Distance: 4.5 miles (round trip)
near Zermatt in The Valais
This lovely hike climbs steeply up the beautiful Trift Gorge beside a cascading stream, traveling through lovely wildflower-filled meadows to the basin at head of the gorge surrounded by a gorgeous cirque of rugged peaks adorn with glaciers.
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- Distance: 4.5 miles (round trip) to Trift
- Elevation: 5,325-ft. at Trailhead
7,667-ft. at Trift
- Elevation Gain: 2,342-ft. to Trift
- Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
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Zermatt / The Valais
Why Hike Trift
Starting in downtown Zermatt, the trail ascends steeply through forest and then meadows awash in wildflowers up the Trift Gorge alongside the rushing Triftbach (Trift stream). After gaining over 2,300-ft. in 2.25 mile the trail reaches the Hotel du Trift, a restored Victorian building, situated in a lovely alpine valley surrounded by a stunning cirque of high peaks and glaciers.
Trift is the perfect place for a lazy afternoon. Eat lunch at the hotel or enjoy a picnic in the meadows above the hotel while gazing at the Zinalrothorn, Trifthorn, Wellenkuppe, Ober Gabelhorn, Mittel Gabelhorn and Unter Gabelhorn. The Trift and Gabelhorn glaciers along with numerous snow fields adorn the flanks of the peaks. Turn around for equally impressive views of the Monta Rosa massif rising above Gornergrat and the Findel valley to the east.
While many of the hillsides around Zermatt are bristling with ski apparatus, the Trift Gorge is devoid of such equipment and remains wonderfully wild with meadows boasting an impressive display of wildflowers. As an added bonus signs along the way identify the flowers and describe their unique habitat. Keep an eye out for the elusive Edelweiss, with its delicate white petals.
The hike is a good workout and a nice way to acclimatize. It is also a good option for families looking for a more challenging hike. The valley is the jumping off point for a number of longer hikes including my favorite destination, the Hohbalm.
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