Along the Walker’s Haute Route, there are a variety of accommodation types, from mountain huts to 5-star hotels, from dormitories to apartments, and from shared bathrooms to private bathrooms. You will have the opportunity to experience a combination of all of these since you will be staying in a new place at the end of each stage. For some of the stages you will have ample choices with selecting your accommodation type. But at the end of other stages, your choices will be limited and some even limited to just one option.
With up to 14 stages, it may seem like a daunting task to make all of these reservations, not to mention to make them all align in the proper order. Plus, you will use a multitude of reservations systems and availability is often limited. So, we put this guide together to help you piece together and book your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations.
The Walker’s Haute Route is a 14-day trek from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. It’s a challenging walk through the French and Swiss Alps that crosses 10 mountain passes. Learn how to plan your trek, get an overview of each stage, and get helpful tips in our Guide to the Walker’s Haute Route.
When Can You Hike The Haute Route?
There is a narrow window of time that you can hike the Walker’s Haute Route.
This is typically done from mid-July through mid-September when the trails are clear of snow.
Mountain huts open mid-June, but going this early, you risk hiking on trails that are still snow-covered, which could be dangerous. So, the window of opportunity to hike the Walker’s Haute Route is very limited.
We hiked the Haute Route from July 24 to August 5, which is also the busiest time to be on the trails.
Factors Limiting Accommodation Availability
The narrow window of time that you can hike the Walker’s Haute Route is one factor that limits accommodation availability.
On top of that, many stage end points only have one or just a few accommodation options. These accommodations are not just taking reservations for people hiking the Walker’s Haute Route. They are also taking reservations from people who are visiting that specific area as part of their summer holiday. That includes the mountain huts, since they are all accessible by day hikers coming from nearby towns.
And for the first three stages of the Walker’s Haute Route, that includes people trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc.
To ensure you can align and book your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations in the proper order, it is important to know how to check availability, stay organized, and make your reservations as soon as possible.
When To Book Your Walker’s Haute Route Accommodations
Ideally, you should make your reservations before February of the year you plan to hike the Haute Route.
I started looking into how to book our Walker’s Haute Route accommodations at the beginning of February (almost 6 months before our trip) and I got very lucky that I was able to put together a trek for later that summer. I started off by reaching out to a tour operator who offers to help book Walker’s Haute Route accommodations, thinking this would save me time and hassle. But they said I was too late. Availability at some places was already very limited and they had other clients in the queue ahead of me.
Therefore, I decided to make the reservations myself. I knew I needed to act fast. As luck would have it, I ended up with one option that aligned our accommodations perfectly for the entire trek. And I wrote this guide to outline the steps I took to figure this out.
So don’t delay when it comes to booking your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations. Ideally get it done before February of the year you plan to hike the Haute Route. The sooner you can make your arrangements, the better chance you have at getting your first-choice accommodation and your first-choice room type. It could mean the difference of staying in a private room vs. staying in a large dormitory room.
If it is already after February and you haven’t confirmed your reservations yet, then still give it a try. This guide will help. We also have additional strategies at the end of the guide on things to try if you are not able to find a solution.
Stages With Limited Accommodation Options
There are a few places where you have to stay in a mountain hut, since that’s all there is at the end of that stage. On the list are Cabane du Mont Fort or Cabane de Louvie (end of stage 5), Cabane de Prafleuri (end of stage 6), Cabane de Moiry (if you choose not to stay in Grimentz at the end of stage 9), and the Europahütte (end of stage 13).
Similarly, in Gruben (end of stage 11), there is only one hotel to choose from (Hotel Schwarzhorn).
And at the end of other stages, you will find multiple hotels, but there are not very many to choose from, such as is the case with Trient (end of stage 2).
So, it is important to focus on these accommodations first.
Cabane du Mont Fort
Steps For Booking Your Walker’s Haute Route Accommodations
Following these steps will work best if you have already determined, or at least thought about, your ideal trip duration and the stages of the Haute Route you want to complete. If you are still unsure of these two parameters, then see our guide on How To Plan Your Walker’s Haute Route Experience (coming soon).
But before we outline the steps, it is important to know that there are two approaches that you can take when it comes to aligning and booking your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations in the proper order.
The main approach works best if you have a narrow set of dates for when you can begin your trip or if you have a more desirable set of dates you prefer. If you can’t find a solution with your most desirable dates, then you can try again with your less desirable dates.
The alternative approach comes in handy if you are planning your trip in February or later AND have a lot of flexibility with when you can depart for your trip. In this situation you will start with the availability of one place (a place that typically has limited availability) to help narrow down your options and seek a solution from there. This can be more efficient than just trying a wide range of dates. We fell into this category, so this is the approach we took, and it worked great for us.
We will start by walking through the steps of the main approach. If the alternative approach applies to your situation, then still read through the steps of the main approach first as there is key information you will need to know. We will then summarize the alternative approach by pointing out how it differs from the main approach.
Step 1: Make A Table
You have to book a lot of different accommodations and make sure their availability aligns in the correct order. So, we recommend making a table to help keep yourself organized.
Each row of the table should represent a different day. Use the first column of the table to list the stage and use the second column to list where you plan to sleep that night. Make sure the rows include everything related to your Haute Route trip, including any time to arrive and transfer to your starting point, each stage you plan to hike, rest days, and any time you need to get to a final destination such as an airport. Also, make sure you list everything in the table in chronological order.
If you plan to stay somewhere for more than one night, then have a separate row for each night of your stay. For example, you might want to stay at either of your endpoints for more than one night to explore them further. Or you might want to add a rest day somewhere to take a break from hiking.
The remaining columns of the table will be used to note the availability of the various accommodations. If they have availability, then you will add the property name and room type as you work through the remaining steps in this guide.
Here is an example table. In this example I have two nights in Chamonix, two nights in Zermatt, and one night everywhere else. I also crossed out the “Stage 1 – Argentière” row and combined Stages 1 & 2 together to show that they will be hiked the same day and thus a stay in Argèntiere isn’t necessary. Again, this is just an example, make sure your table represents the itinerary you plan to follow.
Step 2: Add Your Travel Dates To The Table
Fill in the table with your desired dates of travel. If your dates of travel are flexible, then you will have several options and you can use each column in the table to represent a different option. For example, let’s say you can depart on July 17th, July 18th, or July 19th. These dates would go into Option 1, Option 2, and Option 3 of the first row. You would then extrapolate those departure dates down each column one day at a time, remember each row represents the next day.
The more flexible you are with your travel dates then the more columns you will need. If you have a lot of flexibility for when you travel, then start with your most desirable dates. If you can’t find a solution for those dates, then start over with your less desirable dates.
Step 3: Check Availability – Email Only
Now you will start checking the availability for each place on the corresponding dates and make a note of the availability in the table. But instead of starting at the top of the table and working your way down the list, it is better to start with the places where availability is likely to be limited. This is generally the places where there is only one option for accommodations.
There are three stages that end at places where you only have one accommodation choice and the only way to determine their availability (and make a reservation) is via email. One is Cabane du Mont Fort (if you choose not to stay at Cabane de Louvie at the end of stage 5), Hotel Schwarzhorn located in Gruben (end of stage 11), and the other is Europahütte (end of stage 13).
Cabane du Mont Fort has 15 rooms with a total of 58 beds. Check availability and make a reservation via email@example.com.
Hotel Schwarzhorn offers double rooms, triple rooms, and dormitories. Check availability and make a reservation via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Europahütte offers 4- and 6-person dormitory rooms. Check availability and make a reservation via email@example.com.
When you email these three accommodations, let them know the size of your group, length of stay, range of dates, and preferred room choice. Here is an example that could be sent to Hotel Schwarzhorn:
“We are a family of 4 looking to stay with you for one night on either July 28, 29, or 30 this summer. We would be interested in reserving 2 double rooms, but we would consider other room types if necessary. Can you let me know your availability on those dates and the corresponding room types?”
Step 4: Check Availability – Remaining Mountain Huts
While you are waiting for a response to your emails (Step 3), and since you have known travel dates, you can go ahead and proceed with this step.
There are three stages that end at a place where you only have one choice of where to stay and you can conveniently check their availability online via their individual websites. They are Cabane de Louvie (if you choose not to stay at Cabane du Mont Fort at the end of stage 5), Cabane de Prafleuri (end of stage 6), and Cabane de Moiry (if you choose not to stay in Grimentz at the end of stage 9).
Cabane de Louvie has two private rooms, each with two beds. They also have several other rooms filled with closely packed mattresses. Check availability and make a reservation via their website. For any questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cabane de Prafleuri offers dorm rooms that can accommodate from four to ten or more people. Check availability and make a reservation via their website. For any questions contact email@example.com.
Cabane de Moiry does not usually start taking reservations for the summer season until April. Check their website for the exact date and set a reminder in your calendar. If you are booking your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations before then (which we strongly suggest you do) then consider making a refundable reservation in Grimentz and cancel it if you decide to switch to Cabane de Moiry.
Cabane de Louvie
Step 5: Update The Table
Update the table with the information you collected from Steps 3 & 4. For the places that have availability on the desired dates note the room type in the corresponding field of the table. I also recommend highlighting those fields to help keep track of your progress.
For the places that did not have availability on the desired dates cross out the entire column. You can do this because so far you are checking places where there is only one accommodation at the end of a stage. So, if that accommodation does not have availability on a specific date, then the entire option (the entire corresponding column in the table) will not work.
Keep in mind that you do have a choice between Cabane du Mont Fort and Cabane de Louvie (end of Stage 5). So, if one isn’t available then you can try the other. But know that there is a fair amount of hiking beyond Cabane du Mont Fort to get to Cabane de Louvie, so that could change how much you hike, how you organize your days, and/or if you use the gondolas. See our guide on How To Plan Your Walker’s Haute Route Experience for more information (coming soon).
Similarly for Cabane de Moiry, if you want to stay there but they do not have availability on a specific date, then consider staying in Grimentz before crossing that entire option out in the table.
Here is an example table for a party of four. In this example, Option 1 is crossed out entirely since Cabane de Prafleuri isn’t available on July 23rd and that is the only possible place to stay at the end of that stage. With Options 2 and 3, Cabane du Mont Fort does not have availability but Cabane de Louvie does. So, a stay there will be necessary in order to proceed with one of those two options. In addition, Europahütte only has availability in a six-bed dorm in Option 2 but a four-bed dorm in Option 3. So, Option 3 is more appealing so far.
Step 6: Check Availability – Small Towns
Check availability of the following places next since there tends to be fewer options in these smaller towns. You only need to check availability for the dates that correspond with the remaining options in your table.
I listed these in the order in which you should check them by putting the towns that are likely to have the least amount of availability first.
Trient: We stayed in L’Auberge du Mont Blanc, which was our 3rd choice when making our hotel reservations. This auberge (dormitory-style rooms with half-board) gets mediocre reviews. Next door to L’Auberge du Mont Blanc is Le Grand Ourse, which was our first pick in Trient. This hotel only gets slightly better reviews so it could be a toss-up as to which one is better. Another option is Hotel du Col de la Forclaz. Note that this hotel sits on a hill above Trient and therefore requires a little extra hiking to reach.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Trient does not have a lot of options for accommodations, and those options can fill up fast since they also serve people hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. So, don’t hesitate when it comes to making your reservations here.
St. Niklaus: We stayed in Hotel Heimatlodge and absolutely loved it. It was very clean and comfortable and we were almost hesitant to leave the following morning. We also enjoyed the restaurant immediately across the street from the hotel’s entrance. Another option to consider is Hotel La Reserve which also gets excellent reviews and people rave about their pizza.
Les Haudères or La Sage: We stayed at Hotel Dents de Veisivi in Les Haudères, where we enjoyed both our stay and their restaurant. Alternative hotels are Hotel Les Mélèzes in Les Haudères and Hotel de la Sage in La Sage.
Champex-Lac: We stayed at Hotel Mont-Lac, a wonderful hotel (with a restaurant) that overlooked the lake. This was one of our favorite accommodations on the Walker’s Haute Route (some rooms have a washing machine and kitchen). Other hotels we considered were Hotel du Glacier, Hotel Splendide, and Au Club Alpin. You might also try Hotel Belvedere and Hotel Alpina.
Arolla: We stayed in Hotel – Restaurant du Pigne d’Arolla. The rooms are basic, but it had everything we needed for a pleasant stay. We also enjoyed their restaurant, where we ate lunch upon arrival, dinner that night, and breakfast the next morning. Alternative hotels are Grand Hotel & Kurhaus and Hotel – Restaurant du Glacier.
Zinal: We stayed at Hotel-Restaurant La Pointe. We had two rooms which had very nice views of the town and the mountains above, and we can definitely say we enjoyed our time here. Alternative hotels are Pension de la Poste, Hôtel – Restaurant Le Trift, Besso, and Hotel Europe.
For each location that has availability I recommend adding the name of the property, room type, and if it is your first choice, second choice, or third choice to your table. Highlight the fields that have a solution to help keep track of your progress. If you cannot find accommodations in one of these towns on the corresponding date in your table, then that entire option (entire column of your table) will not work and can be crossed out.
Step 7: Check Availability – Large Towns & Cities
Check availability of the following places last since they tend to have the most options for accommodations. You only need to check availability for the dates that correspond with the remaining options in your table.
Le Châble or Verbier: We stayed at Hotel de Verbier, a hotel located in the heart of Verbier and only a 5-minute walk from the gondola station with easy connections to Le Châble and Les Ruinettes. Here are more options for where to stay in Verbier, as well as options for where to stay Le Châble. We found that Verbier had a lot more lodging options and amenities than Le Châble.
Grimentz: We stayed in Hotel Mélèze, which is a charming hotel with beautifully decorated rooms. The rooms are small but clean and very comfortable. The bus stop is right outside of the hotel, which made it very convenient to get to and from the Moiry Glacier and the Walker’s Haute Route. This hotel was one of our favorite accommodations on the Haute Route and we highly recommend it if you are considering a stay in Grimentz rather than Cabane de Moiry. Other hotels we considered were Hotel Alpina – Grimentz, Hotel de Moiry, and Hotel Cristal.
Argentière: We didn’t stay in Argentière ourselves since we combined Stages 1 and 2 together into a single day of hiking. But here is a listing of places to consider if you are planning to stay in Argentière.
Chamonix: We stayed at Le Cristal de Jade, which was conveniently located next to L’Aiguille du Midi cable car station, and only a short walk to the heart of Chamonix with its restaurants, shops, and train station. There are numerous places to stay, so here is a list of places to consider in Chamonix.
Zermatt: We stayed at Hotel Matterhorn Lodge, where we booked a three-bedroom apartment. This was our favorite accommodation of our entire five-week trip through Europe. The apartment was massive, and the plethora of space allowed us all to spread out and enjoy a sense of privacy after hiking the Haute Route. It is centrally located in Zermatt and from our balcony, we had views of the St. Mauritius Parish Church and the Matterhorn. We definitely recommend staying here. We have additional recommendations in the ‘Where to Stay in Zermatt’ section of our article Best Things to Do in Zermatt.
Departure City: After leaving Zermatt, it is likely that you will need to spend a night in your departure city if you are flying home. We flew out of Geneva and therefore spent a night at Hotel Rotary Geneva – Mgallery, which was a short walk from the train station. But here are more options for where to stay in Geneva. Zürich is another city you may decide to fly out from. When we visited Zurich on a previous trip, we stayed at Hotel Adler Zürich but there are many other places to consider staying in Zürich.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Don’t waste time finding the perfect place to stay in Chamonix, Zermatt, and your departure city before finalizing all of your other reservations. Just do a quick search to feel comfortable that there will be plenty of suitable accommodations to pick from. Once you finalize everything else, then work on finding the perfect place to stay in these three cities.
Just like you did at the end of Step 6, add the name of the property, room type, and if it is your first choice, second choice, or third choice to your table. Highlight the fields that have a solution to help keep track of your progress. If you cannot find accommodations in one of these towns on the corresponding date in your table, then that entire option (entire column of your table) will not work and can be crossed out.
Step 8: Finalize Your Reservations
Hopefully you ended with multiple options that work. If you did, then use the information written into your table to help you make your final selection. Then make sure you finalize all of your reservations before the availability changes.
If you were not able to find a solution, then see our suggestions for additional strategies later in this guide.
Hotel Mélèze in Grimentz
The Alternative Approach
This alternative approach is most useful if you are planning your trip in February or later AND have a lot of flexibility with when you can depart for your trip. The idea is to start with the availability of a few places that typically have limited availability in order to narrow down your options.
Here is how you would modify the steps above to implement this approach:
Step 1: No changes, follow Step 1 as written above.
Step 2: Skip this step.
Step 3: No changes, follow Step 3 as written above.
Step 4: You can begin Step 4 while you wait for a response from the places you emailed. But if you have a wide range of travel dates then this can be time consuming. Therefore, you might want to wait until you get your email responses. In that case, proceed to Step 5 once you get those responses and then come back to Step 4 after you complete Step 5.
Step 5: Follow the instructions outlined here for Step 5 instead of the Step 5 instructions written above.
From the information you’ve collected so far, add the place with the least amount of availability to the table first since that place narrows down your options the most.
For example, suppose you email Hotel Schwarzhorn and Europahütte regarding availability for 4 people for 1 night over a wide range of dates. And let’s say that Hotel Schwarzhorn had the least amount of availability between the two, then you would add their available dates to the table first. Let’s assume Hotel Schwarzhorn’s response indicates availability on 6 different nights and you add those 6 dates to the table, then the table would look like the following.
Next, extrapolate the dates throughout the rest of the table. The property with the least amount of availability now drives the dates for all of the other accommodations. So, the dates you need to stay everywhere else are now known and can be populated throughout the table. For example, if the first night Hotel Schwarzhorn had availability was July 28th (as reflected in the Option 1 column), then accommodations are needed in Zinal on July 27th and in St. Nicklaus on July 29th, and so on. The table would now look like the following:
Now cross-reference the dates in your table with the available dates from any of the other properties you have collection information from so far. If there is a match, then add the room type in the corresponding field of your table. I also recommending highlighting those fields to help keep track of your progress.
If there is not a match, then cross out the entire column. You can do this because so far you are checking places where there is only one accommodation at the end of a stage. So, if that accommodation does not have availability on a specific date, then the entire option (the entire corresponding column in the table) will not work.
Keep in mind that you do have a choice between Cabane du Mont Fort and Cabane de Louvie (end of Stage 5). And a choice between Cabane de Moiry and finding a place in Grimentz. So, if one of these isn’t available then you can try the other before crossing that entire option out in the table.
For example, suppose you also collected information from Europahütte regarding availability for 4 beds and they responded that they had availability from July 29th to July 31st for 4 beds in a 6-bed dorm and availability from August 1st to 5th for a 4-bed dorm. By cross-referencing the table, I see that July 30th, August 1st, and August 4th are the only options that will work so I highlighted those and crossed out the options that no longer work.
You now have known dates for all other properties, and you can proceed with the remaining steps. If you skipped Step 4 then go back and complete that step before completing Steps 6, 7, and 8.
Hopefully you were able to find a solution that allows you to trek the full Walker’s Haute Route or your desired portion of the Haute Route. But if you can’t quite get your accommodations to align in chronological order due to a place being unavailable on a given date then consider these strategies:
- If you started with your most desired set of travel dates and didn’t end up with a solution, then try again with a set of less desirable travel dates.
- Add a rest day before the day of the unavailable accommodation. This slides the unavailable accommodation out a day and you can recheck its availability again using the new date. Of course, it also slides out all of the other accommodations after it as well, so they also need to be rechecked.
- Trek from late August into early September. Summer crowds diminish so you might have a better chance at aligning your accommodations during this time.
- Break up the trek into two separate trips. Hike a portion of the Haute Route one summer and then return another summer to hike the remaining portion. See our guide on How to Plan Your Haute Route Experience for ideas on breaking up the trek (coming soon).
Using A Tour Operator
This guide breaks down the task of booking your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations into a series of steps to help you work through the process in an efficient and organized manner. But if you would still prefer to have assistance with making your reservations, then there are companies that offer that service.
In this case we recommend contacting a tour company that offers guided Haute Route treks, as well as assistance with reservations for self-guided treks. That way you are working with someone that has experience and knowledge of the Walker’s Haute Route.
Just be aware that tour companies may charge a fee for this service (which raises the overall price), and they may suggest specific accommodations that they have agreements with.
Here are a couple of companies to consider:
Alpenwild (based out of Utah):
Happy Tracks (based out of Chamonix):
If you have any questions about how to book your Walker’s Haute Route accommodations, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information about the Walker’s Haute Route
HAUTE ROUTE GUIDE: In our Walker’s Haute Route Planning Guide, we have links to all of our articles about the Walker’s Haute Route, including information about each stage, how to plan your trek, what to expect, and more.
HAUTE ROUTE PHOTOS: Journey through all 14 stages of the Walker’s Haute Route in photos.
STAGES: Get an overview of all 14 stages of the Walker’s Haute Route with links to our individual guides on each of the stages.
THINGS TO KNOW: Here are important things to know about the Walker’s Haute Route and answers to frequently asked questions. In our Haute Route Planner, we list things to consider about several of the stages with advice on how to shorten the trek if you have limited time.
ZERMATT: For ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Zermatt and the best hikes in Zermatt. Don’t miss the hike from Gornergrat to Riffelberg, the hike to Hörnlihütte, and the Matterhorn Glacier Trail. For more alpine views, learn how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (and find out if it is worth it).
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