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Winter hiking recommended route

Riffelalp-Winkelmatten (Nr. 114)

Winter hiking
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Zermatt - Matterhorn Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Winter hiking from Riffelalp to the village
    / Winter hiking from Riffelalp to the village
    Photo: Gornergrat Bahn, Zermatt Tourismus
  • / Starting point on the Riffelalp
    Photo: Gornergrat Bahn, Zermatt Tourismus
  • / A frequent sight along the trail - the Matterhorn (4,478 m)
    Photo: Marc Weiler, Zermatt - Matterhorn
  • / Winter hiking trail below Riffelalp
    Photo: Marc Weiler, Zermatt - Matterhorn
  • / Winterwandern
    Video: Zermatt - Matterhorn
m 2400 2200 2000 1800 1600 4,0 3,5 3,0 2,5 2,0 1,5 1,0 0,5 km Bergbahnstation Riffelalp Chämi-Hitta Kapelle Winkelmatten … Familie" Ritti
This winter hiking trail leads through a wonderfully romantic snow-covered forest along the slopes of the Gornergrat and down into the village of Zermatt.
moderate
Distance 4.2 km
1:45 h
28 m
562 m

The treeline at Riffelalp announces the transition clearly: this is the beginning of the winter forest. The gnarled Swiss stone pines are heavily laden with snow; a cold winter breeze whispers around the naked branches of the larches. The snow crunches underfoot as the trail winds gently down to Zermatt.

Walkers following this winter hiking trail late in the afternoon may well spot a roe deer, immobile, the colour of its coat barely discernible from that of the surrounding larches.

Author’s recommendation

This hike is especially beautiful when there is fresh snow and the Alpine pine and larch trees along the path are covered with fresh, sparkling snow.
Profile picture of Zermatt Tourismus
Author
Zermatt Tourismus
Update: December 01, 2021
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2,226 m
Lowest point
1,664 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Chämi-Hitta
Ritti

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

Note: This winter hiking trail can be slippery. Consider wearing ice grips or microspikes on footwear (available from sports shops).

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.

Start

Riffelalp (2,211 m) (2,207 m)
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'624'402E 1'094'861N
DD
46.004863, 7.753642
DMS
46°00'17.5"N 7°45'13.1"E
UTM
32T 403500 5095343
w3w 
///fuse.neckline.mentions

Destination

Winkelmatten (1,650 m)

Turn-by-turn directions

Riffelalp - Ritti - Winkelmatten (chapel)

(Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 2h 30)

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

SwissGrid
2'624'402E 1'094'861N
DD
46.004863, 7.753642
DMS
46°00'17.5"N 7°45'13.1"E
UTM
32T 403500 5095343
w3w 
///fuse.neckline.mentions
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

We recommend:

  • Good footwear
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Warm winter clothing appropriate for the weather

Basic Equipment for Winter Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots appropriate for winter use (B1+ recommended)
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Long, warm technical socks plus liners and spares
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Water- and windproof mountaineering jacket and trousers with ankle adjustment or separate gaiters
  • Lip protection (SPF 30+)
  • Water- and windproof gloves plus thin fleece inner gloves
  • Neckwear
  • moisture wicking skull / knit cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID

Technical Equipment for Winter Hiking

  • Hiking poles fitted with snow baskets
  • Trail ‘spike’ crampons at minimum and a basic ice axe are recommended when covering steeper terrain
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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Photos from others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
4.2 km
Duration
1:45 h
Ascent
28 m
Descent
562 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Flora and fauna Cableway ascent/descent Way cleared Groomed snow Linear route

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