Answer: The guided Hiker’s Haute Route is two days longer than our self-guided version. It wasn’t always this way. We extended the guided itinerary by two days for 2014. The extension allows us to explore a remote section of trail between the villages of Champex and Arolla.
Put another way, the guided and self-guided itineraries are identical in every way until day five. The guided trip transfers to the village of Verbier while the self-guided trip transfers to Arolla. The guided trip spends two nights in remote huts before descending to Arolla to pick up where the self-guided itinerary passed through a couple of days before. Both trips follow the same route from Arolla all the way to Zermatt.
It’s worth noting that self-guided trips can run at any time during the summer, but we don’t usually schedule them during the same dates as our guided tours.
Additionally, we are happy to add the two-day extension with hut stays to any self-guided itinerary for an additional supplement. We can also add a three-day extension from Zermatt to the village of Saas Fee at the end of the trip. This extension carries hikers across the famed Grächen Höhenweg and offers views of Switzerland’s tallest peaks to the south and the legendary Berner Oberland region to the north. The extension also includes a simple inn, a four star inn and a dramatically situated refuge.
Our recommendation: Upgrade the simple inn in Saas Fee with a Relais & Chateaux gourmet retreat. You’ll want to set aside the entire evening for your sybaritic experience!
All totaled: A self-guided Hiker’s Haute Route can easily reach 15 days in length with add-ons. Without add-ons, the self-guided trip is ten days long. The guided trip is a twelve-day tour.
Give us a call, or drop us an email to plan your next adventure.
Image: Hiking to the Forcletta pass (2874 meters) with the Matterhorn in the background (right). Hiker’s Haute Route, Switzerland | By Ken Fuhrer.