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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Switzerland > Zermatt & the Mighty Matterhorn

Zermatt & the Mighty Matterhorn

In the shadow of 4,000-metre peaks

With 400 kilometres of waymarked paths, there is walking suitable for all levels. The network of cable cars (pay locally) gives access to some of the higher level routes and can help to shorten some of our routes should you wish.

• RIFFELALP, BLAUHERD & THE LAKES (Grade 2: 16.5km/5hrs; 575m ascent/1150m descent)

After a ride on the iconic Gornergrat cog railway up to Riffelalp, you explore the lakes to the east of Zermatt below the Findel glacier. Be sure to bring your camera; on a clear day the pyramidal form of the Matterhorn is perfectly reflected in the glassy waters of Stellisee. The descent back to town takes you through ancient hamlets and forest, and passes some of the region’s finest mountain restaurants. There is the option of taking the lift from Sunnegga to reduce the descent.

• THE MATTERHORN GLACIER TRAIL, TROCKENER STEG TO SCHWARZSEE (Grade 2: 17.5km, 5hrs; 370m ascent/1700m descent)

At nearly 3,000 metres, the Trockener Steg lift station to the south of Zermatt is the starting point of the Matterhorn glacier trail, which takes its name from the glaciers which sweep down from the Italian border. Following this, you head through the rocky moonscape beneath the Matterhorn’s impressive east face (passing close enough to the mountain to see climbers coming down from the summit) before descending to Schwarzsee ('Black Lake'). You could descend from here by gondola, but to do so would be to miss out on the beautiful larch forest and hamlets of the lower slopes.

• HÖHBALMEN & ZMUTT (Grade 3: 22km/7hrs; 1300m ascent/1300m descent)

This rewarding walk climbs north-west of Zermatt – away from the pistes – and follows a high, remote trail with exceptional views of the north face of the Matterhorn. It descends back to Zermatt along the Zmutt River, passing through ancient hamlets. This is a long day, with no option of using lifts to reduce the ascent or descent, but there is an excellent mountain restaurant along the way where you can refuel.

• BLATTEN CIRCUIT (Grade 1: 7.5km/2hrs; 280m ascent/280m descent)

This low-level circular walk from the south end of Zermatt up to the traditional hamlet of Blatten (complete with a highly rated restaurant) is perfect for a relaxed day or in low cloud. Discover historic buildings amid lush pastures, with the option of a short detour into the Gorner Gorge.

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