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One of the Rarest Flowers in the World on Mount Rossberg

Arth Goldau - Ober Spitzibüel - Gribsch - Steinerberg

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One of the Rarest Flowers in the World on Mount Rossberg

Arth Goldau - Ober Spitzibüel - Gribsch - Steinerberg

Published on 24.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 27.05.2015

On a mountain called the Rossberg in Central Switzerland is a forest where one of the rarest flowers in the world grow: The Purple and Yellow Lady Slipper orchid. The flowers thrive in the proximity of a certain type of fungus and are extremely hard to propagate in gardens, because of this apparent symbiosis with the fungus. People trying to remove it from the forest to plant in their gardens, and also the grazing sheep are partially responsible for the decimation of this lovely plant. [This flower used to be widespread in England but now apparently there is only one plant left there, and if anyone is caught stealing it, they could face six months in jail, according to a UK Daily Mail article.]

Another thing the Rossberg is known for is that one of the greatest natural disasters in Swiss history took place here in 1806: The Landslide of Goldau. The town was destroyed by 40 million cubic meters of rock that slid down the mountain in about 3-4 minutes. There have been several additional landslides on the same mountain since then, the most recent one in 2005 with the release of 200,000 m3 of rock that destroyed additional forested area. Although the vegetation is slowly growing back, you can still see the massive scar along the entire southern flank of the mountain.

This hike up the Rossberg from Arth Goldau and back down to Steinerberg passes through the area where the Lady Slippers grow, and also across the scar of the landslide. At the site of the Lady Slippers is a marked loop trail that takes you up about 100m and back down, a total of about 1 hour for the loop. You are required to stay on the trail to prevent damage of the flower’s terrain, but there are plenty of bunches to view.

Make sure to go about early to mid-May when the flowers are at their best. It is recommended to call Arth-Goldau Tourism Office to confirm the progress of the flowers: 041 855 54 30



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Published on 24.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 27.05.2015

Route Details 

Central Switzerland
Time Required
3 hours 15 minutes
9 km
564 m
475 m
Season Start / Season End
April - November
Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
Points of Interest
Rare Lady Slipper Orchids, Landslide Area at Gribsch
Starting Point
Arth-Goldau Train Statioin
Starting Point with Public Transport
Steinerberg Train Station
Return with Public Transport
Places to Eat
Gribsch (Mountain Inn), Steinerberg
Things to Note
You have to stay on the Loop Trail Path in order to protect the Lady Slippers's Terrain. Also, the Restaurant at Gribsch might be closed on Wednesdays, call to verify: 041 832 14 06
Adresses and Links

Details about this tour 

  • Link to map with elevation profile
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  • Google Map with Route-Track
  • Route Description
  • Printing the tour

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