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    Hike along the Ruinaulta: The Grand Canyon of Switzerland

    Ilanz - Valendas - Versam / Trin - Reichnau-Tamins

    Route Details | Route Description | Comments about this tour (0)

    Hike along the Ruinaulta: The Grand Canyon of Switzerland

    Ilanz - Valendas - Versam / Trin - Reichnau-Tamins

    Published on 26.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 26.04.2015

    The largest landslide of the Alps took place 10,000 years ago about 60 km from the source of the Rhine River. This is known as the Flims landslide and was apparently one of the largest landslide events in world history. The valley that existed at the time was filled with 8000 million cubic meters of rock.

    In these past 10,000 years the Rhine has been carving out this massive volume of rock to create a canyon which is known as the Grand Canyon of Switzerland (stretches from Valendas to Reichenau, approx. 14 km). The canyon can only be discovered on foot or bike, by train, or river rafting. The trail mostly follows the railway tracks except for one 4 km piece where you'd have to hike up out of the canyon. A clever alternative is to catch the train in Versam and descend again in Trin, from where you can continue along a fairly recently-created trail along the river to the town of Reichenau-Tamins.

    As you hike through this amazing landmark (which is known as the Ruinaulta in the local Romansch language) it is impossible to imagine that so much rock could have been worn down in only 10,000 years. The river is wild here and follows its own course, slithering along so much like a snake might. The ride with the Rhaetian Railway on the 4 km stretch where there are no trails is also recommended!



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    Published on 26.04.2016 by GabrielleMerk - Tour Date: 26.04.2015

    Route Details 

    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Download GPS-File / SwitzerlandMobility Map
    Time Required
    4 hours
    17 km
    400 m
    400 m
    Season Start / Season End
    April - November
    Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
    Points of Interest
    White cliffs of the Rhine Gorge between Valendas and Versam
    Starting Point
    Ilanz Train Station
    Starting Point with Public Transport
    Reichenau Train Station
    Return with Public Transport
    Places to Eat
    Ilanz, Reichenau-Tamins
    Things to Note
    The little train stations of Valendas-Sagogn, Versam and Trin stand alone at the bottom of the canyon. Their respective towns are at higher elevations above the canyon.

    Route Description 

    00:00 Start at the Station in Ilanz and follow the signs to Staz. Castrisch. This first part is on a small forest trail parallel to the river.

    00:35 Arrive at the train station in Castrisch. The trail follows the railway line for about 1 km and then heads back to the Rhine River. Continue following the Ruinaulta trail markers.

    01:45 Reach the Train Station at Versam-Sagogn. Continue along the River

    02:05 Reach the small railway bridge, cross the stream and then turn right away from the river. A few meters later the trail goes off to the left again. Continue steadily uphill through forest and meadows.

    02:30 Reach the highest point of the tour. The trail descends now back to the river and across some beautiful white cliff formations to the Versam Train Station.


    Alternative 1: Hike another 1.5 km along the gorge bottom and then walk up 200m out of the gorge to the town of Trin.

    Alternative 2: Take the train from Versam to Trin. This is the variation described here.

    00:00 After descending the train at Trin, walk back in the direction you came a few meters, and cross the railway tracks at the crossing, then turn back and follow the trail marker to Reichenau. This trail is not marked on the SwitzerlandMobility Maps. The trail is between the river and the railway tracks.

    01:00 Climb up and cross the railway bridge. Then follow the railway to the overpass, and turn left instead of going under the railway line. The road takes you into Reichenau, and then back to the train station.

    01:15 Reach Reichenau-Tamins Railway Station.





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