Tracks and Trails / Walking / Scheduled Departures / Classic Haute Route: Chamonix to Zermatt

Classic Haute Route: Chamonix to Zermatt

Hike Chamonix to Zermatt

On the trails in Zermatt

This is one of the world’s great multi-day treks, linking the famous mountaineering capitals of Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland. We start this fabulous adventure from the 300 year old hamlet of Argentiere in the Chamonix valley. Although demanding at times the route provides a non-technical trek and is suitable for those who would like to experience the very best walking in the Alps.

Throughout this 210 kilometre trek we follow good paths and tracks over several mountain passes close to 3,000 metres. Our walk ends in the famous and historic town of Zermatt, Switzerland beneath the iconic Matterhorn. Join us in the land of the giants!

  • World class alpine scenery
  • View many of the highest peaks in the Alps
  • Two mountain hut nights
  • Europaweg 'High Level Route' to Zermatt
  • Luggage transfers
  • 10 days of top quality trekking
  • Single rooms possible for solo travellers
  • Highly experienced and expert local guide

THANK YOU ERIC CHANG FOR SHARING YOUR FILM "SWEET LIKE SWISS CHOCOLATE" MADE DURING OUR TRIP TO SWITZERLAND FEATURING THE WONDERFUL ZERMATT!

Departures

Trip Departure date End date Price Status
CHR3 18 Sat 18 August 18 Wed 29 August 18 £2295 Places available | Make a Booking
CHR4 18 Wed 29 August 18 Sun 9 September 18 £2295 Places available | Make a Booking

Dates do not suit you? 

All our trips are available for private groups. If you would like to travel on different dates, or with family or friends on a bespoke trip, then please get in touch giving your preferred dates and itinerary.

Itinerary

We always aim to complete the itinerary as outlined below, however, the following itinerary will be followed only when conditions and weather make it appropriate, both in terms of safety and enjoyment. Your guide will make a decision on your route based on those conditions.

Day 1 Arrive in Chamonix, France

The group will rendezvous at the group hotel in Chamonix. Lying beneath the stunning north face of Mont Blanc, the views are beautiful from the start! The guide will give a briefing about the days ahead, and will answer any questions about clothing and gear.

Day 2 Aiguillette des Posettes to the Trient Valley

We ease into our trip with a short journey on the historic Mont Blanc Express train which for over a century has carried mountaineers along the valley to the start of their routes. We alight at the hamlet of Montroc and begin our climb through the larch woodlands before gaining the flank of the Aiguillette des Posettes. The balcony trail that leads to our first Col offers spectacular views of the glacier at Le Tour, and your cameras will be busy. Many trips then head for the Col de Balme, but we choose to go our own special way which is round to Les Tseppes, which in our view offers the best views possible of Switzerland, and the glacier of Trient. Depending on your itinerary we stay in either in Trient itself or walk a little further to the Col de la Forclaz. 6-7 hours. 12km. Approx 1100m ascent and descent.

Day 3 Trient to Champex

Today we have the option of the Fenêtre d'Arpette, a jagged notch on the ridge above Champex, or the spectacular Bovine route. Either route is to be savoured, and each offers something unique. The trail to the Arpette has been subject to a landslide in 2015 and we will choose this if the weather is good and the group going well. Otherwise, we will take the Bovine trail from the Col de la Forclaz. This has the added benefit of a brilliant lunch stop at the Alpage de Bovine, a wonderful chance to enjoy the home cooking of Nathalie and her family. They spend the summer months on the mountain tending to the walkers and to their herd of 'fighting cows'. It's by no means a 'second best' option! We spend the night by the lakeside high mountain village of Champex which is really lovely. 6-8 hours. 18km. Ascent 1410m. Descent 1200m. Less if the Bovine route is taken.

Day 4 Champex to the Cabane du Mont Fort

We have an easy start this morning as we leave the picturesque village of Champex to meander down through summer meadows into the Val des Bagnes. We walk along the valley through the village of Sembrancher and then onto le Chable where we then take the Ruinettes cable car via the famous Swiss ski village of Verbier to reach a spectacular view point at 2200m. After soaking up the view and on a warm day the delights of paragliders using this as their take-off point we continue on our hike. The trail trends around the hillside following an old Swiss 'bise' or irrigation channel. Never losing or gaining much height our route offers breath taking views across to the Mont Blanc Massif and to the Grand Combin bringing us to the Cabane du Mont Fort at 2457m, our first of two nights in the mountains. 5-6 hours. 15km. Ascent 600 metres. Descent 1200 metres. Note: no access to luggage.

Day 5 Cabane du Mont Fort to the Cabane de Prafleuri

This is one of the most spectacular days of the trek, traversing three high cols, with dramatic views throughout. At the start, the path wanders in spectacular fashion beneath the cliffs, with views of the Grand Combin and Mont Fort. We soon reach the first of our 3 passes, the Col Termin (2648m). A dramatic path then takes us to the Col de Louvie (2921m) which offers a fabulous place for lunch and where there is often a chance to see ibex grazing in the early morning sunlight. A steep descent then follows down to the edge of the Grand Desert Glacier. The glacier has long since gone but the terrain feels wild and remote. We climb once more to reach the last of our 3 passes the Col de Prafleuri (2987m). The final part to our day is to descend down to the Cabane de Prafleuri (2624m) for our second night in the mountains. 7-9 hours. 18km. Ascent 820 metres. Descent 550 metres. Note: no access to luggage.

Day 6 Lac de Dix to Arolla

After breakfast a short climb starts the today as we quickly gain the Col de Roux, overlooking the blue green waters of the Lac de Dix. Early morning on this col with the views to the glacier and the chance to see ibex is a joy. A gentle descent then takes us to the lake shore which we follow to its end, with views of Mont Blanc de Cheilon and the Pigne D'Arolla. Marmots are to be found lying in the sun along the whole length of the lake. We make a steep ascent to the Col de Riedmatten or the Pas de Chevre and its brand new ladders, where there are more spectacular views of the Glacier de Dix. The Pas de Chevre ladders were replaced in 2015 and now offer a much more secure and easy ascent to the Col. It is then all descent to the gorgeous alpine village of Arolla and our bed for the night. 7-9 hours. 20km. Ascent 790 metres. Descent 1360 metres.

Day 7 Arolla to La Sage

We are now approaching the half-way point of the trek and today is something of an easier day, involving a leisurely walk through woodland to Lac Bleu, a favourite local beauty spot. From here, there is an easy descent through a beautiful gorge to Les Haudères where we take lunch. A final short climb completes this stage to the small farming hamlet of La Sage. 4-5 hours. 11km. Ascent 215m. Descent - 550m.

Day 8 La Sage to Zinal

We have an early start as today’s walk involves crossing two high cols. The first ascent to the higher of the two, the Col de Torrent (2912m), is long, but is easy walking and quickly gained. We descend to the Lac de Moiry, and its green waters, and often take lunch near the cafe at the dam, which makes an ideal stop and a chance for a cold drink. Ahead we can see some of the giant peaks of the Pennine Alps, including the Dent Blanche. Then it's onwards and upwards to the imposing Col de Sorebois, a climb which is shorter but steeper than the ascent to the Torrent, but again presents no real difficulty. From here, we have spectacular views of the Weisshorn, Dent Blanche and Zinal Rothorn. 8- 9 hours. 24.5km. Ascent 2000m. Descent 1850m.

Day 9 Zinal to Gruben

Only one Col to cross today, and we begin with a pleasant ascent through the larch woods where the nutcracker birds are usually busy in the trees. We reach a summer meadow, where we begin our traverse of the mountainside. This traversing trail is really enjoyable as it meanders up and down along the mountainside, until we reach the junction of the path for the two Cols, the Col de la Forcletta which sits at 2874m, and the Meidpass which lies further along the route, and sits at 2790m. Normally, we prefer to take the Forcletta as we believe it offers by far the best views of the glaciers and peaks of the Turtmann valley. We usually arrive at the Col around lunchtime and it makes a brilliant place to enjoy the mountains. Eventually, we descend through alpine meadows where the famous, and elusive, edelweiss are to be found growing beside the path. A rare chance to see this iconic flower. Julie Andrews has a lot to answer for! 19kms. 7-8 hrs. Ascent 1315m. Descent 1165m. If the Meidpass is taken the ascent, descent and distance is slightly more.

Day 10 Augstbordpass to St. Niklaus

A superb trek today, as we start out through open woodland, then high pastures and rocky upland wilderness. Early morning we pass several farmers huts and the 'guys' are often to be found enjoying a local aperetif even at this time of day. We soon find the cattle which they are herding, and usually wander through several herds enjoying the lush grazing in this high valley. Our final pass is the Augstbordpass (2894m), beyond which we descend steeply into a bowl and take a rocky trail across the mountainside. This is alpine walking at its best with a trail which at times seems to cling to the mountain, don't worry it's a good path! Eventually we descend to the pretty hamlet of Jungu and on again into the Mattertal and the town of St. Niklaus. We will not hold it against you if you opt to take the 'characterful' cable car down from Jungu and save your knees by eliminating around 1000 metres of descent. 7-8 hours. 16km. Ascent 1070m. Descent 1765m.

Day 11 St Niklaus to Zermatt

We have two options for our final day to reach Zermatt, and views of the mighty Matterhorn. Of all the mountains in the world the Matterhorn is for many THE iconic mountain. If good weather allows we will first take a short transfer up to the village of Randa to begin our trek. We gain the high level balcony trail known as the 'Europaweg' which leads us to the first of many highlights today the almighty 'Charles Kuonen Suspension-Bridge'. At almost 500m long this remarkable feet of engineering was opened to the public in 2017 and is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world! This route had been closed in previous years due to rock fall and now the bridge has given walkers the opportunity once again to reach Zermatt on the Europaweg where your first views of the Matterhorn are unforgettable. For those without a head for heights or in poor weather the alternative is to walk the 'original' route to Zermatt along the valley floor which is all on an easy trail. 18km Ascent 1400m Descent 1000m 8-9 hours on the Europaweg. 13km Ascent 450m Descent 0m 4-5 hours along the valley floor.

Day 12 Departure

The trip package ends after breakfast.

Price

Included: Fees of a professional International Mountain Leader. Hotel or gite accommodation for 9 nights (based on twin rooms sometimes with a shared bathroom) and mountain refuge accommodation for 2 nights, it includes all breakfasts and dinners. Transfer of luggage between overnight accommodation (except for 2 nights spent in mountain huts), the le Chable cable car is also included in the trip cost.

Not included: Travel Insurance, airport transfers, lunches, snacks and miscellaneous personal expenses – drinks, souvenirs etc. We are happy to advise on the best options for airport transfers and flights.

Accommodation

During this trip the group will spend 9 nights in comfortable hotels, chalets or gîtes, with good facilities (showers, restaurant, bar etc.), with all bedding provided. If you are booking as a couple you can expect to be in a twin or double room, normally with en suite facilities. Single travellers will be accommodated in same gender twin rooms, which may be en-suite or with shared bathrooms. There are also two nights in mountain huts, where the accommodation is on a non-segregated, dormitory style basis. This type of shared accommodation is all part of an alpine mountain experience. Due to the nature of the accommodation on this trip; small hotels, often in tiny villages and remote mountain huts, single or private double rooms are not readily available, but do ask and we can advise on availability at the time of booking.

Weather

In mountainous terrain the weather can vary considerably. Temperatures can reach over 30°c in the height of the summer (July/August), but can be as low as 5°c on the passes. It is often sunny with good clear days, but it can rain and snow (even in July or August) so you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°c in the valleys and 5-15°c on the passes.

Returning from Zermatt

Services end after breakfast on Day 12 of the trip. The most convenient way of returning from Zermatt to Geneva is by train. To make a booking with Swiss Federal Railways click here, or telephone +41 900 300 300. There is a station in Geneva Airport and there are several connections throughout the day. Please note that 1/2 price fares are only available to those with the appropriate 1/2 price reduction card.

Luggage

This trip is fully supported and clients are not required to carry sleeping bags or significant amounts of personal gear apart from what is required on a day's hike. On most of the trekking days, there will be vehicle support to transfer your main bag to the next overnight stop. You just carry your day pack. There will be a total of two overnights where there will be no access to your luggage and you will have to carry a few extra items. To make things efficient during the luggage transfer process, and to prevent any losses, please keep luggage to a minimum i.e. a day sac whilst walking and one bag labelled clearly to transfer. Please make sure you can carry your overnight bag as many hotels do have have 'lifts'.

Spending money

The package price includes all accommodation, guiding and all breakfasts and evening meals. You should make an allowance for drinks, lunch snacks, including bottled water. Note: bottled water, if bought in the huts, is very expensive. Beer, wine and soft drinks are available every night. Please note that almost all of the route is in Switzerland and you should take most of your money in the form of Swiss Francs. You will need some Euros for the time that you spend in France. There are cash point facilities in Chamonix (France), Champex and in Zermatt.

Minimum numbers

This trip will run once a minimum number of 4 clients have booked. We will take a maximum of 10 clients. We advise you not to make your travel arrangements until the trip is guaranteed to run.

Insurance

Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for walking in the Alps. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.

Further Information

Chamonix is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details. Geneva is the closest international airport, only 75 minutes away by road, making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange. Please contact us if you need further advise on your specific travel requirements.

Once you have booked we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for the trek.

Our Partners

As our niche trips such as the Haute Route are of a specialised nature we work with our partner companies to attract sufficient clients to reach the minimum number of participants to allow these trips to go ahead, meaning you are more likely to have your chosen holiday 'guaranteed'. Tracks and Trails in these instances may, in collaborating with our associates, make use of their guiding services. If you have any queries with regard to this please contact us.


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