Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Walker's Haute Route to Zermatt

Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt

By Kelsey Krahn

An onslaught of questions will inevitably arise when preparing for a trip – no matter your destination – and the Walker's Haute Route to Zermatt is no different. The prep stage can bring up even more questions than a regular trip abroad, and for good reason! Traversing alpine terrain is no joke. Hopefully, the following answers to frequently asked questions will put some anxieties at ease.

When is the best time to trek the Walker’s Haute Route?

Good question! (Shhh, we know we asked it.) It's wise to know when the best time to go is, no matter your destination. Ideally, the best time to trek the Walker's Haute Route to Zermatt is from mid-July until mid-September, but you can hike it in mid-June until October or November when the snow falls again. Snow lingers for a long time, requiring careful navigation and safety precautions. Get a deeper breakdown of what it looks like to explore the Walker’s Haute Route each month here.

Are accommodations open year-round?

Most accommodations shut down outside of peak season! Expect the majority to start opening up in June, welcoming visitors until mid-September. Book three to six months in advance if you plan on trekking during peak season, especially if you want to stay in mountain huts as the beds fill up fast! You might find better luck booking hotels closer to your trip, but this may propel additional public transportation to get to and from the main route. Thankfully, you can find all the information you need via our article on accommodation along the Walker’s Haute Route.

Most accommodations shut down outside of peak season

Zermatt, Switzerland by Gabriel Garcia Marengo, CC-BY 2.0

Where does the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt start?

The Walker’s Haute Route may end in Zermatt, Switzerland, but do you have any guesses on where it starts? Hint: there’s more than one answer! If you plan on hiking the entirety of the trail, then the Walker's Haute Route begins in Chamonix, France; however, there are plenty of different starting points, depending on how long you want your journey to be. You'll spend most of your time traversing through Switzerland, which means elevated prices. However, you can officially start the trek in Chamonix or take a bus to Col De Balme to skip out on the valley walk during the first section. Find everything you need to know on the Walker’s Haute Route here.

What to pack for the Walker’s Haute Route?

It can be tough figuring out what to pack before venturing into the wild, but we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick glimpse of what you need to pack—get more details on the ultimate packing list for the Walker’s Haute Route here:

  • Passport/ID (depending on if you’re an international traveller or an EU citizen)
  • Trekking poles
  • Solid hiking boots
  • Extra comfortable shoes for the evening
  • First-aid kit
  • Power adapter
  • Solar charger
  • Earplugs for the mountain huts
  • Cash
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking-ready clothes and evening clothes
  • High-quality backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Water filtration system
  • Microfibre towel
It can be tough figuring out what to pack before venturing into the wild

It can be tough figuring out what to pack before venturing into the wild

How hard is the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt?

Tackling the Walker's Haute Route is no easy feat. Trekkers will traverse high alpine passes, suffer some afternoon storms, and encounter technicalities that can be tricky to navigate while gaining around 1,000 m in elevation a day across 15.0 km (or so). Therefore, we recommend doing whatever you can to prepare for the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt physically beforehand.

Can you do the Walker’s Haute Route without a guide?

Yes, you can do the Walker's Haute Route without a guide! Hiking when snow lingers, as in June, early July, or during autumn, might increase the need for a guide, especially if trekking is new to you. However, you can hike the Walker's Haute Route without a guide. One way to ensure expert advice without a guide is to book a self-guided tour like the Haute Route to Zermatt Highlights (which you can also book guided)

How many kilometres is the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt?

The Walker’s Haute Route stretches 213.0 km if you stick to the main route, but you might opt to take public transport or alternate routes, ultimately cutting your kilometres.

The Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt stretches 213km

IMG_1184_Day10_on_the_road by donchili, CC BY-SA 2.0

How long does it take to complete the Walker’s Haute Route?

Most trekkers complete the Walker's Haute Route in 10 to 12 days! However, some trek for eight to 15 days, depending on speed and trekking experience (and booked accommodations!). Get more details on the overall route distance here.

Where is the best place to fly to hike the Walker’s Haute Route?

Since the Walker’s Haute Route starts from Chamonix, we suggest flying into Geneva International Airport and renting a car or taking a bus to Chamonix.

We suggest flying into Geneva

We suggest flying into Geneva

What should I wear while hiking the Walker’s Haute Route?

You'll want to wear moisture-wicking, quick dry, lightweight clothes, but come prepared for temperamental weather. Bring rain gear and warmer fleece or wool layers when the temperature dips. Merino wool socks are also crucial!

Well, there you have it! We hope you found some solace in these answers to frequently asked questions along the Walker's Haute Route to Zermatt. While you're at it, you might as well brush up on some interesting facts on this route. What better way to boost your excitement, right? (Okay, it might not be the best way, but it's always fun to know some fun facts about your destination before going on a trip!)