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Fitness
Theme trail

Larch Trail

Theme trail · Wallis
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Zermatt Tourismus Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Below Schwarzsee
    / Below Schwarzsee
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Kurt Müller
  • The nutcracker plays the leading figure in this theme trail
    / The nutcracker plays the leading figure in this theme trail
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Dominic Fux
  • Especially beautiful are the larch forests in autumn
    / Especially beautiful are the larch forests in autumn
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Zermatt Tourismus
Map / Larch Trail
1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 m km 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 Schwarzsee (Bergbahnstation) Schwarzsee Hermetje Gitz-Gädi

The Lärchenweg (Larch Trail) leads across alpine pastures, along sparse forest that is home to numerous gnarled and ancient Swiss stone pine trees and tall larches. The theme trail is devoted to the nutcracker, an emblematic local bird species.

moderate
4.4 km
1:40 h
62 m
773 m

In autumn, this hike promises a very special experience. The larch needles change colour from green to yellow and then rust-red. Here, it’s easy to understand why walkers talk so enthusiastically about golden autumn walks. In winter, the trees are bare.

For centuries, local people hunted nutcrackers. These birds were considered pests: because their diet consists mainly of pine seeds, it was thought they prevented regeneration of the forest and hindered growth of new trees.

Only in the 1950s did scientists discover the secret of the nutcracker. On balance, these birds are of great benefit to the forest: the relatively heavy seeds of the Swiss stone pine are not dispersed by wind, as with other species of conifer, but through the activities of the nutcracker. Each bird gathers between 30,000 and 100,000 seeds a year, which it buries in the ground as a food supply. In winter, it has to dig up to 1 m deep in the snow to retrieve them. However, it does not find all the seeds again…

  • Larch wood is extensively used as a building material in Valais
  • Larches are resistant to vermin (because of high levels of resin)
  • Larches lose their needles in late autumn
  • Information panels in German, English, French, Japanese

Author’s recommendation

Ideal trail for observing wild animals, especially chamois and nutcrackers.

Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station).

outdooractive.com User
Author
Zermatt Tourismus
Updated: December 27, 2018

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Altitude
2579 m
1864 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Farmerhaus
Furri
Gitz-Gädi
Hermetje
Schwarzsee

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.

Equipment

We recommend:

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

Start

Schwarzsee (2'583 m) (2575 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
45.991759, 7.709177
UTM
32T 400033 5093941

Destination

Furi (1'867 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Schwarzsee - Hermettje - Furi

(Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 2h 25)

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”.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

"Themen erwandern in Zermatt", Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, Eigenverlag, Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, ISBN 978-3-905756-68-5. Erhältlich bei den Zermatt Bergbahnen AG im Shop auf Matterhorn glacier paradise, via E-Mail info@matterhornparadise.ch oder per Telefon auf +41 (0)27 966 01 01.

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.


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
4.4 km
Duration
1:40 h
Ascent
62 m
Descent
773 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Geological highlights Family friendly Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Mountain railway ascent/descent

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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