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, and yes, it’s quite strenuous.
While Chamonix and Zermatt are lively and fun, world-famous mountain towns, your stops in between are secluded, peaceful and remote. We stop 3 nights at alpine club huts, including can’t-miss-it Moiry hut, because that’s why you’re here… to take in a little bit of heaven. If you love big mountains, quiet trails over high passes, and a constant feeling of adventure, the Classic Hiker’s Haute Route is for you. Big days, fresh air, and quiet cozy nights. Get away from it all. This is our most strenuous tour, and boy does it feel good.
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 to Chamonix is straight forward 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 your cozy village hotel. There are a lot of superb options for dinner this evening, 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.
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.
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. Peaceful and charming.
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, Prafleuri won’t take prepayment, so you will have reservations here and they are expecting you, but will need to bring cash to pay for the night and meals at the hut when you arrive.
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. It’s a beautiful corner of the Alps, surrounded by mountains and glaciers.
After lunch at the hut, continue with a short, easy glacier traverse… just follow the trail makers. A rocky ascent then brings you to the ladders at the Pas du Chevres pass. The ladders are thrilling but solid. Finally a long meandering descent brings you to the tiny village of Arolla, and our comfortable village hotel.
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, where you stay in their newly renovated small dorms.
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.
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.
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.
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 ›