Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt

Follow a spectacular trail, hut-to-hut through the heart of the Alps

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Trip Ref #9582

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt

Follow a spectacular trail, hut-to-hut through the heart of the Alps

DURATION

9 nights

LOCATION

France, Switzerland

ANNUAL LEAVE

10 days off work

SEASON

Jul-Aug

GROUP SIZE

Up to 10 people

MEETING POINT

Chamonix, France

ACCOMMODATION

Mountain hut · Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Tough

15 kilometres a day with 1500 metre ascensions? Prepare for a serious challenge that you’ll be talking about for years.

Take on one of Europe’s toughest and most prestigious long-distance trails

Experience the remote wonders of the Alps as you trek to epic viewpoints and traditional mountain villages

Get a picture-perfect view of the Matterhorn, one of the most iconic mountains on the continent

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Craig, July 2022

Great trip, would recommend. One tip, bring a swiss adapter. It's different to the euro ones!

Phil, August 2022

Trip was fantastic, views incredible and the challenge was high. A few too many chicken curries for the 10 day hike though...

Phil, August 2022

An amazing adventure which was seriously challenging but included wonderful scenery and a brilliant guide. For people who have strong ankles, who tolerate pain well and who enjoy chicken curry.

Dan, August 2022

Nick Draper our guide was the best. He accommodated everyone in our group. He kept us informed through out the trip. He kept us on schedule while always being friendly. The views on the Haute Route were incredible. I felt as if I were in a new Yosemite Valley each day. The glaciers, waterfalls, streams, trails, …. Were all in incredible. The food and accommodations were excellent. This was the best vacation adventure I have ever had. I did train hard for this trip and the payoff was great. 100 miles in 10 days. And the trails were not easy but so proud to have completed. Thank you Muchbetteradventures! Sincerely, Dan

Valentina, July 2022

I cannot say much, because my body decided to stop me on the second day. Wonderful but hard route.

Jessica, September 2019

Everything was great.

Included

Guides

Experienced, English speaking guides

Accommodation

9 nights in guesthouses, B&Bs and mountain huts

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Not Included

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Travel to and from the start point

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Chamonix Sud Bus Terminal, France

08:30 on Day 1

Ends

Zermatt Train Station, Switzerland

17:00 on Day 10

Transfers

Make your way to Chamonix Sud Bus Terminal for 08:30 on Day 1. You should arrive in Chamonix any time the day before the start date and book a hotel of your choice.

The trip ends at around 17:00 on Day 10 in Zermatt, Switzerland. Air travellers can take the train to the airport directly from Zermatt. We recommend you stay the night in Zermatt to celebrate the end of your trek (a completely car free town) or you can head straight to the airport for a late flight: it takes 3.5 hours to reach Zurich-Kloten and 4 hours to reach Geneva.

Travel options

You can fly into Geneva Airport (GVA) which is approximately one hour from Chamonix. Alternatively, you can fly into Milan Airport (LIN) or Zurich Airport (ZRH) and travel on to Chamonix from there.

For those who wish to avoid flying, Chamonix is also accessible by train via the St. Gervais-les-Bains (Le Fayet) station at the base of the valley which connects to Chamonix Mont Blanc train station. For example, take the Eurostar from London to Paris and then connect to a number of direct lines or an overnight sleeper train from Paris to St. Gervais-les-Bains, then on to Chamonix Mont Blanc station.

You can also travel to Geneva by various train routes from other parts of Europe and travel on to Chamonix from there by bus. Geneva bus station is a 5 minute walk or short taxi ride from the central train station. There are various bus services from Geneva bus station to Chamonix, the quickest option taking 1 hour and 8 minutes. Your return leg at the end of the trip can begin at Zermatt train station for various onward train travel routes throughout Europe.

For those wanting to arrive a day early or extend their trip - your host is happy to help arrange pre or post trip accommodation on your behalf, with the price and style depending on availability and your budget.

Day 1

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4 – Day 8

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Expect hearty mountain style dishes, continental breakfasts and tasty lunches. Dinners vary, but usually consist of three courses, including soup or salad, stews, cheese fondue and Swiss and French delicacies for dessert.

Most dietary requirements including vegetarian and vegan can be catered for: just let your host know in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

The Alps

For the most part, you'll stay in simple guesthouses and B&Bs in twin-share rooms, except for in a couple of locations (Europahütte, Cabane du Prafleuri and occasionally in Trient) where you'll stay in remote mountain huts in multi-share dormitories.

Each accommodation is unique but you can usually expect hot showers and running water. Bathrooms will generally be shared (possibly with a time limit in the huts), although some of the guesthouses offer en suite facilities. Towels are not usually provided so you'll need to bring your own. The mountain huts have bunk beds with a pillow and blankets (packing a thin and light sleeping bag liner is advisable for hygiene) and a bar with cold drinks. They're basic but friendly, with a social and fun atmosphere, and usually have electricity to charge your phone as well as free Wi-Fi.

Upgrades

Unfortunately, single room upgrades aren't available on this trip as some of the hotels are very small and have a limited number of rooms.

Day 1

Trek to Trient

Hiking

5hrs · 14km · 670m up · 990m down

Leave any luggage not needed during the trek at your hotel and make your way to Chamonix Sud main bus terminal to meet your host at 08:30 (you'll be reunited with your left luggage in Zermatt at the end of the trek). Head to Argentière and tackle a gradual ascent to the summit of Aiguillette des Possettes above the Chamonix valley. Take in the epic views over Switzerland and get your first glimpse of mighty Mont Blanc in the distance. Head towards the Col de Balme, which straddles the French-Swiss border, and on to the picturesque village of Trient, where you’ll bed down for the night in an Alpine mountain refuge.

Day 2

The wild pass of Fenêtre d'Arpette

Hiking

7hrs · 15km · 1200m up · 1200m down

Follow a rugged trail and scramble over the boulder-strewn terrain to reach the Fenêtre d'Arpette, a wild and narrow mountain pass known for its untouched beauty - eyes peeled for a glimpse of the Matterhorn. Cross through the steep Arpette Valley and spend the night in the small Swiss mountain resort of Champex-lac.

Day 3

Col de Prafleuri

Hiking

6hrs · 15km · 1290m up · 600m down

Transfer to Verbier to catch the cable car to La Chaux, picking up a rugged trail through the remote peaks. After a couple of climbs separated by the crystal clear Petit Mont Fort Lake, reach Col de Louvie in time for lunch. Descend steeply and cross the otherworldly rocks of the 'Grand Desert', gradually ascending to Col de Prafleuri. Spot tonight's cosy hut (Cabane de Prafleuri) on the Letio d’Allèves Plateau below, reached via a short but steep technical descent.

Day 4

Pas des Chèvres

Hiking

6hrs · 17km · 600m up · 1360m down

Hike to Col des Roux for views over the impressive Grand Dixence Dam and descend to follow an easy trail along the lakeshore. Climb to the lower end of the Dix Glacier, where the final section demands careful navigation over the steep gradient and a ladder to traverse the final few meters. Follow a gentle trail from Pas des Chèvres down to Arolla. Time to rest up and recover at a nice mountain guesthouse.

Day 5

Lac Bleu

Hiking

4.5hrs · 12km · 450m up · 750m down

An easier day to mark the halfway point. After a leisurely start and a relatively gentle forest stroll, there's a chance for the brave to take a dip in the pristine mountain waters of Lac Bleu. Continue through villages and farmland, along tracks of the famous black cows (Reines d’Hérens), passing through Les Haudéres to reach La Sage in the early afternoon.

Day 6

The big 4000s

Hiking

7.5hrs · 18km · 1800m up · 1010m down

Set off on one of the toughest days so far as you hike toward the high point at Col de Torrent, with spectacular views over the 4000m peaks of the Alps. Descend to the Val de Moiry, passing the Lac de Moiry, where you'll stop for a well-deserved rest before continuing down the track to the Col de Sorebois. From there, take the gondola down to Zinal, where you’ll lay your head for the night.

Day 7

Col de Forcletta

Hiking

7hrs · 17km · 1220m up · 1060m down

Meander through farms and meadows on a gentle trail overlooking neighbouring villages, before ascending the Forcletta Pass (the boundary between the French-speaking and the Swiss-German speaking parts of this area). Descend into the rural Meid-Valley on an isolated path which leads to a guesthouse in the village of Gruben.

Day 8

The Augstbord Pass

Hiking

6hrs · 14km · 1120m up · 960m down

Time for one of the most epic sections of the entire trip as you enter the Matterhorn Valley. Climb through sparse forest to the Augstbord Pass before descending into the Augstbordtal. Traverse a rugged trail built into a steep slope to the Jungtal. Ride the cable car from Jungu to reach the quintessentially Alpine village of St. Niklaus, where you'll check into a warm and cosy guesthouse.

Day 9

Hike the Europaweg

Hiking

5.5hrs · 15km · 1310m up · 150m down

Hike through traditional Swiss hamlets to Randa, then traverse high above the Matterhorn Valley on the switchbacks of the famous Europaweg trail. Continue on for a short distance to reach the Europahütte mountain refuge, known for its incredible views of the Matterhorn Valley and of the Weisshorn.

Day 10

Trek to Zermatt

Hiking

7hrs · 16km · 1110m up · 1600m down

Cross the world's longest suspension bridge (the Charles Kuonen Bridge), which spans almost 500m. Spot famous peaks such as the Weisshorn, the Dom and the unmistakable Matterhorn as you continue along the Europaweg and trek right into your final destination of the trek, the lovely mountain village of Zermatt. Celebrate - you’ve earned it.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

KIT

  • 35 to 40-litre backpack, with raincover
  • Sleeping bag liner (silk or cotton)
  • Minimum 2-litre bottle or flask
  • Toiletries and a personal first aid kit
  • Walking poles
  • Cash (CHF) for drinks, snacks along the trail, tips etc.

CLOTHES

  • Hiking clothing for all weather and plenty of layers
  • Hats, gloves and neck gaiter or a scarf
  • Sun protection: hat, sunglasses, suncream
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
  • Swimwear
  • Strong and waterproof leather hiking boots with a high ankle
  • Lightweight shoes (e.g. sneakers, sandals) for the huts/evening

Walking Poles

Payable In Resort

Walking Poles

Geneva Airport Transfer, one way, per person

Payable Before Departure

Geneva Airport Transfer, one way, per person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 148kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You need to be physically fit and able to walk for at least 15 kilometres a day with some challenging 1500 metre ascensions.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

During the summer in the Alps (June – September) we experience usually fair and quite warm weather. It is often sunny and the temperatures can reach 30° Celsius, although it is a dry heat. The weather in the mountains can be sometimes quite unpredictable and weather situations can change very quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to be always prepared for such a change.

You will be hiking in different altitude levels so there will be a significant change between the valley ground and the high mountain passes. On a rainy day temperatures can drop quite low and it is necessary to have a good rain jacket and sometimes even a hat and a pair of gloves. If you stick to the kit-list, you will be ready for anything.

Yes, you can leave any excess luggage not needed for the trek at your hotel on Day 1. Your host will collect it that same day and transport it to Zermatt so it will be waiting for you when you finish the trek. You'll be carrying your own gear during the trek so we recommend packing light!

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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