Magical views of the majestic Matterhorn along with a stunning panorama of the 4,000-meter peaks surrounding Zermatt make this our favorite hike in the area.
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- Distance: 2.3 miles (one way) to Trift
3.8 miles (one way) to Holbalmen Viewpoint
12.3 miles (loop)
- Elevation: 5,325-ft. at Trailhead
7,667-ft. at Trift
8,750-ft. at Holbalmen Viewpoint
Maximum elevation - 9,016-ft.
- Elevation Gain: 2,352-ft. to Trift
3,425-ft. to Holbalmen Viewpoint
- Difficulty: strenuous
- More Hikes in:
Zermatt / Valais
Why Hike Hohbalm
Our favorite hike in Zermatt never ceases to surprise and delight us. The first leg of the hike climbs the beautiful Trift Gorge beside a gushing stream, traveling through pretty meadows sprinkled with wildflowers to the head of the gorge surrounded by a gorgeous cirque of rugged peaks and glaciers.
The subsequent climb to the high plateau above Trift is rewarded with an extraordinary moment when you crest the hill and the Matterhorn burst onto the scene. Soon the distinct east and north faces of this majestic peak are in full view.
As the trail wanders across the plateau’s grassy meadows hikers are treated to phenomenal views of the 4,000-meter peaks surround the Zermatt Valley. The Dom, Taschhorn and peaks of the Mischabel Range dominate the view the northeast. A massive wall of mountains clad in glaciers, including the Breithorn, Pollux, Castor, Lyskamm and the Monte Rosa massif, fill the skyline to the southeast. Looking to the east, the Findel glacier spills down the slopes Cima di Jazzi on the Swiss/Italian border, flowing west between the Strahlhorn and Rimpfishhorn to the north and the Stockhorn to the south.
The Hohbalmen, the plateau’s popular overlook with breathtaking panoramic views of the high peaks, is a good turn around point for parties looking for a shorter day. We recommend a longer and more challenging hike that continues across the plateau. This trail traverses high above the Zmutt Valley with more magical vistas of the Matterhorn along with great views of the Tiefmatten and Stockji glaciers spilling down the slopes of Dent d’Herens and Tete de Valpelline at the western end of the valley.
The final segments of the hike drop down the Arben Valley, with nice views to the Arben Glacier nestled beneath the Ober Gabelhorn, and then descend the Zmutt Valley to Zermatt through pretty meadows with the Findel Glacier, Riffelalp and Gornergrat areas dominating the view.
While most of the hillsides around Zermatt are bristling with ski apparatus, the Trift gorge and Hohbalm plateau to the west of Zermatt are devoid of such devices and remains wonderfully wild, adding to the pleasure of hiking this scenic trail. Be forewarned that this is a long hike gaining over 3,500-ft. in altitude. Pick a day full promise and get an early start so you can take your time enjoying this glorious hike.
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