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 it’s name. The Haute Route is also a very strenuous tour, with many high passes to cross and very few easy options for shorter days or bad weather. It’s a commitment, but one that repays you with remote, rugged scenery. Our 11-day tour starts in Chamonix and finishes in Zermatt, while the 9 day options starts in Verbier, cutting off 2 days in the beginning of the tour but still covering the heart of the tour. There are many ways of breaking up this hike, and in our itinerary, we’ve linked the most spectacular sections of the Haute Route with some of our favorite huts and inns into a spectacular trip!
On our full, 11-day Haute Route tour, you’ll have 7 nights in hotels with private rooms, and 3 nights in mountain huts with shared accommodations. For a slightly shorter Haute Route tour, we offer a 9-day version starting in Verbier. On this shorter Swiss Haute Route, you’ll have 5 nights in hotels with private rooms with the same 3 nights in mountain huts. Showers are available all nights. Please note that at Prafleuri hut, we will make reservations with breakfast and dinner, but you will need to bring cash to pay for the night yourself. The other 2 huts will be prepaid for you.
What about Luggage transport? Our self-guided Haute Route tours automatically include luggage transport (1 bag per person, max 15 kg). Luggage will be transferred from Chamonix to Champex, Arolla, Zinal and Zermatt. On the 9-day tour, luggage transfers are from Verbier to Arolla, Zinal and Zermatt, and the 15 kg wight limit does not apply. If you have more than this, additional bags can be transferred, but we can’t send luggage to the 3 huts. If you are planning to carry everything and don’t need luggage transfers at all, we can leave it off and reduce the price. Please ask if you have questions about luggage transfers for your tour.
Your typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at your inn – delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives you the energy needed for a full day of inn-to-inn hiking. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Most of the hotels and mountain inns will sell picnic lunches if they are ordered the night before. Reminders will be included in your route notes. Soon you’ll be out on the trail for 7-9 hours, with detailed directions to get you to your next stop.
You should finish your hike around 4-5 pm, giving you time to wash up and relax followed by dinner at your 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 train or airport shuttle to Chamonix, France, the stylish mountaineering village at the base of Mont Blanc.
The trip is easy and very scenic. If you arrive early, you might consider a couple days on your own in Chamonix at the start of the trip. Relax in the evening at our cozy village hotel. Dinner is not included in Chamonix, but there are a lot of superb options, and we will give you a list of some of our favorite restaurants in town.
Col de la Forclaz – On your first hiking day of the tour, cross the Col de Balme into Switzerland, with sweeping views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.
Finish the day at a small hiker’s inn at Forclaz. Double rooms available, but not guaranteed for all dates. Check with us, and we can work to secure private rooms here or in nearby Trient.
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 3870 ft up, 3050 ft down.
Champex – You’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.
An undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley. Weather permitting, a more rigorous hike leads up to the high pass of Fenetre d’Arpette, one of the highest points along the tour and along the Trient glacier. Finish at the pretty, lakeside village of Champex and stay in a comfortable hotel.
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)
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 to the lakeside Louvie hut, a small traditional alpine club hut high in the mountains.
Spend the evening gazing upon the snowy white crown of the Grand Combin mountain across the valley. (Louvie hut)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 11.5 miles; Elevation: 3970 ft up, 1750 ft down.
Prafleuri hut – A rugged day brings you 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 popular Prafleuri hut. Note, you will have reservations at Prafleuri, but will need to bring cash to pay for the night and meals at the hut when you arrive. (Prafleuri hut)
Today’s hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 2840 ft up, 1420 ft down.
Arolla – The Haute Route continues past the Grand Dixence, a huge reservoir filled with turquoise glacier water, and then up to Dix hut, spectacularly perched on a lonely rock outcrop and surrounded by glaciers and mountains.
After lunch at the hut, continue with a short, easy glacier traverse, cross the steep Col du Riedmatten pass, and descend to the tiny village of Arolla and a comfortable village hotel.
Today’s hike: 7-9 hours, 11.5 miles; Elevation: 3360 ft up, 5350 ft down.
Moiry hut – Another morning bus transfer brings you to la Sage, where a long, steep hike leads to the beautiful Val d’Anniviers and more stunning mountain scenery.
Descend to the Moiry reservoir and then up to the newly renovated Moiry hut, a gorgeous base camp surrounded by a sea of ice. (Moiry hut)
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 5500 ft up, 1710 ft down.
Zinal – A slightly easier day leads you over a minor pass and gives you 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.
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 1590 ft up, 2870 ft down.
Gruben – Another day, another high pass, as your Haute Route itinerary continues over the Meidpass to the Turtmann valley and into the German-speaking portion of the Wallis.
Capped by the stunning Weisshorn mountain, this is a quiet, wonderful valley with surprising views around every corner. Stay at a hiker’s inn at the base of the valley.
Today’s hike: 7-9 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3770 ft up, 3300 ft down.
Zermatt – Your final pass brings us up to more grand views of the Weisshorn and Dom, two of Switzerland’s highest mountains, before dropping down to the valley where you 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, before settling in for dinner at your friendly village hotel.
Today’s hike: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2940 ft up, 2490 ft down.
depart – After breakfast at your hotel, depart for your post-trip destinations.
A self-guided hike through 3 countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland – stopping at beautiful inns and enjoying unequaled variety.Learn more ›
Our signature tour, this superb trip covers the most scenic and challenging sections of the Alpine Pass Route across the Bernese Oberland region.Learn more ›