Gornergrat Bahn - Matterhorn
Panorama vom Gornergrat mit Gornergletscher


Home > Summer > Discover > The Gorner Glacier

The Gorner Glacier

The third longest glacier in Switzerland

The Gorner Glacier, south-east of Zermatt in the Monte-Rosa Massif, is 12.9km long and the third longest glacier in the Alps. It lies at the foot of several well-known 4,000 m peaks, such as the  Dufourspitze,  Nordend, Liskamm, Castor, Pollux and the Zermatter Breithorn.  From the Gornergrat one has an almost perfect view:  you see how the Gorner Glacier unites with the Grenz Glacier and so to become the second largest connected glacial area in the Alps.

The Gorner Glacier as a hiking destination

For every visitor to Zermatt, it is almost an obligation to pay a visit to the Gornergrat.  A trip up to the Gornergrat takes about 35 minutes and once you are up there you get a magnificent, 360° panoramic view in the midst of the Alps; the Matterhorn, Liskamm and the Monte-Rosa group with a view over the glacier.  During the winter Zermatt’s ski area entices visitors, whereas in summer it’s the glacier that entices for breath-taking hikes.

A hike along the glacier: glacier trekking to the Monte Rosa lodge (SAC accommodation)

THE MONTE ROSA LODGEExperience a unique trek over the glacier to the Monte Rosa lodge.  This tour is very unusual; it starts on normal hiking paths and ends by navigating glacial moraines on the glacier itself.  From Rotenboden station there is a hiking path that takes walkers across the Gorner Glacier to the lodge. We strongly recommend that you hire a mountain guide to lead you.  The second part of the walk is no alpine stroll, it is a challenging tour across a glacier - and of course good equipment is a must.  

The retreat of the glacier over the years in comparison – the Gorner Glacier retreat as illustrated since 1849

Historic photo gallery




An excerpt from the ‘Maps of the Southern Valais Valleys’ by G. Studer.  Here the area of the Gornergrat is designated at “Hohthälligrat”.Incidentally, in 1840 the glacier ended only about a half hour’s walk from Zermatt.





The glacier as seen from the Gornergrat






A view from the Gornergrat  towards the glacier






A map of Zermatt and surroundings, including the glacier


[Translate to English:]




The Monte-Rosa and the Gorner Glaciers seen from Gornergrat.


Valais’s glaciers in comparison

The most beautiful glaciers in comparison

The Gorner Glacier

The third longest glacier in the Alps (12.9 km), south-east of Zermatt in the Monte-Rosa Massif, surrounded by the Dufourspitze, the Matterhorn  and further four-thousanders.


The great Aletsch Glacier

The great Aletsch Glacier is 23 km and the longest ice flow in the Alps.  It begins in the Jungfrau region (4,000m) and flows down to the Massaschlucht some 2,500 metres lower.


The Fiescher Glacier

The Fiescher Glacier is 14.8 km long and is on the south side of the Bernese Alps in the canton of Valais making it the second longest glacier in the Alps.