This wonderful themed walk offers a fascinating glimpse of a world between rock and ice with excellent views of the Furgg glacier. Walkers approach the glacier on a safe path, close enough to see the meltwater running out. At times the terrain is rough and even in summer you might encounter snow. It will be one of the memorable moment on a special hiking adventure.
The trail offers hikers insight into the phenomenon of glacier retreat. The path displays what the melting glacier leaves behind, shows the conditions it creates for plant and animal life, and reveals how humans make use of the remains from the river of ice. Now and again, a gentle breeze descends from the glacier like a cold kiss from the perennial snows. The air smells of snow, ice, stone, water and the purest mountain air.
This wonderful walk starts from Trockener Steg which can be reached by cable car from Zermatt and ends at Schwarzsee. The return to Zermatt from Schwarzsee is also by cable car. There is an option to take the exciting cable car to the summit of the Klein Matterhorn. The length of this walk is 6.48 kilometers taking approximately 2 hours with the highest point being 2922 meters with an ascent of 195 meters and descent of 542 meters. This walk is probably the walk that will get you closest to the Matterhorn without being an experienced climber. The start is reached by getting the cable car from Zermatt to Trockner Steg. Take the lower path out of the cable car station towards the first lake. The path markings are a little difficult to spot in the first stages but the path turns left and upwards before heading into the valley on the opposite side of the Matterhorn. Depending on the season, there will be snow (sometimes even in summer) but the views are stunning with the west face of the mountain looming above you.
After passing several small “sees” or lakes, you will also see a mountain stream. Eventually the path descends into the valley. The downhill is slightly treacherous with scramble over the loose rocks and scree. The ridge towards the Hornlihutte is suitably humbling and you may see more intrepid walkers making their way up or down. The path briefly follows the stream before you cross a bridge before descending again. The landscapes are absolutely wonderful here. Once at the top, you can see the restaurant at Schwarzsee Paradise below you and there is a clear path down. Don’t forget to make a small diversion to the lake, which has a picturesque little chapel on the opposite shore. From Schwarzsee Paradise you can continue walking down towards Zermatt which takes approximately an hour and 45 minutes to Furi and another hour or more to Zermatt.
Since the Little Ice Age around 1850, the Furgg and Theodul Glaciers have retreated by more than three kilometers. Information panels are at various key points telling the fascinating story. There are total of 23 information panels in German, English, French and Japanese. You can see numerous gorgeous small lakes with landscapes of rock and scree sculpted by the former glacier. If you find a historical artifacts, you are required to hand them in to the tourist office to be passed in turn to the canton’s archaeologists.