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Self-Guided Classic Hikers Haute Route

The self-guided Hiker’s Haute Route tour links Chamonix to Zermatt via a spectacular series of trails with high passes, quiet trails, and stunning views.

Self-Guided Classic Hikers Haute Route

The self-guided Hiker’s Haute Route tour links Chamonix to Zermatt via a spectacular series of trails with high passes, quiet trails, and stunning views.

  • Self-Guided,
  • Inn-To-Inn,
    Activity Level
  • Challenging,

The Hiker’s Haute Route is a spectacular series of trails linking Chamonix to Zermatt, along the jagged wall of mountains separating Switzerland and Italy.

It’s 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. 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.


See the Guided tour

  • 12 days, 11 nights
  • Jul 1 – Sep 25, 2024
  • $3990 Per Person
  • $1050 Single Room

Itinerary At a Glance

Days 1-3

Chamonix to Champex

Fly to Geneva and transfer to Chamonix, France at the foot of the highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc. Sharing trails with the TMB, hike into Switzerland over passes and through rolling green meadows to the lakeside village of Champex.

Days 4-6

Verbier to Arolla

This is the crux of the trip, a high, remote and challenging stretch through rugged mountains. Stay two nights in alpine club huts as you hike across multiple passes and even cross part of a glacier to the cozy village of Arolla.

Days 7-8

Arolla to Zinal

Now you are off to the beautiful Val d’Anniviers. A high hike to the stunning Moiry hut is always one of our favorites and definitely worth the slight detour to explore this corner of the Alps. Finally, traverse a ridge above a beautiful lake and descend to the quiet end-of-the-road village of Zinal.

Days 9-12

Zinal to Zermatt

Now another strenuous stretch, with two high passes. The first brings you into the Turtmanntal valley, a lovely little valley topped by fierce glaciers where you stay in a lively hiker’s inn. Then hike the Augstbord pass to the Mattertal, home of the Matterhorn and classic mountain village of Zermatt. Enjoy 2 luxurious nights in our favorite 4-star hotel.


Your tour includes 6 nights in village hotels, 2 nights in hiker’s inns and 3 nights in mountain huts with dorm, with breakfasts and 9 dinners. Luggage transfers between village hotels are included (7 of 11 nights).  You will also receive topo maps, detailed route descriptions, gps routes and sightseeing suggestions. We are always available by phone if you have questions during your tour.

This tour does not include transfers to Chamonix or return from Zermatt.  Let us know if you would like help with these trips.

Full Itinerary

Day 1


Arrive in Europe and make your way 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.  Your Haute Route adventure begins!

Arrival: Geneva.  Plan to arrive by the day your tour starts.  You can book a private or shared shuttle from GVA to Chamonix.  The trip takes 1½ hrs.  We recommend booking early with Mountain Dropoffs or Chamonix Valley Transfers.

3-star Hotel Oustalet or Aiglons

Day 2

hike over Col de Balme pass to Trient

On your first hiking day of the Classic Haute Route, 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 Trient or nearby Col de la Forclaz.  Double rooms are typically available, with shared bathroom, but not guaranteed for all dates, since this is also part of the popular TMB route.  If all inns here are full, we can arrange a 2nd night in Chamonix, and taxi transfer to Forclaz for tomorrow’s hike.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 8.5 miles; Elevation: 2940 ft. up, 3220 ft. down

Grande Ourse Inn or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 3

hike Bovine or Arpette to Champex

You’ll have 2 hiking choices today, crossing either a high, rocky pass with rugged glacier views, or a taking a more moderate hike through woods and farms.  Both lead to the charming lakeside village of Champex.

For an easier day, an undulating trail leads through alpine pastures and pine forests, with sweeping views of the Rhone Valley along the Bovine route.  Weather permitting, a more rigorous option leads up to the high pass of Fenetre d’Arpette, one of the highest points along the tour, with impressive views of the Trient Glacier.   Regardless of which path you choose, you will finish at the pretty, lakeside village of Champex and stay in a comfortable hotel.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 10 miles; Elevation: 3110 ft. up, 2490 ft. down (Bovine) or 7-9 hours, 9.5 miles; Elevation: 4560 ft. up, 3930 ft. down (Fenetre d’Arpette)

3-star Hotel Splendide, Mont Lac or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 4

transfer to Verbier and hike to 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, and always one of our favorites.  Spend a peaceful evening high in a typical alpine setting.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 8.5 miles; Elevation: 4150 ft. up, 1800 ft. down

Louvie hut
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 5

cross the Grand Desert to 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.  This is one of the tougher days of the hike, with rugged trails and high elevations all day.  If the weather is bad, it’s possible to skip this section by taxi or train, and hike a more straightforward trail up to the hut from the Dixence reservoir.

Finish the day at the lively Prafleuri hut.  This is a simple hut with large dorms and only 1 small bathroom, but they do a nice job with meals, and are perfectly located for the next stage of the hike.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 3420 ft up, 2050 ft down

Prafleuri hut
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 6

cross the Pas de Chèvres to 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 passing the lake, 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.

Dinner is on your own tonight. Your hotel has a nice ala carte restaurant.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 11 miles; Elevation: 2360 ft. up, 4470 ft. down

3-star Hotel Kurhaus
  • Breakfast

Day 7

transfer to la Sage and hike to Moiry hut

A morning bus transfer brings you across the valley to the hamlet of la Sage, where you start your hike.  A long, steady ascent leads over the pass to the beautiful Val d’Anniviers and more stunning mountain scenery.

Descend to the Moiry reservoir and then up again to the newly renovated Moiry hut, a gorgeous base camp surrounded by a sea of ice.  The views from the hut are simply stunning.  You stay in their small 4-person dorms.  Moiry hut represents a small detour from the classic Haute Route, but one that we always look forward to.  If you prefer a village hotel, we can book you in a 3-star hotel in nearby Grimentz tonight instead.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 5510 ft up, 1730 ft down

Moiry hut
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 8

hike to 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.

Traverse to the Sorebois pass, then descend to the village of Zinal, a postcard-perfect village of dark timbered houses bursting with colorful geraniums.  If you’re looking to add a rest day in the middle of your Haute Route trip, Zinal is a very good choice, with a handsome village and tons of beautiful hikes into the surrounding mountains.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 7 miles; Elevation: 1800 ft. up, 2260 ft. down

3-star Hotel le Besso, Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 9

hike to 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.  Private rooms are normally available with bathroom down the hall, especially if booking early, but they also have spacious dorms if the rooms are booked.

HIKE: 7-9 hours, 11 miles; Elevation: 3980 ft. up, 3480 ft. down

Schwarzhorn Inn
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 10

hike to St Niklaus and train to 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.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 3660 ft up, 3150 ft down

Hotel Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 11

Zermatt, hike to Hörnli hut

Zermatt is an incredible village, and we like an extra day here to explore.  There are a ton of great options.  The hike up to Hörnli hut is a classic.  This hut is perched high on the Hörnli ridge of the Matterhorn and serves a sort of Matterhorn base camp for climbers, as well as a stunning destination for hikers.  It’s a fitting finish to a mountain-filled tour.

Or you can choose to spend the day in this very relaxing, car-free village, book a massage, take in the sights, and unwind after a fantastic hike.  Enjoy a final celebratory dinner at our hotel tonight.

HIKE: 5-7 hours, 6 miles; Elevation: 2250 ft up, 2250 ft down

Hotel Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 12


After breakfast at your hotel, depart for your post-trip destinations.  There is a train station in Zermatt with frequent departures.

Departure: Zürich or Geneva. It is 4 hrs from Zermatt to Zürich or Geneva by train.  Trains start at 6 am if you need an early start, and leave frequently throughout the day.

  • Breakfast

Tour Options

Self-guided Classic Hikers Haute Route


  • Strenuous passes every day
  • A rugged inn-to-inn with 10 stops in 11 nights
  • Luggage transferred to your inn 7 of the 11 nights
  • 3 nights in alpine club huts
  • 4-star luxury (with a spa) for your last 2 nights in Zermatt
  • Rugged, remote trails best for strong hikers who like a challenge
  • $3990Per Person
  • $1050Single Room

Self-guided Best of the Haute Route


  • The easier half of the Haute Route, but still big days
  • A true inn-to-inn with 5 stops in 6 nights
  • Luggage transferred to your inn nights 1, 3 and 5
  • A memorable night at the stunning Moiry Hut
  • 4-star luxury (with a spa) for your last 2 nights in Zermatt
  • Rugged, remote trails best for those who like to get high in the mountains
  • $3390Per Person
  • $850Single Room

Self-guided Deluxe Haute Route Highlights


  • High passes and rugged hikes daily
  • A fairly strenuous inn-to-inn with 6 stops in 9 nights
  • Luggage every night
  • 4 and 5-star luxury (with a spa) on 6 of your 9 nights
  • Memorable mountains… Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and more
  • Private shuttles and 1st class trains
  • $5290Per Person
  • $1650Single Room

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