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Easy round-trip hike on Riffelalp

Hiking trail · Zermatt
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Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • View from the hiking path to the Matterhorn
    / View from the hiking path to the Matterhorn
    Photo: Delia Inniger, Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Signpost at the start of the hike. The path leads towards Grünsee.
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Alpine pastures at the turnpoint of the hike
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Marmots on the Riffelalp circular hike
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Wegweiser auf dem Rückweg der Wanderung. Dem Wegweiser Richtung Riffelberg folgen.
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Tracks of the Gornergrat Bahn with view to the Matterhorn
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / The path crosses the tracks of the Matterhorn Railway
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Hiking path on the Riffelalp with view to the Matterhorn
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Hiking path on the Riffelalp with view to the Matterhorn
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Autumn pine and larch forest at Riffelalp
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
  • / Historic Valais barn on the Riffelalp circular hike
    Photo: Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
m 2500 2400 2300 2200 2,5 2,0 1,5 1,0 0,5 km Riffelalp Resort 2222 m Alphitta Fotopoint Riffelalp Kapelle Riffelalp "Herz Jesu" Riffelalp, Hotel Laubern Riffelalp
This easy, 3-kilometre long hike lets you experience the beauty of the Swiss stone pine and larch forest plus a view over the Matterhorn and with a little bit of luck you might even see some marmots.
3 km
1:00 h
72 m
73 m
The hike begins at the Riffelalp station going first in an easterly direction (the signpost shows a direction towards the Grünsee lake).  The trail takes walkers through the forest, below the band of rock known as ‘Laubern’ towards the Grünsee lake.  After passing small alpine meadows, the path branches off to the right and goes somewhat higher back towards Riffelalp.  You cross the railway tracks of the Gornergrat  Railway, which has been transporting guests up to this popular excursion mountain since 1898.

After around 2 kilometres the trail goes above the Riffelalp Resort.  The historic Grand Hotel Riffelalp used to stand here. It made a name for itself as a ‘playground for European high society’ and was where many famous guests spent time. Sadly, in 1961 a huge fire completely destroyed the main building and it was not until the end of the 1980’s that it reopened.  At the turn of the millennium it was converted into the 5-star Riffelalp Resort.

The most beautiful view of the Matterhorn as well as various restaurants invite the hiker to linger.  The route back follows the tram tracks of the historic Riffelberg Tramway – Europe’s highest tram line.

Author’s recommendation

The route can be easily be extended, just as it suits you, for instance with a detour to the Grünsee lake.
Profile picture of Delia Inniger
Delia Inniger
Updated: January 26, 2021
Highest point
2,275 m
Lowest point
Riffelalp station, 2,203 m
Best time of year

Rest Stop

Riffelalp Resort 2222 m
Al Bosco - - Riffelalp Resort 2222 m.ü.M.
Alexandre - Riffelalp Resort 2222 m.ü.M.
Walliserkeller - Riffelalp Resort 2222 m.ü.M.

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.

For all hikes:  

  • Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on “Print” icon, top right of this page.
  • Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
  • Do not leave any waste in nature. 
  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.

Tips, hints and links

Are you travelling to Zermatt by public transport? If you are travelling for several days, it is worth using the Adventure Card. This gives you 2-5 days of free travel on a large train and post bus network as well as discounts on mountain railways.

Further information:


Riffelalp, 2203 m.a.s.l. (2,203 m)
46.004970, 7.753835
46°00'17.9"N 7°45'13.8"E
32T 403515 5095354


Riffelalp, 2203 m.a.s.l.

Turn-by-turn directions

The start of the trail is at the Riffelalp station (on the left-hand side, in the direction of the Gornergrat). Cross the railway track and follow the signposts in an easterly direction towards the Grünsee lake.  After about one kilometre take a sharp right turn (the signposts now show Riffelberg) and walk in the opposite direction.  The trail climbs briefly before becoming more even and again leads towards Riffelalp.  After crossing the Gornergrat railway tracks the trail takes you along the forest line right up to the Riffelalp.  At the Riffelalp Resort the path turns again and goes alongside the Riffelalp Tramway back to the railway station.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

Public transport friendly

With the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway from Visp to Zermatt. In Zermatt with the Gornergrat Railway to Riffelalp. The hike can be ideally combined with an excursion to the Gornergrat. Get off at the Riffelalp station on the way back from the Gornergrat. After the hike the return journey with the Gornergrat Railway takes you from the Riffelalp station (2211m) to Zermatt.

Getting there

Zermatt is car-free. We recommend travelling to Zermatt by public transport via Visp.


Zermatt is car-free. The Matterhorn Terminal Täsch in Täsch is a covered multi-storey car park - under one roof with the Täsch railway station, where you can change directly to the Zermatt Shuttles. We generally recommend travelling by public transport via Visp.


46.004970, 7.753835
46°00'17.9"N 7°45'13.8"E
32T 403515 5095354
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Zermatt provides information and brochures about the region.

Author’s map recommendations

Swisstopo maps 1:25'000: Zermatt – Gornergrat


We recommend:
  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, to download) 
  • swimwear

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Photos from others

3 km
72 m
73 m
Public transport friendly Loop Scenic Refreshment stops available Family friendly Faunistic highlights Cableway ascent/descent


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