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 hour 45 minutess 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 porta-cabin 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
This guidebook has route descriptions for 100 day walks to suit alpine walkers of all abilities, with suggestions for some hut-to-hut tours. These routes take you through breathtaking scenery in the Maritime Alps, Julian Alps, Gran Paradiso, the Turnitzer Alps, Bernese Oberland, the Kitzbuheler Alps and the Dolomites of South Tirol.
This guide describes three treks, between 5 and 8 days, in the Silvretta and Rätikon Alps starting near Klosters, and 12 half-day hut-to-hut routes. These contrasting ranges form a line on the borders of Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. The Tour of the Silvretta, the Prättigauer Höhenweg and the Rätikon Höhenweg.