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Self-guided Great Hikes of the Haute Route

Our self-guided Great Hikes of the Haute Route explores the prettiest valleys and best mountain hikes between Chamonix and Zermatt.

Self-guided Great Hikes of the Haute Route

Our self-guided Great Hikes of the Haute Route explores the prettiest valleys and best mountain hikes between Chamonix and Zermatt.

  • Self-Guided,
  • Base Camp Adventures,
    Activity Level
  • Moderate to Challenging,

The Haute Route, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, holds some of the best mountain hikes in the Alps.

Unlock them on this beautiful Base Camp Adventure from Mont Blanc in Chamonix to the Matterhorn in Zermatt.  You’ll stay in some of our favorite villages in the prettiest valleys of the Haute Route, with stunning mountains every step of the way.  In many ways, this is better than the inn-to-inn tour, since you’re not forced in to specific passes and rustic huts.  Instead, take in the best hikes and explore stunning side valleys that the thru-hikers miss.  You’ll be amazed.

You’ll have comfortable hotels, with private rooms, hot showers and luggage at every stop. Experience all the rugged highlights that make the Haute Route so unique and enjoy great meals, a comfortable bed, and even a sauna and spa at some stops. We round out the tour with 3 nights of luxury in one of our favorite 4-star hotels in Zermatt for a memorable finish.

  • 11 days, 10 nights
  • Jun 15 – Sep 30, 2024
  • $4090 Per Person
  • $1250 Single Room

Itinerary At a Glance

Days 1-3

Chamonix Mont Blanc

Start in Chamonix, France at the foot of the highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc. Enjoy two great hikes below Mont Blanc, and get to know this vibrant mountain village.

Days 4-5

Arolla Val d'Hérens

Use your included rail pass to travel to Arolla, a tiny village at the end of the beautiful Herens valley.  Enjoy great hikes in this rugged and remote stretch of the Haute Route.

Days 6-7

Zinal, Val d'Annivers

The Anniviers valley is a true gem, with some of our favorite Haute Route hikes and hidden detours. Zinal is a quiet and comfortable base.

Days 8-11

Zermatt, Matterhorn

From the quiet end-of-the-road village of Zinal, transfer to Zermatt for 3 days of hikes at the base of the mighty Matterhorn, for a stunning finish to a memorable tour.


Your tour includes 3 nights in 4-star luxury hotels and 7 nights in comfortable 3-star hotels. We include all breakfasts and 6 dinners.  You’ll have luggage at each stop.  We include a 2nd class 4-day Swiss rail pass for travel to Arolla, Zinal, Zermatt and back to the airport or border. 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 arrival transfer to Chamonix.

Full Itinerary

Day 1

arrive Chamonix Mont Blanc

Arrive in Europe and transfer 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.

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 l'Oustalet or Aiglons

Day 2

hike to Lac Blanc in the Aiguilles Rouges

One of the classic hikes in Chamonix leads to picturesque Lac Blanc. This high-mountain lake sits in the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Preserve, a rugged ridge across the valley from Mont Blanc, and commands one of the greatest mountain views anywhere.

Make good use of local cable cars to enjoy more time hiking near the lake, and keep an eye open for bouquetin – a mountain goat with long curved horns that are frequently sighted in this region. Dinner is again on your own.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 6 miles; Elevation: 3020 ft. up, 1590 ft. down

3-star Hotel l'Oustalet or Aiglons
  • Breakfast

Day 3

hike the Posettes ridge to Col de la Balme pass

Today you’ll head to le Tour and climb high onto the Posettes ridge, with breathtaking views all around of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley. Continue to the Col de Balme pass to the border with Switzerland, where a scenic mountain restaurant serves as an irresistible lunch stop.

Perhaps there will be time to hike up along the Tour glacier to the Albert refuge for more memorable high mountain scenery. Descend by cable car from the Balme pass and return to Chamonix.  Dinner is included in a favorite local restaurant tonight

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 3420 ft up, 3050 ft down

3-star Hotel l'Oustalet or Aiglons
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 4

Arolla, hike to cabane des Aiguille Rouges

Transfer by train to Switzerland and make the dramatic, winding bus ride up to Arolla, where you drop your bags at your hotel, then head out on a high, scenic trail. Arolla is an absolutely tiny village nestled deep in the Herens valley, hemmed in by a pair of majestic peaks, the Pigne d’Arolla and Mont Collon.

With an afternoon free, you might hike up to the Aiguille Rouges hut for panoramic views of the valley.  Return the way you came, or for a longer day, return via lac Bleu, a tiny but beautiful lake near Arolla.

Our favorite stop here has long been the elegant Hotel Kurhaus, with their beautiful terrace and garden, comfortable rooms, and good food.  There is a restaurant at the hotel, but dinner will be on your own here.

HIKE: 4-6 hours, 7.5 miles; Elevation: 2450 ft up, 2450 ft down

Hotel Grand Kurhaus
  • Breakfast

Day 5

hike the Pas des Chevres pass

ou’ll have plenty of time for a big day hike today to the Pas des Chevres pass from the Arolla side.  Pas des Chevres is a famous pass on the Haute Route, with steep ladders (optional from this side) rising up from the Dixence glacier.

Take in the gorgeous views of Dixence and the pyramidal Mont Blanc de Cheilon peak before returning to Arolla for the evening.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 6.5 miles; Elevation: 2580 ft up, 2580 ft down

Hotel Grand Kurhaus
  • Breakfast

Day 6

Zinal, hike Moiry reservoir

A series of buses takes you out of the Herens valley to the neighboring Anniviers valley.  If we had to pick just one valley on Haute Route, this might be it.  Get your bags settled at your hotel and head out for a half-day hike above the beautiful Moiry reservoir and over a minor pass to a cable car back Zinal.

Zinal is one of the prettier villages in Switzerland, with centuries-old chalets are blackened by the sun, with windows filled with geraniums. You’ll stay in a cozy 3-star hotel in town.

HIKE: 4-6 hours, 4 miles; Elevation: 1980 ft up, 560 ft down

Hotel le Besso or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 7

Zinal, hike to Petit Mountet or Arpittetaz hut

This is a great day to get off the beaten path, exploring trails in the back of the Anniviers valley.  For a relatively easy day, hike up to the Petit Mountet hut, a simple hut on an old glacial moraine wall overlooking the Zinal glacier.

For a more energetic day, the steep hike up to Roc de la Vache and the Arpittetaz hut is an absolute highlight, a beautiful a varied trail with almost no people, and mountains of seemingly Himalayan proportions.  Leave time for a soak in the town spa when you return to Zinal.

HIKE: 4-6 hours, 8 miles; Elevation: 1550 ft up, 1550 ft down (Petit Mountet), 6-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation: 2970 ft up, 2970 ft down (Roc de la Vache)

Hotel le Besso or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 8

Zermatt, hike to Zum See and Zmutt

Start with a morning transfer by bus and train to the Mattertal valley, to Zermatt. The mountains surrounding Zermatt are more than just the Matterhorn, of course, and hikes around town are a visual feast of rugged, white-capped peaks, wildflower-filled meadows and soft larch forest.

Once you arrive and get settled, take a short hike above Zermatt for views of the surrounding mountains, perhaps to the centuries-old hamlets of Zum See and Zmutt – beautiful, bucolic hamlets with 1st-class restaurant and unbeatable views.

Return to the wonderful spa and friendly reception of your 4-star hotel.

HIKE: 4-5 hrs, 5 miles; Elevation: 1680 ft up, 1680 ft down

4-star Hotel Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 9

hike to the Hornli hut on the Matterhorn

You’ll have a full second day in Zermatt to explore the area in and around town. Perhaps one of our favorite hikes leads up the ridge of the Matterhorn itself to the historic and impressive Hornli hut.

Hornli hut serves as a sort of Matterhorn base camp and it is an unforgettable destination. There are plenty of bigger hikes, but the Schwarzhorn gondola makes the out-and-back to Hornli hut fairly moderate. The power of the mountains is inescapable here, and you’ll want plenty of time to soak it all in. Return to Zermatt for a final gourmet dinner.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 6 miles; Elevation: 2250 ft up, 2250 ft down

4-star Hotel Europe or similar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 10

hike to Trift and Hohbalmen

One of our favorite side valleys leads steeply up from Zermatt to Trift.  This small hanging valley is surrounded by jagged peaks and huge glaciers and is home to a cozy mountain restaurant.  A pleasant and relatively easy day can be made just hiking to the Trift inn before returning for lunch.

For a longer day, the spectacular Hohbalmen ridge beckons.  Continue up past Trift to high scenic meadows with show-stopping views of the Matterhorn.  You will often have these views virtually to yourself.  A panoramic balcony trail descends to the Zmutt valley and leads back to Zermatt.

HIKE: 6-8 hours, 12.5 miles; Elevation: 3820 ft up, 3820 ft down (to Hohbalmen)

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner

Day 11


After breakfast at our hotel, depart by train for your post-trip destinations.

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

What's great about this tour

  • Perfect flexibility for easy, moderate or epic hiking days
  • A flexible base camp adventure
  • Luggage every night
  • 4-star luxury (with a spa) 3 nights in Zermatt
  • Memorable mountains… Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and more
  • Swiss rail pass for train and bus travel

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