How tough?

The Walkers Haute Route is a long distance walk and the difficulty lies in the terrain and the sustained amount of distance, height gain and descent you will face each day over a period of 12 days. There is no doubt about it, you need to be very fit and well prepared for the Walkers Haute Route before you arrive in Chamonix.

 

Good and regular mountain walking experience wherever you live in the world will stand you in good stead. We grade our treks from 1 to 4. Each trek receives a grade depending on the difficulty of terrain and numbers of days of sustained trekking. We have graded the Haute Route as grade 4. See individual trek for grading and visit our Essential Information page.

Daily Statistics (full guided trek):

Day 1: Arrival

Day 2: 14km +1100m -1000m

Day 3: 14km +1400m -1200m

Day 4: 17km +350m -700m

Day 5: 14km +900m -500m

Day 6: 17km +850m -1400m

Day 7: 9km +300m -700m

Day 8: 15km +2000m -900m

Day 9: 14km +1200m -1000m

Day 10: 16km 1100m -1000m

Day 11: 14km +1000m -700m

Day 12: 18km +350m -1000m

What about the weather?

Anyone with walking experience knows that weather in the mountains can be fickle and even in summer the temperatures in the mountains can get very cold. On the Walkers Haute Route you can experience all seasons in one day, the temperatures can reach 30 degrees or go as low as 0. Even when the weather is stable the variation of temperatures from the Valleys to the Cols can be significantly different. Which is why we ask you to take particular notice of the kit & equipment (see our kit list) needed for each trek.

 

What about the weather?

See our trekking holidays

We offer several Walkers Haute Route trekking holidays, self guided and guided options. Perhaps the full 12 day trek from Chamonix to Zermatt or for those who perhaps have already completed the Tour du Mont Blanc and done the section from Chamonix to Champex-Lac or don't have the time to trek for 12 days we have shortened stages from Chamonix to Zermatt.

Guided or Self guided trek following the classic route staying in hotels, aubeges and mountain huts.

Holiday duration: 11 nights (depending on rest days)

Trekking: 10 days

Dates: See 'Dates & Prices' page

 

Shorter stages are available. Route following the classic route from Verbier to Zermatt over high mountain cols and through alpine pastures.

Holiday duration: 6 or 8 nights

Dates: See our 'Dates & Prices' page

 

Haute Route Photos

Take a look at our Photo Gallery for photos of the Walkers Haute Route taken each day to give you an idea of what you have to look forward to.

 

Col du Roux Matterhorn Grand Desert Cobweb house leek Col du Torrent
Our Treks

Walkers Haute Route

All you need to know about the Walkers Haute Route giving you background information about this long distance trek from Chamonix to Zermatt. The Walkers Haute Route is a challenging multi day trek and walking in this stunning environment is second to none. This guide will help you be more informed before you arrive for your trekking holiday in the Alps. 

Zoom Walkers Haute Route path marker

Walkers Haute Route path marker

Which Haute Route?

Just to clarify and to save confusion the Walkers Haute Route is different than the Winter Haute Route and takes a slightly different route from Chamonix to Zermatt. The Walkers Haute Route takes in high mountain cols and skirts the glaciers rather than crossing them. Whereas the Haute Route in winter takes you over glacial terrain and can be done in summer with full mountaineering equipment.

Zoom James David Forbes

James David Forbes

The History

The original Haute Route or High Level Route was developed as a summer mountaineering route by the Alpine Club over a 150 years ago following a route from Chamonix to Zermatt via glacial passes through the Pennine Alps. Scottish scientist, glaciologist and mountaineer James David Forbes completed an important section when crossing the Col d'Herens, Col de Fenetre and Col du Mont Collon above Arolla. Other mountaineers such as Alfred Wills, William Mathews and Francis Fox-Tucket established the Haute Route in 1861. In 1911 the route was successfully completed as a winter ski touring route by Roget, Kurz & Murisier. Since then Walkers Haute Route or the 'Green Haute Route' has been adapted following a lower level making the route more accessible for long distance summer trekking. 

Chamonix start point in Europe

Chamonix start point in Europe

Regional map

Regional map

Walkers Haute Route Map

Walkers Haute Route Map

The Walkers Haute Route in Europe

The Walkers Haute Route starting point of Chamonx is conveniently located within France and Europe. The route from Chamonix to Zermatt is situated in the Western Pennine Alps and within the Haute Savoie region of France & the Swiss canton of Valais. The Walkers Haute Route start point can be easily accessed from Geneva in I hour and via other major airports Lyon, Turin & Milan with slightly longer transfer times. Also rail & road networks make travelling to the area fairly straightforward and hassle free.

Walkers Haute Route Statistics

The Walkers Haute Route is fast becoming a very popular long distance trek in Europe that covers a total distance of approximately 180km depending on which route is taken (some variants can be sorter or longer than the original section). The daily height gain on the Walkers Haute Route is substantial and the overall accumulation over 12 days is in the region of 12,000m. The Walkers Haute Route trek takes you over 11 mountain cols and through 2 alpine regions within France & Switzerland on a linear traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt. The stunning scenery amazes and surprises throughout, from the idyllic alpine villages to the broken rocky lunarscape of the Grand Desert. Every day has something different. The Walkers Haute Route is most definitely a tougher trek than the Tour Du Mont Blanc for may reasons, height gained and descended, type of terrain, duration of sustained trekking to mention but a few. All in all the Walkers Haute Route it is truly a great challenge not to be taken lightly.

The route in brief

If you look at a map of the region it looks unclear how you would possibly get from Chamonix to Zermatt easily. The Walkers Haute Route works its way through a complex mass of mountains passable only via a high mountain cols and connecting valleys. Traditionally the Walkers Haute Route starts in the Chamonix valley and moves south eastwards via Argentiere and then over the French/ Swiss border to Trient and follows the same route as the Tour du Mont Blanc as far as Champex-Lac.

 

Here the route splits and the Haute Route heads away from the Mont Blanc massif towards Chable and once up above Verbier the route then stays high for two days passing numerous cols before descending to Arolla. From thereon, the route moves from Valley to Col to Valley on a daily basis, passing through the Valasian villages of Les Hauderes, Zinal and Gruben before finally arriving in the Matterhorn Valley. 

 

There are a number of variants passing over different Cols on some of the days, including the adaptation of the Europaweg (a high level route into Zermatt) rather than staying in the valley bottom. The Walkers Haute Route is often undertaken in reverse and can seem very different when done in the opposite direction. 

Zoom Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

Zoom High on the Europaweg

High on the Europaweg

Zoom Matterhorn

Matterhorn

Walkers Haute Route in brief

Mont Blanc treks use the traditional Walkers Haute Route completing all sections and leaving nothing out, however we do make use of the odd cable car and shuttle bus to cut out the bits of road walking.


Take a look at our full itinerary in more detail on our Walkers Haute Route treks page.

 

Day 1: Arrival in Chamonix.

 

Day 2 Chamonix to Tient: Via the beautiful Aiguillette des Posettes (2201m) and the Col du Balme (2204m) with magnificent views of Mont Blanc & the Chamonix Valley.

 

Day 3 Trient to Champex-Lac: Via the Col du Forclaz and the Fenetre d’Arpette (2665m), to the picture postcard village of Champex-Lac (1466m) & on to our accommodation.

 

Day 4 Champex-Lac to Mont Fort: Via the Orsiéres Valley and through the Swiss villages of Sembrancher and Châble. Take the cable car to Les Ruinettes (2195m) within the Verbier ski area and to the Cabane du Mont Fort (2457m).

 

Day 5 Cabane Mont Fort to Cabane Prafleuri: Option 1 Via the Col Termin (2648m), Co de Louvie (2921m) or Option 2 via the Col de la Chaux. Traverse the Grand Desert before ascending once more to the third & final col the Col de Prafleuri (2965m) and onto the Cabane de Prafleuri (2624m).

 

Day 6 Cabane Prafleuri to Arolla:  Via Col des Roux (2804m) where a delightful view awaits of Lac des Dix. Climbing again to the Col de Riedmatten (2919m) and on to Arolla (2006m).

 

Day 7 Arolla to La Sage: Via Lac Bleu and on to the Valaisian Village of La Sage (1667m) in the Val d'Herens.

 

Day 8 La Sage to Zinal: Via the Col du Torrent which boasts 360 views of the Valasian Alps, Bernese Oberland and the Mont Blanc Massif. Descent to Lac de Moiry and either Option 1 via Col de Sorebois (2847m) and descent to Zinal or Option 2 by taking the Swiss Poste bus from the barrage to Zinal.

 

Day 9 Zinal to Gruben: Via Barnueza Alpage (2211m) and the Col du Forcletta at (2875m) passing into German speaking Switzerland to Gruben (1822m).

 

Day 10 Gruben to St Nicklaus: Via Augustbordpass (2894m) and Jungen (1955m) to St Nicklaus and a short bus ride to Grachen.

 

Day 11 Gasenreid to Randa: Option 1 via the Europaweg high level route or Option 2 Wanderweg low level route to Randa.

 

Day 12 Randa to Zermatt: Via Täschalp & Ottavan 92214m) with the majestic sight Matterhorn to one of the most famous Alpine villages, Zermatt.