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Walker's Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

Walker’s Haute Route East: Arolla to Zermatt

Overview

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 3000 m. It is a demanding but non-technical trek, which explores the Alps’ best parts 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 and green alpine valleys with flower-covered meadows and picturesque villages.

  • 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
  • Arolla

Click to view map

Itinerary

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 Mont Collon’s foot. It is easily accessible from Geneva Airport (3.5 h) or Zurich Airport (4.5 h) by train and a connecting bus.

Day 2: Arolla – Aiguilles Rouges (Red Needles) – Blue Lake | 5-6 h

This is a lovely hike that goes up to Pra Gra, 2479m; it offers great panoramas and 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 La Gouille on foot, and you can continue from Haudères (1450m) by bus. Overnight at the hotel in the village centre; it is a beautiful village in a wonderful setting at the foot of the Dent Blanche (the White Tooth).

  • Accommodation: 2-star hotel in Haudères (Hôtel Les Mélèzes or similar), half board
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, ↑850 m ↓850 m

Day 3: Torrent Pass – Grimentz – Zinal | 5-6 h

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

  • Accommodation: Simple hotel in Zinal (Hotel Europe or similar; private rooms, shared facilities), half board
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, ↑950 m ↓1350 m

Day 4: Zinal Circular Walk to Roc de la Vache | 5-6 h

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

  • Accommodation: Simple hotel in Zinal (Hotel Europe or similar; private rooms, shared facilities), half board
  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, ↑900 m ↓900 m

Day 5: Zinal – Gruben | 6-7 h

You will take a balcony path 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 Forcletta pass (2874 m) and go down through a pastoral landscape, meadows and larch forests, to Grüben Meiden (1822 m).

  • Accommodation: Rustic hotel in Gruben (Hotel Schwarzhorn or similar; private rooms, shared facilities), half board
  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, ↑1200 m ↓1100 m

Day 6: Gruben – Tasch | 7-8 h

Today you will walk through forests of larches and arolla pines. You will pass via the Lake of Augtbord, before reaching the pass (2894m), 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 Mont Blanc to Monte Rosa! Then, you will go down to the hamlet of Jungu (1955 m): it is a magical place with a Baroque chapel and great views of the Nadelhorn and Monte Rosa. Then you will reach Sankt Niklaus (1127 m). Transfer by train to Täsch.

  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Tasch (Hotel Walliserhof or similar), half board
  • Walking for the day: 7-8 hours, ↑1100 m ↓1800 m (to shorten the descent by 800m you can optionally take the cable car)

Day 7: Tasch – Zermatt | 5 h

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. Luggage transfer is not included today, so you will have to go back by train to Tasch to pick up your luggage (train every 15 min).

  • Walking for the day: 5 hours, ↑950 m ↓750 m
  • No luggage transfer & accommodation on this day

What to expect

Accommodations

Accommodation is 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.

Click to view default hotels

*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 15 CHF per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.

Difficulty & terrain

This trip is suitable for experienced hikers only. The daily height gain/loss is substantial, and on some days it is over 1000 m. Therefore you must have an excellent level of walking fitness and be capable of negotiating challenging terrain. The weather can get poor very fast 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). The Walker’s Haute Route is comprehensively waymarked at all junctions and 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 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 mid-June till mid-September.

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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this holiday is Geneva (GVA).

By train or bus
  • Getting to Arolla: For general travel planning in Switzerland, please use this link. 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 SBB or use the Omio planner above.
  • Getting from Zermatt: From Zermatt, regular trains connect to Zurich Airport (3.5 h) or Geneva Airport (4 h).
  • Optional cable cars and transfers during the walk: You can use cable cars to skip several big ascents/descents during the trip as detailed in the itinerary. If you wish to skip a stage completely it may be possible to use public transport or taxis. Ski lifts and optional transfers are not included in the package price.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights accommodation in private rooms (shared facilities on 3 nights)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners
  • Digital Travel Pack with access to Nav app (paper materials can also be delivered at the first hotel upon request, at extra cost)
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days, except Day 7
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room – available only on first and last night
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Extra nights in Arolla and Tasch

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