And though I oft have passed them by, A day will come at last when I, Shall take the hidden paths that run, West of the Moon, East of the Sun. - J.R.R. Tolkien


Day 1 – Arrive Zurich

You’ll start your adventure as Tolkien did—going through Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, the traditional gateway to the spectacular Jungfrau region. Orientation and dinner. D

Day 2 – Lauterbrunnen, Trümmelbach Falls, Mürren

Ascending the Lauterbrunnen Valley (Tolkien’s Rivendell) evokes Bilbo's journey across the Misty Mountains. We’ll avert "a glissade down the slithering stones into the pine woods," but capture all the excitement of Trümmelbach Falls—a ten-tiered underground waterfall draining the Eiger glacier—before continuing to Mürren as did Tolkien. BD

Day 3 – Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald

Passing below the Silberhorn, which Tolkien called the "Silvertine (Celebdil) of my dreams," we take the legendary mountain railway excursion, tunneling through the Eiger to the highest railway station in Europe and overlooking the longest glacier in the Alps. The railway opened in 1912, the summer after Tolkien’s journey. You’ll stand in awe of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau as did Tolkien who mirrored them in the three peaks of the Misty Mountains. We descend into the Grindelwald (from an ancient Germanic word meaning mysterious forest)—now a world-class ski resort. BD

Day 4 – Meiringen

The town of Meiringen was a favorite of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who set Sherlock’s death at Reichenbach Falls. You’ll ascend the towering chasm of the Rosenlaui Gorge before settling in to Doyle’s “English Hotel” in the heart of Meiringen. BD

Day 5 – Grimselpass to upper Rhone, Zermatt

Tolkien crossed the Grimselpass on foot, but we’ll cross the granite bowls of this wild mountain region more comfortably. After passing through the Rhone Valley and on to Zermatt, we can explore quaint hamlets in the hills above Zermatt and crossing high above the glacier gorge on a 100-meter long suspension bridge. We can also explore the nearby Gornerschlucht, a deep canyon waterfall on a thrilling network of stairways and bridges. BD

Day 6 – Zermatt and the Matterhorn

The incomparable Matterhorn is best viewed from the glistening lakes of Riffelsee and along the Gornergrat, and on a cog-wheel railway that takes us to a viewpoint where you’ll be surrounded by more 4000-meter peaks than anywhere else in the Alps. BD

Day 7 – Glacier Express

Departing Zermatt, we take the Glacier Express, “the slowest express train in the world” through golden forests of larch and deep glacial valleys to the city of Chur, one of the oldest in Switzerland. BD

Day 8 – Greisinger Middle Earth Collection

Located in the picturesque village of Jenins, with a mountain backdrop evocative of Rivendell, you’ll visit the Greisinger Middle Earth Collection, the largest collection of Middle Earth paintings, collectibles, and Tolkien books in the world. The new museum is complete with gardens, a hobbit house, and theater. Return for final night in Zurich. BD

Day 9 – Depart Zürich

Depart Zurich for return flights or consider onward travel. B

The Jungfrau, inspiration for Tolkien's Misty Mountains, cloaked in the clouds.

Activity Level

Alpenwild trips are designed for people who are energetic, active, and filled with a spirit of adventure. We rate this trip as easy. You should be capable of walking 2 to 3 hours per day on well-graded walking paths at an elevation up to 10,000 feet above sea level.