Top 5 Family Hikes in Zermatt Switzerland

There are so many hikes in the Zermatt area that it can be difficult to find the right ones for your family. Here are our top 5 hikes in the Zermatt area for families, with shorter and longer options so you can customize the trip to your needs.

There are so many hikes in the Zermatt area that it can be tough finding the right ones for your family. We’ve done three trips there, starting when our youngest was 3 and our last trip when our oldest was 14. So now we have a good idea of which hikes work for a variety of ages and abilities. Here are our top 5 hikes in the Zermatt area for families, with shorter and longer options so you can customize the trip to your needs.

Even if you aren’t a “hiker,” I still highly recommend doing an easy hike because it’s the best way to escape the crowds. Zermatt is a popular tourist destination, but most tourists, especially the big groups, tend to congregate at the easy to reach viewpoints. Once you start hiking, you feel like you have the Matterhorn all to yourself.


See these hikes in action in our video below. For more hiking videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Overview of Zermatt area

Here is the summer hiking map for the Zermatt area (see the original version on Zermatt website). I’ve marked the five hikes with green dots. The pink circles are the popular viewpoints. The blue circles at the bottom show where the three main mountain transport leave from the village, from left to right: Sunegga funicular, Gornergratbahn mountain train, and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car. The purple circle shows Tasch, where you have to park your car before entering Zermatt.

When to go: Hiking season in Zermatt starts around late June and continues through early October. Before late June, not all mountain transport is open and trails are likely covered with snow and debris and not ready for hiking.

1. Riffelsee to Riffelalp

If you only do one hike in Switzerland, this is the one. You start at this iconic lake, where you must take a family pic. Then you leave most tourists behind as you head out on the trail, spending lots of quality time with Matterhorn views. This is also a hike you can customize to meet you can length or shorten as needed, from 2 km to 10 km.

Hike stats: 4.5 km, moderate, about 2 hrs with kids

See details for Riffelsee to Riffelalp hike

2. Matterhorn Glacier Trail

If you want to get up close to the Matterhorn, this is the trail for you. This trail feels like an alien world, very rocky and barren but beautiful in its own way. You ride up a cable car to the trailhead, then hike parallel to a glacier until you are almost right under the Matterhorn. Go on a day when the skies are clear because this hike is all about the views.

Hike stats: 6.4 km, moderate, about 2.5-3 hrs with kids

See details for Matterhorn Glacier Trail

3. Three Lake Trail to Sunegga

This is a shorter version of the Five Lakes Trail, which wasn’t open when we were there. Even though you can’t see the Matterhorn the whole time, it’s a wonderful hike with a different character than other hikes in this area. It was especially pretty in October when the trees were changing. The trail ends at the Sunegga playground, with lots of fun amusements for the kids. You can finish the day by riding mountain scooters back to Zermatt, a very fun way to get down the mountain. 

Hike stats: 5.6 km, moderate, about 2 hrs with kids

See details for Sunegga Three Lakes Trail

4. Gorner Glacier Garden

This trail explores the valley carved out by the Gorner glacier over hundreds of years, today filled with larch trees and a rushing river. After riding the Gornergrat mountain train halfway up the mountain, you hike over to some steep switchbacks that lead down to this river, so better for slightly older children. Later on the trail, there’s a nice playground and picnic area in the forest and a slightly scary suspension bridge to cross. This trail is particularly nice in fall when the larch trees turn bright yellow, usually mid-October.

Hike stats: 7km, moderate, about 3hr with kids

See details for Gorner Glacier Garden Trail

5. Gorner Gorge

A beautiful river gorge just outside Zermatt village with an elevated wooden walkway above the river cutting dramatically through the cliff walls. After visiting the gorge, this walk loops through the forest then continues back to Zermatt, with mountain and valley views. This is a good choice for a cloudy day that is obscuring the peaks, a “down day” when you need something easy, or as add-on to other activities, since it doesn’t take much time.

Hike stats: 2.7 km, easy, about 90 mins with kids

See details for Zermatt Gorner Gorge

Getting to Zermatt

Zermatt is easily accessible by car or public transport from any of Switzerland’s main cities. If you are coming by car, you’ll be parking in Täsch and ride the train the remaining 5 km to the car-free village of Zermatt. Also, you may need or want to take a car train shuttle through tunnels instead of driving over mountain passes. 

Get lots of details for getting to Zermatt in my Family Guide to Zermatt Switzerland

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6 Responses

  1. Hi – thank you for your blog. I wanted to see if you have any recomendations for hiking guides in either Zermatt or Juangfru areas? We are traveling early july and it would be just myself (Im experience) but my late teenage children are not.

    1. Do you mean you want a person to go hiking with you? You might join a group hiking tour which are advertised on the destination websites. But really, it’s totally unnecessary for most hikes and for any hike mentioned on this site. The hikes are well marked and have frequent signs. If you really want to go with a group, you might try https://www.alpenwild.com/staticpage/hiking-the-jungfrau/. Also try this page: https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Hiking-Guides

  2. Love your videos! We visited jungfrau region in 2018 and followed some of your great tips. Next year we plan on staying in Visp and bust Zermatt and local area. What is the best value for traveling on trains, cable car and mountain trains? We want to do some of the hikes you mention here!
    Thanks
    Anita

    1. Hi. As far as I know, there isn’t a travel pass for the mountain transport in Zermatt like other regions in Switzerland. You could get a half-fare card, but that probably won’t be worth it if you are traveling for only a week or less. If you are traveling with children, you should definitely get the SBB Junior card for CHF 30, which allows them to travel for free on everything with you. You might find my budget posts helpful: https://swissfamilyfun.com/traveling-switzerland-on-a-budget/

  3. We are visiting Zermatt in mid April. Is hiking in the below areas in Zermatt possible?
    Gorner Glacier Garden
    Gorner Gorge
    Three Lake Trail to Sunegga
    Riffelsee to Riffelalp
    Matterhorn Glacier Trail

    1. None of these hikes will be open in mid April as it will still be spring skiing and snow in many areas. If there is enough snow, you might be able to do the winter walk near the Riffelsee. Here is the link: https://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Planning-hikes-tours/Rotenboden-Riffelberg-Nr.-113 I recommend also looking at my Top 10 hikes for April post – https://swissfamilyfun.com/switzerland-easter-break/

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Hi! I’m Tanya and our family has been living & hiking in Switzerland since 2005, collecting dozens of fun hikes and activities for all ages and abilities. More about us…

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