How Long Does it Take to Trek the Walker's Haute Route to Zermatt?

How Long Does it Take to Trek the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt?

By Kelsey Krahn

Wondering how long it will take to trek the Walker’s Haute Route? Then, you’ve come to the right place. This article will share everything you need to know distance-wise to tackle this incredible route cutting through the Alps, connecting France and Switzerland.

Your trek time may vary depending on the pre-booked accommodations, public transportation use, and how long you plan to trek. It’s common for most trekkers to reach Zermatt from Chamonix in 10 to 12 days; however, some can take as little as six to eight days on a Haute Route to Zermatt Tour, while others may want to take it slow and spend 15 days on the trail. Those sticking to the main route from Chamonix to Zermatt will travel 213.0 km! Regardless of how long you think you will spend on the trail, physical fitness will play an important role in determining the outcome, so be sure to prepare yourself physically before setting out on the trail.

Glacier Du Tour

Glacier du Tour @ Hike to Refuge Albert 1er @ Domaine de Balme - Vallorcine @ Chamonix by Guilhem Vellut, CC-BY 2.0

Alternate routes

What’s fascinating about the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt is that you won’t find any signs signalling that you’re on the classic route, granting several chances to swerve off the main trail and take an alternate way to meet your physical (and accommodation needs).

Popular alternative routes

The classic route stretches 213.0 km between the intimidating shadow of Mont Blanc in Chamonix to the lofty Matterhorn in Zermatt. However, you can veer off the main trail for some worthwhile attractions and stunning settings, such as Posettes Trail and Glacier du Tour or veer off the main track to explore Grimentz or spend a night at Hotel Weisshorn or Turtmannhutte, a mountain hut with outstanding views.

You’ll find alternate routes across almost every stage along the trek to Zermatt! Some you might opt to take to check out some unreal attractions, while others might choose to skip tougher, more technical sections for a lower intensity.

Matterhall Trail

Some trekkers might take the Matterhall Trail between St Niklaus and Zermatt for a more accessible option than the main Europaweg Trail.

This trail travels along the lower valley, granting a picturesque riverfront view. Meanwhile, the main track is often named one of the best hikes in the Alps (if you’re doing it as a stand-alone two-day adventure), thanks to the incredible scenery. But from Randa, you could always make your way to the Europaweg Trail.

In addition, traversing the Matterhall Trail may cut your itinerary by a day, so this route could be something to consider if you're short on time.

St Niklaus

2011-07-24 by Guillaume Baviere, CC-BY 2.0

Accommodations and transportation

Where you stay can influence your route, ultimately impacting how long it will take. For example, jetting off the main trail to stay at Hotel Weisshorn or Turtmannhutte will affect the overall time spent on the route. You can also choose to take gondolas or chairlifts, which can cut your trail time short. Alternatively, taking public transportation might help you hit the accommodations you want. For example, you won’t find private rooms or camping at every stop, so public transit can help you stick closer to your ideal accommodations. Learn more about booking accommodations along the Walker’s Haute Route here.

Many factors will dictate how long it takes to complete the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt!