The accommodations along the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt grant rooms to rest for all budgets and adventure styles! Naturally, the most rustic, popular option is to book the off-the-beaten-path mountain huts. Still, you can elevate your swankiness with guest houses and hotels or dip into a more rugged, free-wheeling experience by camping. But there are some things you need to know before booking your accommodations along the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. So let’s take a look!
Types of Accommodations Along the Walker’s Haute Route
Don’t know which accommodations to book along the Walker’s Haute Route? Hopefully, the following details will clarify which option best supports your backcountry meander.
The mountain huts take you from traffic hums to faraway wonders tucked into mountainscapes along this incredible long-distance route. Due to their remote location, refuges offer basic to little amenities, but what beats a place to rest your head, right?
It’s also not uncommon for trekkers sleeping in mountain huts to share stories about bed bugs. Yikes! But if you bring a sleeping bag and backpacker-friendly pillow, you might avoid the horrendous annoyance that accompanies these tiny creatures. It might even be worth it to look into bed bug spray.
Most mountain huts provide you with a pillow and blanket while requesting a fee for a sheet. Therefore, bringing a sleeping bag might be the best way to go—if you have space. Perhaps, if you check out our Walker’s Haute Route packing list, you might find a way to wiggle your sleeping bag into your backpack.
Another item we highly recommend packing? Ear plugs! Just think of all the sniffling, shuffling about, and random noises you’ll hear from the dozen or so people sleeping in the same room. We wrote ear plugs in bold, and we’re repeating it now so you understand the importance of packing them. Don’t forget!
Some refuges might not have drinking water, so prepare to buy bottled or use your water filter.
We understand that the logistics mentioned above might not sound appealing, but staying in refuges is better for your budget (than hotels and guest houses). The secluded, stunning locations make up for the basic amenities and not-so-ideal sleeping quarters. And most offer a half-board option, meaning you can relax and enjoy a tasty French or Swiss dinner at the end of a long hiking day. Dinners are often fulfilling and have multiple courses, whereas breakfast usually follows a simple, grab-and-go format.
Lastly, most mountain huts only accept cash!
Which mountain huts should I book?
If you’re bent on staying in a mountain hut, you must book at least three to six months in advance, especially if you’re going on a weekend during the summer. Unsure of when to go? Our blog post on when to hike the Walker’s Haute from Chamonix to Zermatt will hopefully shed some light on a month that works for you!
The following itinerary might help guide you on which mountain huts/budget-friendly options to book in each location if you’re booking well in advance (you won’t find mountain huts at every stop):
Chamonix: Find budget to high-end options to stay on your first night, no mountain huts here, but you can book a hostel: Le Chamoniard
Argentiere: Hotel les Randonneurs
Trient/Le Peuty: Refuge de le Peuty
Champex: Pension en Plein Air (not super cheap, but Switzerland is expensive!)
Le Chable: B&B Claudy and Elizabeth Michellod-Duthiel
Cabane du Mont Fort: Cabane du Mont Fort
Cabane de Prafleuri: Cabane de Prafleuri (be warned: this mountain hut does not have the best reputation, but you could look into paying more for Hotel du Barrage)
Arolla: Hotel Aiguille de la Tza
Grimentz & Barrage de Moiry: Gite de Moiry (directly on the trail)
Side note: you’ll have to take the bus from Barrage de Moiry, leaving the trail, to reach Grimentz, and then can take it back to the trail the next morning.
Zinal: Auberge Alpina
Gruben: Hotel Schwarzhorn
St. Niklaus: Easy Room St. Niklaus
Next, you can either take the train to Zermatt or continue along the trail and spend a night at Europa Hut.
Guest houses and hotels
If dorms aren’t your thing and you have a bigger budget, guest houses and hotels will give you the comfort and privacy you need. One thing to keep in mind is that most of the trail traverses Switzerland, resulting in elevated costs, usually more than your average guest house and hotel price.
Most hotels offer the standard amenities and will usually state otherwise if they don’t! Meanwhile, some guest houses are on the simpler side, with shared bathrooms, hot showers, and bedding provided. In addition, some can include half-board meals in the price, while hotels may provide this option in exchange for extra cash.
Camping is the most economical option along the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, usually costing around 12 Euro per night (read our article to learn more about general costs along the Walker’s Haute Route). Some campgrounds may even offer hot showers and WiFi. Talk about luxury on a budget! However, you won’t be able to find campgrounds at every stop, so this will require some route planning in advance. The places with campsites are Chamonix, Argentière, Le Peuty, Col de Forclaz, Champex Lac, Arolla, Zinal, Randa and Zermatt. A decent amount, right?
When to book accommodations for the Walker’s Haute Route?
Booking accommodations for the Walker’s Haute Route depends on when and where you’d like to go and stay. We recommend booking your accommodations at least three to six months in advance if you plan to go during July and August. You can even book some mountain refuges up to 12 months ahead of time, but they might not get back to you during the winter months. When they do open again, they keep track of who emailed first, so it’s beneficial to get your name in their email inbox to try and secure a spot.
Those staying primarily in mountain huts and guest houses will need to worry about booking well in advance. However, if you’re hoping to complete the trek in June or September, you might luck out with available guest houses and huts mid-week on the chance that you end up booking a little later.
Hotels might allow later bookings due to higher capacities, but as soon as you know you’re going, make booking accommodations your number one priority (after you know your route).
Meanwhile, campers can revel in a more spontaneous trip! Enjoy the freedom of roaming the trails without an official itinerary, but we still recommend knowing where you’re going and the ideal places you’d like to stay, of course. Others seeking a similar, last-minute vibe might be able to get away without booking in advance during weekdays (especially during June and September). Be prepared to take transportation to nearby destinations and back to the main trail the next day if places are full!
Haute Route to Zermatt Tour
Booking accommodations and route planning can be stressful, often leading people to ditch the thought of completing any long-distance trek altogether. But what if we told you there’s an easier option? That’s right. The Haute Route to Zermatt Highlights Tour does all the work for you to enjoy the unravelling scenery without thinking about where you’re going or where to stay.
No matter how you explore the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, the astonishing views will enchant and leave you with unforgettable memories!