Spectacular High Alps Traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt

Overview

The celebrated Haute Route is a spectacular high-level hiking traverse across the French and Swiss Alps from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland. Ten of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc and the crooked spire of the Matterhorn, rise along this magnificent “high route,” along with plentiful glaciers, cool mountain tarns, and meadows full of wildflowers. Our flawless version of this classic route provides a nonstop panorama of stunning alpine scenery and a quintessential hiking experience of the Alps. Perfectly paced hiking days are superbly complemented by overnights in charming hotels in delightfully quaint villages, with two nights in hike-in lodges to savor sunset alpenglow on the high peaks. At the start and finish of our Haute Route we enjoy full days in the two greatest mountaineering centers in the world—Chamonix, overshadowed by the highest massif in Western Europe, and Zermatt,  dominated by the Matterhorn, the most elegant and recognized of all mountains.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Chamonix, France / Champex, Switzerland

Departing Chamonix, cross the Col de Balme and descend through pine forests to the Col de la Forclaz. A steep but gorgeous hike skirting the Trient Glacier brings you to the top of a rocky notch, the Fenêtre d’Arpette, then down to the wild and rugged Val d’Arpette.

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Days 4-7
Cabane Mont Fort to Val d’Arolla

From a mountain chalet set facing the enormous Mont Blanc massif, we take a “secret” trail past lakes and glaciers and cross three alpine passes en route to the remote Prafleuri Refuge. An ascent of the Col de Reidmatten (9,577’), with its dazzling mountain-and-glacier vistas, brings you down to Arolla, an ideal spot for an invaluable rest day (or more optional hikes!).

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Days 8-9
Grimentz / Gruben

Our trail leads through a traditional area of the Valais canton and across two passes, both of which offer tremendous views of icy peaks, including the Dent Blanche (14,290’)—this is one of the most outstanding vistas in the Alps.

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Days 10-12
Zermatt

A climb to the Augstbordpass (9,495’) grants superb views of the 14,000-foot-high Mischabel Range. We then head to Zermatt, surrounded by glaciers and a dozen 13,000-foot peaks, including the mighty Matterhorn. Options on Day 11 include a hike to the Hornli Hut, where climbers set out to scale the peak. Depart on Day 12.

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Highlights

Highlights

Experience one of the world’s classic mountain traverses from Chamonix to Zermatt—done right!
Hike remote and pristine trails, with views of some of the highest peaks in the Alps
Discover the distinctive alpine cultures and cuisines of France and Switzerland
Extra nights in Chamoniz and Zermatt, plus two hike-in lodges where you’ll enjoy luminous sunsets over the high peaks

Details

Length: 12 days
Cost From: $6095  
Arrive: Chamonix, France
Depart: Zermatt, Switzerland
Lodging: 9 nights hotels and country inns, 2 nights mountain lodges with hot showers
Meals: All meals included except 3 lunches
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

10 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 5-8 hours a day, altitudes between 6,000-9,600 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

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