Wilderness Travel - vacations and travel

Hiking the Haute Route

France, Italy, Switzerland, United States, Europe

from $5,595* per person 13 Days July-September
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 4
Operator: Wilderness Travel 14 people max
  • Chamonix, france
  • Active & Adventure trips
The Haute Route is the celebrated high-level hiking traverse across craggy mountain passes from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland. This route is where the sport of mountaineering was born in the 19th century and just a glance at the 360-degree panorama explains why: 10 of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc and the crooked spire of the Matterhorn, rise along this magnificent “high route.” Our spectacular hike crosses 11 glacier systems and 10 alpine passes, yet we never climb above 10,000 feet as we follow this famous trail below some of the most spectacular peaks in the Alps. Overnights are in small hotels, with two nights in hike-in lodges to feast our eyes on sunset panoramas of alpenglow on the high peaks.

Locations visited/nearby

France, Italy, Switzerland, United States, Europe

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Special information

  • May accommodate certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.


Days 1-2
Chamonix, France / Mont Blanc

From Chamonix, a lively hub of alpine adventure, we take a warm-up hike for mountain panoramas that stretch from all the “needles” (spire-like peaks) of the Chamonix Valley to the Mer de Glace, a curving glacier more than four miles long.

Days 3-4
Argentiere, France / Champex, Switzerland

With the sound of cow bells jingling in the meadows, we ascend to the Col de Balme, a natural terrace at the head of the Chamonix Valley that marks the French-Swiss frontier. We enter Switzerland with a hike down through pine forests to the Col de la Forclaz. The next day, our trail leads alongside the edge of the magnificent Trient Glacier to the top of the rocky notch called the Fen?tre d’Arpette (8,750'), with a steep descent into the narrow, glacial Val d’Arpette for an overnight in lakeside Champex.

Days 5-6
Mont Fort / Prafleuri

We hike from Champex to Sembrancher through lovely hamlets, then head by cable car up toward the magnificently situated Mont Fort Refuge, a classic hikers’ lodge with great views of the Dents du Midi, Grandes Jorasses, and Grand Combin. This refuge has amazing views of the complete Mont Blanc Massif. The next day, we set out for a rugged cross-country hike in one of the most remote areas of the Alps. Following a little-used trail and crossing three alpine passes, we skirt the glaciers and lakes of the Mont Fort mountains and hike below beautiful Rosablanche (10,942'), perhaps catching a glimpse of ibex or chamois, with an overnight at the remote Prafleuri Refuge.

Days 7-8
Val d’Arolla

From Prafleuri, we hike up the short but steep Col des Roux, then descend to the still waters of Lac des Dix, near which is a labyrinth of marmot dens. We hike along the lakeshore before ascending the Col de Reidmatten (9,577'), which may provide us with a brief glimpse of the Matterhorn. We also have stunning vistas across the Arolla Valley to Pigne D’Arolla, Mont Collon, and Mont Blanc de Cheillon, with remarkable glaciers dominating our view. Our day ends with a descent to Arolla, a tiny village at the foot of several glaciers. The next day is free for optional hikes or a rest.

Days 9-10
Grimentz / Gruben

In the very traditional canton of Valais, we ascend flower-filled pastures to the Col de Torrent, with stunning views including the Moiry Glacier and Dent Blanche (14,290'). From the picture-postcard village of Grimentz, we have a choice of routes for hiking across the Meidpass and all of them have tremendous views of the mighty Schwartzhorn, Gletschorn, and Weisshorn peaks. Now in the German-speaking area of the Valais Canton, we descend to the remote hamlet of Gruben.

Days 11-13
St. Niklaus / Zermatt

A long and gradual climb to the Augstbordpass (9,495') lends us superb views eastward over the Mischabel Range—a 14,000-foot-high mountain range between Saas Fee and Zermatt. We descend on a contouring trail to the charming hamlet of Jungu, where a cable car takes us down to St. Niklaus. At St. Niklaus, we connect with the private cog railway to Zermatt, the most famous of all of Europe’s alpine centers, surrounded by glaciers and a dozen 13,000-foot peaks, most famously the crooked pyramid of the Matterhorn. Options on Day 12 include a hike to Hornli Hut, starting point for climbing the Matterhorn. Depart on Day 13.

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