Switzerland has a lot of amazing, gorgeous hikes. In Zermatt, we wanted to make sure we didn’t do only hikes that gave great views of the Matterhorn. We wanted to experience everything the area had to offer! So when we found the Europahutte trail to the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, we thought it was a perfect way to get out of the sun and see something different!
We took the train from Zermatt fifteen minutes to Randa where the trail starts. To get to the actual trailhead, you walk through the town of Randa and up through a bit of countryside until you get to a small footbridge at the base of the trail. You can see your destination from this footbridge, and let me tell you, it doesn’t look far away…
Like many Swiss hikes, the ascent was marked at the beginning by cowbells ringing. It’s one of my new favorite sounds. Also great views already
We kept going up and up and up through the woods across switchback after switchback. This hike is a long way up! Along the way, you catch glimpses of your final destination through holes in the tree line. We also surprised a few ibexes–or in reality, they surprised us–on this trail!
Our legs were getting tired! But this trail was very cool. It’s a very rocky hillside, so in some places, the trail turned completely into what looked like sliding rocks.
The rocky trail with the bridge looming in the background
There’s also some carved wood as you near the top where you could see our final destination.
When we finally got to the bridge, we realized just how long the thing really is. It’s 80m high and 494m long. They say it takes ten minutes to walk across, but I think that’s a stretch (ha.ha.). For me, it was like walking on the sidewalk–I have no fear of heights on this type of thing. For Neal, though, he was white-knuckled the whole way! He continued to inch his way across the bridgehead straight until he reached the end.
What Neal didn’t know was that when we got to the other side, the hike down the mountain was closed! He was going to have to cross the bridge again to go back the way we came. Neal did the same song and dance, knuckles white on the cable wire. Even when my ring caught on the bridge’s fencing and I yelped, Neal didn’t turn around.
At one point I said to Neal, I would love to see some ibexes running down the mountainside! And lo and behold! A whole family of them was running down! They were so cute. I stopped to watch through the fencing until they were beneath me and I watched through the gaps in the bridge’s base. I wished Neal could have enjoyed them, but his fear of heights, unfortunately, found him on stable ground and away from view long before I spotted the ibexes.
We had the option to go up to the Europahutte from the suspension bridge. At this point, we were hot and tired and looking up at additional uphill climbing was too much for us. Besides, the crowds were starting to join us at the bridge. So we began our descent back down the way we came. The sun was out now, hitting our shoulders through the sparsely packed forest.
When we got back to Randa, it was so hot that every trough of water looked heavenly. We cooled off with a few and then spotted some goats. Since I can’t not stop, we finished our hike in conversation with them. Then back on the train to Zermatt we went!
Overall I think this hike is worth it even if you have only a few days in Zermatt. It’s different, it’s exciting. But, as always, go early to beat the heat and the crowds!