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Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 1 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 2 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 3 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 4 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 5 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 6 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 7 Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 8

Walking Holidays Along the Haute Route

 

An Introduction to Walking The Haute Route

The Haute Route (High Route) from Chamonix to Zermatt is steeped in mountaineering legend, a route first taken by British climbers at the end of the 19th century located in the scenic Swiss canton of Valais.  

An Haute Route hike today typically includes high passes such as the Col de Torrent (2918m), the Col de Sorebois (2896m) and the Augsbordpass (2893m). Although the Haute Route is a popular hiking trail, you will find that compared to many other areas in Switzerland, most of the paths are little trodden.  

In spring and early summer, the valleys and meadows on the Haute Route are a mass of colour when the alpine flowers come into bloom. There are also the cheery blues and greens of the mountain lakes, some fed by glaciers and some naturally left up the mountainsides where the glaciers have melted away.  

In the Valais, walkers can take a gondola up to Schwarzalp and continue their Haute Route hike under the flanks of the Matterhorn. There is the Gornergrat railway that takes visitors up the mountain for vistas of the Matterhorn. A famous walk above Zermatt is called The Höhbalmen Weg (or Edelweissweg) that follows a terraced path across the valley from the Matterhorn to admire the mountain’s majesty.  

Best time of year for Hiking the Haute Route

Due to the nature of the high passes where snow can hang around until quite late, there is quite a narrow season for the Haute Route Hike. Generally, late July through to mid-September is a good time for walking the Haute Route. The lower valleys see warmer temperatures and beautiful spring flowers much earlier, while the snow hangs around typically above 2600 metres until at least mid-July.  

May and September are drier than June, July and August and the Valais area averages 10-25 degrees C during this period and the monthly rainfall is approx 50mm. Compared to about 150mm in neighbouring Bern canton. However at the high passes, temperatures can drop to freezing with wind-chill even in the summer making layering up a good idea.  

Highlights of The Haute Route Hike

Mountain Vistas
The mountain vistas while hiking the Haute Route are continuously changing although Mount Collon, the Weisshorn and Dent Blanche dominate the scenery. Once in Zermatt, there are also views to the Breithorn, Taschhorn, Liskamm, Monte Rosa, and The Matterhorn.

Arolla
Tiny quiet mountain village where we start the tour below Mount Collon. There are just a couple of small shops and then our traditional hotel with creaky wooden floors and the most beautiful terrace with geraniums. Look out for hummingbird hawk-moths.  

Lac Bleu & Lac Moiry
Lac Bleu is a tiny gem of a lake with crystal blue green waters reflecting the mountains around it while Lac Moiry is an impressive barraged lake. It has a pale blue colour from suspended glacial fragments and stretches back to the ice falls of the Moiry Glacier.

Grimentz
The mountain town of Grimentz is famed for its pedestrianised main street with beautiful wooden chalets, geranium filled balconies, and fountains involving wood carved models. On our Haute Route Hike, make time to utilise the free cable cars up to the mountain.

Hotel Weisshorn Alone on the valley side with views of Dent Blanche, Rhone Valley and the Wildstrubel, this Victorian hotel is a cosy place where you can relax on the terrace. The hotel has its own hydroelectric and self-heating plant.  

Food and Drink while Walking the Haute Route

Swiss food tends to be wholesome and hearty. It is big on meat cuts, potatoes and vegetables, and sometimes comes with unusual flavours such as from chard or fennel. Cheeses play a big part of the cuisine along the Haute Route and it is worth taking a slab of ‘Alpen Käse’ into the hills for picnics. The cheese can sometimes be found at farms in the mountains. Legend has it that raclette was invented by a Valaisian by the name of Léon. One cold day, he simply heated up a piece of cheese on the fire instead of eating it cold. This is how the typical Valaisian raclette came about. There is also a good selection of Valaisian wines to be found on the Haute Route. Quite a number of hotels in the mountains and valleys will have an extensive selection. The wines are produced in the valleys and villages leading out of the mountains to the Rhone.  

 

Other Reasons for Walking the Haute Route

Visit the Zermatt Museum with features on the history of climbing Matterhorn, it is a fantastic museum to visit. The splendid town of Grimentz has been offering free use of its cable cars for guests holding local hotel cards. The cable cars can take you to save 500 metres ascent and descent if you wanted to climb Roc d’Orzival. A second cable car takes you up to just under the peak of Sorebois from where you get great views over to Lac de Moiry. 

 

How to Get to and From the Haute Route

Ideally you fly into Geneva Airport and take a train to Sion (2 hours) where you change onto a postbus up to Arolla (1 hour 20 mins). Sometimes this includes a change at Les Hauderes. 

Leaving Zermatt: ideally take the train to Geneva Airport and change at Visp (4 hours).

More information on Walking the Haute Route

As the Haute Route offers such fantastic opportunities for walking in Switzerland, we were given a page of resident guide John’s diary that he wrote when hiking the Haute Route. If you like to learn more about what a walking day on the Haute Route can look like, we certainly recommend to have a look. Especially in the summer, the Swiss Alps offer attractive walking weather, read more about it here.

Browse Our Walking Holidays on the Haute Route 

Haute Route Walking Holiday Image Gallery

  • Having a break while ascending the Augsbordpass.

    Having a break while ascending the Augsbordpass.

  • Descending from the Augsbordpass towards St. Niklaus.

    Descending from the Augsbordpass towards St. Niklaus.

  • At the Augsbordpass (2893 m).

    Made it to the top of the Augsbordpass (2893 m).

  • View towards Turtmantel Valley.

    View towards Turtmantel Valley.

  • Ascending up to the Col de Torrent on the Walkers' Haute Route

    Ascending up to the Col de Torrent.

  • Walking to Les Hauderes with views up to the Dent Blanche.

    Walking to Les Hauderes with views up to the Dent Blanche.

  • Descending to Jungun on the Walkers' Haute Route.

    Descending to Jungun.

  • Hotel du Glacier - Our first hotel in Arolla on the Haute Route walking Holiday.

    Walking down from Arolla with Mount Collon in far background.

  • Jungun and the Mattertal Valley on the Walkers' Haute Route.

    Jungun and the Mattertal Valley.

  • Acquamarine waters.

    Acquamarine waters.

  • Descending from Col du Torrent to Lac Moiry.

    Descending from Col du Torrent to Lac Moiry.

  • Walking down from Les Hauderes.

    Walking down from Les Hauderes.

  • Les Hauderes chalets.

    Les Hauderes chalets.

  • Alpenglow on the Matterhorn.

    Alpenglow on the Matterhorn.

  • Ascending the Medipass in August with surprise snow.

    Ascending the Medipass in August with surprise snow.

  • Up to the Medipass.

    Up to the Medipass.

  • Walking down from Arolla with Mount Collon in far background.

    Walking down from Arolla with Mount Collon in far background.

  • Walking down from Arolla with Mount Collon in far background.

  • Friends at signpost for Gruben.

    Friends at signpost for Gruben.

  • Walking down from Arolla with Mount Collon in far background.

  • At Twara before the descent to Jungen.

    At Twara before the descent to Jungen.

  • Rest at Twara looking towards the Dom.

    Rest at Twara looking towards the Dom.

  • At Twara looking up the Mattertal Valley.

    At Twara looking up the Mattertal Valley.