Adventure to Rothorn Summit from Zermatt by Cable Car

25 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Visitors to the Swiss Alps have endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. The Valais region, home to the Pennine Alps, boasts some of the highest peaks and attractions in Europe. Of course, many excursions require extensive planning, energy, and time. Riding to the summit of Rothorn by cable car is a stress-free way to experience this alpine beauty.

Explore trip itineraries, accommodation, transport, required gear, fitness plan, insurance and more

This excursion begins in the small town of Zermatt. Located close to the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a popular gateway for skiers, climbers, hikers, trekkers, and paragliders. Though two million tourists pass through the town each year, Zermatt’s modern and diverse modes of transportation disperse the crowds, sounds, and pollution. 

Rothorn summit by cable car

There are almost no cars in Zermatt. There are a few emergency vehicles with combustion engines, along with electric taxis and busses. Beyond that, residents and tourists can cross the town on foot in just 30 minutes. When you’re ready to head out of Zermatt, you have a choice of various railways, gondolas, and cable cars, all of which run on electricity. 

The trip up to Rothorn involves a couple of these comfortable and efficient vehicles, besides offering incredible views. When you’re ready to set out on your adventure, head toward the center of Zermatt. There you’ll find the Sunnegga funicular, a railway which begins underground before climbing up the mountainsides. 

The funicular runs alongside the Vispa river as it leaves Zermatt. The station and cars were renovated in 2013 to accommodate extra passengers. It now takes only 3 minutes to reach the transfer point for Rothorn, and 2,250 folks are transported via Sunnegga each hour. 

Once you depart the funicular, you’ll climb about the cable car system. Over the course of a half hour, you’ll rise to an elevation of 3,103 meters, which is an astonishing 1,500 meters above Zermatt. Though there are typical day time hours for these rides, you can also book special trips. 

You can enjoy rising with the sun over the Alps in the early morning hours or descend underneath clear skies and moonlight in the late evening. Whenever you choose to ride, you’ll be surrounded by magnificent views. Every moment of the trip provides new perspectives on the surrounding summits and snowy landscape.

View from Rothorn summit

When you reach the top of Rothorn, there’s plenty to see and do. Many folks depart on hiking or skiing trips from this prime location. It also provides some of the best viewing and photography points for the Matterhorn and Weisshorn summits. Each of these stands out dramatically against the myriad of 4,000-meter peaks and blue skies. 

For a more intimate understanding of the Alps, you ought to explore the Peak Collection. This outdoor exhibit comprises nearly 20 sculptures that interpret some of the peaks visible from Rothorn. You can wander at your leisure along a half-kilometer loop. 

Each sculpture has been crafted by a mountain guide. These guides lead thousands of excursions through the alpine peaks, including hikes and climbs that last days or weeks at a time. For each piece, a mountaineer has brought back a piece of stone from a summit and used it to craft their individual sculpture. There is no better representative of the heart of the Alps than this collection.

A cable car with imposing Matterhorn in the background

When you’re ready to head back to Zermatt, the adventure can continue any way you see fit. Upon your return, you may want to explore the local museum and the Matterhorn exhibit. This part of the museum details the attempts to summit Matterhorn, including the tragic success of the first party to do so. There are additional displays featuring Stone Age items and other artifacts from the region.

If you’d like another chance to see unique transportation and great heights, consider the Gornergrat train. Gornergrat is an electric cog railway that transports visitors to the Glacier Paradise platform. A total of 38 peaks and 14 glaciers are viewable from here, and time at the observatory makes for a spectacular day. 

And if you’d like to experience something more hands-on, there are plenty of hiking opportunities in the summer. There are plenty of options that are suitable for children, and several that are also wheelchair-friendly. Any of them make for spectacular half-day or full day trips. However you travel around Zermatt, something beautiful is always around the corner.

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