Winter hiking

Winter hiking

Riffelalp - Winkelmatten

This winter hiking trail leads through a wonderfully romantic snow-covered forest, along the lowest slopes of the Gornergrat and down into the village of Zermatt.

The treeline at Riffelalp announces the transition clearly: this is the beginning of the winter forest. The gnarled Swiss stone pines are heavily laden with snow; a cold winter breeze whispers around the naked branches of the larches. The snow crunches underfoot as the trail winds gently down to Zermatt.Walkers following this winter hiking trail late in the afternoon may well spot a roe deer, immobile, the colour of its coat barely discernible from that of the surrounding larches.

Turn-by-turn directions

Riffelalp - Ritti - Winkelmatten (chapel)

(Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 2h 30)

Start: Riffelalp (2'211 m) (2213 m)
Destination: Winkelmatten (1'650 m) (1672 m)

Author's recommendation

This hike is especially beautiful when there is fresh snow and the Alpine pine and larch trees along the path are covered with fresh, sparkling snow.

 
Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station).

Technical information

  • Altitude

    2228 m 1667 m

  • Ascent

    36 m

  • Descent

    578 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 4 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 6.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

By train to the Matterhorn village: 3½ hours from Zürich airport or 4 hours from Geneva airport. Change at Visp onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (Matterhorn Gotthard Railway). From Visp, the railway leads through the Mattertal valley past idyllic small villages to Zermatt.

Zermatt is also the start and finish point for the world-famous Glacier Express panoramic train journey (Zermatt to St. Moritz or Davos).

Approach

Zermatt is car-free. Private vehicles are permitted only as far as Täsch (5 km before Zermatt). The Täsch–Zermatt road is closed to the public.

Onward travel to Zermatt is either by private taxi or shuttle train. Trains depart every 20 minutes; the journey takes about 12 minutes, and ends at the Bahnhofplatz in Zermatt.

Parking

Täsch has car parks with both covered and open-air parking – e.g. at the Matterhorn Terminal or privately operated facilities.

Onward travel: see “Getting there”.

Equipment

We recommend:

  • Good footwear
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Warm winter clothing appropriate for the weather

Safety information

  • Plan every mountain tour carefully and adapt to participants’ fitness level as well as the weather and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.
  • Inform others of planned route, and whenever possible avoid going alone.
  • Do not leave the marked routes; do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • It is forbidden to walk on the ski pistes.
  • Please be considerate to other walkers and to plants and animals.

 

Note: This winter hiking trail can be slippery. Consider wearing ice grips or microspikes on footwear (available from sports shops).