Hiking in Switzerland in the Ruinaulta Ravine

January 20, 2012 by

Free Things to Do, Sightseeing, Things To Do

The Ruinaulta Ravine is the Swiss Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of hookystreat via flickr.

The Ruinaulta Ravine is the Swiss Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of hookystreat via flickr.

Hikers, cyclists, rafters, and other nature-lovers have long appreciated the Ruinaulta Ravine in the Vorderrhein River Valley of Switzerland. Formed ten millennia ago when 350,000 cubic feet of rock and debris poured into the valley after a colossal rock slide (the largest known incident of its kind in the Alps), the area is considered the Swiss equivalent of America’s Grand Canyon.

Accessibility to this strange and lovely gorge-like canyon is largely restricted to boats, feet, bikes, and the Rhaetian Railway, making it an unusually pristine wildlife and recreational area. An aerial cable-way does ferry passengers to the edge of the slide area, but most visitors make the journey on foot.

Points of interest in the area include several well-established footpaths that lead from the railway to the summit of the flow system, and though the views are limited to the end of the trek, the sight from the top is definitely worth the strain.

Another viewpoint worth visiting is a platform designed to resemble a bird that extends out over the debris, the bottom of which is as far as 12,000 feet below. The hike to the 40-foot high structure is a good choice for travelers looking for a moderate bit of exercise in the heart of the valley. The trail begins at the Prau la Selva sports center in Laax. A mild stroll leads past a beautiful lake that, like the other lakes and idyllic inlets around it (with their turquoise water and restful ambiance), is an excellent place for a bath and a picnic during the summer.

- John Reality

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