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Hiking trail

Hotel Weisshorn to Zinal

Hiking trail · Wallis
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Hotel Weisshorn
    / Hotel Weisshorn
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • The path to Zinal
    / The path to Zinal
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • Sierre-Zinal race signposting on the route
    / Sierre-Zinal race signposting on the route
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • Alpine flowers beside the path
    / Alpine flowers beside the path
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
  • On the descent to Zinal
    / On the descent to Zinal
    Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
Map / Hotel Weisshorn to Zinal
1800 2100 2400 2700 m km 2 4 6 8 10

A relaxed day’s walk traversing the mountainside on a path surrounded by alpine flowers and trees, with views of grand peaks ahead beyond Zinal, nestled in the valley below. 

moderate
11.7 km
3:30 h
83 m
754 m

Today’s walk is a much-needed easy going amble down to the valley. In fine weather, views to the valley’s ‘Imperial Crown’ open up, the name given to the collection of five 4000m peaks that surround Zinal. The Bishorn, Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn , Obergabelhorn and the Dent Blanche feel close enough touch. The trail is gently undulating, and you will be following the waymarking for the famous Sierre-Zinal trail running race. The final descent is steep, but shouldn’t be too taxing given the previously easy terrain. Zinal is a small alpine town and is a great place to replenish and relax. It also has a wonderful microbrewery attached to the Hotel le Besso– great for beer lovers!

Author’s recommendation

Today’s walk gives some reprieve from long ascents, so relax and take on a slower pace – make the most of the benches along the way and stop to admire the alpine flowers and mountains vistas. 

outdooractive.com User
Author
Catherine Allan 
Updated: August 02, 2018

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2426 m
Lowest point
1687 m

Safety information

In the early season (end of June early July) there is a small chance you could encounter snow on the trail – this will likely be soft and easy to cross if you are used to the terrain.  If the snow patches are unavoidable or hard-packed (i.e. requiring winter equipment; ice axes and crampons) we advise that you do not do the route if you don’t have the relevant experience or equipment. Retrace your steps and take alternative transport to Zinal (descend on foot/cable car to St. Luc and bus/taxi to Zinal)

The route on today’s stage is generally well maintained and follows the Sierre-Zinal running race signage along gravel paths and tracks.  There are some wooden bridges and short sections of handrail in the forest when descending to Zinal to protect areas where the path is worn – there is a steep drop onto forested slopes here so do take care. 

Equipment

Although today’s route is relatively easy going you are still in the Alps and if the weather isn’t great you will be exposed to the elements before entering the forests to descend to Zinal so please bring appropriate clothing – even if it’s a sunny morning the weather can change to rain or thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Bring plenty of food and water (at least 2 litres) for the day’s walk, along with waterproofs, warm layers and comfortable sturdy walking boots/shoes.  You may also wish to bring poles to help with balance, and the ascents and descents. 

Tips, hints and links

 

 

Points of Interest

Hotel Weisshorn

The hotel is situated at 2337 m with excellent views of the Meidpass and the Bella Tola peak.  It was built by Francesco Mosoni in 1882, then destroyed by fire in 1889 and rebuilt in 1891.  All the material was carried up the mountain by mules, and it’s said that the piano was carried by 6 men. 

http://www.weisshorn.ch/en/hotel/story/

Sierre-Zinal Race

Along the route you will see, and follow, signposts for the Sierre-Zinal race.  The Sierre-Zinal trail-running race is one of the longest running mountain races in the Alps - it has been going for over 40 years now - and is one of the most reknowned in the trail-running circle.  It's not hard to see why it's so popular when the race takes in views of five 4000 m peaks: Weisshorn, Obergablehorn, Dent Blanche, Zinalrothhorn, and the Matterhorn.  

Zinal

The village of Zinal has only ~380 year-round inhabitants, but it is a haven for nature-lovers and tourists who come here in the summer for hiking and sight-seeing and in the winter for downhill skiing and other winter sports.  The area surrounding the village is rich with wildlife including the iconic alpine ibex, marmot and chamois.  

https://www.valdanniviers.ch/tourism/zinal-ayer.html

 

Food & Drink

Ask for a packed lunch at Hotel Weisshorn as there is nowhere to eat enroute.  Make sure you have enough food and water (at least 2 litres) for the day.  There are plenty of beautiful spots along the trail where you can stop for a picnic lunch.  On arriving in Zinal you’ll find a choice of restaurants, a supermarket (open 7 days a week in the summer season) and a sports equipment shop. 

 

 This tour is available on the following itineraries: WSTOTM, WSTOTMN

Start

Hotel Weisshorn (2344 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.208217, 7.617756
UTM
32T 393372 5118110

Destination

Zinal town centre

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – From the entrance of Hotel Weisshorn, at the building corner, with the tables and parasols behind you continue STRAIGHT ON an ascending path to reach a signpost in ~20 m.  At the signpost TURN RIGHT and follow the arrow for Zinal (3hrs). 

0.04 km – BEAR RIGHT onto a wide track and continue STRAIGHT ON for ~160 m. 

0.20 km – Where a path goes off to the right, TURN RIGHT onto it and follow the Sierre-Zinal signpost on your right-hand side. 

0.60 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON past Halley’s comet sculpture on your left-hand side and continue along the gravel path. 

2.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON where a narrow path ascends on your left, ignore this and continue traversing the mountainside.  In 100 m continue STRAIGHT ON to join a track after passing plastic mesh on your left (stabilising the slope). 

2.20 km – With a grassy track ahead BEAR RIGHT onto a narrow gravel path, passing a boulder with a red and white painted arrow on it. 

2.60 km – With a large boulder on your left follow the painted signpost for Zinal and TURN LEFT onto the track.  You’ll see a Swiss flag and picnic bench ahead.  In 50 m BEAR RIGHT off the track onto a path following the Sierre-Zinal signpost. 

3.20 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON over the stream on a small stone bridge and follow the signpost for Zinal (2hrs). 

4.10 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON over a wooden bridge and continue traversing the mountainside.

4.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON to cross another wooden bridge then in 50 m continue STRAIGHT ON following the signpost for Zinal.  Soon you’ll cross another wooden bridge. 

6.30 km – At the signpost before the building on your right-hand side continue STRAIGHT ON to follow the arrow to Zinal behind the buildings.  Follow the path for 600 m. 

6.90 km – Cross the river with a small concrete building on your left and continue STRAIGHT ON

8.50 km – Where the path splits follow the signpost for Zinal and continue STRAIGHT ON to begin descending on a gravel path through the trees.  Take care on this path as some of it is eroded in places, usually these are protected by rope handrails but please take care as there is a steep forested slope below on your right. 

9.40 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON through a wooden gate on the forest path.  You are now approaching a farm so you may find alpine cows in the area.  These are generally docile creatures, however don’t approach them quietly from behind, come between a mother and calf, or approach a bull as this could cause aggression. 

9.50 km – With the farm building on your right-hand side and a wooden cross ahead descend to a signpost and TURN RIGHT onto a wider path below following the arrow for Zinal.  In ~50 m BEAR LEFT to descend on a narrow gravel path with a grassy field on your right-hand side.  Again, if there are cows in the area please take care and move calmly. 

9.70 km – Meet a track and TURN LEFT onto it to continue descending through the trees.  In 200 m continue STRAIGHT ON the track as a grassy track goes off to the left, keep to the track as it narrows to a gravel path. 

10.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON to cross a small stream on a stone bridge then TURN RIGHT to follow the arrow and red and white painted marker to descend.  In 50 m keep right on the track and follow the signpost to Zinal to continue descending. 

10.50 km – Cross a wide stream using the stepping stones after passing between two houses, then BEAR RIGHT to pass between two large boulders on either side of the path.  Follow the red and white painted markers. 

10.60 km – TURN LEFT and ascend then pass through a tunnel following the red and white painted markers.  BEAR LEFT once out of the tunnel and descend on a grassy track towards buildings ahead. 

10.70 km – At a T-junction with a road and houses ahead TURN LEFT onto the road then immediately TURN RIGHT to reach the next T-junction in 200 m. 

10.90 km – At the next T0junction with a signpost on your right TURN LEFT onto the road and ascend slightly for 100 m before you TURN RIGHT off the road onto a track that descends between chalets towards the church of Zinal. 

11.20 km – With the church on your left at the T-junction with Hotel Europe and the supermarket ahead finish the day’s route and head for your night’s accommodation. 

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
11.7 km
Duration
3:30 h
Ascent
83 m
Descent
754 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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