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Walkers Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt (Expert Guide) 

The Walker's Haute Route is a 14 day trek from Chamonix to Zermatt, or in different words from the base of the Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, one of the most iconic mountains in the world.

It is located in a place where France, Switzerland and Italy meet: the Alps.

The Haute route started as a mountaineering trail connecting two great mountaineering centres. The Walker's Haute Route is the ‘lower’ variant of this trail aiming at hikers wishing to spend two weeks overshadowed by the highest mountains in Western Europe.

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Walkers Haute Hike

The Walker's Haute Route is one of Europe's best hikes, but also one of its most demanding. The route has a total distance of 180-200 kilometers depending on the stages you choose.

It starts off at the base of the Mont Blanc in Chamonix and ends in Zermatt, with views of the iconic Matterhorn.

The first three stages use the same trail as the famous Tour de Mont Blanc while the last few stages are similar to the Tour of the Matterhorn.

Along the way you’ll witness the greatest mountain views, spectacular valleys, delightful villages and remote alp hamlets.

The route crosses eleven passes, gains more than 12,000 meters and loses more than 10,000m.

Along the way you will spend some days in valleys, while other nights will be spent in mountain huts. In contrary to the Tour de Mont Blanc, the Walker's Haute Route is less walked and thus less-crowded.

What we like and dislike about this hike

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    Amazing scenery
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    One of the most beautiful treks in the world
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    Public transport possible to skip harder stages
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    Less crowded than alernative alpine treks
  • Relatively expensive due to mountain huts
  • Physically challenging, not for the faint-hearted

Chamonix to Zermatt Route Map

This map illustrates the Walker's Haute Route.

It starts off at Chamonix, France close to the Swiss border before heading east towards the Mattertal. There are 12 or 14 stages depending on if you end your hike via the Europaweg or the traditional valley walk.

The Walkers Haute Route is a linear route.


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Walkers Haute Hike Altitude Profile

In the chart below you can see the altitude profile of the full walk. It is quite clear there is a lot of altitude to be gained and distance to be covered over the 14 stages. You can see that there are a few strenuous stages ending at mountain huts that will require great effort.


Walker's Haute Itinerary

Below we have laid out the most popular version of the Walker's Haute Route – 14 days, leaving from Chamonix and finishing in Zermatt. The itinerary includes approx. distances, hiking times and elevation changes.

Day 1: Chamonix – Argentière

Day 2: Argentière - Trient

Day 3: Trient - Champex

Day 4: Champex – Le Chable

Day 5: Le Chable – Cabane de Mont Fort

Day 6: Cabane de Mont Fort – Cabane de Prafleuri

Day 7: Cabane de Prafleuri - Arolla

Day 8: Arolla – La Sage 

Day 9: La Sage – Cabane de Moiry

Day 10: Cabane de Moiry - Zinal

Day 11: Zinal - Gruben

Day 12: Gruben - St Niklaus

Day 13: St Niklaus - Europahut

Day 14: Europahut - Zermatt

Route Variations (Chamonix to Zermatt)

Some stages of the Walker's Haute Route have alternative trails in case of bad weather. Here is the list of alternative for each of the stages:

  • Alternative stage 3: Trient – Alp Bovine – Champex: Bad weather alternative through the forests and alpine meadows
  • Alternative stage  6: Cabane de Mont Fort – Col de la Chaux – Cabane de Prafleuri: Little shorter than the traditional trail, but still demanding
  • Alternative stage 7: Cabane de Prafleuri – Pas de Chevres – Arolla: This alternative stage passes along Cabane de Dix and the famous ladders of Pas de Chevres. Recommended!
  • Alternative stage 11: Zinal – Hotel Weisshorn / Cabane Bella Tolla: Longer route than the traditional one. Mostly done when Hotel Weisshorn is the place you wish to spend the night.
  • Alternative stage 11a: Hotel Weisshorn – Gruben: Extra stage to finish your hike to Gruben
  • Alternative stage 13: St Niklaus – Zermatt: Traditional valley walk as alternative to the 2-day Europaweg. It is often regarded as an anticlimax regarding views and therefore hikers opt to do the Europaweg instead.

Video Overview of Walkers Haute Hike

A beautiful video overview of the Walker's Haute Route by Cicerone Press.

The video is 04.50 long – enjoy!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Are permits required for the Haute Route trek?

When is the best time to trek the Haute Route?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

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Dempsey Cappelle

Expert Contributor

About the author

Dempsey Cappelle is Mountain IQ's resident adventure-junkie! Dempsey has climbed 3 of the 7 summits - Mount Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua and Mount Elbrus, as well summited Mont Blanc. He has also completed the Great Glen Canoe Trail and the West Highland Way. In 2014 Dempsey completed the Walker's Haute Route. You can find out more about Dempsey on his travel blog:

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