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The Via Valais is one of the latest and greatest additions to Switzerland’s already-impressive trail network. Adapted from the Haute Route by experts and enthusiasts, the trail was made to maximize runnable ground, minimize crowded sections, and ensure access to the most spectacular scenery. With high daily distances and frequent altitude switch-ups, it’s one of the most challenging runs in the Swiss Alps. However, it’s well worth the sweat — the trail will take you to the most iconic sights in Valais, such as Zermatt, the Charles Kuonen bridge, and the Europaweg, with views of Matterhorn and Mont Blanc behind every rocky bend. Want to learn why all the runners are raving about Valais? We’ll see ya on the Via!

  • Run one of the newest, most well-designed routes in the Swiss Alps

  • Push your limits in jaw-dropping alpine environments

  • Explore traditional villages beneath Europe’s greatest summits


Tackle one of the newest and most challenging trail-running routes in the Swiss Alps! Join an experienced running guide and push your limits on Switzerland’s premier alpine trails, winding along Valais’ must-see destinations. Relax in cozy huts and hotels, explore traditional villages, sample local delicacies, and savor views of some of the most impressive summits in Europe.

  • Land in Geneva or Zurich airport and travel to Arolla, a beautiful village at the very end of the Hérens valley, via train and then Swiss Postbus. You’ll spend your first night in the historic Hotel Kurhaus, where you can unwind and enjoy the views from the lawn or your shady terrace.
    Accommodations: Hotel Kurhaus
    Meals: Dinner


    A view of Arolla village and some wildflowers in the springtime.
  • Get a sampler of trail running in the Swiss alps by running up to the Swiss Alpine Club’s Cabane des Aiguilles Rouges or the Pas de Chèvre. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore and enjoy the rustic, traditional Swiss village of Arolla.
    Accommodations: Hotel Kurhaus
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 18-25 km/ 11-15 miles
    Elevation change: 800-1300 m/ 2620-4270 ft

    Trail running the Via Valais in the Swiss Alps



  • Take a taxi to the village of Les Haudères, and warm up with a short run by the river. Once you reach the village of Evolène, head uphill to the Becs de Bosson mountain hut at the height of 3,000 m/ 9,845 ft. Your reward? Views of the largest and most impressive summit in Europe, Mont Blanc. Bag delivery isn’t possible, so you will fastpack, bringing minimal gear for your night at this high alpine hut. Tuck into your cozy dorm room and get a good night’s sleep.
    Accommodations: Becs de Bosson mountain hut
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 15 km/ 9 miles
    Elevation gain: 1,700 m/ 5,580 ft

    View of the Cabane Becs de Bossons Hut in the Swiss Alps, along the Via Valais.


  • Start day 4 with a descent down to the Lac de Lona. After a short climb, reach the Basset de Lona pass and enjoy a long descent to Lake Moiry. The second ascent is a bit tougher, up to a high point called Corne de Sorebois. From there, descend to the very bottom of the valley, to your hotel in the small village of Zinal. Choose between a more direct route down, a tram, or a longer route along the Petit Mountet Cabane.
    Accommodations: Le Besso Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 23-32 km/ 14-20 miles
    Elevation change: 1,000-1,200 m/ 3,280-3,940 ft

    Two runners beneath a scenic vista near Corne de Sornebois, Switzerland.


  • On day 5, you will visit the German-speaking section of Switzerland and explore a remote corner of the Alps. Head out of Zinal via the final section of the iconic Sierre-Zinal race. Tackle a phenomenal running section along a high-level traverse before proceeding over into the next valley via the Col de la Forcletta. Arrive in the Turtmann valley and descend to Turtmannsee – the Turtmann lake. A final short ascent will bring you to the Swiss Alpine Club’s Turtmann Hut, where you’ll spend the night. There will be no bag delivery tonight.
    Accommodations: Turtmann mountain hut
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 17 km/ 10.5 miles
    Elevation gain: 1,800 m/ 5,900 ft

    Runners stopping to take a photo of a vista right above Zinal, Switzerland.
  • On day 6, you will finally reach Zermatt valley, or Mattertal, by heading up and over the Augstbord pass and descending to the valley village of St Niklaus. If you want, you can take an optional cable car from the high-mountain hamlet of Jungen, which saves you thousands of feet of downhill trail running.
    Accommodations: Hotel la Reserve
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 15-20 km/ 9-12 miles
    Elevation loss: 1,100 m/ 3,608 ft

    A hiker hopping on stones near a lake in Zermatt, Switzerland, with the Matterhorn in view.
  • Take the valley train up to the village of Randa. If you wish, cross the 494-m (1,620-ft) Charles Kuonen suspension bridge, the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. From there, continue along the Europaweg, a fast and flowy high-level traverse, and enjoy your first look at the Matterhorn. You’ll be spending the night high up on the valley overlooking Zermatt at a mountain hotel with dorm accommodations. There is no bag delivery available on day 7.
    Accommodations: Fluhalp Zermatt
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 21-25 km/ 13-15 miles
    Elevation gain: 1,600 – 2,025 m/ 5,250 – 6,640 ft

    A runner posing with a herd of sheep along the Via Valais.
  • You’re in for one of the best single days of trail running to be found in the Alps. Spend the entire day cruising around the head of the Zermatt valley with incredible views throughout – and several excellent options for coffee stops! The gradients will be gentle, with a final descent right into Zermatt.
    Accommodations: Hotel Europe
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running: 27 km/ 16 miles
    Elevation loss: 1,300 m/ 4,265 ft

    Runners following a trail with views of the Matterhorn in the background.
  • On day 9, you pick the activity: explore the car-free village of Zermatt, a historic climbing and skiing destination with centuries-old chalets scattered throughout, or enjoy a local trail run. Feel free to use the tram and cog-railway train system to avoid tough slopes. At the end of the day, unwind in the spa at your hotel in Zermatt. Cap the trip off with a final dinner, discussing the highlights of your week running one of the newest and best-designed routes in the Swiss Alps.
    Accommodations: Hotel Europe
    Meals: Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
    Running and elevation change: Your choice

    Wood houses in Zermatt with views of the Matterhorn
  • Enjoy a goodbye breakfast with your new friends and head home — or on another trail running trip!
    Meals: Breakfast

    A trail runner posing in front of a sunset in Zermatt, Switzerland.
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Meet your guides

Run the Alps
Run the Alps
Run the Alps team has dozens of years of experience, trail running throughout Switzerland, France, and Italy. Their goal? Finding the absolute best trail running experiences in the Alps. Away from the crowds, in high Alp villages, they’ll seek out those runs that are a bit quieter, a bit wilder, and bring together the very best the Alps have to offer.
Mark Brightwell
Mark Brightwell
After suffering a leg injury while serving as an Army Officer, Mark Brightwell chose to leave the military and pursue his interest in the great environmental questions and challenges of our age. He got seriously into mountain running in 2015, while working in the post-earthquake relief and redevelopment sector in Nepal, and never looked back since. He now spends his time reading, making movies, lounging in trendy cafes, and guiding clients on life-changing mountain runs.
5.00 (3 reviews)
Liz J. about Run the Alps on Facebook Reviews

Run the Alps helped plan a trip for my husband and son. These guys are fabulous. With help from Run the Alps, they found some great, secluded spots, that they never would have found on their own. It made for a more authentic experience. They had a great trip! Thanks, guys.

David L. about Run the Alps on Facebook Reviews

Absolutely loved the tour! Great guide and great fellow runners! Very much adaptable to the needs of the individuals. Accommodation and food were exceptional too. Highly recommended!

Noah J. M. about Run the Alps on Facebook Reviews

Fantastic business with great people running it. Absolutely would recommend!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local trail running guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Eight days of trail running
      • All transfers for the duration of the tour
      • Six nights of hotel accommodations, three nights of high mountain hut accommodations
      • All meals indicated in the itinerary
      • Baggage delivery to the hotels (not available for nights spent in high mountain huts)

    Note: Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options are available. Inform your guide about any dietary restrictions before the start of the tour.

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Arolla
      • Accommodations before and after the tour
      • Meals not indicated in the itinerary 
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • The Via Valais is one of the most challenging trail runs in the Alps, so prior experience with multi-day trail running trips is highly recommended. You will be covering 15 – 32 km (9.5 – 20 miles) of terrain a day for 8 consecutive days while overcoming altitude changes of over 2,000 m (6,500 ft). Participants should be comfortable running on steep, rugged, and remote alpine terrain while carrying a daypack with the things they’ll need throughout the day.

    If you’re new to trail running, check out our beginner-friendly women’s trail running camp in Chamonix and Courmayeur!

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Running vest (around a 15-20L bag)
      • Carbon fiber running poles — optional
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Quality, durable rail running shoes 
      • Wicking, quick-dry T-shirt (synthetic or wool)
      • Wicking, quick-dry underwear (synthetic or wool)
      • Running shorts
      • Spare clothes for layering and 8 days of trail running 
      • Sun sleeves — optional 
      • Liner gloves
      • Extra dry clothes
      • Extra dry socks 
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Sunhat
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this group adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 5:1. 
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 
      • Private tours with custom dates are also available. Contact us for more information.

    Running the Via Valais can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • A $500 deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the deposit is made, the cancellation policy stated below applies:

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to ninety (90) days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund minus a $200 fee.
      • For cancellations sixty-one (61) to ninety (90) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a full refund minus a $500 fee.
      • For cancellations thirty-one (31) to sixty (60) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the tour cost. 
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. 
  • To get to Arolla, Switzerland, the tour’s starting point, most people fly into Geneva International Airport 2.5 hours away, or Zürich International Airport 3.5 hours away. From there, your guide recommends taking a train and the Swiss Postbus to Arolla and instructions will be provided.

    Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the Hotel Kurhaus in Arolla or another predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Valais, Switzerland, please refer to Switzerland’s official COVID-19 travel guidelines.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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