I am planning to spend about a week in Italian/Swiss border Alps in late October. The base plan is to hire a 4WD and drive along the border slowly, stopping a lot for less-than-a-day hikes (staying overnight at backpackers).

Still I am curious about doing overnight hiking there:

  • Are there huts to stay overnight (like in New Zealand) or would I have to carry a tent?
  • In late October, how much would that likely be winter hiking with winter gear needed?
  • Are you planning to climb peaks when you're there, or stick to valleys and passes?
    – Chris H
    Sep 4, 2019 at 6:22
  • @ChrisH If climbing peaks would require any special gear apart from walking sticks then no, I will pass.
    – Greendrake
    Sep 4, 2019 at 7:00
  • I'm thinking about temperature and the chance of snow. Certainly if planning to walk above the snow line you'll need not just kit but knowledge of how to use it. Even some of the passes will get below freezing overnight so you need to be prepared for the conditions
    – Chris H
    Sep 4, 2019 at 7:48
  • @ChrisH Not about to risk avalanches either. This will be primarily leisure trip, not hardcore hiking.
    – Greendrake
    Sep 4, 2019 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


In the Alps there is a dense network of huts mostly maintained by the local alpine clubs. There are also some private huts mostly owned by mountain guide associations. Most of the huts are closing down towards the end of September but many have winter rooms or small bivy huts that are accessible for the whole year. Especially Italy has a lot of bivy huts that are not managed at all. Check maps of the region or websites of the alpine clubs for huts.

Regarding the car... You likely won't need a 4WD. Valleys in the Alps have quite good infrastructure and the gravel roads after the last village are usually closed for public traffic.

The gear required strongly depends on the weather, the altitude and the exposition. A North facing hiking trail in 2500 to 3000 meters may already be snowy or icy in late October. But this really depends on the weather and is really hard to predict. South facing routes should not be problematic.

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