The Haute Route is the big one, our most rugged and strenuous hut-to-hut tour. If you like to get deep into the mountains, crossing high passes, stopping at remote huts, passing massive glaciers… well, this is your tour. Adventure awaits. Every day brings another bold pass, another serene valley, as you hike your way along the highest mountains of the Alps.
Our Haute Route tour will start in bustling, beautiful Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc and finish in lively, upscale Zermatt at the base of the Matterhorn – two worthy destinations themselves. In between, we will visit tiny Swiss villages and 3 delightfully remote huts as we hike along the spine of mountains separating Switzerland and Italy.
As with all our guided tours, this trip is guaranteed to run. Sign up, get yourself in shape, and prepare to meet the challenge. There’s nothing like it. Our guides will keep you on track, make sure the pace is right and that everything comes together as it should. This Haute Route is a lofty adventure that lives up to its name.
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.
Chamonix is a fantastic town for simply walking around and soaking in the atmosphere. Grab a crepe or a coffee from one of the food carts, maybe take a ride up a scenic cable car, or do any last-minute shopping for your hike. We’ll meet for dinner and talk about the trip to come. Relax in the evening at our comfortable village hotel.
Trient – On our first hiking day of the tour, we’ll cross the Col de Balme pass into Switzerland, with with breathtaking views behind us of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley.
After a long descent, we’ll finish the day at a small hiker’s inn in Trient, a tiny village tucked against the mountains. We share this corner of the Haute Route with the TMB, so this is always a lively and popular stop.
Champex – We’ll have 2 choices today. For an easier hike, 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, with wonderful views of 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.
Pass through meadows filled with mountain goats while gazing upon the snowy white crown of the Grand Combin mountain. Eventually we’ll reach the lakeside Louvie hut, always a friendly stop and a peaceful night.
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.
After a lot of up and down on quiet trails, we’ll finish the day at the bustling Prafleuri hut, where a hearty meal awaits.
Arolla – We hike up and over minor pass to the Grand Dixence reservoir, a stunning turquoise mountain lake, After a long traverse along Dixence, the trail heads 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 the adventurous and entertaining ladders of the Pas du Chevres, and descend to the tiny, forested village of Arolla, where the handsome Kurhaus is our welcoming base.
Moiry hut – After a morning transfer across the valley, a long, steep climb leads to another pass and down into 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. It’s a bit of a detour but worth it. 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. Often we’ll pass herds of Ibex as we descend to the tiny hamlet of Jungen 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.