The Matterhorn Tour

A Bionaz walk posted on 30/03/15 by bernardino. Update : 21/10/16

Undertaken over 10 days, this circuit around the Matterhorn is outstanding. Each day it takes you over the 4000 m peaks of this alpine range. As it is located in 2 countries, Italy and Switzerland, it also brings you into contact with three European languages: Italian, German and also French in Valais in Switzerland.

Technical sheet
Author's time Author's time : 10 days
Distance Distance : 157.19km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 11614m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 11563m
Highest point Highest point : 3315m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1124m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Area Area : Alps
Location Location : Bionaz
Starting point Starting point : N 45.899788° / E 7.490252°
Arrival Arrival : N 45.921091° / E 7.533053°

Step by step walk

CThis walk needs several days, please find the details below.

The Matterhorn Tour Day 1: The Léchère - Prarayer Refuge

Warm-up walk to reach the Prarayer refuge along the right bank of the lake.

The Matterhorn Tour Day 2: Prarayer Refuge - Perrucco Vuillermoz Refuge

Stage starting in pasture which quickly heads into the high mountains passing through the Valcornera pass.

The Matterhorn Tour D3: Perrucco Vuillermoz Refuge - Gandeg Cabin

Discover the giant that resides here, the splendid Matterhorn itself, before getting a closer look in the evening at the Gandeg cabin.

Tour du Cervin Day 4: Cabane Gandeg - Zermatt

A Tour du Cervin alternative today, visiting the north side of the colossal peak before reaching Zermatt.

Tour du Cervin Jay 5: Zermatt - Europahutte

An easy climb reaching part of Zermatt ski slopes, extending to an uphill-downhill balcony trail leading to the famous Europahutte (Hut).

Watch out: The Himalayan footbridge just before Europahutte is currently out of service. You'll need to head down to Randa valley along the second blue marked trail on the map before heading back up to the hut (allow for 2 extra hours).

Tour du Cervin Day 6: Europahutte - Gasenreid (then Saint Nicklaus)

A new balcony stage at the foot of high summits separating the Zermatt and Saas Fee valleys.

Tour du Cervin Day 7 : Saint Nicklaus - Gruben

Beautiful mountain stage going through a pass by the name of Augstbordpass.

Tour du Cervin day 8: Gruben - Saint Luc (then Zinal)

The next stage to this mountain hike with a stop at Saint-Luc then a transfer by postbus to Zinal.

Tour du Cervin day 9: Villa Evolène (then Arolla)

A long stage through two passes however, shortened by the cable car link in Zinal and the coach transfer between Villa Evolène and Arolla.

Warning: Taking into account the cable car transport, the positive altitude isn't 2156 m as indicated but only 1380 m.

Tour du cervin day 10: Arolla - Refuge de Prarayer (Prarayer Shelter)

A high mountain stage which requires hiking boots with crampons to cross the Arolla glacier. You should get an early start for this long stage of the hike.

Useful Information

Water is always available all around, however it needs to be purified.
Shelter is mainly to be found in huts or gites where we spent our nights.
Day 1: Refuge de Prarayer.
Day 2: Perrucco Vuillermoz Shelter.
Day 3: Gandeg cabin.
Day 4: Zermatt youth hostel.
Day 5: Europahütte cabin.
Day 6: Hotel in Saint Nicklaus.
Day 7: Schwarzhorn Hotel in Gruben.
Day 8: Zinal youth hostel.
Day 9: Hotel Tsa in Arolla.
Day 10: Refuge de Prarayer.

To complete this circuit in 10 days we used, especially in valleys, buses or cable cars to travel between routes. This requires a good knowledge of public transport timetables, especially in the case of the Swiss buses which are always on time.

General note on this tour: it is 10 days long, and requires each participant to be in adequate physical shape to have the minimum necessary equipment, including crampons to cross two glaciers, to pack light, to book shelters, hotels and cabins well in advance, to have pocket timetables for transport (by road and by cable car) and be prepared to sleep in groups with the occasional snoring and other annoyances that hikers become accustomed to ignoring. And finally you come back, already delighted by one of most beautiful hikes in the Alps, and take a tour around Mont Blanc, crossing the Grand Paradis, the Queyras Tour and many others... that are also described on the website.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

This itinerary crosses many settlements including Cervinia in Italy, but also Saint Nicklaus and especially Zermatt in Switzerland.
A quick tour of this place that closed to cars (except electric cars) is a must, including (alas) the cemetery where many famous climbers now lie.

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In the Swiss valley, this particularly pleasant hike allows you to explore the many 4000 m peaks that surround the route.

N.B. this route is outlined on Openmap which doesn't have the details of our fine IGN maps. Before being able to get your hands on a Swiss map, which are more precise, the route and GPS layouts will be handy for this pleasant trek.

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distance 4.46km Vertical gain +184m Vertical drop -134m duration 1h45 Easy Easy
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Warm-up walk to reach the Prarayer refuge along the right bank of the lake.

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Think about correcting the distance indicated by points (5) et (6) : you need to deduct 10 km.

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Starting point Starting point in Bionaz - Province de Aosta

Stage starting in pasture which quickly heads into the high mountains passing through the Valcornera pass.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.