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Walker's Haute Route: Arolla to Zermatt

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

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Walker's Haute Route: Arolla to Zermatt
Rating
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Country
Switzerland
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
7 days & 6 nights
Difficulty
Moderate to Strenuous
Accomodation
Various
Availability
June - September

Itinerary

Day 1: Arolla
Day 2: Haudères
Day 3: Zinal
Day 4: Zinal
Day 5: Gruben
Day 6: Tasch
Day 7: Zermatt

Overview for Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

Considered one of the world’s most iconic trails, the walk from Arolla to the Matterhorn on the Walker’s Haute Route is filled with breathtaking Alpine scenery. You will spend the nights in comfortable private rooms and we will transfer your luggage between hotels on all walking days.

The Walker’s Haute Route is a variation of the original Haute Route following alpine trails below 3000m and is a demanding but non-technical trek, which explores the best parts of the Alps between Arolla and Zermatt.

The route traverses below some of the highest peaks in the Alps and crosses several high passes. This is a world of glaciers and towering, snow-capped peaks, but also of green alpine valleys with flower-covered meadows and picturesque villages.

Highlights

  • The Matterhorn coming into view as you reach Zermatt
  • Crossing famous mountain passes, each offering breathtaking views
  • The greatest collection of 4000 m peaks in the Alps
  • Comfortable accommodations
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days


Itinerary for Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

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Day 1: Arolla

Welcome to Arolla (check-in after 3 pm). This is the highest village in the Valais canton, at the edge of the last sparse forests of arolla pines and larches and at the foot of Mount Collon. It is is easily accessible from Geneva Airport (3.5 h) or Zurich Airport (4.5 h) by train and a connecting bus.

  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel in Arola, half board

Day 2: Arolla – Aiguilles Rouges (Red Needles) – Blue Lake

This is a very beautiful hike that goes up to Pra Gra, 2479m; it offers great panoramas and, via an old irrigation canal, goes into a cirque with scree and passes through the moraine sides of the Aiguilles Rouges glacier, before arriving at the refuge of the same name 2.5 hours later. Then, you go down to Haudères (1450m) on foot or by bus. Overnight at the hotel in the centre of the village; it is a beautiful village in a wonderful setting at the foot of the Dent Blanche (the White Tooth).

  • Overnight in a 2-star hotel in Haudères, half board
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 850m 850m

Day 3: Torrent Pass – Grimentz – Zinal

You will go up to the Torrent pass (2919m) via the Villa (1742m). You will have an extraordinary view over the Grands Combins, Mount Fort and the Pigne d’Arolla. After the visit of the beautiful village of Grimentz with its larch-clad houses, you will take the postal bus to Zinal.

  • Overnight in a simple hotel in Zinal (private rooms, shared facilities), half board
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 950m 1350m

Day 4: Zinal Circular Walk to Roc de la Vache

The lookout point at the Rock of the Cow (2581m), south of the Zinal valley, offers breathtaking views over the glacier of Moming, Zinalrothorn (4221m) and the north-east side of Dent Blanche.

  • Overnight in a simple hotel in Zinal (private rooms, shared facilities), half board
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, 900m ↓900m

Day 5: Zinal – Gruben

You will take a path on a balcony that overlooks the Valley of Anniviers: it is a flat balcony on a contour line; and behind you, you will have Cervin and Zinal peaks. You will walk via the pass of the Forcletta (2874m) and go down through a pastoral landscape, through meadows and larch forests, to Grüben Meiden (1822m).

  • Overnight in a rustic hotel in Gruben (private rooms, shared facilities), half board
  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, ↑1200m ↓1100m

Day 6: Gruben – Tasch

Today you will walk through forests of larches and arolla pines. You will pass via the Lake of Augtbord, before reaching the pass (2894m), which is a natural border between the Turtmanntal and the Mattertal. You can make an optional walk to the Schwarzhorn (3201 m), just for the pleasure of the eyes and for the unique panoramic views from Mount Blanc to Mount Rose! Then, you will go down to the hamlet of Jungu (1955m): it is a magical place with a Baroque chapel and great views of the Nadelhorn and Mount Rose. Then you will reach Sankt Niklaus (1127m). Transfer by train to Täsch.

  • Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Tasch, half board
  • Walking for the day: 7-9 hours, ↑1100m ↓1800m (to shorten the descent by 800m you can optionally take the cable car)

Day 7: Tasch – Zermatt

From Täschalp (2214m), you will take the High Route (Europaweg) to Zermatt. This high balcony path follows the Zermatt valley and you will have a magnificent view of the Matterhorn and Zermatt. You will also be walking across the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, the longest hanging bridge in the world at just under half a kilometre in length. Located at the foot of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a beautifully preserved old town worth spending one or more extra nights. If you are not staying in Zermatt, you can connect by train to Geneva (4h) and Zurich (3.5h).

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, ↑950m ↓750m

Hotels for Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

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Accommodation is in simple to 3-star hotels, in private double or twin rooms (shared facilities in Zinal and Gruben). We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. Exact accommodation details are provided upon booking confirmation.

Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel from the ones pictured above is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Half-board (hot breakfast and dinner) every day (6 breakfasts and 6 dinners). Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop on the way. Allow about 10 – 15 CHF per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.

Travel for Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

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Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva.

Getting to Arolla

For general travel planning in Switzerland, please go to: www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/transport-travel/getting-around. Regular trains from Geneva continue to Sion from where you can catch a connecting bus to Arolla. For up-to-date train services information, please refer to www.sbb.ch.

Getting from Zermatt

From Zermatt regular trains connect to Zurich Airport (3.5h) or Geneva Airport (4h).

Optional cable cars and transfers during the walk

You can use cable cars to skip several of the big ascents/descents during the trip as detailed in the itinerary. If you wish to skip a stage completely it may be possible to do so using public transport or taxis. Ski lifts and optional transfers are not included in the package price.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included in your package, up to 15 kg and one piece of luggage per person.

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on Switzerland is available here.

Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate to Strenuous

This trip is suitable for experienced hikers only. The daily height gain/loss is substantial and on some days it is over 1000m. Therefore you must have an excellent level of walking fitness and be capable of negotiating challenging terrain. The weather can get poor very fastm so you should have previous high mountain experience and good navigation and mountain skills. The route can be affected by large snow fields early in the season. (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The Walker’s Haute Route is comprehensively way marked at all junctions and by regular paint marks along the trail. We supply you with detailed 1:50 000 topo maps and a comprehensive guidebook so route finding is straightforward for experienced hikers. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. You can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available on any date from 24 June (first starting date) till 30 September (last starting date).

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 15 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots with ankle support
  • Hiking socks (at least 3 pairs)
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket / Goretex jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
  • Quality telescopic hiking poles

Included for Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

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  • Detailed route notes
  • Accommodation in private rooms on a half-board basis on 6 nights (shared facilities on 3 nights)
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office / representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement: available at an extra cost
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, drinks & snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

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