We headed into Zermatt by train today, arriving before noon. We visited the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise before heading back down into town and going up to Gornergrat by cog train. Overall, it was a great day with some amazing scenery and many views of the Matterhorn.
Zermatt Train Station to Gondola Lower Terminal
After getting off the train, we headed to the gondola’s lower terminal on the other side of town, about a 1km walk.
We initially saw the Matterhorn towering over the town of Zermatt as we were perhaps half way to the gondola station.
Along the way, we saw this amusing movie poster style advertisement for a construction company, Ulrich Imboden AG. They were doing work in many places in Zermatt.
Its definitely the Matterhorn! It matches the sign!
Gondola up to Furi
Upon reaching the gondola terminal, we immediately got onto a gondola to Furi. It wasn’t busy and we got an entire gondola to ourselves.
The gondola ride was pretty short. We took a few photos along the way facing backwards.
Furi up to Trockener Steg
After arriving at Furi, we followed the signs to head to Trockener Steg by aerial tram. The tram was huge and again it was not busy.
We stood on the side of the gondola that would face the Matterhorn. This was the right side if facing the direction of travel. Many of the trees were starting to change color, more than in other areas of Switzerland that we passed through so far.
Eventually, the tip of the Matterhorn started to come into view!
We were able to see the Matterhorn in its entirety for the remainder of the ride up. We were above the treeline and it was rather rocky below us. We started seeing snow as we reached the upper terminal.
Trockener Steg up to Klein Matterhorn
Upon reaching Trockener Steg, we got on another aerial tram to head to Klein Matterhorn. Klein Matterhorn contains a number of activities including the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and access to summer skiing.
The terrain changed from rocky with some snow to completely snow covered.
The terrain masked our view of the Matterhorn a bit in this rocky section.
The aerial tram then went over a glacier before arriving at the upper terminal. The structure is actually built into the side of the mountain with a tunnel leading to the other side!
Klein Matterhorn Ski Piste
We exited the tunnel through a door and went down a ramp to walk on the initial section of the ski piste.
The Matterhorn looks different from this angle! It is the tallest peak in this photo.
This initial section of ski piste is just a straight run to a junction. Going to the right leads downhill. Going straight, using the surface lift, leads to Italy! The border between Italy and Switzerland is all the way at the top of the peak directly ahead.
Looking back, we can see Klein Matterhorn with a viewing platform at the top. The aerial tram station is in the structure built into the mountain and includes a restaurant and gift shop.
There is an elevator inside that leads down to the Glacier Palace.
After exiting the elevator, there is a tunnel leading through glacial ice!
There is a variety of ice structures within the tunnel!
Unfortunately, we missed the eagles! We saw them down a separate ice corridor but decided to go another way first. We thought we would end up back there but did not. We forgot about the eagles until we were a bit far away.
There was a short flight of stairs leading up to an area where you could see a small crevasse in the ice.
Peak Viewing Platform
There is an elevator in the tunnel through the mountain that leads to an elevator that goes up.
After exiting the elevator, there is a door that leads outside to a metal staircase that goes to the viewing platform atop Klein Matterhorn!
Of course, you can see the Matterhorn from here! There was some construction working going on resulting in a crane and a ladder in the view!
It looks a bit different from here…
There is a glacier down below. It is the same one that the aerial tram passes over.
This other big peak is directly next to Klein Matterhorn. It is the Breithorn. Gornergrat is visible as a tiny dot down on the very left edge of the photo.
There is a better view of the ski piste that leads to Italy from up here.
A close up view of the Matterhorn thanks to our telephoto lens.
And a slightly wide view of the Matterhorn.
There’s Italy! Actually, the ridge may be the border so Italy technically may not be visible.
The tallest peak visible here is Aletschhorn, a peak that we saw two days ago from Aletsch Arena!
This is Bietschhorn. It isn’t one we’ve noticed before. It was just a nice pyramid shape!
This may be Mont Blanc!
Lots of interesting details on the glaciers below us.
There are specific paths that are groomed for skiing. Other areas may contain unstable snow and crevasses!
This bottom section leading to Trockener Steg looks incredibly sketchy! It is just a short path of snow that has been pushed down the mountain and groomed.
A large glacial lake next to Trockener Steg. Not sure if this is one of the well known named lakes.
We saw an aerial tram on its way back up with a glacier in the background.
Klein Matterhorn down to Trockener Steg
After enjoying the views up at Klein Matterhorn, it was time for us to head back down. The aerial tram was packed full as the ski day was ending. There were many people from various ski schools as well as possible members of national teams.
We got into the aerial tram early enough to snag a position at the far side, facing away from the Matterhorn. A glacier, as well as its end, is visible in this direction. Perhaps it previously connected to the other glacier that is visible further down below? That glacier runs down the mountain below Gornergrat.
Trockener Steg down to Furi
Everyone who was on the aerial tram from Klein Matterhorn was waiting for the aerial tram down to Furi. We ended up near the end of the pack this time. As a result, no photos from the ride down.
Furi down to Zermatt
We were at the head of the pack for the gondola from Furi down to Zermatt. We ended up in a gondola with another group of tourists.
We took a few photos showing the trees and eventually a few buildings as we arrived in Zermatt.
Zermatt Gondola Terminal to Zermatt Gornergrat Bahn Station
We walked down through Zermatt to the Gornergrat Bahn station. This is the station where the cog train heads up to Gornergrat and is adjacent to the regular train station.
We took a few photos while we walked through the town but were mostly focused on getting to the station!
Cog Train to Gornergrat
There were very few people taking the train up at this hour. We were free to move between both sides of the carriage for photography!
The train runs through a tiny bit of the town before heading up into the mountains.
It quickly starts to ascend.
Most of the line is single track. Here, we waited at a station for an oncoming train to pass before we could proceed.
More scenery as the train made its way uphill. There were a few small station stops on the way.
Soon, we were above the treeline. This section on the side of the mountain was clearly visible from below!
Here we go!
Access to the train is controlled by ski cards and gates. There is quite a bit of infrastructure in these mountains around Zermatt!
The Matterhorn and a cairn Matterhorn.
These wide open fields that we passed through look like a fantastic place to ski!
Many of these rocks are likely to be completely covered during the winter!
We saw various lifts like this one everywhere above the treeline.
We didn’t really see snow until reaching Gornergrat.
The train after we disembarked.
We walked up a small hill behind the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the highest hotel in the Swiss Alps. It was covered with a bit of slushy snow but was not very slippery.
The was low on the horizon and near the Matterhorn, making it difficult to photograph in that direction. The hotel is the large structure in this photo. The snowy path is in the foreground, though the upper part is actually snow free.
There is a small pond below the hotel. Mountains are visible in all directions.
Two glaciers are close by. It looks like the shorter one likely previously connected with the longer one.
There is a tiny chapel adjacent to the hotel.
The hotel as viewed from the plaza next to the chapel.
We watched as the last train before sunset started its trip down to Zermatt.
Sunset! The moment the Sun went down behind the peaks on the horizon.
After the Sun went down, some of the distant peaks were high enough to still be illuminated.
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