Classic Haute Route

Spectacular High Alps Traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt


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 wonderful 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 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, above which towers the highest massif in Western Europe, and Zermatt, dominated by the spire of the Matterhorn, the most 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. Following a forested trail used by shepherds for centuries, we take in sweeping views of the Rhone Valley as we head to Champex.

Grand Hotel des Alpes
Chamonix, France
Day 1 (1 night)
Hotel du Col de la Forclaz
Trient, Switzerland
Day 2 (1 night)
Martigny Boutique Hotel
Martigny, Switzerland
Day 2 (1 night)
Hotel du Glacier
Champex, Switzerland
Day 3 (1 night)
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!).

Cabane Mont Fort
Verbier, Switzerland
Day 4 (1 night)
Grand Hotel Kurhaus
Arolla, Switzerland
Days 6 to 7 (2 nights)
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.

Hotel Alpina
Grimentz, Switzerland
Day 8 (1 night)
Hotel Schwarzhorn
Gruben, Switzerland
Day 9 (1 night)
Days 10-12

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.

Parkhotel Beau Site
Zermatt, Switzerland
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights)
Hotel Sonne
Zermatt, Switzerland
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights)



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


Length: 12 days
Cost From: $6395  
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 2 lunches and 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
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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