Hohbalmen is, without a doubt, one of the best hikes in Zermatt. Yet for some reason – I don’t know why – I’ve never written a route description of it for our self-guided tours. I guess it’s because we often send people to Zermatt for 4 days, and if you hike Hohbalmen you’re going to cover 2 areas that are great on their own (Trift and Zmutt). That, and it’s a pretty big hike (about 3300 ft up and back), which is fine for many of our hikers, but perhaps too much for quite a few of them too. But I have something like 200 different hikes written up for Switzerland, and Hohbalmen is such a great one… we need to add it. So I hiked up this morning to check out the route again, write down what all the signposts say, and get the info I need to write an accurate description. Somebody has to do it, right?
It also makes me think of one of my (minor) frustrations, that a lot of my clients coming for what might be their first and perhaps only trip to Switzerland… they don’t want to come to Zermatt. They feat it’s going to be too busy and crowded. Our Zermatt tours never really sell that well, at least compared to the Bernese Oberland and Chamonix, and I’m constantly thinking, what am I doing wrong here? Zermatt’s incredible, and I feel like somehow I’m not getting that across in our website descriptions and emails that we send to folks.
Well, it is busy and crowded in town, bustling and vibrant, and many other adjectives along that same vein. And today, in fact, the Zermatt Ultraks races are going on and the village is packed. But the hotels are among the very best anywhere. The town has a lot of charm (it’s car-free with electric taxis zipping around), and there are tons of trails, and oh yeah, mountains. Lots of them. Including the Matterhorn, which is very famous for a very, very good reason.
I think it’s worth seeing, unequivocally. So I took some video of my hike today up near the top of Hohbalmen. Take a look and tell me what you think.
You have a lot of choices to make when planning a tour to the Alps. There is so much to see and not enough time. You can’t come to Zermatt expecting some hidden secret. It’s busy and crowded. But you can get away from the crowds quite easily, quite happily, and enjoy one of the most stunning mountain valleys in the world. If you haven’t been to Zermatt yet, think about it. I think you’ll like it.