Hike the Swiss Alps of Zermatt and Saas-Fee

Explore the high Pennine Alps of Switzerland, in one of the must-see places of Europe. Hike among the 4000-meter peaks that encircle the resort towns of Saas-Fee and Zermatt. The mountains are straight out of dreams: the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, the Dom, Weisshorn, and many others. The many trails will take you high above the valleys, where you’ll travel through flower-filled mountain meadows, along balcony trails and across rugged passes, visit alpine huts, and hike to high mountain glaciers.

Known throughout the world, the alpine resorts of Zermatt and Saas-Fee are located in southwestern Switzerland in the Canton of Valais / Wallis, high in their valleys near the Italian border. They are popular for winter skiing, but they also offer famous mountain vistas and superb hiking opportunities to the summer visitor.

 Saas-Fee and Zermatt are located in the Pennine Alps. The mountain range rarely goes below 3000 meters and contains many four-thousand-meter peaks—in fact, most of the high peaks in the Alps. The Alps were formed by the collision of the African and European plates, and the over-thrust of African rock onto the European plate. The top 3,000 feet of the Matterhorn are composed of metamorphic rocks from the African plate!

 Saas-Fee is located on a plateau at elevation 5900 feet. Towering above is the Dom, the highest mountain contained entirely in Switzerland. A network of lifts and trails accesses the beautiful highlands, in the Saas-Fee vicinity and along both sides of the upper Saastal. An excellent bus system easily conveys hikers to the many lift stations in the valley.

 To the immediate west is the resort of Zermatt. Dominating the view and the visitors’ attention is the Matterhorn, the most recognized mountain in the world. But many other high peaks also share the skyline. Tough metamorphic rock has enabled the mountains here to resist glacial erosion and to stand tall. Here again, many lift stations are available to help skip low approach areas and take you quickly to the high country, where green meadows contrast with barren glacial moraines and bold, ice-clad peaks.

 Alpine villages, spectacular views of glaciers and towering peaks, and mountain huts and inns set high above the valleys await you. Hundreds of miles of trails are easily accessed by the extensive transportation system of cablecars, buses and trains. Multi-day treks can be done by linking together several trail segments with stays in the high-mountain huts.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking, Global Adventures
  • Seasons: Year-round, June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft
  • 11,200 ft
  • Land Manager: Land Manager Varies
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
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