rugged passes to Zermatt, and the iconic Matterhorn. The Haute Route is also a very strenuous tour, crossing a new pass every day, and exploring a number of long, quiet valleys in Switzerland’s Valais region. Our itinerary combines nights in a few of our favorite huts and inns with comfortable hotels in each of the villages to complete the tour in 9 days of hiking.
Your tour will meet in Chamonix – the stylish mountain resort town at the base of Mont Blanc. Chamonix is easily accessibly from Geneva by airport shuttle, included in your tour, and is a great place to come early for a few nights of independent travel before your tour. After a night here, our inn-to-inn trek then leads directly over the Balme pass to Switzerland, crossing multiple passes as we hike from Chamonix to Zermatt. Along way, we’ll see remote lakes and rugged glaciers, and stay in a number of tiny villages. Overall we’ll have 3 nights in mountain huts (dorms only), 2 nights in mountain inns (private rooms, shared bathroom) and 5 nights in comfortable village hotels. The Haute Route tour includes a couple of short transfers to and from trailheads, and our luggage will be transferred separately and will be with us for 6 of the nights, in Chamonix, Champex, Arolla, Zinal and Zermatt. If you like strenuous hiking and love pure mountain scenery, the Hiker’s Haute Route tour offers the ultimate exploration of one of the most dramatic hiking routes in the Alps.
Our typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our inn – delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives us the energy needed for a full day of inn-to-inn hiking. Soon we’ll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours, where often you’ll get to choose between an easier or more strenuous hike for the day. Each morning, you’ll be handed a lunch to carry, and at a mid-point along the way we’ll choose a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy our picnic. We get a lot of compliments on our imaginative lunches – making them something to look forward to as well!
We should finish our hike around 4-5 pm, giving you time to wash up and relax. You will have your own bedroom every night except for the 3 hut nights. In the evening we’ll enjoy dinner together at our inn. These are multi-course feasts, often featuring local French and Swiss specialties, and will definitely be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious.
Chamonix – Arrive in Europe and transfer by shuttle van to our meeting point in Chamonix.
The trip is easy and very scenic. If you arrive early, you can ask us to book a few extra days on your own in Chamonix at the start of the trip. We’ll meet for dinner and talk about the trip to come. Relax in the evening at our comfortable village hotel.
Forclaz – On our first hiking day of the tour, we’ll cross the Col de Balme into Switzerland, with with breathtaking views behind us of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.
Finish the day at a small hiker’s inn at Forclaz.
Champex – We’ll have 2 choices today. An undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley.
Weather permitting, a more rigorous possibility leads up to the high pass of Fenetre d’Arpette, one of the highest points along the tour and along the Trient glacier. Both hikes finish at the pretty, lakeside village of Champex, where we stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel.
Louvie hut – After a morning transfer by bus and train to Verbier, you’ll hike high above the valley, through meadows filled with mountain goats, on a gorgeous panoramic hike above Verbier to the lakeside Louvie hut, a small traditional alpine club hut high in the mountains.
Pass through meadows filled with mountain goats while gazing upon the snowy white crown of the Grand Combin mountain.
Prafleuri hut – A rugged day brings us across 2 passes and through a remote, wild region filled with glaciers and rocky peaks known as the Grand Desert.
Finish the day at the bustling Prafleuri hut, where a hearty meal awaits.
Arolla – We hike past the Grand Dixence reservoir and then up to Dix hut, spectacularly perched on a lonely rock outcrop and surrounded by glaciers and mountains.
After lunch at the hut, we continue with a short, easy glacier traverse, crossing either the steep Col du Riedmatten pass or the nearby ladders over the pas du Chevres, and descend to the tiny, forested village of Arolla.
Moiry hut – A long, steep climb leads to the beautiful Val d’Anniviers and more stunning mountain scenery.
We’ll descend to the Moiry reservoir and then up to the newly renovated Moiry hut, a comfortable base surround by a sea of ice. This is always one of our favorite huts, with thoughtful 4-person dorms, and one of the most beautiful picture windows imaginable.
Zinal – A slightly easier day leads us over a minor pass and gives us a chance to further explore the Val d’Anniviers, an unforgettable valley with a great blend of ancient villages, quiet trails, and breathtaking views.
Descend to the village of Zinal, a postcard-perfect village of dark timbered houses bursting with colorful geraniums. There is an optional cable car from Sorebois to Zinal that can shorten this to a relatively moderate day.
Schwarzhorn – Another day, another high pass, as our Haute Route itinerary continues over the Meidpass to the Turtmann valley.
Capped by the stunning Weisshorn mountain, this is a quiet, gorgeous valley. We’ll stay at a hiker’s inn at the base of the valley.
Zermatt – Our final pass brings us up to more gorgeous views of the Weisshorn, Dom and more, before dropping down to the valley where we catch a short train ride to Zermatt.
Zermatt is a lively village, filled with energy and history, and dominated by the towering presence of the Matterhorn. It also retains its alpine charm, with quiet back alleys, scenic nearby hamlets, and classy shops. Check out the town, take a short walk around Zermatt, or enjoy the local Matterhorn museum or the spa at our hotel, before settling in at the very friendly Hotel Europe.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll say our good-byes and leave for our post-trip destinations.