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Hike to the Source of the Rhine River: Lake Tomasee

Oberalp Pass - Tomasee - Lai Urlaun - Oberalp Pass

Route Infos ▾ | Tour Ratings (0) ▾ | Tours in the Vicinity ▾ | Favourite Entries (2)

Oberalp Pass - Tomasee - Lai Urlaun - Oberalp Pass

Published/updated on 29.06.2019 by GabrielleMerk | 27362 points
 | Date of Tour: 25.09.2016 | Favourite Entries (2) 

This hike to the source of the Rhine River is one that every avid hiker, especially living in Switzerland, should have done at least once.

The Rhine River, one of the most important rivers in Europe, is birthed by Lake Toma (or in the local Romansh language: Lai da Tuma) high up in the mountains near the Oberalp Pass, and flows from there about 1300 km through six countries to empty into the North Sea at Rotterdam.

The entire Sulselva Region East of the Oberalp Pass, across which the young Rhine flows, was covered by the mighty Vorderrhein Glacier during the last ice age. The melting of the ice left a hollow wherein lies Lake Toma, a jewel of the Swiss mountain lakes unique in its beauty and meaning, and is a destination that should be on every Swiss citizen's "to see" list.

Bearing this in mind, the lake IS a very popular destination, and in the height of the summer you can always expect many people walking this trail. Nevertheless, one can safely say this is one of the best trail experiences in Switzerland, and easily accessible to everyone via the Rhaetian Railway which passes through here from Andermatt in West to Disentis in the East.

Naturally, one can simply walk to the lake, spend the afternoon there, and return the same way in approx. 3 hours, but an additional detour southwards via the lakes below the Maighels SAC hostel (or to the hostel itself for refreshments) is worth the extra hour because you get some very nice panoramic views into the Maighels Valley.

Published/updated on 29.06.2019 by GabrielleMerk (27362 points) | Date of Tour: 25.09.2016

Route Infos

Time Required
4 hours
11 km
560 m
555 m
Max. Altitude
2368 m
Min. Altitude
1980 m
Season Start / Season End
July - October
Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
Points of Interest
Lake Tomasee: source of the Rhine River // Oberalp Pass road
Starting Point
Oberalp Pass
Starting Point with Public Transport
Oberalp Pass
Return with Public Transport
Places to Eat
Oberalppass, Picnic at Lake Tomasee
Things to Note
There are actually two sources of the Rhine River: The river that starts at Lake Tomasee is called the Vorderrhein River and is considered the primary source, as it is longer than the Hinterrhein River. The two meet at the city of Reichenau.

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  • Detailed map with traced route on SwissMobility map, including elevation profile
  • GPS file for download
  • Route description in text form
  • Printable tour description



Tour Ratings 

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