Zermatt Matterhorn Tour

Summary

We'll trail run in car-free Zermatt, under the shadow of the Matterhorn on some of the best trails anywhere. Take part in the famed Matterhorn Ultraks Skyrunning series, or enjoy the day and cheer on some of the world's best runners.

Date

August 20-26, 2018

Length

7 days, 6 nights

Tour Category

Village-based

Fees

$3195 per person
$300 single supplement

Whats included

4 nights at a 4-star hotel, 2 nights at a 3-star hotel, all breakfasts, trail snacks, 5 dinners, guided runs daily, all transfers to/from trailheads.

Description

We’ll start the week with 2 days in the hot springs resort of Leukerbad, where we’ll take in some quiet alpine trails, and have fun with the Gemmi Challenge to the top of the famed, serpentine mountain pass.

After Leukerbad, we’ll head across the Rhône valley for 4 days in beautiful Zermatt, perhaps the most famous mountain town in the world. We’ll run sections of the upcoming Ultraks Skyrunning trail race, other great routes, and we’ll enjoy all that Zermatt has to offer. Zermatt is surrounded by a stunning collection of 4,000 meter peaks, with a network of trails leading up into high meadows, through quiet hanging valleys, and through some of the most iconic and powerful mountain scenery imaginable.

Run the Alps client David running the Ultraks 30 km trail race. (Photo: Sportograf.)

Saturday, it’s time to watch some of the best runners in the world! This well-organized race incorporates great trail running terrain with one of the most scenic courses anywhere in the Alps. Run the Alps has a limited number of race entries reserved, if you’d like to run one of the four races. Or, just enjoy the ambience of an International Skyrunning Federation event.

Our typical day starts with a continental buffet breakfast at our inn – delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives us the energy needed for a full day of trail running. Soon we’ll be out on the trail, perhaps 6 miles for those who want a more casual day, or an all-day outing of 12 miles for the more ambitious runners. Each morning, we’ll bring out a variety of trail snacks for you to choose from, and many of our runs will include stops at mountain huts or alp farms where we can recharge with hot soup or a fruit torte.

How about a little ice? Above Leukerbad, we’ll even have the option of trail running on a short section of glacier!

Most of our days will be leisurely, with plenty of stops to take in the view, visit local huts, and take photos. We should finish each day with plenty of time to relax. You will have your own bedroom every night. In the evening, we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel or a local restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, often featuring local Swiss specialties, and will definitely be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. We will leave one dinner in Zermatt free, so you have a chance to explore on your own and enjoy one of the many restaurants in town.

Zermatt: Sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus!

Day-by-day
Day 1

Arrive in Switzerland and transfer by train and bus to our meeting point in Leukerbad. For centuries, travelers have been coming to this mountain town to recuperate in the natural hot springs, and we’ll join in the tradition.  Relaxing in the warm pools with mountains all around will make you feel like you’re truly on vacation. We’ll meet and talk about the trip to come, then settle in with a welcome dinner.

  • Hotel Walliserhof
  • Dinner
Day 2

Today’s our chance to settle in and explore the Leukerbad region. We’ll run a gentle route through the upper Dala valley to the Buljes Restaurant for lunch, then return on the loop trail.  Options exist for a harder run with descent by cablecar.

  • Hotel Walliserhof
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 8-12 miles; 2,500 - 3,500 feet ascent and descent.
Day 3

We have a unique run or hike: the improbable Gemmipass Run, from Leukerbad up a serpentine trail to the famed Gemmi pass, with a village-sponsored prize, too! Or, ride the tram and take part in a higher-elevation run to a Swiss hut. Afterwards, we’ll head across the Rhône valley and take the famous cog railway to Zermatt.

  • Hotel Europe
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 2.2-6 miles; 500 to 3,200 feet ascent, 0 feet descent.
Day 4

We’ll enjoy a variety of great runs around the Zermatt valley. Following portions of the 30-km Ultraks route through fields and forest, we have a range of choices up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe. The jumbled mass of the Gorner glacier stretches out before us, and behind that, Dom, Monte Rosa, the Breithorn, and the Matterhorn form a spectacular backdrop. 

  • Hotel Europe
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 5-10 miles; 2,000 - 4,000 feet ascent and descent.
Day 5

Today, we’ll make the climb up to the Hörnli hut– the Matterhorn climber’s base camp–  to enjoy fabulous, close-up views of the icon peak and a sweeping look back at the valley below.

We’ll take plenty of breaks en route, and stop in at some classic Swiss Alpine Club huts.

  • Hotel Europe
  • Breakfast, dinner and trail snacks
  • 5-10 miles; 2,000 - 4,000 feet ascent and descent.
Day 6

Race day! We have a limited number of spaces if you want to join one of four different Matterhorn Ultraks trail races, or you can run at a relaxing pace to one of the viewpoints along the course to watch the race and take part in the festive atmosphere.

Dinner will be on our own tonight, so we can enjoy the post-race evening at our own pace.

  • Hotel Europe
  • Breakfast and trail snacks
  • 0 to 18 miles; 0 to 6,500 feet of ascent and descent.
Day 7

There’s time to sneak in a final morning run, or enjoy a coffee and pastry in town, before hopping on the train to either Geneva or Zurich.

  • Breakfast
  • 4 miles; 500 to 2,000 feet of climbing and descending.
Arrival

Plan to arrive the day your tour starts at the latest (flights from the US usually depart the day before). The closest airports are Geneva and Zurich. There are train stations in each airport that will take you to Leukerbad (by train and bus). This tour includes a Swiss rail pass that you can use for travel between the airport and the airport or border.

Departure

Plan your departure for the day after your tour ends at the earliest. The closest airports to Leukerbad are Geneva and Zurich, both of which are a little over 3 hours away. Plan on one night at a hotel in your departure city if you have a morning flight (we can help with this if you like).

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Questions

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