During our stay in Zermatt, Drew and I did the Riffelseeweg hike, which is revered as the best and most picturesque hike in Zermatt. Unfortunately for us, the weather was overcast and foggy the day of our hike, so we were cheated out of the amazing views in the Alps.
We started the day by taking a train to Gornergrat, which promised panoramic mountain views and a great view of the Matterhorn. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate and the fog blocked our view of the Matterhorn. However, we were able to appreciate the multiple glaciers that can be seen from the top of Gornergrat. After spending some time outside at the Gornergrat viewpoints, we ventured into the Kulmhotel Gornergrat (the highest hotel in Switzerland) to wait out the weather. We monitored the forecast for an hour or two before realizing this was as good as it was going to get, so we embarked on the Riffelseeweg hike.
Rather than take the train to the Rotenboden station, we hiked down from Gornergrat to the Riffelseeweg trail start. However, if you are traveling up from Zermatt, get off at Rotenboden to start the hike. Follow #21 – the official Riffelseeweg path. There is another path (#23) to Riffelalp – do NOT take this one, otherwise you will miss the best views.
The trail starts with a small lake called Riffelsee. If the weather is clear, you may be lucky enough to see the reflection of the Matterhorn in the lake. The hike should take about 1.5 hours and if the weather is nice, you should have views of the Matterhorn through most of the hike. While we were hiking we encountered mountain goats and marmots, which was super cool! The hike concludes at Riffelberg station, where you can catch the train down to Zermatt. However, we decided to continue along another trail down to the Riffelalp area where we found a tasty restaurant before catching a train to Zermatt.
Though the hike was less scenic than we anticipated, it was nice to get out and spend a few hours hiking in the Swiss Alps. I would definitely recommend this hike if the weather is favorable because you could just tell the views would be epic if it weren’t for the fog. Have any questions? Give me a holler!