Alpine trail

Hörnli Trail (Nr. 27)

This trail leads to what is probably the key location in Zermatt, the Hörnli Hut at the foot of the Matterhorn. Historically this has been the heart of all the action, and remains so today.

360° Panorama
  • Type Alpine trail
  • Difficulty hard
  • Duration 2,15 h
  • Distance 4,3 km
  • Ascent 693 m
  • Descent 13 m
  • Lowest point 2570 m
  • Highest point 3260 m


Anyone visiting Zermatt should take this path at least once. It was here that the first climbers to conquer the Matterhorn set off for their ascent on 14 July 1865. Of the seven mountaineers, only three returned to the village of Zermatt, including the British climber Edward Whymper.

At the Hörnli Hut, visitors can really feel, touch and experience the Matterhorn, which towers majestically above the building. The climbing route leads from here via the Hörnligrat ridge up to the summit. From the hut’s terrace, visitors can watch the mountaineers (binoculars required) beginning their ascent before dawn, equipped with head torches. It’s fascinating to watch. Is it a smooth climb? Have they reached the Solvay hut (4,003 m) yet? Are they managing to scale the “shoulder”? How quickly will they reach the summit?

  • Trail leads past the idyllic Schwarzsee lake with chapel
  • Accommodation in the Hörnli Hut Matterhorn (reservations required)
  • Best time of year for spotting mountaineers scaling the Hörnligrat: August–September
  • Photographic subject: the Matterhorn, close up

Schwarzsee - Hörnli Hut Matterhorn

(Hiking time for the walk back: approx. 1h 30)

This hike is marked on the signposts as “Hörnliweg”.

We recommend:

  • Good footwear
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof)
  • Binoculars
  • Camera / Telephoto

Important! A good head for heights, a sure foot  are needed

Please contact the Hörnli Hut for the most up-to-date information on trail conditions.


The trail features open-grilled metal walkways suspended over the void; this can prove a challenge for those who do not have a good head for heights. The path is exposed in places.

A must for those interested in the Matterhorn: the Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis, brings the story of the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 vividly to life. Exhibits include pictures, the original snapped rope from the first ascent, artefacts, finds from the mortal accident…

  • 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.
  • 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.

Tip: “Be searchable”. Equip yourself with an additional RECCO rescue reflector*. Whether summer or winter. Available in our Online-Shop or our information desk.* The additional reflector does not replace an avalanche beacon.

Map and arrival