For over 130 years the Hörnli Hut has proudly looked out over the area at the foot of the Matterhorn, where it serves both as a destination and as a starting point for hikers and mountaineers. The hut, at an altitude of 3260 metres, can be reached by following the interesting and varied Hörnli Trail from the Schwarzsee mountain station, a hike which takes around two and a quarter hours. Anyone visiting Zermatt should take this path at least once, to really get close to the Matterhorn, to feel it and experience its presence.
The Matterhorn Express will take you from Zermatt right up to Schwarzsee, via the idyllic hamlet of Furi. As you set off from the Schwarzsee mountain station in the direction of the Hörnli Hut, you pass the crystal clear Schwarzsee lake and a chapel steeped in legend – “Maria zum Schnee” (“Our Lady of the Snow”). After the first ascent to the Hirli chairlift, which was inaugurated in the winter season of 2015/16 (and is only open during the winter), the trail continues towards the Hirlikamm. With the aid of ladders and iron railings, the path now leads you along a steep rock wall and on to a saddle. A cool wind blows here but the views of the glacial landscape of the Monte Rosa and the panorama across the majestic Mont Durand, the Ober Gabelhorn, the Wellenkuppe and the Zinalrothorn are fantastic. You can now make out the Hörnli Hut in the distance. The trail is clearly marked and made safe with fixed ropes. It twists and turns up the steep ridge to the hut.
Once you have made it to the top it’s time to rest awhile on the welcoming terrace and enjoy the captivating view of the Matterhorn in all its glory. Depending on the weather and time of day, you might encounter climbers who are on their way back from conquering the mountain and try to listen in on their stories. For a closer look at the starting point for the Matterhorn ascent, all you have to do is hike up the ridge and follow it for five minutes to where the climb begins.
You return along the same route back from the Hörnli Hut to the Schwarzsee mountain station. It's quite possible you’ll pass alpinists weighed down with their equipment on their way up to tackle the Matterhorn the next day. Wish them good luck!
The route in facts and figures:
You will need: