Hiking in the Alps is the perfect activity to enjoy on your luxury summer Alps holiday. Featuring luxurious lakes, stunning scenery and record-breaking bridges we explore a selection of the best walking trails in Chamonix, Verbier and Zermatt. Read on to find out the best hikes to have made our list!
3 of the Best Chamonix Hiking Trails
‘Trois Gouilles’, translated to ‘3 ponds’, is an easy Chamonix walk along a natural, shady path in the woods. Under a beautiful pastoral atmosphere, picturesque lakes will feature along this trail – the first small pond is found at around 1,040 metres into this trail, with the second and third stunning lakes found at the second bridge and top of the village respectively.
One of the easier Chamonix walking trails featured in this blog, due to its relatively flat terrain and ‘shorter’ duration, this walk can be enjoyed all year round (subject to favourable weather conditions). Taking an approximate 2 hour round-trip, this walk is best enjoyed on a sunny afternoon on your hiking holiday to Chamonix!
The Lac des Cheserys walking trail is located in the Reserve des Aiguilles Rouges. With stunning mountain scenery and picturesque lake views, this Chamonix walk is not to be missed! Best enjoyed on a sunny, clear afternoon to fully admire the Aiguilles du Massif, this trail takes an estimated 5 hours, giving you a lovely long day on the mountain.
For a longer walk, dependent on your energy levels, continue your journey to Lac Blanc and gain a higher vantage point of the surrounding views. This lake is often frozen, as a result of the high altitudes, therefore warm clothing is a must-bring!
One of the hardest walking trails in Chamonix featured in our blog, due to its distance, elevation gain and terrain, the Plan de l’Aiguille trail provides a beautifully scenic route of the surrounding landscapes and valley. At the end of your walk, the Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille offers a place to reward yourself with a bite to eat.
A bonus of this Chamonix walk is also the Aiguille du Midi cable car, which you can use to make your way back down, giving yourself a well-deserved rest! Alternatively, take the cable car in the other direction to venture up to a height of 3,842 metres to the ‘gateway of High Mountain’. With terrace areas at the station, you can take advantage of 360° views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, as well as a clear view of Mont Blanc. ‘Step into the Void’ a 2.5m glass cage over a 1,000m precipice, for a better uninterrupted view!
3 of the Best Hiking Trails in Verbier
This Verbier walking trail starts at Croix de Coeur to reach the summit of Pierre Avoi, at an altitude of 2,472 metres. The summit may require some steep ladder/stair climbing, making it a little dizzying towards the top, however, once here, you will be greeted with stunning 360° panoramic views of the Alps, Rhône Valley, the Verbier resort and Val de Bagnes – making the ascent very worthwhile! The Savoleyres path provides the route for both the ascend and decline, with a restaurant featuring along the way for a well-deserved pit stop.
The second Verbier walking trail begins alongside the impressive Lac de Louvie, from Cabane Brunet. Not for the feint-hearted, this hike features a new suspension bridge, which is more than 240 metres long, connecting the foot of the Glacier de Corbassière with the Bec de Sery. For those hikers who suffer from vertigo, an alternative path further down the valley will take you along a more ‘down-to-earth’ route!
At the finish-line, the Cabane FXB of Panossière presents a magnificent, wild and unforgettable landscape of the retreating glacier and surrounding regions. The refuge’s terrace area offers the perfect place to mark off the journey with a drink. The route back follows the same path back to Brunet, (unfortunately) lasting the same duration as the hike up.
The final walking trail in Verbier, begins in Fontanet. Unlike many of the other summer walking trails in the Alps featured in this blog, this trail starts at a higher altitude and has an overall descent, despite the first initial climb to Les Attelas. Introducing you to a variety of different landscapes, you will enjoy the route alongside the beautiful Lac des Vaux, with a chance to enjoy a refreshing dip if you become too hot! The Col des Mines and side of Croix de Coeur offer a lovely view of the town at the foot of the valley. The return is via the Planards and the Mayens du Clou.
Please note: You will need to take the Le Châble cable car, from Verbier to Fontanet, to begin this route.
3 of the Best Hikes in Zermatt
The Hängebrückenweg Furi is the first Zermatt walking trail on our list. Featuring a range of different landscapes including moorlands, rock, rubble and scree, this Zermatt hike requires a head for heights.
Along this trail, a 100-metre-long suspension bridge connects one side of the valley from the other, great preparation for the circular hike to the suspension bridge in Randa featuring later in this blog! An idyllic mountain forest welcomes you on the other side of this bridge, with the Gletschergarten Dossen (Dossen glacier garden) showing the effect of glaciers on rock formations, towards the latter stages of this walk.
The 5-Seenweg, also known as the Five Lakes Walk, is a very popular Alps hike in the Zermatt mountains and arguably one of the prettiest walks in the Alps. Leading you through and around the Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee lakes, you will be mesmerised by the views at each one. With the Matterhorn reflected in three of them, you will want to make sure your camera is at the ready!
Each lake is its own special attraction, promising a unique experience: the Leisee is good for swimming; the Grünsee is also good for swimming, overlooking a more rugged landscape; and the Grindjisee is home to rare flowers.
The final Zermatt walking trail to be featured in this blog is a record-breaker! Not one for those who are afraid of heights, this circular hike features the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, which takes approximately 10 minutes to cross. Standing at 85 metres above the Grabengufer, at its highest point, and a total length of 494 metres, this bridge offers a unique experience far away from any trolls below!
The path starts at the Randa train station, passing through larchwood forests and the Hohtschugga viewing point, before arriving at the number one bridge. After crossing, the path continues back to Randa; a detour can be taken to the Europa hut instead of returning to Randa, should walkers wish to make this journey longer.
We hope that this blog gives some inspiration for you to try out hiking in the Alps in the summer. The diversity of summer hiking trails allows for people of all ability and confidence levels to enjoy the fresh mountain air and stunning scenery. It is easy to see why so many people ensure that a hiking holiday in the Alps is high on their priorities list when planning their annual holidays.
If you would like to book a stay in one of our luxury chalets in Chamonix, Verbier or Zermatt, or would like some advice on other summer mountain activities to enjoy on your getaway to the Alps, our summer specialist team will be more than happy to help! Please do get in touch by sending us an email or giving us a call on +44 1202 203659.