The Hiker’s Haute Route consists of a spectacular series of trails linking Chamonix to Zermatt, marked by high, steep passes, quiet trails, and stunning mountain scenery. While the full Hiker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt is a long and strenuous tour, we’ve designed this tour as a more comfortable option, skipping some of the more rustic stretches, and with 4-star upgrades in Chamonix and Zermatt. It’s one of the world’s classic hikes, with a wild beauty deserving of its name, and on this tour you can see the best of the Haute Route in relative comfort.
Your tour will meet in Chamonix, France – 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. From Champex, we’ll take a taxi transfer to the Val d’Anniviers for 1 night in the spectacular Moiry hut. Our luggage will be transferred separately and will be with us for 5 of the nights, in Chamonix, Forclaz, Champex, Zinal and Zermatt. If you like strenuous hiking and love pure mountain scenery, the Deluxe 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 1 hut night. 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. Chamonix is a sunny, active village tucked at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.
The trip to Chamonix is easy and 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. (Grand Hotel des Alpes)
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, where we’ll have private rooms, hot showers, and a hearty group dinner. Forclaz is also a key stop on the TMB, so this is always a popular spot. (Col de la Forclaz)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 3870 ft up, 3050 ft down.
Champex – We’ll have 2 hiking choices today, crossing either a high, rocky pass, or a more moderate hike through woods and farms to the small lakeside village of Champex.
On the more moderate Bovine route, an undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley. Or, 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 Champex, where we stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel. (Hotel Glacier)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2260 ft up, 2460 ft down (Bovine) or 7-9 hours, 9.5 miles; Elevation: 3740 ft up, 3940 ft down (Fenetre d’Arpette)
Moiry hut – After a morning transfer from Champex to the Anniviers valley, we’ll start from the Moiry reservoir and hike up to the newly renovated Moiry hut, a comfortable base surround by a sea of ice.
The Moiry hut has one of the most spectacular views in the Alps, and the panoramic windows in their dining room invite you to linger all day. (cabane Moiry)
Today’s hike: 3 hours, 3 miles; Elevation: 1870 ft up.
Zinal – A relatively moderate 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.
After crossing the pass, we’ll descend to the village of Zinal, a postcard-perfect village of dark timbered houses bursting with colorful geraniums. (Hotel le Besso)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 1590 ft up, 2870 ft down.
Schwarzhorn – We have a beautiful high mountain pass as our Haute Route itinerary continues over the Meidpass to the quiet and isolated Turtmann valley.
Capped by the stunning Weisshorn mountain, this is a gorgeous valley with no real villages and just two modest inns. It’s also the linguistic border, and we’ll leave French-speaking Valais behind and hike into German-speaking Wallis. We’ll stay at a hiker’s inn at the base of the valley. (Hotel Schwarzhorn)
Today’s hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3770 ft up, 3300 ft down.
Zermatt – Our final pass brings us up to more gorgeous views alpine giants such as 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. (Hotel Europe)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2940 ft up, 2490 ft down.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll say our good-byes and leave for our post-trip destinations.
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