Best of the Haute Route
- Kandoo Trekking
our UK team
Bienvenue – Welcome to the Alps! Your adventure begins in Chamonix, a little town with a big reputation after playing host to the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924. Chamonix is nestled beneath a vista of snow-capped peaks causing it to be the ultimate playground for those seeking adventure. You will be picked up from Geneva airport, where our comfortable transfer will take you along the delicately winding roads ascending on up to Chamonix. Once at your hotel, a welcome meeting will take place where you’ll meet with your group and your local guide – a highly qualified International Mountain Leader. After your meeting, you may wish to head into the town, get to know your group over dinner or perhaps sample some of the region’s famous Savoie wine.
Today will be your first day on the Haute Route, starting off with a short transfer to Les Praz village. From here, you’ll be flying high as you ride the cable car up to La Flegere, sitting at 1813m. Not only does this provide unbeatable views of the Mer de Glace glacier and the glorious surrounding landscapes, but also cuts out a difficult and tiring climb. The trek then begins on a stunning path which climbs gently towards the glacial blue hues of the Lac Blanc. On a calm day, the glass-like water mirrors the unparalleled views of the surrounding peaks. Like razor-sharp needles the skyline of the Aiguille du Dru, Aiguille Verte, Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc can all be admired from this incredible vantage point. Stop for a picnic lunch and enjoy the view before heading down through one of the region’s most beautiful trails bordering Lacs des Cheserys. Tonight will be spent in a peaceful hotel in the Argentiere valley – the perfect spot to rest up for another exciting day tomorrow.
After a scenic train ride up the valley to Les Frasserands, we begin by climbing steeply to the Aiguillette de Posettes, the 'bébé' of the Chamonix skyline, where a panoramic 360⁰ view includes a picturesque Mont Blanc. We will then descend a little before heading along the delightful high alpine paths, weaving their way through alluring green flora and fauna, towards the Col de Balme. Here we cross the border from France to Switzerland. After a hearty lunch, we will descend to the small hamlet of Trient for the night, taking in the amazing views of the Aiguille d'Argentière and the Aiguille du Tour. Keep an eye out for Trient's unique pink church!
An hour long train journey through glorious, alpine arenas brings us to one of the sunniest places in Switzerland, the Sion valley. Here we can marvel at the web of vineyards and discover the heart of Valais area, famous for its stunning natural landscapes. Our trek today starts in the quaint mountain village of Thyon by a balcony path overlooking the beautiful Val d'Hérémence. Across the valley you may catch a glimpse of wave like rock formations that were carved out by the Ice-Age and have boulders are precariously balanced on their ridges. We make our way up the valley to reach the Grande Dixence Dam. 'Grande' being very apt, this is the world's highest gravity dam. On the shores of its mountain lake sits our accommodation. For those who have some energy left, a continuation of the hike is possible to explore the lake further.
This morning we will depart along the lake shore above the awe inspiring Grande Dixence Dam, a wall 285m high and 700m long, weighing 15 million tons and retaining 400 million m³ of water. It is a true engineering masterpiece. We then climb steadily along rocky terrain to the Col de Riedmatten (2919m). From there, we overlook the glorious views of the Glacier de Cheilon, and stop to have a picturesque picnic before descending to the Swiss village of Arolla . Here we will transfer to Les Haudères by bus where we spend the night at the foot of the Dents de Vesivi in a delightfully cosy lodge, nestled in the heart of the Valais Alps.
A short bus ride will take us up to the small hamlet of La Sage. From here, we follow a zigzagging path through the stunning, mountain pastures to the Col de Torrent sitting at 2916m, where an exceptional view over the peaks of the Val d'Evolène will greet us. On one side, the formidable, snow-capped peaks of the Dent d'Herens, the Tête Blanche and the Dents Moiry. On the other, a breath taking view along the Bishorn ridgeline leading up to the mighty Weisshorn, a look-a-like little brother to it's larger Matterhorn sibling and equally as beautiful. An enchanting descent of emerald green will then lead us between the glistening, alpine waters of Lac des Autannes and Lac de Moiry. Once in the valley, local bus transportation will take us to the small town of Zinal, a cluster of rustic chalets set amidst a blanket of lush green meadow. Here you will spend a peaceful night in the heart of Valais.
Beginning the day amidst the dense, alpine forests and mountain pastures we move along a steady incline towards the rugged Col de Forcletta, where a splendid view stretches from the pyramidal peak of the Dent Blanche all the way to the expansive glaciers of Mont-Blanc. From here, we take a panoramic path which allows us to gradually descend from exposed alpine ridge to lush meadow and the quaint village of Gruben.
Augstbordpass will be our last high altitude pass in the heart of the Alps, and what a way to finish! After crossing an alpine larch forest in the base of the valley, we climb to the wild, rocky outcrops of Augstbordpass, traversing the Turmanntal mountain pastures to reach it. An incredible panoramic view of Oberland and Valais will greet us here before we make the descent down into the Mattertal valley to St Niklaus, a bustling town nestled between the mountains and the majestic glaciers of the Monta Rosa Alps.
Breath taking views of the majestic Monte Rosa "4000s" will be the backdrop for our final trekking day, epitomising in the awe inspiring pyramid of the Matterhorn. A superb alpine path traversing the length of the valley will offer multiple photo opportunities as we embark on an easy final day. We will be given chance to appreciate the grandeur of the Matterhorn, and the fabulous glaciers of Zermatt that blanket it's lower slopes before making a gradual descent to the village of Zermatt.
In the afternoon, comfortable bus transportation to Chamonix will allow you to reach your accommodation for the last night of your trip. Here, you may wish to have a meal out with your group and reflect on the highlights of your trip.
Your hiking adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Geneva airport. Please note: there is only one transfer to Geneva at 9am.
If you’re staying on in Chamonix, there’s plenty of delightful shops, museums and restaurants worth exploring. Another fantastic option is to take a cable car up to the peak of Aiguille du Midi. Sitting at 3842m, there’s no better spot to take in views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountains.
The Haute Route is given the name "the high route" for good reason; there is a lot of steep ascent and descent on this trek, so your legs will be getting a good workout. Yet, whilst a high level of fitness will make the days a lot easier it by no means requires super human fitness. A solid training plan will allow you to better prepare for the hikes and enjoy yourself when you're on the trail. You will need to reach particular points on the trail each night so you may find the pace of walking to be a little faster than on Kilimanjaro, for example. This is by no means a sprint, however a good level of fitness will ensure you have a positive experience.
Trekking poles are also a lifesaver, especially on the steep Alpine passes! If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m over consecutive days then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on the route. Think of it as climbing Snowdon or Ben Nevis every day for a week! If you can do this then there is no reason why you can't complete the entire Haute Route. We find that all successful hikers share a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination.
This trip is on a full board basis (except for 2 nights in Chamonix). For your evening meals in Chamonix (Day 1 and 9) there is a wide range of local restaurants for you to sample. If you have a dietary requirement or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can plan a suitable menu.
The hotels provide hearty, traditional and generous meals. Drinks are not included with dinner, so please make sure you have some Euros and Swiss Francs with you.
Packed lunches will be produced by your guide and include local meats and cheeses, crusty bread and fresh seasonal vegetables. The lunch items will be shared between all of the group for carrying each day. Remember to bring your favourite snacks (cereal or energy bars, dried fruits, chocolate) with you to keep you going through the day.
Tap water is typically safe to drink in France and Switzerland so you can fill up your water bottle each morning at the hotel. On the trek itself, you will be passing many refuges where you will also be able to top up your water if needed.
You will then spend 7 nights on the trek in 3-star hotels or lodges in twin rooms, with an evening meal included.
Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!Contact us