This spectacular hike high in the mountains near the Furka Pass in Canton Uri is surprisingly easy to do on wonderfully well-maintained trails, and also easily accessible both by bus and car.
The word Furka comes from Latin "furca" and means fork, which is appropriate for this region as this is the watershed for both the Mediterranean and the North Sea. The Furka Pass also connects the Urseren Valley in Canton Uri (through which flows the Upper Reuss River) to the Ober Goms Region of Canton Wallis (through which flows the young Rhône River, better known as Rotten in this early stage).
This hike starts along the Pass Road below the Swiss Alpine Club Hostel Sidelen, which is beloved for its breads, pastries and barley soups all baked on site. A steep but relatively easy 1-hour ascent via an upper moor and past a waterfall takes you to the tiny building perched in a raw and rocky landscaped, rimmed by stone towers very popular with rock climbers. From here a short detour above the Hostel takes you close to the Sidelen Glacier.
From here you descend along the glacier moraine to the Furka Pass (the trail is clear and easy to walk, even where you have to cross rock-strewn passages), with fantastic views toward the Ursuren Valley and behind you to the Sidelen Glacier.
The hike can be ended here at the Furka Pass, but another 3 km on an easy mountain trail to the Rhône Glacier offers additional views across the entire Grimsel Region of the Bernese Highlands, into the Wallis Upper Goms Region (on clear days all the way to the Wallis 4000s) and the crowning glory: The massive Rhône Glacier, before the final descent to the Hotel at Belvédère.
Combining this entire hike with public transport is difficult. For example coming from and returning to Andermatt allows for only 4.5 hours to catch the returning bus from Belvedere. The hike can be shortened to end at Furka Pass if time does not permit to get to Belvedere. // Coming from Oberwald and doing the hike in the opposide direction allows for approx. 6 hours and a visit to the Ice Caves at Belvedere could even be included. // If coming by car, come earlier and park at Sidelenbach, then return with the bus from Belvedere. // Bus runs from mid-June to Mid-October.
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Detailed map with traced route on SwissMobility map, including elevation profile
GPS file for download
Route description in text form
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This high Alpine hike (and in my opinion one of the most beautiful of alpine tours) is not extremely difficult and its accessibility means that even beginner hikers can... more >>