We ride the cog rail way up to the Gornergrat at 3,090 meters. This is the classic first day walk in Zermatt with its “in your face” view of the Matterhorn reflected in the Riffelsee. We hike from the Gornergrat to the Riffelsee and then on to the Riffelberg. We have lunch at the Riffelberg and perhaps enjoy a reading from Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad , in which he hilariously describes his experience climbing the Riffelberg. From there we have the choice of hiking back down to Zermatt, or riding the lower leg of the cog railway.
Ricola!! We take the high trail to the preserved village of Zmutt, and then hike down through the hamlet of Blatten where we might treat ourselves to ice cream, before touring and taking the herb identification quiz in the Ricola garden just outside Blatten. We then walk up to the “Glacier Garden” with its amazing glacial potholes, and then back to Zermatt through the Gorner Ravine.
We ride the lift to Sunnegga and then hike to Fluhalp for a delicious lunch at the mountain hotel, hopefully seeing some marmots along the way on the Marmot Observation Trail. We hike up behind the Fluhalp Hotel past the ruins of the old hotel (frequented now by sheep) to the edge of the glacial moraine. We then hike back down to Zermatt past the beautiful restored hamlet of Findeln, into a forest and down tight switchbacks. We continue our walk along forest trails that hide the irrigation pipes that historically have supplied this driest of Swiss cantons with much needed water from the melting glaciers. We emerge from the forest passing by beautiful wooden chalets and villas.
We hike directly, and we mean directly, up from Zermatt to the Hotel Edelweiss. A short, steep climb brings you to an historic, restored guesthouse perched on a promontory looking down on the town. We then hike further up to the Trift Hotel, another historic gem, along a botanical trail whose signposts identify the trailside flowers and trees. After lunch at the Trift Hotel we ascend to Hoehbalm and still more incredible views of, guess what?, the Matterhorn, followed by our descent to town. The path up to the Trift is notable for its lack of lifts and the resulting feeling of remoteness. Perhaps tonight is the night to treat yourself to a sauna or a massage in the hotel’s spa.
Our last day is the highpoint of our hiking week, both literally and figuratively. We ride a lift to the Schwarzee See with its beautiful chapel, and then hike up to the Hoernli Hut, used for overnight stays before ascents on the Matterhorn. We’ll enjoy a hearty hut lunch while watching the rubber-kneed climbers return with their mountaineering guides from the big climb.
After our final generous breakfast we depart Zermatt early by train back to Zurich to connect with homeward-bound flights or other destinations.
Please bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual walks and sites may vary due to season, special events, weather or the group’s experience level. We will alter the itinerary to improve the tour and your experience, and to customize it to your group’s needs.