Sunrise at the Riffelsee lake above Zermatt, Switzerland

Face to face with the Matterhorn from Rotenboden to the Riffelalp

Panoramic hike from Rotenboden to the Riffelalp.

Difficulty: medium | Duration: 1h 30min | Distance: 5.9 km

Not far from the Rotenboden railway station you have a view of the Riffelsee lake and after about 15 minutes walkers reach the first highlight on the trail – the idyllic mountain lake with a perfect reflection of the Matterhorn on its surface.

The path now goes downwards, heading towards the Matterhorn where the exceptional view of the many 4,000-metre peaks is an astonishing sight, even for seasoned hikers. Keep an eye out for alpine flowers and you might be lucky enough to spot that most famous alpine flower, the edelweiss. From facing the Matterhorn the path turns north-westwards through open country after about 30 minutes, offering a view towards the Weisshorn and then the path becomes a gentle downwards slope through meadows and a little wood to Riffelalp.

Riffelalp is has a long history; the Hotel Riffelalp was built back in 1884. Many famous people spent time here before it was sadly destroyed by fire in 1961. Almost forty years later the new Riffelalp Resort 2222 was built. Another witness of bygone days is Europe’s highest tram running between the hotel and railway station, now reopened and carefully restored in 2001, exactly as it used to be. From Riffelalp the path is level and goes through an arven-pine forest to Riffelalp station.

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