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An exhilarating traverse of the high trails around Switzerland's famous peak, the Matterhorn (Cervin)
The Matterhorn, or Cervin, is one of the world's most renowned and historical mountains. A near perfect pyramid, it stands at an altitude of 4478m above sea level, and is surrounded by some of the most spectacular alpine scenery and typical Swiss villages. The trail around the Matterhorn crosses between Italy and Switzerland, adding a cultural dimension to the journey. With high passes and steep ascents aided by steel ropes it is one of our more challenging hikes. However, with a good level of fitness and prior outdoor experience, this is an immensely rewarding traverse affording spectacular views throughout including some of the highest peaks in the Alps such as Dent Blanche (4357m) and Zinalrothorn (4221m).
- Circumnavigation of the Matterhorn
- Experiencing the exhilaration of trekking in the European Alps
- Traversing high passes and walking through typical villages
- Enjoying the culinary specialties such as Raclette
- Sharing your walking day with a group of like minded travellers
Day 1 Arrive St Niklaus, walk to Grüben (6hrs)
This morning we rendezvous with the group at St Niklaus, and have a briefing with our guide before commencing the ‘Tour du Cervin’, the official name for our 8 day walk. The route begins with an ascent across high mountain pastures with awesome views to 4000m peaks from the village of Saas-Fee. The ascent continues to the Augsbordpass pass (2894m) and then down into the Turtmann Valley through the forest. Overnight Grüben
Day 2 Cross the Forcletaz Pass (2874m) to Zinal at the base of Dent Blanche (5 to 6hrs)
Todays walk takes us to the chalets of the high mountain pasture of Chalteberg to take advantage of a magnificent view over the glacier of Turtmann. The pass of Forcletaz (2874 m) will be the highest point of the day, having crossed the linguistic boundary between the German-speaking and French-speaking part of Switzerland, in the direction of Zinal by the High mountain pastures of Nava and Barneuza. En route visit the villages of Zinal and Grimmentz in the Val d' Anniviers Valley.
Day 3 Walk to the village of Villa, transfer to Arolla (6hrs)
Todays walk includes the pass of Sorbois and the stunning valley of Moiry. Walking up to the pass of Tsaté (2868m) this long hike includes numerous ascents and descents to reach Haudères in the Val d' Hérens. Descend to the village where you will have continuous views of the Dent d’Hérens and the Dent Blanche. During your walk through the flowered meadows today you will be surrounded by the famous peaks of Zinalrothorn (4221m), Obergabelhorn (4063m) and Dent Blanche (4357m).
Day 4 Ascend glacier & the Col Collon (3082m), descend to Prarayer (2000m) (7 to 8hrs)
Walk to the Hut Bertol then the Plans of Bertol which opens up to the Arolla Glacier. We cross the glacier which has a small slope and doesn’t require technical equipment. This is the historic road that once connected two valleys, used by caravans between Switzerland and Italy by the Collon pass (3082m). We enter the valley of Aoste with a magical arrival into the Italian hamle of Prarayer and the emerald lake of Place Moulin.
Day 5 To Breuil Cervinia (5hrs)
Today is a wild and alpine stage, far from the modern world; it is the longest and the most technical stage of this tour. Thanks to metal ladders, we reach the pass of Valcournera (3066 m). Having followed a magnificent waterfall and crossed the torrent of Tsignanaz we arrive at the window of Cigagnaga. The Matterhorn appears in all its beauty.
Day 6 Walk to the famous ski resort of Zermatt (8hrs)
Grand Passage: the Théodule pass that brings us back into Switzerland. All day, we will follow the Matterhorn using the most famous passage of the western Alps. The arrival into Zermatt with its wonderful location at the foot of the Matterhorn is a highlight of the day. Overnight in Zermatt which has an abundance of night time entertainment.
Day 7 Walk to Europa Hütte (7hrs)
This morning, you will have time to enjoy the views of Zermatt, the ‘elegant woman’, before your climb to Täschalp in Mischabel. It is a stunning alpine crossing following the path of Europe with views to Mattertal: one of the most beautiful balcony paths of the Alps with views of Zinal, Weisshorn, and Taschorn. At this point you could be forgiven for thinking you are in the middle of the Himalaya!
Day 8 Walk to Grächen (5 to 5.5hrs), trip concludes
A balcony path takes us gently towards the valley. Here we find Arolles pines, forest of mélezes and the charming village of Grachen, at the end of the trek.
- 7 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Lunch is picnic style - (Swiss cheese, cold cuts, vegetables and fresh fruit). Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which may include regional specialties (eg Fondu or Rösti).
- 7 nights accommodation in mountain refuges / gîte hostels on a dormitory share basis.
- Luggage transfer (max 10kgs)
- Experienced mountain guide
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Accommodation is dormitory style in mountain refuges or gîte hostels. There can be up to 40 people in one room in some refuges but less on most nights (around 10-12). Beds are often bunks but can also be one long platform with separate mattresses. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Swiss refuges tend to be surprisingly comfortable.
Wet weather gear, sunscreen, walking boots, warm clothes, day pack and sun hat – walking sticks are recommended. (A comprehensive gear list is included in the pre-departure information provided on booking).