If you love big mountains, quiet trails over high passes, and a constant feeling of adventure, the Haute Route is for you. The Hiker’s Haute Route is a commitment, but one that rewards you with days of remote mountain scenery, rugged trails, quiet huts and villages and an unparalleled sense of accomplishment. It’s a spectacular series of trails linking Chamonix to Zermatt, along the jagged wall of mountains separating Switzerland and Italy. Your private guide will be there every step of the way, with encouraging words, a deep knowledge of the Alps, and a commitment to make your trip hassle-free.
Chamonix and Zermatt bookend this trip. They are both lively and fun, world-famous mountain towns, and your stops in between are secluded, peaceful and remote. You’ll sleep 3 nights at alpine club huts, including can’t-miss-it Moiry hut (one of our faves), and the other nights in the tiny villages that dot the valleys. You’ll have big days, fresh air, sweeping vistas and quiet cozy nights. This is our most strenuous tour, and it’s wonderful.
Chamonix – Arrive in Europe and transfer by shuttle van to our meeting point in Chamonix, the world-famous resort town at the base of Mont Blanc.
The trip to Chamonix is easy and very scenic. If you arrive early, you can ask us to book a few extra days on your own here 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.
Trient/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 Trient or the nearby Col de la Forclaz. This stretch of the Haute Route is shared with the TMB, and the inns are likely to be lively and fun.
Champex – We’ll have 2 choices today. For an easier day, an undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone valley. Stop at the alpine farmhouse at Bovine before heading on to Champex.
Weather and energy 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. It’s hard work but with quite the payoff. 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.
As you hike, you’ll gaze upon the snowy white crown of the Grand Combin mountain before crossing a small pass. Descend to the lakeside Louvie hut, a small and very friendly alpine club hut high in the mountains.
Prafleuri hut – This is a big day. A rugged route brings us across 2 passes and through a remote, wild region filled with glaciers and rocky peaks known as the Grand Desert.
Passing below the Rosablanche glacier, and over your second pass, you’ll finish the day at the popular Prafleuri hut.
Arolla – Another scenic day unfolds as you 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. This is a beautifully hidden corner of the Alps, with handsome mountains and huge glaciers all around.
After lunch at the hut, you’ll continue with a short, easy glacier traverse… follow the trail markers. The a rocky ascent to the ladders at the Pas du Chevres pass top the day. Finally a long descent to the tiny and welcome village of Arolla.
Moiry hut – A long, steep climb leads to 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. Moiry hut is you-won’t-believe-this beautiful, a comfortable base with huge picture windows surrounded by a sea of ice.
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. Dinner is on your own tonight in Zinal.
Gruben – 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, 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.
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