Plan a route here Copy route
Winter hiking Top

North Face Trail (Nr. 144)

Winter hiking
Responsible for this content
Zermatt Tourismus Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Along the north face of the Matterhorn
    / Along the north face of the Matterhorn
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Zermatt Tourismus
  • / Past the frozen, snow-covered Schwarzsee and the "Maria zum Schnee" chapel
    Photo: Zermatt Tourismus, Zermatt Tourismus
  • / Schneeschuhwandern
    Video: Zermatt Tourismus
m 2700 2600 2500 2400 2300 2200 2100 3,0 2,5 2,0 1,5 1,0 0,5 km Schwarzsee (Bergbahnstation) Schwarzsee Stafelalp 2200m
This trail leads practically under the north face of the Matterhorn. The rock wall, dark and mighty, dominates the landscape. The feeling of wading over the snow under the iconic peak is unlike any other.
moderate
3.3 km
1:05 h
1 m
386 m

The trail leads from Schwarzsee, at the foot of the north face of the Matterhorn, through the gorgeous landscape around Stafelalp. It’s hard to believe that mountaineers have scaled the north face of the Matterhorn in winter: such as Walter Bonatti in 1965, climbing alone. The cold at the north face is almost tangible.

  • Choose time of day carefully, because the sun disappears very early here in winter
  • Palpable cold descends after sunset
  • Pink markers approx. every 100 m along the route
  • Caution: check details of current avalanche risk at lift station
  • Guided tours bookable through Alpin Center

Author’s recommendation

Do not forget your camera, because getting a picture of the steep north wall of the Matterhorn is worth it in any case.

Profile picture of Zermatt Tourismus
Author
Zermatt Tourismus
Updated: November 24, 2020
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2,587 m
Lowest point
2,201 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Schwarzsee
Stafelalp 2200m

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.
  • It is forbidden to walk on the ski pistes.
  • Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.

The snowshoe trails can be tackled without a mountain guide. Beware: they are not prepared in any way and are not controlled daily; nor are they secured from natural hazards such as avalanches or rockfalls. For safety, check the weather forecast and current avalanche bulletin.
All snowshoeing is at one’s own risk.

Tip: “Be searchable”. Equip yourself with an additional RECCO rescue reflector*. Whether summer or winter. Available in our Online-Shop or our information desk.
*The additional reflector does not replace an avalanche beacon.

Tips, hints and links

Guided snowshoe hiking tours

Winter sports report

Start

Schwarzsee (2,583 m) (2,586 m)
Coordinates:
DD
45.991950, 7.709078
DMS
45°59'31.0"N 7°42'32.7"E
UTM
32T 400026 5093963
w3w 
///collides.sage.royal

Destination

Stafelalp (2,199 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Schwarzsee - Stafelalp

The last part of the walk follows the winter hiking trail back to Furi - snowshoes no longer required.

 (Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 1h 30 - 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
45.991950, 7.709078
DMS
45°59'31.0"N 7°42'32.7"E
UTM
32T 400026 5093963
w3w 
///collides.sage.royal
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

We recommend:

  • Good, waterproof footwear
  • Snowshoes
  • Hiking poles
  • Warm winter clothing appropriate for the weather

Questions & Answers

Ask the first question

Do you have questions regarding this content? Ask them here.


Reviews

Write your first review

Help others by being the first to add a review.


Photos from others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
3.3 km
Duration
1:05h
Ascent
1 m
Descent
386 m
Scenic Point-to-point Refreshment stops available Cableway ascent/descent Clear area

Statistics

  • Contents
  • Show images Hide images
: h
 km
 m
 m
 m
 m
For changing the range of view, push the arrows together.