The Deluxe 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. We have no huts on this hike, with private rooms each night and only 1 night away from our luggage, but all the rugged highlights that make the Haute Route so unique. 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’Herens to Arolla, skipping the huts between Verbier and Arolla, and we will continue from there to Zermatt. A second night in Zermatt at the end of the trip gives us a chance to truly appreciate the beauty of the Matterhorn at the end of this trip. 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 7-9 hours, usually with a high pass to cross to reach the next destination. 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, and luggage everywhere except in Gruben. 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. Chamonix is one of the great destinations in the Alps, with gorgeous mountains and miles of hiking trails. 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.
The trip to Chamonix from Geneva is easy and scenic. There are plenty of outdoor gear shops here if you need to do any last-minute shopping before your trip. On our first night, 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 head to le Tour and climb high onto the Posettes ridge, with breathtaking views behind us of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley. Continue across the Col de Balme pass into Switzerland.
There is a small hut perfectly placed at the pass, if you would like to stop for refreshments before our steady descent to Trient. 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.
Champex – We’ll have 2 hiking choices today, crossing either the high, rocky Fentre d’Arpette pass, or a more moderate hike through woods and farms to the small lakeside village of Champex. The choice of trail will be determined by your guides and weather, but both have much to offer. 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. A steep descent through a large boulder field brings you down to the quiet lakeside village of Champex, where we stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel.
Arolla – Leaving Champex, a taxi brings us around to the Val d’Herens to the tiny village of Arolla. With a morning arrival, we’ll have plenty of time for a big dayhike to the spectacular Pas des Chevres pass, where we can look down upon the Cheilon glacier and across to the beautiful symmetry of the Mont Blanc de Cheilon mountain.
Arolla is a very quiet little village, and our favorite stop here has long been the elegant Hotel Kurhaus, with their beautiful terrace and garden, comfortable rooms, and good food.
Grimentz – After a short morning transfer from Arolla to la Sage, our steady uphill hike leads to the Col de Torrent and into the Anniviers valley. Descending from the pass, we’ll cross through meadows and past tiny lakes to the Moiry reservoir, where we can walk or ride a bus to Grimentz.
There are alternate routes today as well, over the Lona or Tsate passes, which all have something slightly different to offer. All lead to Grimentz, one of the prettiest villages in Switzerland. It’s centuries-old chalets are blackened by the sun, with windows filled with geraniums. We’ll stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel in town.
Zinal – A relatively moderate day leads us from the Moiry reservoir 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. An optional cable car can eliminate much of the descent for a more moderate day.
Schwarzhorn – We have a beautiful high mountain pass as our Haute Route itinerary continues. Leaving Zinal, hike the steady uphill trail through forest and then meadows above treeline, with beautiful views all around. A final steep ascent leads 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.
Zermatt – Our final pass brings us up to more gorgeous views alpine giants such as the Weisshorn, Dom and more, before dropping down to Jungen, a small hamlet where we can grab a drink at a scenic restaurant. A small cable car brings us from here to the valley where we catch a short train ride to Zermatt.
Once in Zermatt, take some time to check out the town before settling in at the very friendly Hotel Europe.
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. If you’d like a day off from hiking, there is no finer place to browse and wander, or enjoy the spa at our luxurious hotel.
We’ll have plenty of hiking options to choose from. A classic hike leads high above town on the Hörnli ridge of the Matterhorn to the Hörnli hut, a sort of Matterhorn base camp, and the highest you can go on this mountain without climbing. The hut is always bustling, with a lively restaurant and huge picture windows. Return on quiet trails through the Zmutt valley for a final, celebratory dinner.
depart – After breakfast at our hotel, we’ll say our good-byes and leave for our post-trip destinations.
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