Favorite Hut Hikes in the Swiss Alps

The system of mountain huts scattered throughout the Alps makes hiking in the Alps accessible, enjoyable, and safe. Huts enable hikers to walk for days on end without having to carry a tent, sleeping bag or camp kitchen.

You can pack light, move quickly, enjoy being in the mountains, and know that there is a warm meal, comfortable accommodation, and a welcoming setting nearby to enjoy at the end of the day.

Most huts serve meals family style and have dormitory accommodations. Huts are normally staffed from mid-June to late September depending on the location.

What we call a mountain hut in English is referred to as a cabane, capanna, hütte, refuge, or rifugio in the various language regions of the Alps.

But mountain huts in the Alps aren’t just for overnight lodging. Most serve meals throughout the day and given their scenic locations, make a great destination for a dayhike.

You can hike up to the hut, enjoy lunch or a snack in the breathtaking mountain setting, then return to your valley hotel or home in the afternoon.

With those options in mind, here are five of Alpenwild’s favorite hut hikes in the Swiss Alps, which you can enjoy either as a lunch stop on a dayhike, or as an overnighter on a longer trek.

Cabane de Moiry

Start: Barrage de Moiry

Distance: 7km (4 miles) one way

Time: 2½ hours to the hut

Total ascent: 576 meters / 1,890 feet

Hut elevation: 2,825 meters / 9,268 feet

The Swiss Postbus provides service from Grimentz to the dam during the summer. If you want to shorten the hike by an hour you can also take the bus or your car to Glacier Parking near the top of the reservoir. From either the dam or the glacier parking area, follow the well-marked trail on the west side of the reservoir, then crossing to the east side of the glacial moraine. Follow the moraine crest to arrive at the hut to enjoy close-up views of the glacier and the spectacular Moiry icefalls.  

Hornli Hut

Start: Schwarzee (reached by cable car from Zermatt)

Distance: 7.5 km (4.5 miles) one way

Time: 3 hours to the hut

Total ascent: 677 meters / 2,221 feet

Hut elevation: 3,260 meters / 10,696 feet

The Hornli Hut is set at the base of the Matterhorn and is the starting point for climbs on the Matterhorn’s popular Hornli route. A hike to the Hornlihutte gives you the opportunity to meet with climbers planning their ascent on the Matterhorn or returning from the climb. You can also walk behind the hut and see the point where the climbing starts. The hike to the hut includes a ladder climb, scree slopes, and fixed ropes, but it’s nothing overly challenging.   

Hotel Faulhorn

Start: First station (cable car from Grindelwald)

Distance: 5.8 km (3.6 miles) one way

Time: 2½ hours to the hut

Total ascent: 514 meters / 1,686 feet

Hut elevation: 2,681 meters / 8,796 feet

In this case the ‘hut’ is officially a mountain hotel — one of the first in the Alps — dating to 1830. It has six private rooms and a dormitory. But most visitors just come up for the day and to capture the 360° views over the Bernese Alps and down to Lake Brienz. From the Grindelwald First station follow the popular route to Bachalpsee, where most casual hikers stop. But continuing on and up on a well-groomed trail leads to the saddle with steep switchbacks to take you to the top.    

Cabane de Louvie

Start: Fionnay, Valais

Distance: 5.6 km (3.5 miles) one way

Time: 2 hours to the hut

Total ascent: 717 meters / 2,352 feet

Hut elevation: 2,207 meters / 7,240 feet

With the Grand Combin (4,314m) as your backdrop and perched on a rise above the shore of Lac Louvie, the setting couldn’t be more idyllic. It’s within the Bagnes Nature Reserve, one of Switzerland’s largest, so sightings of ibex and chamois are common—particularly in the morning and late afternoon hours. From the village of Fionnay the trail makes a steep and winding ascent through larch forests to reach the lake.   


Start: Morteratsch Station (On the Bernina Line)

Distance: 4.3 km (2.7 miles) one way

Time: 2 hours to the hut

Total ascent: 599 meters / 1,965 feet

Hut elevation: 2,681 meters / 8,796 feet

The Boval Hut opened in 1865 and gave mountaineers easy access to the peaks of the Bernina range. Today it’s popular with hikers, climbers, and glacier trekkers. Perched above the glacier it also provides stunning views to one of the great glaciers of the Alps. Starting from the Morteratsch station enter the valley at its wide and well-marked mouth. The path stays to the right of the glacier’s receding snout.

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