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Fitness
Regional hiking trail

Swiss Topwalk (Nr. 23)

Regional hiking trail · Switzerland
Responsible for this content
Zermatt Tourismus Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • View of the Matterhorn (4,478 m)
    / View of the Matterhorn (4,478 m)
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Kurt Müller
  • / Along the Riffelsee lake – with reflection of the Matterhorn
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Gornergrat Bahn
m 3400 3200 3000 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 6 5 4 3 2 1 km Buffet & Bar Riffelberg Bergbahnstation Riffelalp Bergbahnstation Riffelberg Al Bosco … m.ü.M. Riffelsee Riffelhaus 1853 Alphitta

Keen runners use the Swiss Topwalk as a training course. Regular hikers, too, enjoy the trail, which begins gently in the forest before leading along the scenic Aussichtsweg path up to the Gornergrat.
difficult
6.3 km
3:00 h
928 m
63 m

Sweeping panoramic views accompany hikers all along this beautiful trail. Highlight: the reflection of the Matterhorn in the Riffelsee lake.

For athletes keen to boost their red blood cell count, this trail with its vertical climb of 900 m offers excellent altitude training. One attraction is the option – good for the joints – to head back down to the village afterwards on the Gornergrat Bahn cog railway, enjoying panoramic views along the way, Matterhorn included.

  • Observation platform on the Gornergrat
  • Intermediate stations on the Gornergrat Bahn cog railway line, for a leisurely alternative to walking/running
  • Part of route same as for Gornergrat - Zermatt Marathon (held every July)
  • Interesting alpine flora

Author’s recommendation

Take a break at the lake Riffelsee to gaze in wonder at the mirror image of the Matterhorn.
Profile picture of Zermatt Tourismus
Author
Zermatt Tourismus
Updated: February 19, 2020

Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
3080 m
Lowest point
2212 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Buffet & Bar Riffelberg
3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat - "VIS-À-VIS"
Riffelhaus 1853
Alphitta

Safety information

  • 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.

Caution! In spring the path may not be passable because of snow.

Start

Riffelalp (2,211 m) (2214 m)
Coordinates:
DD
46.004845, 7.753651
DMS
46°00'17.4"N 7°45'13.1"E
UTM
32T 403500 5095341
w3w 
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Destination

Gornergrat (3,089 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Riffelalp - Riffelberg - Riffelsee - Gornergrat

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

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

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).

Getting there

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.

Parking

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”.

Coordinates

DD
46.004845, 7.753651
DMS
46°00'17.4"N 7°45'13.1"E
UTM
32T 403500 5095341
w3w 
///duplicate.rents.scorched
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

"Bergblumenwelt von Zermatt – Alpine Flowers around Zermatt", Hanspeter Steindle, edition punktuell, CH-9101 Herisau, 2009, zweisprachige Ausgabe Deutsch und Englisch. ISBN 978-3-905724-15-8

Author’s map recommendations

A walking map (1:25,000) is available from Zermatt Tourism’s guest information centre, along with brochures containing tips and recommendations.

Equipment

We recommend:

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

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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
6.3 km
Duration
3:00h
Ascent
928 m
Descent
63 m
Point-to-point Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Cableway ascent/descent Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights

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