Difficulty: medium | Duration: 3h 15min | Distance: 7.9km
The walk begins at 3,100 m on the Gornergrat. The Gornergrat railway takes walkers in just 33 minutes from Zermatt to the start of the trail. The first hiking section goes only downhill on the Path of Silence and is signed as route No. 24. You will pass 5 mountain lakes along the way, the largest of which, the Gornergratsee lake at the beginning, is actually a reservoir where water for the winter snow canons is collected.
You are now in the middle of the mountain goat and ibex territories. Keep an eye out for the animals as they search for food. The rocky alpine terrain slowly gives way to lush alpine meadows until you reach the Grünsee lake and the ‘Ze Seewjinu’ mountain lodge. The ex-Hörnli Hut keeper offers tasty Wallis specialities here.
After getting your strength up at the lodge or from your rucksack on the banks of the lake the path now goes to the Arvenwald forest up to Riffelalp. The gnarled trees are extremely old because the ‘Arve’ (Swiss mountain pine) can only produce cones after around 40 years.
The hike ends at the Riffelalp station where the Gornergrat railway will take you down the last bit to Zermatt.