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Heritage sites

Andermatt - Gotthard

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The holiday village Andermatt is embedded right into the mountains with 3 important pass routes: Gotthard (into Ticino), Furka (into Wallis), Oberalp (into Graubuenden). There are many hiking tracks to choose from.
There are two interesting museums on Gotthard Hospiz
- The Gotthard museum directly in the center of the Hospice place, in the old "Sust". (open May - Oct.)
- The Sasso San Gottardo as part of the Gotthard fortifications allows a sight from inside the older Fort (WW1) with exhibits and video displays. (open Jun - Oct.) Entrance, with the flags waving, is some ten Minutes on the old pass road towards Andermatt.
See www.sasso-sangottardo.ch  and www.fort.ch

Goeschenen and Airolo are the doorway to the Gotthard region. Both played also an important role in the construction of the train tunnel, later the Autobahn tunnel.

While waiting in Goeschenen for the train connection, 
visit the "
Visierstollen". Open 8 to 8. 

It's just across the station square and arrows point to the rock wall across. The entrance to the 120 m long tunnel is just under the St.Barbara sculpture. In the entrance area, Theodolit und Stollengang_s.jpg (73118 Byte)boards explain the triangulation and the construction of the train tunnel in the 19th Century. 
Thanks to that Visier-Tunnel, the line of sight from Gotthard tunnel to the metering net outside the train tunnel and over the mountain range could be accomplished. An old Theodolite is part of the exhibition as well.

The insight into the method of measuring may lead to a repetition of Trigonometry!

An insight into the geological structure of the Gotthard region is offered close by, in front of the windows of "Indergand  Bergkristalle und Mineralien". A set of rocks found between Goeschenen and Airolo is exhibited and a board shows the geological cut and the specific stone structure.

MGB Station Naetschen:

Don't cross the Railway tracks. There are stairs and underpass near the Information Board. The electronic Boards contains push buttons to signal the train to stop.

Oberalp Pass - Felli - Lutersee - Guetsch: With the new Cable cars Andermatt-Naetschen and Naetschen-Guetsch and Oberalppass-Schneehueenderstock this has become an attractive hike.
Lutersee - Oberalp Pass: A popular route on high plain. There is a choice of combinations.
Naetschen - Oberalp Pass on a flatter route.
Naetschen-Pazola-Oberalp: On a lovely track over a lower knoll of Pazolastock.
Oberalp Pass - Andermatt via Unteralp
Oberalp Pass - Dieni: A short hike down to the Railway station Dieni.
Curnerasee: Round Piz Cavradi and high above the North-Western part of Lai da Curnera. The lake is fed by another arm of the young Rhein river.
Tomasee, the source of the Rhein river.
Oberalp Pass to Rhein source by Maighels hut: From Maighels hut on a new track to the Rhein source with Lai da tuma (Tomasee) and back to Oberalp Pass on the usual track.
Urschner Hoehenweg: From Andermatt high above the valley of Urseren, along the valley to the Furka pass road.
Gotthard pass: Goeschenen - Gotthard Hospiz - Airolo. Along the old route over the pass.
Gotthard Hospiz - Val Canaria: From Gotthard Pass towards lake Stella, Then by Val Canaria to Airolo.
Gotthard Hospiz - Pso di Lucendro: To Lake Lucendro, then by alp and pass Lucendro to the Fibbia lakes and back to Hospiz.
Gotthard to Nufenen: From Galleria di Banchi high above the Bedretto-Valley to the source of the Ticino river.
Realp - Furka: Two fine tracks are connecting Realp with Tiefenbach and Furka pass.
Furka-Oberwald: A rewarding hike from the summit into Valais. Also a short and easy tour in the pass area.

Oberalp Pass - Felli - Lutersee - Guetsch

(3 hrs). From Andermatt by MGB (Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn) to Oberalp Pass. Guetsch to Naetschen by new cable car.

The new Cable cars from Guetsch to Naetschen and Naetschen to Andermatt lets you skip the descent from Guetsch to Naetschen.
The new Restaurant MATTI on Naetschen with indoor and outdoor Terrace is selling the cable car tickets. The new MGB Train Station Naetschen is nearby.
The other new Cable cars from Oberalppass to Schneehueenderstock with Restaurant atop, offers two other options: 
- Oberalp towards Schneehueenderstock/Mitte for the Hike to Lutersee and onwards
- Oberalp to Schneehueenderstock and Hike to Felliluecke and onwards.

Lutersee, Oberalp pass

Andermatt-Lutersee-Oberalp.  km  hrs
Zug - Goeschenen - Andermatt (train)    
(or Lutersee-Felliluecke-Oberalppass)
12 4.0
Oberalppass-Andermatt-Goeschenen-Zug (train)    

AGFO.jpg (279806 Byte)
Interactive map: 


Instead of walking up to Naetschen, you could also use the train from Andermatt or the Cable car. 
Another option would be to begin the hike at Oberalppass (train) and walking by Felliluecke to Lutersee ("Luter" = "lauter" in German, ="clear" in English) and then on to Naetschen (train).

The hiking path from Andermatt to Naetschen/Guetsch, by Chilchenberg, starts about 100 m from the train station near the Cable car Andermatt-Naetschen-Guetsch. There is an underpass from MGB-station to the Cable car Station. The narrow but excellent path is zigzagging up the hill, partly in the forest. 

Ascending, you get an idea about the importance of the forest's as protection for the settlements. Looking over to Gurschen/Gemsstock (cable car) the wedge of forest-trees protecting Andermatt against avalanches is obvious. Everywhere on the mountains additional artificial protections are present, the path crosses a couple of them.

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For lovers of Alpine Flora: walk up to Naetschen by Chilchenberg
Wundklee.jpg (82043 Byte)Dozens of plants are marked with names, a picture is included, as well as the Latin name. 

A second type of information can be studied as well: theme is "avalanche protection". An introduction is given in the development of the different protection-Technology's, selecting, grouping and planting of  Pine trees to shield the lower lying settlements.
The walk up to Naetschen MGB station is about 2 hrs: give another hour for taking in sights and learn more about plants and dangers.

Link: http://alpenblumen.gabathuler.org/ 

Andermatt2.jpg (41257 Byte) Andermatt protecting forest

At Naetschen the path leads into a gravel road.
Near "Punkt 2364" (from there a track leads down to Goeschenen) a good road is leading to Lutersee. From here to the lake there are almost no ups and downs. 
There is a second route running parallel to the above mentioned, lower on the plain. At the start near the rocky slope you might spot and hear the whistling of marmots.

After Lutersee one track is leading to Felliluecke, the other to Oberalppass. 
Lutersee, Oberalp Lutersee, Oberalppass
Lutersee-Gemsstock.jpg (51230 Byte) Lutersee

This track hits the pass road near the lock of Oberalpsee. The track to the pass then runs directly along the lake.

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Naetschen-Oberalp the lower route

There is also a flatter route (2 hrs).
From the MGB station Naetschen descend down to the main road. The first 200m you have to walk directly on the pass road (effectively right on the white line), then a walking track next to the road is provided for the next 300m. Then the track turns off to the right and away from the road. 
A lovely, easy track, through rhododendrons and alp-meadows along the lower slope of Pazolastock (=Piz Nurschalas). The nearby Marmots at least can be recognized acoustically. 


Naetschen-Oberalp by Pazolastock

Naetsch-Pazola-OAlp.jpg (135733 Byte)Active map:

3.5 hrs.
Another route to Oberalp is by the lower knoll of Pazolastock (Pt.2577).

Pazolapfad.jpg (41890 Byte)The first part is the same as in the above mentioned "lower route". After Schoeni then, a grass track turns off to the right. In a steady slope the beautiful track zigzags up, higher up crossing the deep cut Pazolatal. 
Then it's only  a short climb and we're looking at Pt. 2463 down to Pazolaalpetli.jpg (53056 Byte)the Pazola Aelpetli with the grazing sheep. Just across Lutersee is visible too. Here is lovely spot for having a rest.

The final climb to the knoll at Pt.2577 takes only a few Minutes. Now we have a free view to Oberalp Pass and also into Urserental.

The descent to Oberalp is a bit rougher then the track we've been using so far.

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Oberalp Pass - Andermatt via Unteralp

OAlp-Ualp-Andermatt.jpg (251398 Byte)Active map:
GPS route:

(2.5 hrs). The first part of this route is the same as for the "Naetschen-Oberalp lower route". 
Unteralptal.jpg (53485 Byte) At "Schoeni", instead of crossing Oberalpreuss for the track to Naetschen,  we proceed on the gravel road to the left. After 1600 m and a sharp bend of the flat road, a well marked mountain track to the right is heading down towards the Unteralp valley, towards the settlement Rohr.

Reforestation.jpg (46477 Byte)It's suddenly quiet on this side, the noise of the pass  road has disappeared, replaced by the distant murmur of the Reuss and the thunder of Gurschenbach just across. The wind, blowing from Rhone valley over Furka to the Oberalp is not reaching this side valley. 

In 1991 reforestation in this area has began, as a Centennial project. (Switzerland was founded 1291)

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Oberalp Pass - Dieni

OAlp-Dieni.jpg (176138 Byte)Active map:

3 hrs. Oberalp Pass - Pass Tiarms - ValVal valley - Val da Stiarls - Cuolm Val - Milez - Planatsch - Dieni
All in all, a short and easy tour with beautiful vistas.

The first part is on the gravel drive way up towards Calmot, the peak just Val-Val.jpg (62390 Byte)across the road. After a short while, having reached Alp Tiarms, our track turns off to the left. We're entering the valley ValVal. Just before crossing the creek, a track would offer the option for heading down to Tschamut. Proceeding on the comfortable track, with only minor changes in altitude, we enter another small valley, Val da Stiarls. Then Rueras-Sedrun.jpg (42749 Byte)follows a short climb to Cuolm Val with a wide view into Surselva with Sedrun and the big gravel deposits from the NEAT tunnel some 1000 m below in the mountain. Across is Curnera Lake with the dam.

From now on it's a continuous descent, partly on gravel road, then on tracks across pastures. The final part to the Railway station is on a Bitumen road.


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Tomasee, Lai da Tuma

To the Source of the Rhein

Rheinquelle.jpg (486494 Byte)


Oberalppass-Lai da Tuma-Badus SAC-Pazola hrs
Zug - Goeschenen - Andermatt - Oberalp (Bahn, SBB/MGB)   
Oberalppass - Tomasee 1.5
Tomasee - Badus Hut SAC 0.5
Badus Hut SAC - Pazola Stock - Oberalppass 2.5
Oberalppass - Andermatt - Goeschenen - Zug (Bahn, SBB/MGB)  

Some ears will recognize a different "HI" (the usual Swiss German "Grüezi"): it's now "Bien di". We're in the Rumantsch language area.

After passing the Restaurant the track runs along the pass road. Zum_Tomasee After some 200m we're on a separate narrow track, still parallel to the main road, a bit offside. But then it bends to the right, along the slope of Piz Nurschalas (Pazolastock). 
The other track, here the one chosen for the way back, is ascending to the Pazolastock just ahead: that path begins just at the Southern end of the parking at the Restaurant Calmut.

Moderately ascending, but a lovely track allowing lovely vistas into the valley of Vorderrhein. After a while a turnoff to Maighels (SAC hut) follows, an alternative way to the lake.

Tomasee: 1320 km to North SeaRight before reaching the little lake, on a knoll a pretty view can be enjoyed. A track runs along the lake side, the upper end with wool grass growing in the swampy soil. The track continues up to Badus Hut. A visit is suggested, also if it's not intended to return to Oberalppass by way of Pazolastock.

PazolastockThe Return track by Pazolastock rewards with excellent vistas: to the Maighels glacier, into Vorderrhein, over to the snow pads of the Uri Alps, into Urseren valley. Some rock hopping may be needed on some places.


Oberalp Pass to Rhein source by Maighels hut

OAlp-Maighels-Tomasee.JPG (126673 Byte)Interactive map:


On new trail from Maighels hut to Lai da Tuma

(4 hrs) This is not the "usual" way to the popular little lake. 
The walk up to the Maighels hut may take some 1.5 hr and for the first part is the same as mentioned above.
At the turnoff for Badus hut or Tomasee we keep going straight on. Later towards Maighels we're sometimes on a gravel driveway. We're ignoring the next turnoff to Tomasee as well and are heading for the Maighels hut. Finally the Swiss Flag is visible. The last stretch to the hut atop is now a narrow grass track and a bit steeper.

Maighels-Lai_Urlaun.jpg (76398 Byte)To Tomasee a new track (not yet (2011) on the tpographic map) is now available. Standing at the marker down at the parking  lot, the trail is clearly marked with the usual white/red/white paint on rocks. Some Steinmanndli (carefully stapled stone pillars) have been added for general directions. The trail is never very steep and excellently done. From the hut it's less then one hour to the lake.

For the way from the lake back to Oberalp pass we're taking the track following the flank of Pazolastock (1.5 hr), the "usual" route: see above.


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The Rhaeto-Romanic is one of the four official languages in Switzerland. Unfortunately it is being pushed back by the much wider used German, with the Swiss dialects. - Despite the fact, that the Rumantsch had a wide area of distribution: Friaul, South Tyrol.

Below some notes from the Lugnez valley's (Val Lumnezia) website: (in German)

Already 15 years BC, when the Roman Empire took possession of wide areas of the alpine regions (Helvetia). The Latin language was common in the area, as in the whole "Roman Empire". The Intruders where not really welcome, but on the other side they brought a far superior culture into the land.
From the blend of the common language of the Roman soldiers and the indigenous language of the local "Raetier" emerged the "Rhaeto-Romanic". It's a collective term for five sub language idioms. Reason for the split are geographic locations, historic, religious, and also economical.

Three regions are defined to be "Rhaeto-Romanic":
 - Friaul: some 50'000 people in the region of Udine in Northern Italy.
 - Dolomitladine: some 30'000 people in valleys of the South Tyrol.
 - "Buendner Romanic" by some 50'000 Swiss as mother tongue.

The Buendner area encompasses not less then 5 Idioms and dozens of Dialects. Although 65 % of the people of Graubuenden (Grisons) use (Swiss) German as language, 11 % speak Italian, 7 % some other language, only 17 % still speak Rumantsch. Kanton Graubuenden has 3 official languages: German,

In 1983 the "Ligia Romontscha" had launched the "Rumantsch Grischun" as a unique language for writing. 
The aim of the "Rhaeto-Romanic Esperanto" was the preservation of the language. Although much is done to support the idea, it's not a simple task

But once a language has disappeared it can not be returned.

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Curnera lake, Lai da Curnera

Oberalppass-Lake Curnera*-Maighels Rhein-Maighels SAC
* near and above dam
Zug - Goeschenen - Andermatt - Oberalp (Bahn, SBB/MGB)   
Oberalppass - Alp Cavradi - Rein da Maighels - Maighels Hut SAC - Lai Urlaun - Plidutscha - Oberalppass 5.5
Oberalppass - Andermatt - Goeschenen - Zug (Bahn, SBB/MGB)  

This tour will actually be a round tour circumventing Piz Cavradi on altitudes between 2000 m and 2300 m. We won't get to the lake.

For the first part the track is the same as for the Tomasee, but after some 900 Meter instead of moving to the right we proceed straight on. The track descends for another 800 Meter until it goes over into a road connecting with the pass road. After crossing the Rhein river (the Rein da Tuma) the road (now Bitumen) follows the ridge of Piz Cavradi, ascending constantly and giving a splendid view over upper Surselva. The road is closed for private cars. 
Shortly before reaching the turnoff into the mountain track, a small Cavradi.jpg (45944 Byte) Memorial reminds of the 9 workers who died between 1962 and 1967 while building the dam of Lake Curnera.

The track up Piz Cavradi is rocky and allows many marvelous vistas, to the North with the Rhein valley, to the East with Lake Curnera far down below and the Maighels Glacier in Curnerasee.jpg (52668 Byte) the Distance.

After reaching the Height of some 2300 Meter the track begins to descend towards the lake, but later it follows the other young Rhein, the Rein da Maighels. A little later, after a moderate climb we're entering Alp meadows of the lower Seenebene_p3.jpg (22856 Byte) Maighels valley, an area of many tiny lakes. Turning right and a  short climb later we're at the Maighels Hut SAC.

From there, choosing the footpath leaving at the rear of the house we're soon reaching the track to Tomasee/Oberalppass.


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Urschner Hoehenweg

Tiefenbach to Andermatt:

The tracks in the lower part in the Andermatt-Hospenthal area have been renewed and the signs accordingly adjusted. 
Tiefenbach-Andermatt ca. 5 hrs. 

Tiefenbach-Andermatt.JPG (163662 Byte)Interactive map:


Andermatt-Urschner Hoehenweg-Tiefenbach km hrs
Zug - Goeschenen - Andermatt (Bahn, SBB/MGB)     
15 6.5
Tiefenbach - Andermatt (Postauto)
or steam train Tiefenbach to Realp (check timetable), 
then train (MGB) train Realp to Andermatt
Andermatt - Göschenen - Zug (Bahn, MGB/SBB)    

Postauto: check! usually only in operation during Summer months!

The tour may be adjusted to your wishes, e.g. a "Exit" to Hospenthal (a pretty village with old homes and a couple of hotels) or Realp (with a alpine 9 hole golf course). 
By starting in reversed direction (Postauto for Tiefenbach is leaving Andermatt at 8:30 AM) you don't have to bother for the Bus (leaving 5:45 PM at Tiefenbach for Andermatt).

Across the railway station there are boards and maps for your information. The route for our tour first parallel to the railway track. Soon the cable car station for Gemsstock can be seen on the left. After about 200 m a underpass guides us into open field.

The gravel road will eventually lead us across river Reuss, then after a short walk along the river. The short detour (15 Minutes) to the Biotope (against the direction given on the sign, going straight on) is rewarding for the connoisseur.

Soon we're at the mountain track. The little cable car for the milk transports tells about a larger number of cows, grazing up there. The pleasant path zigzags up to the first plain on the trail. 
urseren.JPG (41423 Byte) View back to Andermatt

Our trail continues along the plain. Soon a new ascent follows, to a higher alpine plain with two little lakes. A perfect place for a short rest.
seeli_furka.JPG (41309 Byte) Little mountain lakes.
In the distance Realp and Furka Pass road.

The track now runs more or less on the same altitude. On the right the rocky mountain slopes, to the left Urserental with Gotthard road, Furka train line and Reuss river.

After about half an hour we're at pretty Blauseeli. We are now on about 2100 m above sea level.

The tour continues on to Lochbergegg. Here we have to decide: Down to Realp it's about 40 Minutes, for Tiefenbach we need about an hour and 40 Minutes.

For Tiefenbach there is first a short descent and later again a ascent to go. At first the track for Albert Heim hut SAC and Tiefenbach is the same.

It's a bit steep up to the junction for SAC hut and Tiefenbach (to the left). Only a short piece, then we've reached the highest point (about 2270 m).

We are now on a gravel road which first runs on about the same height. Soon in the distance we can see the Furka road and the pass; a bit later, down below on the left hotel and Restaurant Tiefenbach.

To get to the hotel and the Postauto Stop we need another 20 Minutes. A last knee test before the earned drink.

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Something special is a ride back by steam train (DFB). 
During summer the old Steam Train ("DFB") is operating between Realp and Gletsch. Stops are at Furka DFB (below Tiefenbach) and Muttbach (some way off Rhone glacier grotto).
Before starting the deep descent to the DFB train station make sure there will be a service!

DFB-Station Realp: it's a 5 Minutes walk from "Matterhorn-Gotthard Bahn" station (former "Furka-Oberalp Bahn", "MGB") over the bridge.

DFB-Station Gletsch: Postauto connections with Oberwald and Realp.
For a cheerful trip the steam train Realp - Furka - Gletsch is recommended (summer term only).
After opening of the train tunnel between Realp and Oberwald, the old mountain track was reopened by a group of friends of the old romantic line. 

MagazineingangDuring winter term, tons of railway Material is being stored, prepared for use, sorted out, greased, oiled, repaired...
Picture: entrance to a store-room, a former part of a fort,  in Realp 
(Feb 2005).


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Gotthard pass

Goeschenen-Schoellenen-Andermatt-Hospental-Gotthard Hospiz-Tremola-Motto Bartola-Airolo 

PDF-File, this tour (GHGA_E2.PDF, 334 kB)
Total time: ca. 8 hrs  

Goeschenen-Hospenthal-Gotthard-Airolo h
Zug - Goeschenen (train, SBB)  
Goeschenen - Teufelsbruecke - Andermatt
or train, MGB
Andermatt - Hospenthal 
or train, MGB
Hospenthal - Maetteli - Brueggloch - Gotthard Hospiz
or Postauto in Summer (reservation may be necessary)
Gotthard Hospiz - Tremola - Motto Bartola - Airolo
or Postauto in Summer (reservation may be necessary)
Airolo - Zug (train, SBB)  

SBB: "Schweizerische Bundesbahnen"
MGB: "Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn"

The track begins right at the Railway station Goeschenen SBB / MGB. Haederlisbruecke The track is excellently marked all the way.

After crossing the square, a short stair is leading up to the main road, proceeding over to the newer bypass road and to the Gotthard pass road. After the Reuss Vor_Suworow bridge there, for a short part, the track follows the busy traffic line. Before the next hairpin bend though, the hiking track turns off to the right. It is leading towards the Reuss river and after some 100m the bow bridge Haederlisbruecke is reached.

Urnerloch_WendeltreppeThe hiking trail is partly a nature track, at other places it runs along a pedestrian walk right along the pass road, either directly in a Gallery or on their roof (sometimes closed because of falling rocks). Traffic noise is usually overlaid by the roar of the river.

UrnerlochAfter about an hour the rock wall with the Suworow memorial is visible: one other bend in the road and we are in front of the devils bridge (Teufelsbruecke).

A short distance now along the pass road, and Urnerloch (Uri-hole) in form of a traffic tunnel will permit an easy access to Urseren valley with Andermatt. For the hiker there is a special treat: to the right, in a separate room there is a spiral staircase, ready for the ascent atop the tunnel roof and the continuation of the track, away from vehicle traffic. - The change of scenery is astounding: the plain of Urseren is opening, with Andermatt close by.

Altkirch_KolumbankircheProceeding on to Altkirch,  with the old Kolumban church on the left, the hiking trail now follows the main  road, passing the barracks, the Tourist center and the Andermatt railway station. The church is of the 13th Cent. and at that time it had replaced an Urseren_Reusswegolder, smaller church from the 1st Cent., built by the Disentis monastery. Shortly after the Andermatt railway station, by an underpass, we’re on the lovely track along the Reuss river.

Saumweg_alter_WegReaching Hospenthal,  just over the railway track (unguarded RR crossing), another witness from times gone by can be admired: the Tenndlenbruecke, a small stone bow bridge over Furkareuss.

In Hospenthal, the two rivers Furkareuss and Gotthardreuss merge into Reuss.

Pfad_bei GamsstegGuided by trail markers we’re pretty soon above the village, on the way towards Maetteli, all the time along the Gotthardreuss. - Carefully observed by Marmots, who will time after time give warnings by a sharp whistling.

BruegglochThe pass road with the motorized traffic hardly disrupts the peaceful impression along the track. Pretty often we recognize the old mule track with old stone layer.

At Brueggloch we’re entering Canton Ticino. The track Lucendrodamm_Lucendrobruecke is getting a bit steeper now, but soon the dam of the Lucendro lake is getting visible:Gotthard Hospiz will be reached

On Gotthard Hospiz, the trail continues, passing GotthardHospiz.jpgTotenkapelle  (chapel of the dead) towards the cobblestone Tremola pass  road. Usually the track shortcuts most of the sharp bends of the pass road. The art with which the Tremola road has been adapted into the cut of the valley is admirable. Obviously also the Zur_Tremola.jpg few motorized users feel a kind of respect and enjoy the scenery.

At Motto di dentro the pass road has to be crossed and unexpectedly the track then climbs rather sharply, though only for a short stretch. The vista then, passing meadows and woodland on the way to Motto Bartola is quite marvelous. Below Motto the track to the right of the main road can easily be overlooked. Tremola_Airolo The Marker although is absolutely correct. The grass track for the first 50m follows on the right the main road, then underpasses it, later the “autostrasse” as well. The rest of the trail will be on local roads, Airolo and the railway station just ahead.

The trail from Goeschenen over Gotthard pass to Airolo is marked excellently. Only the part passing Tremola is steep, but for the most part it’s on nature surface.

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On Gotthard Hospiz a visit to the museum  (Museo Nationale del San Gottardo) is a good idea. Gotthard in the last 100 years was an important and well equipped fortress. The one from WW1 is a museum for some time (Museo Forte Ospizio San Gottardo). The newer one from WW2, will be open by 2008 (SASSO SAN GOTTARDO).  Already part of the modernized fortress can be used for Hotel / Seminar, Events. 
A third fort, above Airolo is open for inspection too, the Museo Forte Airolo


Haederlisbridge Text on the Board near bridge


The triple-bow Haederlisbruecke above Goeschenen has always been admired as a striking example of former bridge construction art. Historian connect it with the opening up of the mule track through the Schoellenen in the 12th Century.

In a record of 1470 for the first time two indications for  the crossing have been named, “ St.Niklausen bridge which has been the name for the long bridge in the Schoellenen”. Obviously already the first bridge,  the “Long bridge”, was put under the protection and shield of  St.Niklaus von Myra. The third name “Haederlis bridge” can be found in a bill  in the old “Talbuch” (record) of 1496. There are no hints about the origin of the name. There is no proof, that the name Info_Board Technikwould have been adapted from the word “Hader” (quarrel, gr: - Hades). Perhaps in the sense of  quarrel, dissens, concerning the share of work- and construction costs? Imaginable is that the name derives from the family name “Haederli”, accordingly the builder of the bridge and his name would have outlasted the Centuries.

In the night of the 24th to the 25th  Aug 1987 a heavy thunderstorm was raging in the Gotthard region. The flood of the Reuss river destroyed the bridge and tore it away.

1991 the Kanton Uri, with help from the Swiss Federation and the Swiss “Baumeisterverband” (master builder union) rebuilt the bridge according  to original plans. For that task apprentices from all over Switzerland were cooperating. Stonemasons, carpenters, bricklayers, cobblestone layers, would arrive in the Schoellenen and rebuild the bridge. - And they did a great job!

1649 the Haederlis bridge, as a replacement for a former wooden foot bridge, was for the first time built with stone. The material used came from the nearby quarry. This quarry was again put into use for the reconstruction in 1991. The extremely hard Goeschenen-Granite was blast, split, hewn. The bows, presenting the ratio 1:2:4 were carefully reconstructed. They now are arching over the Reuss river as they did time ago.

Basler & Hofmann, Zuerich

(translation by gruxa.ch)          

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The Urnerloch area used to be a major obstacle, with the rocky, steep and narrow cut of the Reuss river.
There were alternatives, e.g. the passage over the Baezberg. Today there is a road from Schoellenen somewhat below, up to Baezberg in the vicinity of the military installations and then descending to the area with the training grounds.
That track was not suitable for a trade route.  
In the 13th Cent. the passage in the Urnerloch was improved by the construction of a
Urnerloch_Mosaik von Werner Muellerfoot bridge, hung on the rock wall, which made the crossing easier. Although ice, snow, froth from the wild river must have made the going slippery and awful.
The idea was most likely from people coming in from the Wallis: Suonen-specialists.
Up to these days we can marvel at the old Suonen in Wallis, some hanging on rock walls in astonishing heights, carrying water from remote places to the dry fields far away.
A remarkable improvement was reached in the 18th Cent. by a tunnel, constructed by Pierro Morettini from Ticino . At that time it was probably the biggest tunnel with a length of 70m and a width of 2m. Later, early 19th Century it was extended to a height of 4m and a width of 5m.

Artist of the Mosaic on the Rock wall along the main road (just across the parking at devils bridge) is Werner Mueller.

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Gotthard Hospiz - Val Canaria

Gotthard - Val Canaria - Airolo hrs
Zug - Göschenen - Andermatt (SBB, MGB)
Andermatt - Gotthard Pass (Postauto)
Zug-Airolo (SBB)
Airolo-Gotthard Pass (Postauto)
Gotthard Pass-Casino della Bolle-Alpe di Sorescia-
Buco di Pontino-Orello-Bolla-Pautàn-Airolo
or: Gotthard Pass-Casino della Bolle-Alpe di Sorescia-
Buco di Pontino-Pontino-Cassina-Airolo
Airolo - Zug (Bahn, SBB)  

check!  only in operation during Summer months!
As for some other routes a "Zuschlag" (surcharge) is applied, because the route is a pure tourist route, not used for regional trafic. 
With a free ticket (like "GA") the charge Airolo-Gotthard Ospizio is Fr. 9.-- (2012).

The track begins about 100 m east of the buildings, near the stalls. The sign reads Lago della Sella, Passo Scimfuss, Pontino.

The Bitumen road is clearly visible: it passes behind the little lake, slightly ascending. 

After 200 m or so, a small track (Sentiero Canaria) goes off on the right. It runs parallel to the Bitumen road and will be joining that road again shortly.

At the Hydro Electric Power Plant the road splits. The left runs to Lago della Sella. We turn right, for Pontino (Val Canaria).
For a short distance the track will be a bit steep, cutting the wide loops of the Bitumen road. Later, on that good road, it's an easy walk, slightly descending. From time to time we have to stop and enjoy the sight.
gotth_strasse.JPG (35077 Byte) Gotthard Road.
To the left Bedretto valley

At Alpe die Sorescia there would be a track down to Gotthard road and down to Airolo. We stay on our road for Pontino. After about 15 Minutes, having passed the grassy hill with the impressive Avalanche protections, we are in the Val Canaria. The steady descending road can be seen.

Soon we arrive at a Rustico (an old typical stable/hut renovated and now used usually as weekend house). The sign is pointing on the right to Pontino and down into the valley to Airolo. 
orello.JPG (33369 Byte) Orello

The track straight on to Orello is quite comfortable, smoothly descending. The scenery is lovely but the harsh rock walls over on the other side of the valley tell of the force of nature.

After Orello the road gets steeper. Walking along the river gets into the legs, because the gravel on the roads makes it a bit slippery.
canaria.JPG (39202 Byte) Val Canaria

A short distance before Airolo we hit the Bitumen road with the Markers for Strada Alta. After the two bridges (one for Madrano, the other for the soccer field) and before the saw mill the ascending road to the right will bring us to the railway station: the last short climb.


The Sign post at the Rustico in Buco di Pontina points to the right. 
Nante.jpg (53387 Byte)After Pontino the trail is for the most part a pleasant narrow forest path. Sometimes the sight is open for a view into the valley and across to Nante on the other side of the Leventina valley.

Gotthard-Pontino-Airolo.jpg (335854 Byte)Interactive map:


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Gotthard Hospiz - Pso di Lucendro

Gotthard Hospiz-Gotthard Lakes (L.d'Orsirora)

4.5 hrs. Not only an option or extension to the Lucendro-Tour, this is also a lovely roundtour with many small lakes along the way. This is the source of the Reuss river.

Gotthardseen.JPG (136538 Byte)Interactive map:

Gotthard Hospiz - Pso di Lucendro km hrs
Zug-Airolo (train)
Airolo-Hospiz (Postauto)
Hospiz-dam-Mottolone-Alpi di Lucendro-
Passo di Lucendro-Laghi scuri-Strada dei Banchi sud-
Banchi track-Capella dei morti-Hospiz
12 4.5
Hospiz-Airolo (Postauto)
Airolo-Zug (train)

Postauto: check! usually only in operation during Summer months!

As most of the hiking tracks, the track towards the nearby dam of the Lucendro lake begins east of the busier area of the Pass. We pass the entrance road of the Fort museum. The track runs to the right of the old cobble stone Pass road. After a few hundred meter there is a underpass, of the Pass road. After the little bridge near the dam the road is now Bitumen until a bit later on at Mottolone.
Here the track to the right leads to the Orsirora lakes, a nice roundtrip of about 4.5 hrs.
The road to Lucendro Pass is straight on, a good road above the lake, almost flat to the Alp Lucendro with the military barracks.
From the Alp a rocky but excellent track ascends to the summit at about 2500 meter. Perhaps there are some snow fields to cross, but generally the climb is easy. To the left we see Fibbia, to the right Pizzo Lucendro. 
lucendrosee.JPG (43987 Byte) Lago di Lucendro,
In the back right off the clouds
Pizzo Lucendro

After the crossing we're on grassy slopes on Fibbia mountain, the Bedretto valley in front, running East to West.
Soon we're on the little pass above the pretty Laghi Scuri. It's a fine lookout: to the east we recognize the dam of the lake Sella, below south a big bend of the Pass road can be seen and just above our next target, the house at "Strada dei Banchi sud" with some Fort a bit above. To the East stretches Bedretto Valley, with Nufenen Pass as entrance to the Wallis region.
fibbia.JPG (55248 Byte) At the Fibbia

Passing the little lakes we're on a pretty steep path down to the Banchi track. 
Across, to the East, the old Pass road "Tremola" is in view. For some time we are on the lovely old Banchi path. Later a new track is running along or a bit below the Galleries of the (new) pass road.
tremola_banchi.JPG (56251 Byte) To the left Tremola,
to the right part of Gallerie 
with part of Banchi track visible

 Except for the traffic noise the track is quit good, never steep. Some water channels from the gallery roofs have to be crossed. The creeks can be under passed at the side of the concrete wall.
The last part is over alp meadows. On the way we pass the old Capelli dei morti. 
Capelli dei morti:
In the old times dead people found on Gotthard were (often quit disrespectful) put into that little chapel. 
Also dead soldiers during the time of Suworows march from South to North were buried in that chapel. 
Today inside there is copy (13th cent., monastery St. Josef Volokolamsk) of an Icon that was also pictured in the Banners of Suworows Army.
The tombstone in front of the Chapel reads Sept. 1798.


Gotthard to Nufenen

Gotthard-Nufenen-Ulrichen.JPG (111180 Byte)Interactive map:



(4.5 hrs to Cruina, 6 hrs to Nufenenpass). 

From Airolo train station the Postauto to Gotthardpass brings its passengers in about 15 Minutes to the stop "Galleria di Banchi". Here is a starting point for hikes to Gotthard, Pso. di Lucendro and also the tour to Cruina at the Nufenenpass.

From here and along the way many big and small fortifications are visible. They are now declassified, some are museums, some just are falling apart. The meaning of "Galleria di Banchi" may be translated to "fortifications-gallery".

The first part is on a gravel driveway and offers beautiful views into the Ticino mountains, Airolo and the villages of Bedretto valley deep below. The altitude is in the range of 2000 m. This track is also part of the "4 Quellen Weg" (see www.four-headwaters-trail.ch/) that connects the four rivers Rhein, Reuss, Rhone, Ticino by hiking trails. 

Picnicplatz.jpg (511731 Byte)Except for one short area, in the river Ronco region, the route is more or less flat. The SAC hut "Piansecco" is an excellent place to stop by. From here it's a walk of 1.5 hrs to the Postauto stop Cruina at the Nufenen pass road. Be aware, the place is only served twice in the afternoon (Summer 2012: 16:18h and 18.15h).

Cap_Piansecco.jpg (439198 Byte)For an excellent description with a lot of pictures have a look at:

About halfway up from Cruina to Nufenen pass summit a rock reminds us, that about here is the source of the Ticino river. Its water flows to Lago Maggiore near Locarno and finally to the Po river in Italy and into the Adriatic sea.

From Nufenen pass the track generally follows the Aegina river down to Ulrichen, and to MGB train station (See Goms for hike to Griesspass). 

Griessee-Damm.jpg (411687 Byte)Nufenen is a watershed too: The Aegina flows into Rhone to France, Ticino into Po in Italy. The water from the Griessee (gravity dam) is partly used for the turbines in Altstafel and flows into Aegina; the other part is sent over to Robiei lake and into turbine's of power plants in the Maggia valley.


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Realp - Furka

Furka - Gletsch:  3 Jun 06

to GPS-Datafiles Download

Realp - Furka km hrs
Zug-Goeschenen (train, SBB)
Goeschenen-Andermatt-Realp (train, MGB)
Realp MGB-Station DFB-Tiefenbach DFB

Tiefenbach DFB-Tiefenbach Hotel

Tiefenbach DFB-Steinstafel-Furka DFB-Furka Pass



Back to Realp by one of the hiking tracks
or by DFB-train, or Postauto.
Option: Furka pass-Hungerberg-Oberwald.
then Oberwald-Realp (MGB, tunnel)

Postauto: check! usually only in operation during Summer months!

After passing the little Station of the steam train "Dampfbahn Furka Bergstrecke" (DFB) and the Golf Reception area there are two trails for Furka: 

to the left, passing the site of the DFB maintenance area, crossing the DFB-Railway track and later river Furka-Reuss, the path runs partly  in sight of the DFB railway track. After the first ascent to Laubgaedem a sign points to a track for Furkapass by way of Deieren (+ 1hr).
The path straight on is a bit steeper. It will cross the pass road a half a dozen times and rewards with excellent views down the Urseren valley. After some 40 Minutes the track, after traversing the pass road at a huge bend, goes over into a gravel road. 
We proceed on that flat road for a while, until we reach a short descent down to the river crossing at the concrete dam and Reservoir (the water is feeding Goescheneralp lake). 

For Tiefenbach Hotel use the track to the right, before crossing the river. The last part then will be quite steep. (Presently, Fall 2002, the upper bridge, near Tiefenbach DFB station is under repair).
For the continuation to Furka we choose the track on the left of the railway line, after crossing the dam and the river. 
The  walk between track and Furkareuss continues on a rather moderate slope.

Having reached Furka DFB station, the climb to Hotel Furkablick will be very steep. Wooden poles provide General directions.


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