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Via Valais

Dates (2 available)
Aug 14 - 23, 2024
10 days - 9 nights
Sep 1 - 10, 2024
10 days - 9 nights
Very Challenging
185kg / person
The Via Valais is our Grand Tour of the Alps! This high-mountain route has been designed specifically with trail runners in mind. You'll traverse valleys, run over high passes, and through meadows on your journey from Arolla to Zermatt.

Trail run the classic Haute Route through the Alps– but using specific trails that have been selected with trail runners in mind! The Haute Route has long been a famous hiking and skiing track, but now a new version, designed just for trail runners by our friends at ALPSinsight, takes you across the mountainous Swiss Canton of Valais. This multi-day trail running tour avoids the busiest trails while contouring around impressive landscape to cover more runnable ground than the traditional trail runner’s version of the Haute Route.

Our version of the Via Valais starts in the beautiful Swiss village of Arolla, famous as a base for mountaineering. We have a full day to find our trail running feet in this valley, before heading off on our journey towards Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn.

Trail running the Via Valais above Val d’Anniviers’ Zinal, Switzerland. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto)

Each day will start with a hearty continental buffet breakfast at your inn – delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives you the energy needed for a full day of trail running. Hut breakfasts are often simpler, and usually consist of bread, jams, butter, cereal, coffee, and juice. We’ll provide snacks for you to take on the trail. Every day we pass a café or mountain hut where we can also buy drinks or snacks. In the evenings we’ll enjoy dinner together at our accommodation – a hearty multi-course feast featuring delicious local Swiss specialities.

Long stretches of singletrack. (Photo: Mark Brightwell)
Stopping to admire the view across the Zinal valley. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto)

Several days have options for a longer or shorter route. Your bags will be transferred separately, each night, except for the three nights we stay in mountain huts – on these days we’ll “fastpack,” bringing the essentials for a night at a high mountain hut. At the end of the trip we have a day free in Zermatt for you to relax, run some more trails or explore the town at your own pace.

The Via Valais is the most challenging trip offered by Run the Alps. You should be comfortable in steep, rugged and remote mountain terrain, and able to climb and descend over 2000m daily over the course of the trip. If you are uncertain whether this trip is for you, please contact us.

Guiding this trip will be Mark Brightwell, an International Mountain Leader. Read more about his guiding experience and skills here.

Book this tour

$4,900 per person.

Single supplement available for $700, which includes single rooms for six nights in Arolla, Zinal, St Niklaus and Zermatt.
Guides for selected date:
Make it private guided
Your companions, your dates, your tour– we do the rest. Inquire here.


Looking towards Mont Collon from Arolla. (Photo: Mark Brightwell)

Day 1

Arrive in Geneva or Zurich airport and travel to Arolla via train and then Swiss Postbus. This pretty village is high up at the end of the Hérens valley.

Accommodations: Hotel Kurhaus

Another slice of tart please. (Photo: Tim Davis)

Day 2

We’ll enjoy a day to settle into trail running in this region, perhaps running up to the Swiss Alpine Club’s Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges or the Pas de Chèvre.

Accommodations: Kurhaus
Two femail trail runners at Cabane des Becs de Bosson

At Cabane des Becs de Bosson on the Run the Alps Via Valais, which is offered as a guided or self-guided trip. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto)

Day 3

We’ll start our running with a couple of miles alongside the river to warm up. On reaching the village of Evolène, we head uphill to the Becs de Bosson mountain hut at 3000m elevation.

Accommodations: Becs de Bosson mountain hut

More cheese! Rösti at the Turtmann Hut. (Photo: Kelly M)

Day 4

Today we run down to Lac de Lona, over the Basset de Lona pass and then a long descent ends at Lake Moiry. After crossing the Corne de Sorebois, the day ends in the small village of Zinal.

Accommodations: La Besso Hotel

Home for the night at Turtmann hut. (Photo: Mark Brightwell)

Day 5

Today we pass into the German speaking region of Switzerland, and also get to experience a remote corner of the Alps. We head along the final section of the famous Sierre-Zinal race with great running along a high-level traverse, before we head over into the next valley via the Col de la Forcletta.

Accommodations: Turtmann mountain hut.

Getting closer to Zermatt. (Photo: Mark Brightwell)

Day 6

We reach the Zermatt valley, or Mattertal, today by heading up and over the Augstbord pass then down to the valley village of St Niklaus. An optional cable car from the high mountain hamlet of Jungen saves thousands of feet of trail running downhill at the end of the day, if desired.

Accommodations: Hotel La Reserve

Found the black nose sheep. (Photo: Steph Lefferts)

Day 7

From the village of Randa, we cross the Charles Kuonen suspension bridge, the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge at 494 meters in length. From here we continue along the Europaweg, a high-level traverse with flowing running and our first views of the Matterhorn.

Accommodations: Fluhalp

Trail running above Zermatt, Switzerland. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto)

Day 8

Today is one of the best days of trail running to be found anywhere in the Alps. We’ll cruise around the head of the Zermatt valley with incredible views the whole way – and several great options for coffee stops!

Accommodations: Hotel Europe

Moon and Matterhorn. (Photo: Steph Lefferts)

Day 9

Enjoy some time exploring the car-free village of Zermatt, a historic climbing and ski town dotted with centuries-old wooden chalets. At the end of the day, you can enjoy the spa at our hotel in Zermatt!

Accommodations: Hotel Europe

Day 10

Today we’ll enjoy a final breakfast together, then take our leave of Zermatt, heading home, elsewhere in the Alps for more trail running – or wherever your travels take you next!

Meals: Breakfast

Regional map

What's included

Six nights in hotels and three nights in high mountain huts with dorm accommodation. All runs guided by certified International Mountain Leader. All breakfasts, trail snacks and dinners included, along with all transfers to and from trailheads. Baggage delivery each night, except when staying in high mountain huts.

Tour category

Inn-to-inn with mountain huts.

Good to know

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Tour stories

blacknose sheep above Zermatt
Via Valais: The Runner’s Haute Route
We were a small group of four running the Via Valais, a point-to-point journey from Arolla to Zermatt in the Valais region of Switzerland. We stayed in a combination of hotels and mountain huts along the way. Early September is ideal for running this tour as the trails and huts are a little quieter and ...
Read more

Guides for this Tour

Tour dates: Aug 14 - 23, 2024
Lead guide: Mark Brightwell
Tour dates: Sep 1 - 10, 2024
Lead guide: Mark Brightwell


Need a hand preparing?

Cartoon of person with word bubble
We offer pre-trip coaching as a benefit to our guests for a reasonable fee. Spaces are limited.