A guide to the 145km Tour of the Matterhorn, described anti-clockwise from Zermatt and visits 6 valleys via Zinal, Arolla and Breuil, offering spectacular views of 25 peaks of over 4000m. The route also links up with the Chamonix to Zermatt walkers' Haute Route and the Tour of Monte Rosa. Includes two glacier crossings and takes 8 to 10 days
The classic peak of the Matterhorn has inspired adventurers for generations, and this 145km tour does not disappoint. It is considerably more demanding than the popular Alpine route, the Tour du Mont Blanc, but it forms a great progression for those who have already sampled some Alpine hiking of this type before and wish to expand their experience.
This guidebook divides the Tour of the Matterhorn into seven stages. They are logical stages rather than day stages, so normally describes routes from one valley to another. It can be walked perfectly in 10 days but it is not a tour that should be rushed, it would be a shame to miss sampling all the spectacular views, cultures and regions. If you are short of time however, there are suggestions for shorter variants included in this guidebook.
The 145km route coincides with two other long-distance treks. From Zermatt to Arolla it follows the Walker’s Haute Route Trail, and from Breuil-Cervinia to Grächen it takes the Tour of Monte Rosa. The total ascent is 9925m with a total descent of the same. The route stays mostly below 3000m so there should be no fear of effects of altitude sickness as this usually occurs above 3000m. The trails are quite rough and rocky in places, and occasionally the steeper sections have been equipped with metal rungs and/or cables. These sections are short and not difficult, although in rain or snow they would be slippery
For nearly 50 years Cicerone have been producing guidebooks on recognised treks, regions, areas and general tips for hikers.
We have used them countless times and they've always provided excellent insight and knowledge that you only get through experience, giving you the edge to make your trip a success and more enjoyable too.
If you're a gram counter you can easily remove sections of the book to take with you making your own ultra-lightweight guidebook with only the essential sections that you require.
- Reviewed by Ultralight Outdoor Gear
SeasonsJuly/August recommended. Snow possible well into June. Huts open from late June / early July. Lifts open early July to early September
CentresGruben, St Niklaus, Zermatt, Breuil-Cervina, Prarayer, Arolla, Zinal, Les Haudères
DifficultyFor experienced alpine walkers. Requires glacier-travel skills/equipment and a good level of fitness. Altitude above 3000m.
Must Seewildlife, views of Matterhorn and 4000m+ summits, Swiss and Italian traditions/culture, glacier traverses, Italian hut food
The Tour of the Matterhorn
How to Use this Guide
When to Go
How to Get There
Difficulty of the Trail
Footpaths and Waymarks
Lifts and Buses
Emergencies and Rescue
Flowers and Vegetation
Things to Do and See
Shorter Trekking Alternatives
Stage 1: Zermatt to St Niklaus
Alternative: Zermatt to St Niklaus valley route
Stage 2: St Niklaus to Gruben-Meiden
Stage 3: Gruben-Meiden to Zinal
Alternative: Gruben-Meiden to Zinal via the Forcletta
Stage 4: Zinal to Les Haudères
Stage 4A: Link route: Les Haudères to Arolla
Stage 5: Arolla to Prarayer
Stage 6: Prarayer to Breuil-Cervinia
Stage 7: Breuil-Cervinia to Zermatt
Appendix I Further Reading
Appendix II Accommodation
Appendix III Useful Contacts
Appendix IV Glossary and Useful Terms
Appendix V Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue Techniques