Matterhorn Glacier TrailTheme trail

This route offers a fascinating glimpse of a world between rock and ice. Walkers approach the glacier on a safe path, close enough to see the meltwater running out: a memorable moment on a special hiking adventure.

Best season

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Description

The trail offers hikers insights into the phenomenon of glacier retreat. The path displays what the melting glacier leaves behind, shows the conditions it creates for plant and animal life, and reveals how humans make use of the remains from the river of ice. Now and again, a gentle breeze descends from the glacier: a cold kiss from the perennial snows. It smells of snow, ice, stone, water and the purest mountain air.

Since the Little Ice Age around 1850, the Furgg and Theodul Glaciers have retreated by more than three kilometres. Information panels at various key points tell the fascinating story.

  • 23 information panels in German, English, French and Japanese
  • Numerous small lakes to be seen
  • Landscape of rock and scree sculpted by the former glacier
  • Anyone finding historical artefacts is required to hand them in to the tourist office, to be passed in turn to the canton’s archaeologists.
Trockener Steg - Hirli - Schwarzsee

(Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 2h 15)

We recommend:
  • Good footwear
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof)
The mountain landscape around Zermatt, with 38 summits above 4,000 metres, offers breathtaking panoramic views and is home to a wealth of fauna and flora.

Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station).
  • Plan every mountain tour carefully and adapt to participants’ fitness level as well as the weather and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible avoid going alone.
  • Do not leave the marked routes; do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • It is forbidden to walk on the ski pistes.
  • Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.
  • Take note of the warning signs drawing attention to the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs.
Zermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.

Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.
Täsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.

Onward travel: see “Getting there”.
By train to the Matterhorn village: 3½ hours from Zürich airport or 4 hours from Geneva airport. Change at Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (Matterhorn Gotthard Railway). From Visp, the railway leads through the Mattertal valley past idyllic small villages to Zermatt.

Zermatt is also the start and finish point for the world-famous Glacier Express panoramic train journey (Zermatt to St. Moritz or Davos).
"Themen erwandern in Zermatt", Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, Eigenverlag, Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, ISBN 978-3-905756-68-5. Erhältlich bei den Zermatt Bergbahnen AG im Shop auf Matterhorn glacier paradise, via E-Mail info@matterhornparadise.ch oder per Telefon auf +41 (0)27 966 01 01.
A walking map (1:25,000) is available from Zermatt Tourism’s guest information centre, along with brochures containing tips and recommendations.

Map and arrival

Condition 

Technique 

Experience 

Landscape 

Difficulty medium
Distance 6,5 km
Ascent 188 m
Descent 534 m
Duration 2,0 h
Lowest point 2559 m
Highest point 2923 m

Starting point of the tour:

Trockener Steg (2'939 m)

Destination of the tour:

Schwarzsee (2'583 m)

Properties:

  • Nice views
  • Geological highlights
  • Faunistic highlights
  • Insider tip
  • Tour route
  • With refreshment stops
  • Botanical highlights
  • Mountain railway ascent/descent

Download


Tour map (PDF)
Google-Earth (.kml)
GPS-Track (.gpx)


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