The winter views here are some of the finest in the Zermatt region. The trail leads below the shady Riffelhorn and back into dazzling sunshine, revealing a breathtaking vista culminating in the Gornergrat. A fairy-tale adventure with views that seem to go on for ever.
This particular fairy tale begins at Rotenboden. The winter hiking trail drops left of the railway line, looping towards the Riffelhorn: the start of a big adventure. Depending on the time of day, the trail may pass through the peak’s cold blue shadow, and walkers experience for a moment just how much the sun warms the landscape, and how inhospitably cold it can be in the shade.
In no time, though, the trail leads back into the sunshine and up a small rise. The wow factor is tremendous: the view from here of the Matterhorn against a piercing blue winter sky is indescribably beautiful. The trail then winds gently down to Riffelberg. Walkers with children can happily pull them along on a sledge.
Appropriate for children from age 4
Magnificent mountain views with the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and other 4,000-metre peaks
Consider first riding all the way up to the Gornergrat on the 111-year-old Gornergrat Bahn cog railway. The view from the observation platform: a breathtaking panorama of glaciers and mountains, including 29 peaks above 4,000 m.
Additional information and recommendations are available from the guest information centre on Bahnhofplatz (by the railway station).
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.
Hiking poles (optional)
Warm winter clothing appropriate for the weather
Rotenboden (2'815 m) (2816 m)
32T 404373 5093055
Riffelberg (2'582 m)
Rotenboden - Riffelsee - Riffelberg
(Hiking time in reverse direction: approx. 1h 30)
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).
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.
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”.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
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