Täschalp - Oberrothorn
Zermatt trails (slightly) less traveled
This one belongs in the guide "How to see Zermatt and not too much of the Zermatt crowds." It's going to take a bit of work to get to the start, and that's what keeps the masses away.
Täschalp is a tiny collection of summer homes high above the valley town of Täsch. While it requires a car to get to the start, a shuttle service is an attractive option for those not wanting to go into Zermatt where money seems to magically disappear. The shuttle operates through the summer until October. Info can be found at the Täsch Tourism office, or Taxi Zermatt.
Once you find yourself in Täschalp, life is good, mellow, and you'll be happy you took the time to reach this idyllic hidden valley. It's time to go running.
The loop requires a long climb to the Pfulwe (Fluh Pass) where you'll swap views of the Weisshorn and Täschhorn for Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn. A descent along the Findelgletscher leaves you at Fluhalp, your mid-run food and drink station. It's also your turning point to begin the climb to the Oberrothorn, which at first follows ugly ski pistes to the Rothorn lift station where you merge onto exquisite single track. The trail to the Oberrothorn has the potential to be crowded thanks to the nearby lift access. Such is life in Zermatt. Thankfully, it's a short section of your overall day and the quality of the trail, no matter how crowded, will probably override the slalom event you'll find yourself in.
The views from the top of the Oberrothorn take in most all of the Zermatt skyline, plan for a good sit. When it's time to go again, it's go fast time. The descent is long and smooth, sweeping switchbacks down from the summit, a long straight shot down from the Furggji Pass along the Tufterchumme to meet the Via Valais and traverse back to Täschalp.
It all adds up to yet another perfect Valais run with views of iconic peaks, smooth trails and that little taste of the Via Valais.
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Start: 46.059147, 7.810408
If you're starting from Zermatt, you can take the Rothorn lift up to join the route below the Oberrothorn.
Having a smooth, low angle trail to the top, and lift access to shorten the approach, the Oberrothorn can be busy. Aim to tag the peak off-peak hiking season or hours. You'll want the space to open up your stride for the fast track down.
Departing from Täschalp with the Weisshorn behind
Heading for the Pfulwe is on a much better than expected trail
Running the moraine trail along the rapidly shrinking Findelgletscher
Climbing the Oberrothorn on perfectly smooth trails at the perfect angle, for up and down
Finishing things up on the Via Valais Trail, in reverse, back to Täschalp
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