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. It’s one of the world’s classic hikes, with a wild beauty deserving of its name. The Haute Route is also a very strenuous tour, with many passes to cross and great valleys to see. Starting in Chamonix and finishing in Zermatt, we’ve linked the most spectacular sections of the Haute Route with some of our favorite huts and inns to complete the tour in 9 days of hiking.
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. Along way, we’ll visit high alpine club huts and stay in a number of tiny, remote villages, and will cross from the French-speaking west to the German-speaking eastern regions. 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. We will leave one night in Zinal free, where you will have a chance to explore on your own.
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.
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.
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.
Louvie hut – After a morning transfer 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.
Prafleuri hut – One of the most rugged days of the tour brings us across 2 passes and through a remote, wild region filled with glaciers and rocky peaks known as the Grand Desert.
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.
Moiry hut – After a short morning transfer to the far side of the valley, a long, steep climb leads us over another mountain pass to the beautiful Val d’Anniviers and more stunning mountain scenery.
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.
Schwarzhorn – Another day, another high pass. Today our Haute Route itinerary continues over the Meidpass to the quiet and isolated Turtmann valley.
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.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll say our good-byes and leave for our post-trip destinations.