The first day starts strong. Your goal is just a little higher up in the Chamonix Valley, but to get there, take the trail to the iconic Lac Blanc. After taking in postcard views of the Mont Blanc massif, descend the TMB ladders, where the day ends in Argentiere.
If you’d like to start the Haute Route easier or you want to get in some hiking on the day of arrival, you can also take the direct way to Argentiere, following the gently ascending trail along the valley.
17km and 1350m elevation gain
The last day in France will be relatively undemanding. Following the ridge of Aiguillette des Possettes, it takes you to Col de Balme, the border of Switzerland. When you leave France, you also leave the most up-close views of the Mont Blanc massif behind (though they return later), descending down into the green pastures of the Swiss village Trient.
16km and 1200m elevation gain
A challenging path awaits you on the third day. You’ll ascend over the Fenetre d’Arpette, with spectacular views of the Glacier du Trient. The tricky rocky descent soon turns into a pleasant walk into the green valley, where Champex-Lac, the welcoming town beside a lake, awaits.
In the case of bad weather, the easier Bovine route (part of the Tour du Mont Blanc) is preferable.
15km and 1350m elevation gain
As the only day on the trail without huge mountains, you’ll explore more of the Swiss countryside. You will follow the side of the picturesque Val Ferret and into Sembrancher of Val de Bagnes, where you hike along the river towards Le Châble. Even without any big mountains in sight, this day is still interesting as it shows you ordinary Switzerland, not often advertised.
14km and 300m elevation gain
Start early and get ready for a big climb on this day. The steep footpaths will take you above the tree line, on the slopes of the world-renowned Verbier ski resort. Traversing them, you will soon start to notice another great Alpine massif — the Grand Combin — before reaching the Cabane du Mont Fort hut, where you end the day.
12km and 1650m elevation gain
The sixth day presents itself a stage full of contrasts — first the panoramic green ridges with a good chance of seeing an ibex, and then the moonlike plateau. From the panoramic trail over Col Termin (optional over Col de Louvie), you’ll soon reach the dying Grand Désert Glacier. The route takes you just below it, on the barren land of scree and stones. After passing many small lakes, you cross over Col de Prafleuri (2987 m), the highest point on the Haute Route. From there, you’ll soon reach the hut of Cabane de Prafleuri.
17km and 1000m elevation gain
This stage will keep you high up in the mountains, with some of the best views on the Haute Route. Lac de Dix will surprise you just over the morning Col. After traversing alongside this 5 km long accumulation lake, you’ll cross over the morain of Glacier de Cheilon, admiring the pyramid-shaped Mont Blanc de Cheilon on your right. You have two passes you can choose before descending down to Arolla. One has ladders and the other will give you a slight glimpse of Matterhorn.
18km and 750m elevation gain
This stage is easier, and doesn’t feature any high mountains, but still very scenic. It takes you down the valley from Arolla, past typical Swiss villages, towards Les Hauderes. In between, you can also do a detour to the small but fairytale-like Lac Bleu. The day ends at the small village of La Sage.
11km and 250m elevation gain
You’ll climb your way up from the valley towards the ridge above Val d’Hérens, crossing it at its lowest point in Col du Tsate. After a descent to the small Lac Châteaupré, the way up along the Moiry Glacier begins. As the landscape becomes rockier and you start to get a closer look at the glacier, switchbacks will bring you to one of the best-situated huts on the route. The Cabane du Moiry has a great atmosphere and is for many people a destination on its own.
11km and 1650m elevation gain
After a breakfast admiring the view through the panoramic glass windows of the hut’s dining room, head back down yesterday’s path to Lac de Moiry. The ascent then leads towards Col de Sorebois, a great outlook over Val d’Anniviers and iconic peaks like Weisshorn (4505 m). The descent to Zinal is steep and long, but can be shortened about halfway by a cable car.
16km and 550m elevation gain
This is the first day when you will cross into the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The ascending trail leads high above the Zinal Valley with great views of its head every time you look behind. The shortest route to the valley of Turtmanntal on the other side is across Forcletta pass. If you have more time, you can also extend the trail with a night stay at the Victorian Hotel Weisshorn, and hiking across Meidpass the next day. The common goal of these options is Gruben, a small village only occupied in the summer.
17km and 1200m elevation gain
This is another day full of contrasts, crossing the last mountain pass on the Walker’s Haute Route. From the green forests above Gruden, across the rocky landscape of Augstbordpass, you’ll be walking on a historical trading route. After coming around the corner, the epic views of Mattertal valley will vow you. Although no sight of Matterhorn yet, you’ll see Dom (4545 m), the highest peak only in Swiss territory). Past the lovely hamlet of Jungen, descend into the valley into St. Niklaus.
The last two-day stretch on the Walker’s Haute features one of the best hikes in the alp, the Europaweg. Redesigned in 2021, because of a landslide, its first part now takes you from Gasenried to Herbriggen at a lower altitude. Taking the valley route from St. Niklaus to Herbriggen can shorten this long stage. From there, a long but grand ascent to the Europahutte begins. With epic views at every stop, including the panorama with Matterhorn, you’ll cross suspension bridges and soon arrive at the end.
17km and 1600m elevation gain
Every grand route should have a grand ending, and this one is exactly that. You’ll be traversing up high above the valley, crossing the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, all with the imposing view of the sharp Matterhorn at the end of the valley. After Sunegga, descend down into Zermatt — the end of the Walker’s Haute Route.
22km and 600m elevation gain
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The Walker’s Haute Route is probably one of the most epic hikes in the Alps.
From Chamonix to Zermatt, from Mont Blanc to Matterhorn — it connects the two most important mountaineering centers in Europe and two of its most iconic mountains. You can confidently say that you’ve been to this part of the world after you experience all the diverse scenery on this long-distance route.
The Walker’s Haute Route is a challenging trek, tougher than some of its counterparts (like Tour du Mont Blanc). This makes it more rewarding, with fewer crowds on its trails. It starts in France, overlapping with the TMB, and soon enters Switzerland, where it stays until the end.
It has 14 stages that a reasonably fit hiker can complete in 14 days of about 5-7 hours of hiking, with optional detours that can extend it for an extra day (Hotel Weisshorn). Crossing many mountain passes that never quite reach 3000 m of elevation, the Haute Route trek is challenging without even considering the planning aspect.
We can help this once-in-a-lifetime adventure be as hassle-free as possible.
We take your wishes and preferences to best advise you on your perfect Walker’s Haute Route itinerary. We book all of your accommodations and other services, so you can focus on the journey. And a few weeks before setting off, we’ll send you the detailed itinerary booklet with the planned GPS route.
All that’s left for you is to get to Chamonix and start walking!
But if you are short on time, you can also choose to hike just half of the Walker’s Haute Route — the West or the East.
Those who like a good adventure and limitless flexibility should go on a self-guided tour. We prepare the itinerary and book your accommodations while you enjoy the journey without our guide, being fully in charge of all the daily decisions. While you’ll have the full support of our team in case of any emergencies or concerns, a certain level of self-reliance is required.
Experience the great outdoors on a private guided tour tailored just for you. The tour is for those who want a hastle-free adventure and enjoy the flexibility of a small private group and not stress about the details of everyday planning. The guide will be fully at your disposal to make this experience as personalized as possible, maximizing the enjoyment during and after the tour.
For solo hikers or hikers who wish to meet other like-minded souls, don’t want to stress about tour-planning and other annoying details. We’re going to find you a group of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts and take care of all the other details. The tour will be led by our guide, who’ll make sure everything runs smoothly, ensuring maximum hiking enjoyment.