This walk takes you away from the more frequented trails on the Gornergrat. The Path of Silence leads hikers to a seldom-visited valley and to the well-known Grünsee lake and from there through the Arvenwald pine forest and on to Riffelalp.
Distance 7.9 km
The walk begins at 3,100 m on the Gornergrat. The Gornergrat railway takes walkers in just 33 minutes from Zermatt to the start of the trail. The first hiking section goes only downhill on the Path of Silence and is signed as route No. 24. You will pass 5 mountain lakes along the way, the largest of which, the Gornergratsee lake at the beginning, is actually a reservoir where water for the winter snow canons is collected. You are now in the middle of the mountain goat and ibex territories. Keep an eye out for the animals as they search for food. The rocky alpine terrain slowly gives way to lush alpine meadows until you reach the Grünsee lake and the ‘Ze Seewjinu’ mountain lodge. The ex-Hörnli Hut keeper offers tasty Wallis specialities here.
After getting your strength up at the lodge or from your rucksack on the banks of the lake the path now goes to the Arvenwald forest up to Riffelalp. The gnarled trees are extremely old because the ‘Arve’ (Swiss mountain pine) can only produce cones after around 40 years.
The hike ends at the Riffelalp station where the Gornergrat railway will take you down the last bit to Zermatt.
It’s worth taking a telescope or binoculars with you so that you can stop and look for the mountain goats and ibex that roam here.
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.
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.
The path begins at the 3,089 m high Gornergrat station. First you walk westwards beside the railway line to the Gornergratsee lake. The path forks to the north here and goes over alpine meadows and then is followed by two somewhat rockier passages where the path down is steeper. You reach the Ritz region above the Grünsee lake and the Ze Seewjinu lodge. You should definitely make a stop here beside the lake for a picnic or to take some photos. There is a wonderful view of the Matterhorn from the lake. The route then goes past the Ze Seewjinu lodge to the Arvenwald forest. You now need to follow the signposts towards Riffelalp. Just before the end of the walk you have two options where the path forks. The lower path takes you straight to the Gornergrat railway’s Riffelalp station and the upper path goes upwards for some metres but your reward will be an awesome view of the Matterhorn.
all notes on protected areas
With the Matterhorn Gotthard Railway from Visp to Zermatt. In Zermatt with the Gornergrat Railway to Gornergrat station. After the hike, the return journey on the Gornergrat Railway takes you from the Riffelalp station (2211m) to Zermatt.
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.
32T 405681 5092911
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
hat or cap
bottle for water
hiking poles (optional)
printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, to download)