Walker's Haute Route Guided
13 stages . 14 nights . French Haute Savoie and Swiss Valais
Walker's Haute Route Guided
Haute Route Guided
13 stages . 14 nights

Walker's Haute Route
Guided walking holiday


Key information

Start: Chamonix in France
End: Zermatt in Switzerland
Season dates: 15 July to 15 Sept 2024 and 14 July to 18 September 2025
Length: 13 days' walking
Trip Variations: West - 7 days' walking and East - 6 days' walking
Typical walk: 14km, 1,050m ascent
Total distance: 199km or 124 miles (107km West and 92km East)
Highest altitude: 2,987m (2,916m on the East)
Grade: Black 4 (Walking grades)
Group size: 4-8 people

From GBP 2,980 per person


Walking from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn along the Walker’s Haute Route is on many a bucket list and rightly so. It is one of the most challenging and awe-inspiring long-distance treks in Europe taking you over rocky passes, past snow-capped mountains and through pretty Alpine meadows, all the while providing views into the high mountains. Please note that our Guided trip does not walk the full Europaweg.

This dramatic 200km, 13-stage hike starts in the French town of Chamonix below Mont Blanc before climbing high into the Aiguilles Rouges mountains to give panoramic views of the Mont Blanc Massif. Once in Switzerland the route takes to a steady routine of climbing to a high mountain pass each day before dropping down into a lush valley to find your home for the night. Highlights include the charming towns and villages of Champex, La Sage, Arolla and Zermatt. The views are second to none and the trekking is some of the finest in the Alps.

If you'd prefer a shorter trip, we also offer the 7-stage Walker's Haute Route West from Chamonix to Arolla and 6-stage Walker's Haute Route East from Arolla to Zermatt.

Being a guided trip, you will be accompanied by one of our fantastic International Mountain Leaders (IML). Our IMLs are fully qualified mountain professionals and know the route like the back of their hand. This allows you to relax and enjoy your trek whilst benefitting from their extensive knowledge of the mountains! Our guides have vast experience in managing groups on the hill which helps facilitates a full and challenging trip for each and every person. Please do ask us for more details of how the hike works.

We offer scheduled guided trips whereby you can join an already formed group on set start dates or we can offer privately guided trips where you would have full flexibility on your itinerary, start dates and accommodation options. Please do just get in contact for more details.

Alternative trip options
Prefer a different style or length of trip? Why not try one of these:
Self-guided Haute Route - walk the trail under your own stream
Guided Tour du Mont Blanc - for something a little easier
Guided Alta Via 1 - for something shorter and easier
Map
2024 Dates
Please join one of our guided Walker's Haute Route trips:

People at Alpine Exploratory
HRTg1 July 2024

Full Haute Route - 14 to 28 July 2024
Western sections - 14 to 22 July 2024
Eastern sections - 21 to 28 July 2024

Led by Rob Gale

Book (Fully booked)

2025 Dates
Please join one of our guided Walker's Haute Route trips:

People at Alpine Exploratory
HRTg1 19 Jul to 2 Aug 2025
Mountain Leader to be confirmed

Book (Spaces available)

People at Alpine Exploratory
HRTg2 23 Aug to 6 Sep 2025
Mountain Leader to be confirmed

Book (Spaces available)

Scheduled Guided Trips
On each of our scheduled guided trips you have the option to select the full route or can opt to just walk the Western or Eastern section of the trail. The maximum group number at any one point will be 8 clients to 1 Alpine Exploratory International Mountain Leader.

Although the start and end dates on our scheduled guided trips are fixed, we'd be very happy to book extra nights in Chamonix or Zermatt before or after your trip for you to explore the areas a little more. Please do just ask for more details.

Private Guided
We would be delighted to plan a privately guided trip for your family or group of friends at any time within our walking season. We will find you a guide and book your accommodation on the dates your choose. You will have full flexibility over the length of your trip, your choice of accommodation and your dates.
Hotel du Glacier in Arolla
Hotel du Glacier in Arolla
2024 Prices
Walker's Haute Route Guided
15 July to 15 Sept 2024
Hutty Classic Comfy
Scheduled guided
13 stages
(14 nights)
Full Route
Private trips only
GBP 2,980
Singles 470
Main Trip
Private trips only
7 stages
(8 nights)
HRT West
Private trips only
GBP 1,950
Singles 245
Private trips only
6 stages
(7 nights)
HRT East
Private trips only
GBP 2,010
Singles 260
Private trips only

2025 Prices
Walker's Haute Route Guided
14 July to 18 Sept 2025
Hutty Classic Comfy
Scheduled guided
13 stages
(14 nights)
Full Route
Private trips only
GBP 3,280
Singles 470
Main Trip
Private trips only

Accommodation

Where we stay
Our Classic mix of accommodation aims to give a broad taste of trekking in the French and Swiss Alps. We mix good family-run hotels in the towns and villages with the auberges and huts that fit the route. This includes 3 nights in mountain huts (2 on the West and 1 on the East) and 2 nights in auberges (1 on the West and 1 on the East). The remaining nights are spent in 2* and 3* hotels.

Hut accommodation options
On our scheduled guided trips, we book places in dormitories at all of the 3 huts, shared with your fellow walkers. These are the huts of Cabane de Louvie, Cabane de Prafleuri on the Western part of the trail and Cabane de Moiry on the Eastern part of the trail. The huts are an important part of the route and offer splendid views from remote locations along the trail which more than make up for their basic accommodation offerings.

Single Room Supplement
If you would like to stay in single rooms rather than sharing a double, twin or triple room we add our single room supplement. This covers the additional cost of booking single occupancy rooms. The single supplement is only applied to nights where single rooms are available, and is not applied to hut nights which do not offer single rooms. In the auberges, we may be able to book single rooms or if not, we will book the smallest room available.

Hotel du Glacier in Arolla
Hotel du Glacier in Arolla
Route
Ladders on stage 7 of the Walker's Haute Route
The ladders on the Pas de Chèvres alternative on stage 7
Our approach to the Walker's Haute Route
Our guided Walker’s Haute Route gives a complete journey on foot from Chamonix to Zermatt (Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn), walking every step of the way. The route itself is often loosely defined and there are no official waymarks – this is what your guide is there to help with, allowing you to relax and enjoy the walking! The route does have a number of variants and your guide will discuss these options with the group each day.

Paths in Switzerland have undergoing re-classification of their grade over the past few years. This has led to instances whereby walking paths have been given a grade beyond the remit of a walk leader (as per our IMLs). Once such location is between Le Chable and Cabane de Prafleuri. Beyond Le Chable the Haute Route splits into three paths towards Cabane de Prafleuri, of which a trek led by an IML must take the route via Cabane de Louvie. This is due to the legal classification of the other two paths. All of our guided groups stay at Cabane de Louvie and enter the area from this different angle which is just as exciting in terms of views, just a little less technical underfoot!

The traditional end to the Haute Route is a 2-day hike along the Europaweg high level trail. However, since our first Haute Route season in 2009, the solidity of the first day on the Europaweg has reduced and the risk of rockfall has increased. As such, in the interest of group safety, our guided trips now cover the St Niklaus to Zermatt stages in one day instead of two, along the pretty valley route or suitable alternative. On private guided trips, please ask us for options for a 2-stage Europaweg finish and we can advise on options.

The Terrain
The Walker's Haute Route's terrain comprises wide tracks through forests, the odd country lane, zig-zagging hillside paths and steep, rocky mountain paths. A standard day would see you climb from the valley bottom up to a mountain pass before dropping down to the next valley in the afternoon.

It’s worth noting that in some places the paths are particularly steep and loose, for example on the Western part of the trail, the Fenetre d’Arpette and the 2 wild and remote stages before Arolla. Additionally, at one point between Cabane du Mont Fort and Cabane de Prafleuri (Pas de Chrevres), there is a very steep and loose section of path over the Col de Riedmatten. A standard day would see you climb from the valley bottom up to a high col before dropping back down into the valley in the afternoon.

Is it for me?
The Haute Route has a fantastic mix of high mountain passes and pretty flower meadows in the valley bottoms. The trail is generally good underfoot however there are some sections of steep, rocky and exposed paths requiring a head for heights and surefootedness.

This trip would be manageable for fit mountain walkers who are happy to walk for between 6h and 9h or more per day along a long-distance trail. Previous walking experience in the mountains is essential for this trek so if you are considering this as your first Alpine hike, we recommend you explore a slightly easier option first such as the Tour du Mont Blanc or Alta Via 1. As with all Alpine hiking, it will greatly help your enjoyment of the trek to arrive fit at the start, used to walks of similar distance and height gain to those that you are about to face.

People at Alpine Exploratory
Latest research on the Walker's Haute Route by Alpine Exploratory's Lou.

Difficulty
The Walker's Haute Route is first and foremost a walk, but it is essential to note that it is graded a Black 4 (East and West sections are both graded at Black4) and is at the very top end of difficulty in terms of Alpine trekking. The difficulty of the terrain is often underestimated and previous hiking experience in mountainous regions is essential. The Eastern section is generally considered as being a little easier than the Western section with shorter days and a little less rocky underfoot but still both challenging routes. There is no glacier walking and there is no rock climbing. Your guide will of course be on hand to help and provide advice and assistance at all times.

Unusually even for an Alpine trek at this level, some of the mountain passes are particularly steep, loose and rocky, calling for good experience and steady balance. Your guide will be on hand to provide advice and to manage the navigational challenges of the route.

Walking Guide to Walker's Haute Route - our detailed read
How to get there
 train leaving Zermatt for Visp
Train leaving Zermatt for Visp
Our main Walker's Haute Route and Haute Route West holidays start in the major French Alpine resort of Chamonix. Most Swiss airports work well but perhaps Geneva is the easiest for Chamonix and regular transfers operate between Geneva and Chamonix throughout the summer.

For a start or finish in Arolla, travel from most Swiss airports works well but Zurich is the easiest with Geneva a close second. From either airport, you can take a train to Sion for the bus up to Arolla.

For a finish in Zermatt, Zurich (or Geneva) are the easiest and both are accessible by train from Zermatt.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point.
Included
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • An Alpine Exploratory International Mountain Leader
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner on 7 nights (4 nights on the West and 3 nights on the East)
  • A topographical overview map of the route (2 on the full route)
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (9am until 9pm in the Alps)
  • Baggage transfers (1 bag per person)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, snacks, drinks and evening meals in the towns (this would be 8 nights on our main trip, 5 nights on the West and 4 nights on the East)

Baggage transfer

We include baggage transfer on this route to all stops except the huts.
Got questions about the Guided Walker's Haute Route?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Rob, Evie, Ben and Amy will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.


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Contact Alpine Exploratory
Email info@alpineexploratory.com
Phone +44 (0)131 214 1144
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Since Alpine Exploratory started in 2005 we have loved getting to know our clients from around the world. Along with the UK, our best-represented countries are the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Please use our national-rate numbers for a cheaper call to contact our office in Edinburgh.

The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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  Lac Bleu on Stage 8 from Arolla to La Sage    Photos from the Walker's Haute Route


Alpine Exploratory
Alpine Exploratory is a system of knowledge on the best mountain trekking in our areas, giving clients superb holidays based on this exploration.

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