Zermatt to Riffelalp

The winter walk from Zermatt to Riffelap involves an ascent of 614 metres (2013 feet)- Zermatt is at 1608 m and the high point at the Riffelap Hotel is 2222 m.

From the main street of Zermatt we crossed the river and headed towards Winklematten. This signpost on an old barn is for the summer walk to the Gornergrat, which can be followed in winter as far as Riffelalp.

The streets are mainly traffic free, although the battery powered buses and taxis do come this way.

Beyond Winkelmatten the path drops down to the bridge over the Findelbach before starting...

...to climb uphill on a forest road used by walkers and toboggans.

This path twists uphill to reach the first mountain restaurant (too early in the walk for us).

The track now meets one of the pistes down to Zermatt - the snow became much deeper here with no real path.

The track then heads away from the forest road (and skiers) and up into the woods.

Not surprisingly, it is steep and with no respite until...

...Chalet Ritty is reached at 1960m. This was a good place to have a coffee break but, given the steepness of the climb, not a sensible place for us to eat so we decided to have a meal later.

The path continues to climb steeply through the woods with...

...the occasional view down into the valley.

At one point the path crosses the piste from Riffelap down into the valley. 

When we reached Restaurant Chammi-Hitta (2114 m) we had a few minute's panic, as there were no signposts showing where the path went. After crossing the piste again (under the Swiss flag), hidden away by the side of the hotel was a winter path signpost for Riffelalp. This is the view looking downhill after we'd found the path.

Beyond this point the gradient eased noticeably and it was a pleasant walk through the woods...

...to reach the chapel at Riffelalp. Signposting was poor however, and it would be easy to get lost.

We eventually reached the Riffelap Hotel and then walked along the road...

...towards the station. In summer there is a tram that operates here, bringing guests from the station.

The road drops down gently to reach Riffelalp station. The walk had taken just under three hours including a break of over half an hour for coffee.