Our Matterhorn Ultraks tour gives you the chance to enjoy one of the iconic trail races in the Alps, whether you're running or cheering others. We'll enjoy trail time in Zermatt, under the Matterhorn, on some of the best trails anywhere.
August 22 - 28, 2023
7 days, 6 nights
$3,675 per person
$400 single supplement
Four nights at a four-star hotel, two nights at a three-star hotel, all breakfasts, trail snacks, five dinners, guided runs daily, all transfers to/from trailheads.
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 four 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.
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.
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.
Guiding this trip will be Mark Brightwell, an International Mountain Leader. Read more about his guiding experience and skills here.
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.
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.
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 railway to Zermatt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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). Your tour package will include detailed information about traveling on the Swiss rail system.
Plan your departure for the day after your tour ends at the earliest. The closest airports to Zermatt are Geneva and Zurich, both of which are a little over three 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).
More options for this tour:
Self-guided: Everything but the guide… custom tour design, trail runs, and all the details.
Private: Make it private! Your companions, your dates, your tour– we do the rest.
Contact us for details.
All Run the Alps guests receive a copy of our Guide to Trail Running in the Alps to assist in preparing for their trip.
Want a helping hand to get ready? Run the Alps offers pre-trip coaching at our cost as a benefit to our guests. To read about our Personalized Prep Program, start here. Spaces are limited and this program routinely sells out. Contact us if you’re interested!
Terms and Conditions: Read up on Run the Alps’ Terms and Conditions, Covid-19 policy, and travel insurance.