Distance: 7.6 - 12.3 miles (loop)
near Zermatt in The Valais
Our favorite hike in Zermatt features magical views of the majestic Matterhorn and stunning panoramas of the 4,000-meter peaks towering above the area.
See Trail Detail/Full Description
- Distance: 2.3 miles (one way) to Trift
3.8 miles (one way) to Hohbalm Viewpoint
12.3 miles (loop)
- Elevation: 5,325-ft. at Trailhead
7,667-ft. at Trift
8,750-ft. at Hohbalm Viewpoint
Maximum elevation: 9,016-ft.
- Elevation Gain: 2,352-ft. to Trift
3,425-ft. to Hohbalm Viewpoint
- Difficulty: strenuous
- More Hikes in:
Zermatt / The Valais
Why Hike Hohbalm
My favorite hike in Zermatt never ceases to surprise and delight me. The first leg of the hike climbs the beautiful Trift Gorge beside a gushing stream, traveling through pretty meadows sprinkled with wildflowers to the head of the gorge surrounded by a gorgeous cirque of rugged peaks and glaciers.
The subsequent climb to the high plateau above Trift is rewarded with an extraordinary moment when you crest the plateau and the Matterhorn burst onto the scene. Soon the distinct east and north faces of this majestic peak are in full view.
As the trail wanders across the plateau’s grassy meadows hikers are treated to phenomenal views of the 4,000-meter peaks surrounding the Zermatt area. The Mischabel Range, punctuated by the Dom and Taschhorn, dominate the view the northeast. A massive wall of mountains clad in glaciers, including the Breithorn, Pollux, Castor, Lyskamm and the Monte Rosa massif, fill the skyline to the southeast. To the east the Findel glacier spills down the slopes Cima di Jazzi on the Swiss/Italian border, between the Strahlhorn and Rimpfishhorn, to the north, and the Stockhorn, to the south.
The Hohbalmen, the plateau’s popular overlook, boasts breathtaking panoramic views of the high peaks and is a good turn around point for parties looking for a shorter day. We recommend a longer and more challenging hike that continues across the plateau. This trail traverses high above the Zmutt Valley with more magical vistas of the Matterhorn along with great views of the Tiefmatten and Stockji glaciers spilling down the cirque at the head of the valley.
The trail then drops down the Arben Valley accompanied by nice views to the Arben Glacier nestled beneath the Ober Gabelhorn and Mont Durand. The final segment of the hike descends through pretty meadows along the north side of the Zmutt Valley, with fine views of the Findel Glacier, Riffelalp and Gornergrat areas, to Zermatt.
While most of the hillsides around Zermatt are bristling with ski apparatus, the Trift gorge and Hohbalm plateau are devoid of such equipment and remain wonderfully wild, adding to the pleasure of this scenic hike. Be forewarned that this is a long hike gaining over 3,500-ft. in altitude. Pick a day full promise and get an early start so you can take your time enjoying this glorious hike.
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