The Mark Twain Trail from the Riffelberg to Riffelalp (No. 18)
A funny journey through time
Difficulty: medium | Duration: 1h 5min | Distance: 3.5 km
This trail follows the route that Mark Twain chose in 1878 and later described in his book “Climbing the Riffelberg”. At that time, the only way to reach the Gornergrat and the Riffelberg was to walk up. In his book he describes his challenging expedition and comments in his typical, humorous way on the mountain-climbing fraternity of the day. His hike takes him to the Hotel Riffelhaus, Zermatt’s oldest mountain hostelry built in 1855. The Grand Hotel Riffelalp was under construction at that time. In the following years it became known as “The playground of European high society”. Not one hundred years later the hotel was completely destroyed by fire and not reopened until 1988. This trail is however, not just one for seeing important touristic destinations in and around Zermatt, but is located in incomparable landscapes. Due to the openness of the region you get an uninterrupted view of the Matterhorn. Now and again the peace and quiet might be disturbed by some tinkling bells and bleating - emanating from grazing Wallis black-nosed sheep.