Switzerland Hiking – Eiger to The Matterhorn

Switzerland Hiking – Eiger to The Matterhorn

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Trip Length 9 Days
Group Size 4-14
Difficulty
4

Starting from

$5,799

for REI Members

$6,399 for non-members

Departures

Jul 2019-Aug 2020

With some of the best hiking in all of Europe, this 9-day Swiss adventure is a hiker's paradise.

With its lyrical landscapes, soaring peaks and lush, green valleys, the Swiss Alps are a mountain playground for climbers and hikers from around the world. We tread in the footsteps of legends like Messner and Mallory on a vigorous trip that takes us from tumbling waterfalls to meandering streams and quaint alpine villages.

Traverse classic routes from the Bernese Oberland, home to the legendary mountain trio of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, to the jagged Matterhorn. Follow the famous Alpine Pass Route via tranquil Spielbodenalp and onto the Rotstockhütte, where we stop to take in the view and enjoy refreshments. Each day offers a chance to experience a classic Swiss scene: stunning glaciers and crests, charming village homes dotted with colorful flower boxes, and the faint tinkling of cowbells in the clear mountain air. We travel in comfort between two stylish resort villages, Grindelwald and Zermatt, where we enjoy superb cuisine, famous Swiss chocolates, and newfound adventure comrades.

Trip highlights

  • Hike by the natural masterpieces of the Swiss Alps from the Eiger to the Matterhorn
  • See stunning views of soaring peaks, cascading waterfalls, and green valleys
  • Visit the charming alpine villages and enjoy Switzerland's famous chocolates
  • Spend each day on vigorous hikes that are unparalleled in all of Europe

Activities

This trip is rated as Vigorous [4]. Trip members should be strong hikers capable of hiking 5 - 10 hours a day (6 - 11 miles) over varied terrain with steep ascents and descents.

Trails are often rocky and elevation gains/losses of 1,300' - 4,400' daily are common. We hike at altitudes of 3,000-9,000'. The trails over mountain passes are demanding with sections that are steep, rough, rocky, and exposed (many of these sections are secured with steel ropes or other aids). The fitter you are upon arrival, the more you will be able to enjoy the fabulous scenery that this spectacular alpine region has to offer.

  • Hiking

What's Included

All accommodation and meals as noted in the daily itinerary; all land transportation and luggage transfers; cable car rides as noted; skilled bi-lingual guide; group airport transfer from Geneva to Grindelwald.

Accommodations

Hotels, 7 nights; mountain hut, 1 night

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Settle in and explore Grindelwald beneath the Eiger North Face.

Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland by 10am to meet your trip leader and fellow travelers. A group transfer from the Geneva airport brings us to Grindelwald (3,390') one of the most scenic Swiss villages beneath the legendary Eiger North Face. The afternoon is free to relax or explore before our welcome dinner and group orientation. Dinner included.

Day 2

Trek to Kleine Scheidegg, with views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

Our spectacular journey begins with a close up view of the imposing North Face of the Eiger. After a short transfer from our hotel we ride a classic gondola to Holenstein (5,016’). From here the trail heads south along the eastern flank of Tschuggen Mountain (8,271’) alternating between forest and meadows, directly towards the notorious Eiger Nordwand (this “North Face” was considered not climbable before the 1930s). We continue hiking to reach the large saddle of Kleine Scheidegg (6,757’). This pass between the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald Valleys provides a tremendous close range vantage point of the captivatingly savage rock and ice walls of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, rising 6,000 feet above the valley floor. A lively and bustling place, we’ll meet alpine herdsmen with their cattle, alpinists beginning their attempt to climb the Eiger, and hikers from all over the world. We continue up to Eigergletscher (7,611’) for a close look at the superb hanging glacier that descends the western flank of the Eiger. After lunch amid the breathtaking mountain scenery, we head down to Wengernalp with wonderful vistas that include the peaks Gspaltenhorn (11,275’) and Schiltorn (9,740’). Hiking northward we come to car-free Wengen (4,265’) where we sleep for the night. It is a lovely hamlet nestled beneath the massive North Face of the Jungfrau. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 hours, 8-9 miles; Elevation gain: 2,595 ft.; Elevation loss: 3,346 ft. Please note that hiking distances and elevation gain/loss are estimates for all days.

Day 3

Hike to Mürren with views across the beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Our picturesque route from Wengen leads down to Lauterbrunnen where we take a cable car up to Grütschalp on the opposite side of the Lauterbrunnental. From Grütschalp (4,875’) we hike a high balcony trail via Allmendhubel to Mürren (5,400’). The trail offers awesome views of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch across the Lauterbrunnen Valley, considered by even the most seasoned alpinists to be one of the most beautiful in Europe! An immense U-shaped glacial valley - the world’s deepest - with steep cliffs on either side rising over 3,000’and doused by over 70 waterfalls, it is utterly spectacular. This evening we stay in Mürren, another car-free village nestled high on a terrace beneath Schilthorn (9,740’). All meals included.

Hiking: 5 hours, 6 miles; Elevation gain: 1,380 ft.; Elevation loss: 2,514 ft.

Day 4

Cross the Sefeinenfurka (8,568'), a high and wild pass.

From Mürren we follow the famous Alpine Pass Route via tranquil Spielbodenalp and onto the Rotstockhütte where we can enjoy refreshments amid the incredible scenery. As we walk we are treated to one view after another of soaring mountains, pleasant green meadows, and meandering streams. From the Rotstockhütte the path rises more steeply through a narrow valley between high peaks to reach the crest of the Sefeinenfurka. The descent towards Bundalp is steep and rocky but spectacular with dramatic rock formations and wide-ranging views of sparkling glaciers and plunging ravines. Tonight we rest in Bundalp (6,036’), a working farm that offers simple accommodations in the verdant Kiental Valley. All meals included

Hiking: 9-10 hours, 12 miles; Elevation gain: 4,400’; Elevation loss: 3,600’. Terrain: Steep uphill climb followed by moderate hillside traverse; rocky trails and pastures.

Day 5

From Bundalp, hike over rocky Hohtürli Pass to Kandersteg.

From Bundalp we continue hiking the Alpine Pass Route over the rocky Hohtürli Pass (8,869’) to Kandersteg. The climb to the crest of this pass is one of the toughest of the trip. Today we will likely have the paths to ourselves. The scenery is stark but magnificent – high and wild, exhilarating but daunting. As we ascend there are great views back down the Kiental Valley and the lowlands beyond, as well as across to the Sefeinenfurka and the craggy Gspaltenhorn. The pass itself is a broad, stony saddle with awesome panoramic views in all directions. Dropping down the other side of the pass, the trail is barren, steep and rocky before reaching grassy meadows again. Continuing down, magical Oeschinensee Lake comes into view. Its shimmering blue-green waters are like a sparkling turquoise jewel amid rocky cliffs. From here we take the gondola to Kandersteg (3,857’), one of the quietest and most idyllic hamlets in Switzerland situated beneath the towering Blumisalp massif. All meals included.

Hiking: 7-8 hours, 9 miles; Elevation gain: 3,890 ft.; Elevation loss: 3,890 ft. Terrain: Steep uphill climb followed by moderate hillside traverse; dirt and rocky trails.

Day 6

Walk past the serene Daubensee to the historic Gemmi Pass.

From Kandersteg we travel by tram up to Sunnbüel and begin hiking past the serene Daubensee toward the historic Gemmi Pass (7,616’) which is thought to have been used as far back as the Bronze Age. From here we take time to enjoy our first views of some of the major peaks in the Valais (Pennine) Alps, such as the Dom, Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche. The descent takes us on an impressive trail carved in the cliffs overlooking the town of Leukerbad at the head of the lovely Dala Valley. From Leukerbad we transfer directly to Grächen for the night (1¼ hours). Grächen (5,314’) is a village perched on a sun-drenched terrace overlooking the Matterhorn Valley. From now on our route remains with the Mattertal, following the valley to the south towards the snow and ice of the Valais (Pennine) Alps - the highest mountains in Switzerland – including the Matterhorn. All meals included.

Hiking: 5-6 hours, 8.5 miles; Elevation gain: 1,300 ft.; Elevation loss: 2,900 ft. Terrain: Wide pasture trails.

Day 7

Arrive in Zermatt, home of the iconic Matterhorn.

Today we begin hiking from Grächen. We pass the charming village of Gasenried, and continue along a refreshing "bisse" or irrigation canal that brings glacier water to fields. From the small town of Herbriggen we transfer to Täschalp and join the last portion of the Europaweg’s path to Zermatt. Surrounded by nearly forty of Europe's most impressive 4,000-meter peaks (greater than 14,000'), Zermatt sits against a backdrop of the iconic Matterhorn (14,692'), which rises almost 9,000' directly outside of town. You'll have time to enjoy the town with a dinner on your own. Breakfast and lunch included.

Driving: ~ 45 minutes; Hiking: 7 hours, 10 miles; Elevation gain: 980’; Elevation loss: 3,775'. Terrain: Forest and pasture trails.

Day 8

Take the Höhbalmen trail for the most famous vista in the Alps.

Another phenomenal hike awaits us today! We hike from Zermatt on a steep path that takes us up along the Triftbach gorge to the Trift alpine hut (7,712’). We continue hiking on switchbacks up for another hour to reach the very scenic Höhbalmen trail. The difficult climbing is behind us as the trail now undulates between the altitude of 8,250’ and 8,580’. At this point, we are facing the most impressive and famous panorama in the Alps: the north face of the Matterhorn, the Mischabel range, the Breithorn, Lyskam, Castor and Pollux, and Monte Rosa! We bask in the views of this stunning scenery before beginning our final descent along an occasionally steep trail to Zermatt. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore before we gather again for a farewell dinner and toast to an excellent hiking adventure. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 hours, 7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 3,465 ft.

Day 9

Our Swiss Alps hiking tour draws to a close.

Our trip ends after breakfast at our Zermatt hotel this morning. Continue to explore charming Zermatt and the surrounding area on your own, or take advantage of excellent rail connections to transfer back to Geneva or onto other destinations in Europe. Breakfast included.

Switzerland Hiking – Eiger to The Matterhorn Departures

Adventure Expert

Janel

Our Tour du Mont Blanc hikers fell in love with the Alps and requested another Alps itinerary with a kick in activity level. There is usually a mountain hut around the corner to kick off your boots and enjoy a cold beer.

NJ Jules

Beautiful scenery and fantasic guides


Guides were awesome - always mindful of client safety while mixing in some fun and sharing their love of the mountains. The daily hikes had a decent mix of up and down, utilizing cable cars to reduce the uphill climbs...

Read more reviews