Matterhorn Glacier Trail - Trockener Steg to Schwarzsee ParadiseWalk 8111
Canton - Valais / Wallis - Zermatt & the Mattertal
Author - Anna & Mark Bradley
Ascent - nominal or unknown
Descent - 440 metres / 1452 feet
Time - 3.00 hours
Grade - moderate
This themed walk, which is dominated by the Matterhorn, offers excellent views of the Furgg glacier. At times the terrain is rough and even in summer you might encounter snow. The start is Trockener Steg reached by cable car from Zermatt. The return to Zermatt from Schwarzsee is also by cable car. There is an option to take the exciting cable car to the summit of the Klein Matterhorn.
This is a relatively expensive trip but we think it must be about the closest you can get to the Matterhorn without being an experienced climber. The start is reached by getting the cable car from Zermatt to Trockener Steg. Take the lower path out of the cable car station towards the first 'see' (lake). The path markings are a little difficult to spot in the first stages but the path turns left and upwards before heading into the valley on the opposite side of the Matterhorn. It was quite snowy here in August but the views are stunning with the west face of the mountain looming above you.
You pass several small 'sees' and will also see a mountain stream. Eventually the path descends into the valley - a slightly treacherous downhill scramble over loose rocks and scree. The ridge towards the Hörnlihutte is suitably humbling and you may see more intrepid walkers making their way up or down. The path briefly follows the stream before you cross a bridge before descending again - the landscape looks quite barren here.
Once at the top you can see the restaurant at Schwarzsee Paradise below you and there is a clear path down. Don't forget to make a small diversion to the lake, which has a picturesque little chapel on the opposite shore. From Schwarzsee Paradise you can continue walking down towards Zermatt - approximately 1 hr 45 mins to Furi and another hour or more to Zermatt. We took the cable car the whole way.
Note To make a whole day trip of this you can also add in a return cable car trip from Trockener Steg to Matterhorn Glacier paradise (Klein Matterhorn). This is the highest viewpoint in Europe at 3883 metres. You can go inside the glacier to see ice sculptures and there is a small portacabin café. The views are spectacular and you can look down on the summer ski runs. It is very, very cold up here though (minus 7 degrees C when we went) so hats and gloves are recommended!
Landeskarte der Schweiz - 1:50000 - Sheet SW 5006 - Matterhorn/Mischabel
Guidebook to the walkers' Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. The 180km route typically takes two weeks to walk. Described in 14 stages, the route crosses 11 passes between Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn and involves more than 12,000m of ascent and descent. A complete guide for planning and walking the route, with accommodation information.
From Lake Constance in Germany, this guidebook describes walking the E5 trek that runs 600km through a remarkable kaleidoscope of landscapes and culture in Switzerland, Austria and Italy, to its destination at Verona. It traverses the Allgauer, Lechtaler and Ötztaler Alps. There is a good network of alpine refuges and guesthouses on the route.