2023 July 2 to 9
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Room: $4698
Private Room: $5998
“Pierre [our guide] put great thought and effort into making sure that we had an excellent experience that made the most of our time in Zermatt – spectacular trails and views from the first day, and it even got better after that.” — Chad Nelson, Newark, DE
“Each day I looked forward to more breathtaking scenery, good exercise, a hearty meal, and the company of interesting travel companions of all ages and from many parts of the world.” — Kyle Thompson, Honolulu, HI
“If you ever imagined a world where being gay is the norm, this is the closest you will ever get. Great exercise, great discussion on the trail, great scenery. I’ve taken this trip three times and invited friends to join me.” — Justin Hecht, San Francisco, CA
Awake in a high mountain hut as the rosy glow of the morning sun — Alpenglow — lights the Matterhorn.
Hike through a mountain meadow sprinkled with wildflowers.
Climb to the top of ice-and-snow covered Breithorn, on an optional day excursion.
Hike (weather and trail conditions permitting) to the summit of the Oberrothorn, at 3415 meters one of the highest peaks here that does not require special climbing skills.
Enjoy meals such as a traditional Raclette or Fondue.
A week of Alpine hikes on a small, friendly, gay group tour.
The Matterhorn is a constant yet ever-changing presence in the alpine village of Zermatt. One day coyly hiding behind the clouds, the next, a proud white pyramid against a blue sky.
Our gay hiking trip in Switzerland introduces travelers to the beauty of the Valais region surrounding Zermatt, often going far and high into the alps on all-day hikes. Our group will stay in the lovely mountain village of Zermatt, just a few hours’ travel from Geneva or Milan, yet a world apart. Each day, you can join a larger group on a hike, or head out independently. Most people find it enjoyable to stay with the main group some days and to hike more independently, with one or two friends, a few times.
We’ll spend one night at a mountain lodge, allowing us to reach some remote locations that would be inaccessible on a single day’s hike.
The schedule below relates to a typical week. Our actual sequence of hikes may change based on weather and other conditions. And, of course, you always have the choice of trying a different itinerary, alone or with new friends.
Day 1: Arrival and Welcome Dinner
Our gay hiking trip starts with the train ride as you travel up to mile-high Zermatt. The steep cog railway edges along a river valley, past thundering waterfalls, snow-covered peaks, and the onion-domed church in tiny St. Niklaus.
The track ends in Zermatt, a car-free village of just 4,000 year-round residents. Our hotel is a 10-minute walk if you’re traveling light, or you can take a small electric taxi.
Early arrivals will enjoy exploring Zermatt. You’ll share the streets with tourists just up for a day of mountain air, European hikers dressed in the traditional knickers, mountain climbers gearing up for an expedition, and the occasional herd of goats. Tonight, we’ll meet for an orientation, followed by our Welcome Dinner.
A short after-dinner walk ascends one of the trails overlooking Zermatt. As the Milky Way and thousands of stars twinkle above, and you gaze down on the lights of our little village, you’ll feel a bit of the magic that lies ahead this week.
Day 2: Sunnegga and Riffelalp
Today’s hike starts with a steep climb not far from our chalet, then it levels off at the meadows of Sunnegga with panoramic views of the valley below and the mountains across the valley.
From Sunnegga, we pass through the small hamlets of Ze Gassent and Findeln and hike past Mosjessee (a dammed lake), on our way to Riffelalp, where we usually have lunch.
After lunch, you have a choice of taking the train down from Riffelalp or hiking on one of several paths back to Zermatt.
Day 3: Tasch Alp
Today’s route easily accommodates several levels of ability. The official route starts with a climb up to Taschalp, between Zermatt and Tasch (the next town down the train line), a rise of about 700 meters. Those who want an easier day can take the train to Tasch (a 3-minute ride through a tunnel) or hike on a more level route.
We’ll all meet up at Taschalp for lunch. On a clear day, you can see several peaks from here including Zinalrothorn, Schalihorn, and the largest, Weisshorn.
After lunch, we’ll head to Tufteren, where you have the choice of starting your descent to Zermatt or continuing on to the Sunnegga station to descend by the unique in-the-mountain funicular.
Day 4: Gorgeous Gorges
Today is a free day to take a Gorge Adventure, take a day trip to nearby Italy, or explore one of the other mountains surrounding Zermatt that we won’t get to on this week’s hikes.
Days 5 – 7: One example – Oberrothorn
We will choose hiking options based on the weather for the week. One hike will be to one of the highest peaks of our week, Oberrothorn. You’ll want to bring a fleece or sweater and rain jacket for this climb since a sunny day in Zermatt can turn into cold rain at the peak. We’ll again start our journey at the Sunnegga lift, then hike across to Blauherd, where we get our tickets up to Unterrothorn. Once there our high Alpine hike begins as we work our way to the top (typically 70-90 minutes).
For the descent, you’ll have several choices, depending on whether you want to hike all the way back to Zermatt at the bottom of the valley or use a combination of lifts and hikes. Whichever route you choose, the scenery is superb in every direction, and you’ll be able to see several of the locations of our earlier hikes.
As dusk approaches and for one last time you watch the sunset line start at the floor of the valley and gradually work its way up the eastern slopes, you’ll be able to take a deep breath of the clear air and bring back memories of your invigorating hikes amidst the splendor of the Swiss Alps! A reminder of why we chose this location for our gay hiking trip!
Day 8: Departure
Our week officially ends after breakfast. If you have early connections, you can rise and depart as early as you’d like. There’s one final treat in store for those who have made advance reservations: A ride to St. Moritz or Chur on the Glacier Express. This train shows off Swiss engineering and Swiss mountains, as it meanders over Alpine rivers and through mountain tunnels, with ever-changing panoramas unfolding through the picture windows of the cars.
If you have extra holiday time to spend in Europe, we suggest you save it for after the trip, rather than before: Chances are, others from this week’s adventure will welcome company as they travel and explore the culture and gay life in Geneva, Zurich, Berne, and other Swiss cities.
Price includes: 7 nights lodging in a comfortable hotel; Continental breakfast each day; five lunches and four dinners; Peak Pass which covers the various modes of transportation up the nearby mountains from Zermatt – but no other locations in Switzerland. Therefore, if only visiting Switzerland for our tour, we recommend that you buy point-to-point tickets after arriving in Switzerland (allows you to pick your route and may be less expensive than a pass). HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who do not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to and from Zermatt (easily accessible via excellent public transportation); Meals not listed here; Gratuities for guides.
We strongly recommend the purchase of Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance to protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as flight delay, illness, or injury. Click Here to learn more about our Insurance partner.
Post tour at a Mountain Lodge – July 9 to 11, 2023
Today’s hike leads us along meandering trails to a mountain lodge where we spend the night. Since we don’t have to return to Zermatt for the night, we are able to hike farther than on other days. Bedding, lunch, dinner, and breakfast are provided at the lodge, but you will need to carry your personal overnight items. The next morning we will take the most scenic route back to Zermatt. This evening we will enjoy our last dinner together.
Arrive early and join our
The Swiss Alps were made for hiking, and no region of Switzerland offers a more picturesque setting than the Bernese Oberland. Our hiking trip is set deep in this mountain valley, in the centuries-old village of Grindelwald. To the south rise some of the best-known alpine peaks: The Eiger, Moench, and Jungfrau, and three glaciers. Unfolding more gently to the north are the meadows of wildflowers, forests, and mountain lakes that have made Switzerland such a favorite with calendar illustrators.
We’ll hike into both of these alpine worlds, walking along the base of the intimidating Eiger North Wall, near frosty glaciers, and through acres of green pastures dotted with brown cows and inquisitive goats.
- What if I am traveling alone?
- Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
- What is the physical activity level of this tour?
Physical Activity Level
Alpenglow has been set up to be most enjoyable for people with hiking experience, who are comfortable on all-day hikes (6 or 7 hours a day), with frequent breaks, over rolling terrain. By splitting off from the group, or simply enjoying some of the other activities offered in Zermatt, you could still enjoy the week. You’ll love this hand-curated gay hiking tour.
- Where does the tour start and end?
- This tour starts and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. As for most of our trips, the official starting time is 6:00 pm on our official “start date”. At that time we’ll have a reception and orientation, followed by dinner. It ends after breakfast on the last day. You can arrive earlier or depart later, but please note that (as of this writing) check-in time is 3:00 pm and check-out time is 10:00 am. Our pre-trip newsletter will keep you posted on any changes in these times, as well as tips on what to do with luggage if your travel schedule allows you to fit some activities on your arrival or departure dates.
- How do the Swiss gay hiking trips differ?
- We currently offer two gay hiking trips in Switzerland: Alpenglow and Grindelwald. Each is designed so that those wanting shorter or easier hikes can have a good time, while avid hikers will never run out of new trails to explore. However, there are differences that may help you select the best holiday for you. Typically, most of our group heads out together in the morning, and during the day, our guide suggests options for those who want a shorter, or longer, day. Grindelwald easily accommodates both lower and higher levels of hiking energy and enthusiasm. It’s notably well situated for anyone who hopes to take several day trips that don’t involve hiking. From Grindelwald, it’s simple to catch a train to the medieval town of Thun, to nearby Interlaken, or for a steamship ride on Lake Brienz. Alpenglow was planned to take advantage of trails around Zermatt that go further from the cog-rail and tram lines. The hiking routes we plan each day will be the most fun for those able to hike five or six hours a day, with plenty of stops. If you want shorter hikes, however, that’s not a problem. Some days you can start out with the group and our guide will suggest ways to easier routes. Other days, our guide will help you plan a shorter but scenic hike you can do independently.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174