Walkers Haute Route

The Walker’s Haute Route is one of the most rewarding and memorable multi-day walks in Europe.

On this trek, hikers cross 10 of the highest mountain passes in the French and Swiss Alps, as they walk from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland.

Walking from Chamonix to Zermatt takes you to remote mountain huts, to tiny hamlets on the mountainsides, and small villages in the valleys. Along the way, you get to see some of the most breathtaking views of the Alps. It’s a tough trek but you will make some incredible memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

In 2022, we hiked the entire Walker’s Haute Route, without taking any shortcuts. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know to plan your adventure and hike the Walker’s Haute Route.

Map & Elevation Profile of the Walker’s Haute Route

Walkers Haute Route Map
Map of the Walker's Haute Route
Walkers Haute Route Elevation Profile
Elevation profile of the Walker's Haute Route

Overview of the Walker’s Haute Route

The Walker’s Haute Route starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. It takes most people 13 to 14 days to walk the Haute Route.

We hiked the entire distance, didn’t take any shortcuts, and made a few detours along the way, so our hiking distance and total ascent is slightly higher than what you might see listed on other sources.

Here are our hiking stats.

Distance: 204 km (127 miles)
Total Ascent: 14,300 m (47,000 feet)
Total Descent: 13,700 m (45,000 feet)
Time: 72 hours of hiking (including stops)
Days: 13
Start: Chamonix, France
End: Zermatt, Switzerland
When: July 24 to August 5

We hiked the Walker’s Haute Route in 13 days. That averages out to be 16 km (10 miles) a day with 1,140 meters (3,740 feet) of total ascent. However, some days were much longer than this and there were a few short, easy days thrown into the mix.

There are 14 stages of the classic Walker’s Haute Route. The journey starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. In this guide, we list an overview of each of the 14 stages, with information on possible detours and ways to shorten the trek, if necessary.

How Hard is the Walker’s Haute Route?

The Walker’s Haute Route is tough. We had multiple days where we hiked more than a mile in ascent (more than 1,600 meters), which is a lot of climbing to do.

And the next day…it’s not a rest day. You have to wake up and do it again.

We also did the Everest Base Camp trek in 2014. Tyler and Kara were just 10 and 11 at the time.

In terms of hiking, the Haute Route is MUCH more challenging. The longer daily distances, the huge ascents, and very few rest days makes the Haute Route physically tougher than EBC in our opinion.

If you plan to hike the Haute Route, a 16 km/10-mile day with 1,100 meters/3,500 feet of total ascent should be easy for you, before starting this trek.

When to Hike the Haute Route

The Walker’s Haute Route 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.

We hiked the Haute Route from July 24 to August 5, which is also the busiest time to be on the trails.

Important Things to Know about the Walker’s Haute Route

In this guide, we hope to answer all of the questions you have about the Walker’s Haute Route, and maybe some you haven’t thought of yet. We cover what to expect on a typical day, what to do about your luggage, how fit do you need to be, if you will have cellular service, and much more.
This guide starts off outlining a few factors to consider as you plan the experience that is right for you. Then it outlines decisions you need to make regarding some of the stages, where shortcuts can be taken, and it provides suggestions for those who want to shorten or lengthen their experience.

Stages of the Walker’s Haute Route

Below are guides to each stage of the Walker’s Haute Route. These include maps, elevation profiles, a route overview, and lots of photos of the trail.
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 1: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Argentière”

Haute Route Stage 1: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Argentière

Stage 1 of the Walker’s Haute Route is the shortest, easiest day of the entire trek. It’s a mostly flat…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 2: Argentière to Col de Balme to Trient”

Haute Route Stage 2: Argentière to Col de Balme to Trient

After an easy, somewhat unexciting walk from Chamonix to Argentière, the hike gets to be a lot more interesting on…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 3: Trient to Fenêtre d’Arpette to Champex-Lac”

Haute Route Stage 3: Trient to Fenêtre d’Arpette to Champex-Lac

Stage 3 of the Walker’s Haute Route is the most challenging stage yet, but also one of the most rewarding.…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 4: Champex-Lac to Le Châble”

Haute Route Stage 4: Champex-Lac to Le Châble

After two long, strenuous climbs and steep descents offered by the last two stages of the Walker’s Haute Route, Stage…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 5: Le Châble to Cabane du Mont Fort”

Haute Route Stage 5: Le Châble to Cabane du Mont Fort

Hopefully you are feeling well rested, as Stage 5 of the Walker’s Haute Route includes one of the largest climbs…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 6: Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Prafleuri”

Haute Route Stage 6: Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Prafleuri

On very tired legs we started Stage 6 of the Walker’s Haute Route. Today’s hike is a quintessential day on…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 7: Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla”

Haute Route Stage 7: Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla

Stage 7 is one of our favorite stages of the Walker’s Haute Route. This is a beautiful walk from start…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 8: Arolla to Les Haudères”

Haute Route Stage 8: Arolla to Les Haudères

Stage 8 is both the easiest and shortest of the 14 stages that make up the Walker’s Haute Route and…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 9: Les Haudères to Lac de Moiry”

Haute Route Stage 9: Les Haudères to Lac de Moiry

Stage 9 of the Walker’s Haute Route starts in Les Haudères or La Sage and from these two villages, it…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 10: Lac de Moiry to Col de Sorebois to Zinal”

Haute Route Stage 10: Lac de Moiry to Col de Sorebois to Zinal

Having completed a segment of Stage 10 on yesterday’s hike, we found ourselves with another short day today. However, that…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 11: Zinal to Forcletta to Gruben”

Haute Route Stage 11: Zinal to Forcletta to Gruben

Stage 11 of the Walker’s Haute Route is another challenging mountain climb and descent. Yet, it is a great and…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 12: Gruben to Augstbordpass to St. Niklaus”

Haute Route Stage 12: Gruben to Augstbordpass to St. Niklaus

Today’s stage marks the beginning of the end of the Walker’s Haute Route. With only three stages to go, things…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 13: St. Niklaus to the Europahütte”

Haute Route Stage 13: St. Niklaus to the Europahütte

As you enter one of the final stages of the Walker’s Haute Route, you will most likely be sore, a…
Featured image for “Haute Route Stage 14: Europahütte to Zermatt”

Haute Route Stage 14: Europahütte to Zermatt

From bridges, caves, hamlets, and impressive views of the finish line, the final stage of the Walker’s Haute Route has…

Do You Need a Guide for the Haute Route?

No, you do not need a guide for the Walker’s Haute Route. The trails are very well signed and easy to follow in Switzerland.

We did the Walker’s Haute Route without a guide and had no issues. A good guidebook (we recommend Trekking Chamonix to Zermatt, The Classic Walker’s Haute Route by Kev Reynolds) will explain the daily route and give you options to shorten it, should you have bad weather.

Booking Your Accommodations

Making your hotel and lodge reservations for the Walker's Haute Route may seem like a daunting task but it doesn't have to be. Get step-by-step instructions for booking your accommodations.

Walker’s Haute Route in Photos

In this guide, journey along the Walker’s Haute Route in photos, from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. There is at least one photo from each of the 14 stages.

Walker’s Haute Route Photos