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Botanical Trail (Nr. 31)

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  • With a little luck, you will even see an edelweiss
    / With a little luck, you will even see an edelweiss
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Kurt Müller
  • On the path up to Trift
    / On the path up to Trift
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Tanja Hengartner
  • Gentians can be admired all along the trail
    / Gentians can be admired all along the trail
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Kurt Müller
  • Berggasthaus Trift hotel
    / Berggasthaus Trift hotel
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Kurt Müller
Map / Botanical Trail (Nr. 31)
1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 m km 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 Bahnhof Zermatt Fotopoint Restaurant Edelweiss/Alterhaupt Edelweiss

Edelweiss, gentian, different orchids: numerous rare alpine flowers grow along this botanical path. Depending on the course of the weather, the blossoms along this trail can change quickly, to the delight of nature lovers.

3.9 km
2:10 h
868 m
144 m

Up on these high alpine pastures, the variety of colours among the flowers is endless. Spring gentians bring bright shades of blue, soon followed by various species of anemone and pasque flower, including Haller’s pasque flower (Pulsatilla halleri), a very rare species typical of Zermatt. Later still, the edelweiss appear. A special feature along this walk: you can observe edelweiss comfortably at eye level, just a couple of hundred metres after crossing the Triftbach river.

Because so many different flowers blossom here, the variety of butterflies and other insects is also enormous. These include the beautiful but threatened Apollo butterfly (strictly protected).

  • Special feature: small areas of “flat bog” located on steep slopes (one of the paradoxes of the botanical world)
  • In flat bog areas: various orchids
  • Right beside them, in dry areas: edelweiss
  • Appropriate for children from age 8
  • Ibex colony in the vicinity of the Pension Edelweiss / Alterhaupt
  • Information panels in German, English, French, Japanese

Author’s recommendation

Allow plenty of time: the variety of flowers is tremendous.

Extension possible via the trails Edelweissweg or Wisshornweg.

Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station). User
Zermatt Tourismus
Updated: September 19, 2019

Highest point
2333 m
Lowest point
1608 m
Best time of year

Rest Stop

Trift Berggasthaus

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.


We recommend:

  • Good footwear
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Clothing suitable for the weather (always carry a waterproof)
  • Camera with close-up lens


Zermatt (1'620 m) (1608 m)
46.023605, 7.748052
32T 403100 5097432


Trift (2'337 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Zermatt (station) - Trift

Extension possible via the trails Edelweissweg or Wisshornweg.

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

This hike is marked on the signposts as “Botanischer Lehrpfad”.

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.


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”.
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 "Unsere Alpenflora", Elias Landolt, SAC-Verlag, Deutsch, ISBN 3-85902-218-0 „Flora Helvetica“, Konrad Lauber / Gerhart Wagner, Haupt Verlag Bern, Deutsch, ISBN 3-258-06313-3

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.

Questions & answers

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Lauren Van Abel 
July 08, 2019 · Community
Steep initial ascent, but easy hike. Will get busy in the late morning/early afternoon. Nice views, not as much “botanical nature” as I was expecting (in terms of variety).
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Done at July 08, 2019
First day in Zermatt
Photo: Lauren Van Abel, CC BY, Community

Photos of others

3.9 km
2:10 h
868 m
144 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Geological highlights Family friendly Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights


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