This is a wonderful but quite long hike, about 20 kilometres in all. It is without doubt one of the most spectacular in the Zermatt area.
I have completed this walk a couple of times, always in June or July, starting in Zermatt next to Grampi's pub, walking first up to the Edelweiss restaurant which sits on a ledge of rock high above Zermatt, when I stop for a glass of iced tea. This first section is quite steep, but very safe, and takes maybe 90 minutes. I then walk for a further 60 minutes or so, proceeding up the valley to Trift where you can make another stop at the very pleasant Trift hotel. This section of path is quite steep in places and has a couple of sections where you need to be quite careful as the path skirts a drop. You may well have to cross a short section of snow in this valley.
From Trift you turn left, climb the hill, gaining perhaps 200 or 300 metres altitiude, and come out onto the plateau. From there the walk is largely flat, winding its way for a long way along the side of the valley before descending and turning back towards Zermatt, via the village of Zmutt. The path is good and easy to follow.
The best views are to be had from the long, flat walk high along the side of the valley. You have an excellent and somewhat unusual view of the north side (I think) of the Matterhorn. It really is quite spectacular, with massive, overhanging sections of ice visible on the flanks of the Matterhorn across the valley.
Although this is a beautiful walk, and a must-do of any hiking trip to Zermatt, it is not something to undertake without some thought and planning and some basic kit including some good walking shoes. Obviously, not everyone will be able to complete the full walk which involves both a long distance and some steep sections, and often some crossing of short sections of snow, even in summer.
There is very little cover or shade on the walk so you need to check the weather forecast and be prepared for both bright hot sun and the possibility of wind and rain. You can always ask about the conditions of paths at the Zermatt Alpine Centre and at the Trift hotel. Zermatt TV, which is available in many apartment rentals, has a weather forecast regularly repeated on it.
It is very much best to start this walk quite early in the morning, maybe 8am, at least in the summer, in order to make the main climb out of Zermatt in the cool morning.
And after Trift I don't recall anywhere to get food and drink until you reach Zmutt perhaps four hours after you leave Trift, so pack a picnic. There is also no way to get back down except by foot - there is no cable car to shorten your journey as there are on many other walks around Zermatt.
It is well worth buying Air Zermatt rescue insurance which can be bought at many places in Zermatt (I got mine at a shop in the main high street called International Pharmacy). It only costs 35 CHF and gives you the peace of mind that in the unlikely event that should you take a bad tumble, you won't have to pay the full, and very high cost, of a rescue helicopter.
When I was last there in very late June, there was still a section of snow that you had to cross in the valley from Edelweiss to Trift, there was lots of snow on the high plateau and there had been fresh snow the night before.
I should point out that I have only completed this walk in June or July. This is probably a very good time to do it as you still have reasonably cool weather but most of the snow should have gone. I would guess that the path is blocked by snow from around October to at least March.
This is definitely one of the top 5 hikes around Zermatt, so I strongly encourage you to attempt it.
The other hike which I have done in the area which I would say is even more spectacular is the hike to the Monta Rosa hut across the Gorner glacier, for which I have posted a separate review.
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