Hiking the Haute Route

High Alps Traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt

Overview

The celebrated Haute Route, a high-level hike from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland, is immersed in alpine lore. This is where the sport of mountaineering was born in the 19th century, and just a glance at the 360-degree panorama explains why: 10 of the 12 most famous peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, rise along this magnificent “high route.” With seven hiking days, our journey brings nonstop alpine vistas and a crossing of seven dramatic passes—including the Col de Torrent (9,567'), with its stunning views. Our team of expert Trip Leaders makes this a wonderfully fun mountain adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Chamonix, France / Champex, Switzerland / Arolla Valley

Heading out of Chamonix, we ascend alpine meadows past grazing cows to the Col de Balme (7,201'), which marks the French-Swiss frontier. The Col de la Forclaz (5,010') brings sweeping views of the Rhône Valley, with a descent to the Swiss hamlet of Champex d’en Haut. Our trail over the Col des Roux (9,199') reveals the summits of the Valais Alps, and as we cross the Pas des Chèvres, we’ll have sweeping views across the Arolla Valley to Pigne d’Arolla and Mt. Collon, with remarkable glaciers framing our route.

Hotel du Col de la Forclaz
Trient, Switzerland
Day 1 (1 night)
Martigny Boutique Hotel
Martigny, Switzerland
Day 1 (1 night)
Hotel du Glacier
Champex, Switzerland
Day 2 (1 night)
Au Club Alpin
Champex, Switzerland
Day 2 (1 night)
Grand Hotel Kurhaus
Arolla, Switzerland
Day 4 (1 night)
Days 5-6
Valais Canton / Col de Torrent / Meidpass / Gruben

We enter the ancient Valais Canton, where some locals still wear traditional Valais dress while working in their fields. Crossing the Col de Torrent brings us from the Val d’Anniviers to the Val d’Hérens, a wonderfully wild area with stunning views, including the towering limestone pyramid of the Dent Blanche (14,290'), the emblematic peak of the Val d’Hérens. Crossing the Meidpass (9,154'), we enter German-speaking Switzerland, with a long descent past lovely alpine Meidsee Lake to the remote hamlet of Gruben in the peaceful Turtmanntal Valley.

Hotel Bella Tola
St. Luc, Switzerland
Day 5 (1 night)
Hotel Alpina
Grimentz, Switzerland
Day 5 (1 night)
Hotel Schwarzhorn
Gruben, Switzerland
Day 6 (1 night)
Days 7-8
Zermatt

After our climb to the top of Augstbordpass (9,495'), our last pass, we catch a cable car and local train to car-free Zermatt. Surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks, this classic alpine town is famed for its awe-inspiring views of the Matterhorn. Depart on Day 8.

Parkhotel Beau Site
Zermatt, Switzerland
Day 7 (1 night)
Hotel Sonne
Zermatt, Switzerland
Day 7 (1 night)

Highlights

Highlights

Experience one of the Europe’s great long-distance hikes—done right!
Hike to remote alpine hamlets and verdant meadows amid the highest peaks in the Alps
Savor classic views of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and other giants of the Alps
Enjoy a team of Trip Leaders who bring camaraderie and fun to each hiking day

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $5295  
Arrive: Chamonix, France
Depart: Zermatt, Switzerland
Lodging: 4 nights in 4-star hotels, 3 nights in rustic mountain inns
Meals: All meals included as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

7 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.