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
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)
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.
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
Stages of the Walker’s Haute Route
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 1: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Argentière
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 2: Argentière to Col de Balme to Trient
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 3: Trient to Fenêtre d’Arpette to Champex-Lac
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 4: Champex-Lac to Le Châble
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 5: Le Châble to Cabane du Mont Fort
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 6: Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Prafleuri
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 7: Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 8: Arolla to Les Haudères
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 9: Les Haudères to Lac de Moiry
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 10: Lac de Moiry to Col de Sorebois to Zinal
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 11: Zinal to Forcletta to Gruben
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 12: Gruben to Augstbordpass to St. Niklaus
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 13: St. Niklaus to the Europahütte
Walker’s Haute Route Stage 14: Europahütte to Zermatt
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.