A little more than 150 years ago, the British climber Edward Whymper and his rope team reached the 14,692-foot (4478-meter) summit of the Matterhorn. These days, climbing the Matterhorn is much easier than it was in 1865 thanks to lighter, more advanced equipment, but it’s still no simple task. Commemorate this incredible human feat by experiencing the stunning Matterhorn in person, and hike along one the adjacent ridges or peaks. Boasting more than 375 miles of trails and routes, the hiking between and around Zermatt, Switzerland and Cervinia, Italy—the two mountain towns that abut the famous peak—is extensive. To help you experience the best of the best, we compiled a list of the top hikes for taking in views of the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino in Italian).
Best hikes around the Matterhorn from Zermatt, Switzerland
Riffelsee Lake | easy
Accessed from the Rotenboden station of the Gornergat Bahn cog railway, Riffelsee Lake is famous for producing an enchanting reflection of the Matterhorn in its high-Alpine waters. This gorgeous vista is an easy 10-minute trek from the Rotenboden station.
Aussichtswegg Trail | moderate
In addition to the stunning Matterhorn, hikers on the Aussichtswegg trail are treated to views of the Breithorn and Weisshorn, 27 other mountains and a spectacular array of wild flowers and plants. Also located atop the Gornergrat railway, the Aussichswegg trail can be connected with the Riffelseeweg Trail and Riffelsee Lake for a longer excursion.
Schwarzsee to Hörnli Hut | difficult
If you’re up for a full-day hike and the opportunity to experience a piece of first-summit history, add the Schwarzsee hike to your list. Rising to the start of Whymper’s route, the hiking trail provides access to the Hörnli Hut—where the group spent the night before their first ascent. It’s possible to start the hike from Zermatt, but most take the gondola up to the Schwarzee station. From there, hikers can expect a four- to five-hour roundtrip.
Best hikes around the Matterhorn from Cervinia, Italy
Cervinia to Lac de Goillet | easy
Beginning from town, this lovely trek winds through lush woods and then up a road to the beautiful Lac de Goillet. Be sure to have your camera in tow. The Matterhorn rises steeply above crystal-blue waters, providing an unrivaled photo opportunity. This route is about 6.5 miles long and features a moderate vertical rise of 1,751 feet (534 meters).
Cervinia to Rifugio Jumeaux | moderate
Starting just south of downtown Cervinia on Highway 403, this route ascends to a beautiful mountain hut, Rifugio Jumeaux. The path to the hut is a short distance of about 3.5 miles, but includes more than 2,500 vertical feet of climbing. Looking out towards the Matterhorn from the hut’s platform makes it well worth the effort.
Cervinia to Zermatt | difficult
If you’d like to stay in Zermatt for a night or vice versa, the challenging connector route from Cervinia to Zermatt is an excellent choice. Providing exceptional views of the Matterhorn throughout the journey, the route ascends steeply up Teodoluspass and then meanders entirely downhill to Zermatt. The hike is about 11.5 miles one way and features about 3,600-plus vertical feet (1,103 meters) of gain. A full day should be dedicated to this spectacular hike, which joins two unique towns and cultures formed around the base of the Alps’ most stunning peak.
If you’re ready to experience the Matterhorn’s splendor in person, book your trip to Zermatt or Cervinia today. To get started, build a customized quote here or if you have additional questions our Mountain Vacations are standing by at 800-610-8911.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.