Hiking in Zermatt is one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself. Take a journey with me through one of the most beautiful countries I have seen, in Zermatt Switzerland. Start your day off with a big breakfast and a heaping dose of patience with yourself. Zermatt Switzerland is 5,310 feet (1,620m) above sea level. At that
Altitude sickness has nothing to do with your gender or fitness level, but it can lead to severe health complications if it is not addressed properly. Please review symptoms of altitude sickness so if it begins to happen to you, you will be able to address it properly. So if you feel out of breath, take frequent breaks and give your body time to catch up to the oxygen requirements. If you are an asthmatic (like me), be sure to bring your inhalers 🙂
As I was only able to do 2 hikes while I was there, I felt these were the best ones for me due to the fact I was suffering from altitude sickness. (I almost ended up in the hospital because I did not give my body the time it needed).
Gorner Gorge Hike
My favorite hike was over to Gorner Gorge. This is a 15-minute walk from town along the gorgeous river walk along, go past the Forest Fun park and to a small cabin where you pay a fee to pass to Gorner gorge. (If you are a little more adventurous and avid hiker, I would also suggest hiking Jungfrau Mountain in nearby Bern. )
Make sure you bring cash with you, as they do not have credit card machines (or bathrooms) at the cabin.
After paying the fee at the cabin, you walk down a flight of stairs and are met with an intricately detailed rock formation. This rock wall mesmerized me into a trance of contemplation, reflection and pure wonderment of how nature can form something so beautiful. I was unaware that this small portion of this elevated footpath was just the beginning of a stunning journey through the beauty of nature.
If you have a fear of heights, this may not be the path for you as the footpath is made of wooden planks & posts bolted into the mountainside.
There are also two different ladders that are quite steep, those with bad knees or hips may not be able to climb these without some assistance (there are about 14 steps per ladder). Even if you are not able to make it up to the biggest of the waterfalls, just contemplating life as you watch the water flow down the twists and turns of this gorge will be worth the effort. My mind wandered frequently of how I would be able to get a Kayak down the canyon, and if I attempted it, what would be the statistical probability of my demise, lol.
The twists and turns appear as though the wind carved out the gorge like a knife through soft butter. Sharp angles along the narrow canyon reflected a serene blue of the water. A stream flowed beneath in a soothing Zen-like way. The gorge makes you wish you could hook up a tent on the side of the cliff face and spend the night there. Continuing along the path, I pondered how they were able to get the footpath posts into the walls. I found myself internally thanking the men and woman who made it possible to witness this natural wonder.
I climbed the two ladders up to the higher viewpoint and continued to explore the cliffs and gulley’s surrounding me. The view of Zermatt from the top took my breath away completely. There was the waterfall and on the other side a stunning view of Zermatt Switzerland.
Beyond Gorner Gorge
There are other hiking options that could take an entire day for you to explore. To get to these other options, just continue up the stairs to the top of the gorge. I chose to just sit in the peacefulness of the mountain and enjoy the view.
Other options for hiking are listed on the sign below. Each hike is shown with their respective times and directions, which is easily found along the trail.
Other Hiking in Zermatt options:
- Rifelsee Lake
- This is by far the best for the reflections of the Matterhorn
- It is a short walk from the Rotenboden Station (on the Gornergrat Line)
- It is mostly downhill and is both easy and rewarding at the end
- 5 Lakes Hike
- This hike goes past 5 different lakes the Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leisee
- The Leisee is the best one to go swimming in and children tend to love this one the most.
- The Grunsee has a more rough and rugged surrounding to it
- Grindjisee hosts the rare Swiss Alps Wild Flowers on its shores
Of course, if you have more time there are plenty of outdoor activities to try, like Paragliding, Fishing and Mountain Biking. In the winter, there is ice climbing, sledding, curling, ice skating and of course Skiing in the Swiss Alps.
A Word of Caution:
Before attempting to ski in a place like this, know that these slopes are steep with sheer and treacherous drop-offs. Many of the Olympic Ski Teams come to train before their Olympic Trials. Make sure that you are in tip top shape and able to deftly navigate while on your ski’s. Not being able to control your aim, speed or cutting would likely result in a tragic end. Even the locals have a deep respect for the Mountains that surround them, and all they offer and impose.