Zermatt - A Stunning Location for Winter Hiking
Zermatt is home to some of the most incredible landscapes on Earth. With hundreds of kilometres of hikes and mountain trails for those with varying levels of experience, there’s no better way to see the iconic views that the Swiss Alps have to offer.
Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself, bond with family and friends while experiencing something new, or simply envelope yourself in the natural beauty of this locale, Zermatt has options for everyone.
The beauty of Zermatt
Zermatt is well known for its hikes and mountaineering, as well as the world-class ski resort which caters to winter sports enthusiasts of all levels.
The town of Zermatt has a population of just over 6,000 and is found at the upper end of Matteral, not far from Theodul Pass. At an elevation of 1,620m (5,310ft), it’s at the heart of the Swiss Alps and provides unrivaled views to one of the world’s most iconic mountains: the Matterhorn.
Up to the mid to late 19th century, Zermatt was used primarily for agriculture, until the years following the first attempted climb of the Matterhorn in 1865. During the proceeding years, the region grew as a tourist destination, with much of the local economy now built around tourism.
Why Zermatt for winter hiking?
Zermatt is not just the ideal location for warm-weather hiking, but also hikes during the colder, harsher winter months, which cover the greens and golds of summer with icy white snow.
While the Matterhorn is a sight to behold during the summer, when the surrounding landscape is blanketed in bright white snow, it makes for picturesque views and unbeatable bucket-list moments.
The region has plenty on offer for both experienced hikers and mountain climbers, as well as newcomers looking to get into hiking for the first time, while seeing some of the world’s most impressive landscapes.
There are countless marked hiking trails that span 400km across the region, including 70km of winter hikes. From family hikes that are child-friendly, to vertical fixed ropes that may even make thrill-seekers a little weak at the knees, there’s a lot to do.
Zermatt winter hiking spoils visitors with so much on offer. But for those only in the area for a few days, what are some of the best hikes you can do during the winter months?
What are the best Zermatt walking trails?
There are trails available for all visitors, from beginners to experts.
- Approx 1 hour duration (one way)
- Approx 2.2km (one-way)
- Lowest point 2530m
- Highest point 2612m
For a spot of winter sun, the hike from Blauherd to Fluhalp is great for beginners who may not be too comfortable with steep ascents and descents.
The hike takes approximately one hour, and is a great introductory hike for younger children.
Randa Village Trail
- Approx 1.5-hour duration
- Approx 4.7km
- Lowest point 1406m
- Highest point 1577m
The village of Randa is found on the valley floor, close to the three-ridged pyramid, the Weisshorn. With just 500 residents, the village offers the perfect place to relax after hiking through the surrounding winding, snowy trail.
The trail takes around 90 minutes and is a great way to ease yourself into a hiking trip in the region. During the winter months, you can still see the talus cone at the left side of the valley, which was caused by a landslide in 1991.
Matterhorn Glacial Trail
- Approx 2-hour duration (one-way)
- Approx 6.5km (one-way)
- Lowest point 2570m
- Highest point 2928m
From Trockener Steg to Schwarzsee, this weekly guided tour takes you alongside the Theodul Glacier lake. As you trek through snow and ice on this four to six-hour hike, you’ll surround yourself with some of the Swiss Alps’ most jaw-dropping peaks, including Dent Blanche, Gabelhorn, and of course, the Matterhorn.
The hike is usually available from mid-December to early April. It’s suitable for those fairly new to hiking, but can be a little strenuous, so make sure you’re prepared.
Riffelalp to Winkelmatten
- Approx 2-hour duration (one-way)
- Approx 4km (one-way)
- Lowest point 1664 m
- Highest point 2226 m
When there’s fresh snow on the ground, this beautiful trail transforms the local forests into a picturesque winter wonderland.
Depending on experience, the 4km trail may take a couple of hours, but offers incredible views and the possibility of spotting wild roe deer.
- Approx 3-hour duration (one-way)
- Approx 7km (one-way)
- Lowest point 1608 m
- Highest point 2279 m
This 7km hike slowly ascends from Zermatt to Sunnegga and offers unrivaled views of the Swiss Alps, including the Matterhorn.
There is a short section close to the edge of a cliff that is secured by rope. It’s not for the faint-hearted and will give you chills, but this trail allows you to soak in some incredible views. Remember, if you intend on making the return hike you will have to be comfortable with hiking more than 14km.
Zermatt Circular Trail
- Approx 2-hour duration
- Approx 6.5km
- Lowest point 1602 m
- Highest point 1761 m
The Zermatt gives hikers the opportunity to see so much of what the region has to offer, including wintry forests, ice walls, an idyllic secluded chapel, and stunning views of the Matterhorn and surrounding villages.
At the midpoint of the trail, hikers will arrive at a 93m bridge that spans 50m above the Findelbach. Not one for those with a fear of heights.
What else does Zermatt offer?
Zermatt’s winter hiking is breathtaking, but once you’re back from your trek there are still plenty of things to do to relax, unwind, or even continue with your adventures.
There’s a huge selection of winter sports available across the resort, along with hotels, restaurants, bars, and the Matterhorn Museum.
Properties available in Zermatt
From the iconic scenery to the world-class winter sports, Zermatt has plenty to offer hikers, thrill-seekers, and those looking for a more relaxing visit.
Want to learn more? Visit our property page.