Graubünden Tourism

Through the land of the Walser

Long hike on the Prättigauer Höhenweg

Drusenfluh, Prättigau

We discovered our passion for (long) hiking during our ten-month trip around the world. And with it also the love for the mountains. The trip around the world was some time ago now, but the love for hiking has remained. And so, we are always drawn back to the rough beauty of the Swiss mountains. The smell of the alpine meadows, the silence, the good food and the diverse culture inspire us again and again.

From Carolin Steig & Martin Merten

The last hike led us 67 km along the Prättigauer Höhenweg from Klosters to Malans, into Heidiland. The path and the landscape are so varied and diverse during these four days that it takes your breath away.

Day 1: From Klosters to Bergaus Sulzfluh

On the first day we start from Klosters, quite comfortably and well refreshed from the beautiful Hotel Wynegg and take the Madrisabahn up to the Madrisa-Alp. It is also possible to start directly from Klosters, but this means at least two hours more on the approximately 5 ½ hour stage.

Having reached the top, we start our hike full of euphoria. The trail is signposted with the green 72 and so we refrain from checking with the hiking app. The sky is overcast, which does not spoil our joy.

Directly behind the alpine hut there is a small farm with a self-service shop. If we did not have to mind every kilogram in our rucksack, we would immediately stock up with delicious cheese.

The trail leads us past the high alpine herb garden, which vividly introduces the hiker to the world of mountain herbs, and a detour to the waterfall path. After about 1 ½ hours through small woods and steep alpine meadows, a mighty rock face (Gross Tärzanella) suddenly towers up in front of us. We feel transported back to the amphitheatre in the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa.

We use this impressive view for a break on one of the big erratic blocks. A few raindrops fall from the leaden grey sky, they aren’t really disturbing us.

Slowly the path begins to rise, we reach a small group of houses and discover a sign "Kiosk"! And indeed - under the eaves of one of the wooden cottages there are lovingly placed some drinks and even postcards can be bought here. The money for the products is simply put into the cash box provided for it.

A few meters further on we make friends with a cuddly young cow - she can't get enough of our stroking.

Ahead of us now lies a last, steep ascent for this day: over large alpine meadows we climb up to a mountain ridge between Jägglisch Horn and Saaser Calanda. At the top, an incredible mountain panorama stretches out before us with a view over to the Rätschenfluh. Here it is definitely worth taking a break or a short detour to one of the lookout points. We simply sit there in silence and are overwhelmed by this view.

Now the path only meanders downhill to St. Antönien. At some point, we reach a road and in one of the curves there are some scooters ("Trottinette") neatly lined up (we Germans say "Tretroller"). What an ingenious idea - to shorten the rather long way, you can rent scooters and helmets for 16 CHF here and daringly plunge into the valley! A telephone number for registration is posted here. But we keep on walking and eventually Ernst Flütsch, the operator of the Berghaus Sulzfluh, picks us up with his car.

In St. Antönien he gives us a tour of the silhouette studio in the former post office. This is a must see! Originally, we had our silhouettes from school in mind, but what is lovingly handmade by Monika Flütsch here and exhibited worldwide has little to do with it. You must have seen it with your own eyes!

Ernst also shows us an unusual way to spend the night - the so-called TIME BED ("ZEITBETT"). You can book your accommodation on Airbnb and practically sleep outside, directly under the stars. The beds are roofed so that you won't get wet.

In the rustic Berghaus Sulzfluh we enjoy a cosy evening with other hikers. You also get a chance to relax your muscles in the Outdoor Hot Pot.

Day 2: From Berghaus Sulzfluh via Partnunsee to Carschina Hut

Today is quite relaxed with 2 ½ to 3 hours, the direct way to our destination, the Carschina hut. Hence, we decide to make a detour to the beautiful Partnunsee. On site we rent a rowing boat for 2 CHF and enjoy the silence and the surrounding mountains.

As we started late and our stomachs are already growling again, we eat our picnic right away. We then walk a little further behind Partnunsee before we take a steep path to the left. The panorama here is already a completely different one than the day before. Slowly the sun emerges from behind the clouds, it promises to be another beautiful day.

Finally, our little detour leads back again to the Prättigauer Höhenweg. We continue our hike comfortably through beautiful alpine meadows with numerous marmots and again and again through huge, old rockfall regions. Behind us an incredible panorama spreads out, making us stop repeatedly.

And then we suddenly see the Carschina Hut lying on a mountain cone in front of us, behind it the incredible Drusenfluh towers up, a mountain that rises almost like a giant tooth in the sky.

It is only 2 pm when we reach the hut. We decide to enjoy the sun on the beautiful terrace and have a delicious, freshly baked chocolate cake.

The Carschina Hut is situated at 2236 metres directly at the foot of the Sulzfluh and offers room for 85 hikers. The rooms are dormitories with a maximum of 9 persons.

Day 3: From the Carschina hut to the Schesaplana hut

Today will be longer again with 5 ½ to 6 hours. Yet we don’t mind, as for us it is one of the most beautiful stages of the hike. The trail first leads comfortably at the same altitude along steeply rising mountains such as the Drei Türmen and the Drusenfluh and offers great views over the Prättigau.

Then it even leads gently downhill, past the Schweizer Tor where, with a little luck, you can discover climbers on the steep slopes. Already here the scenery is simply breathtaking.

But now it's time to climb - the path winds its way up a strenuous incline. It's worth stopping every now and then to have a look back. Arriving at the top of the ridge, there are not so many options to take a break, but the view invites you to do so. In the wet meadow we finally find two rocks on which we can sit down. We let the sun shine in our faces and enjoy the fantastic view.

After a short break, we continue on the same level again, partly through loose scree fields. As we come out of the shelter of the steep walls, a strong wind grabs us and blows from the valley through the Gafalljoch between the mountains. To the right of us, on the Austrian side, the turquoise blue glittering Lünersee lies in the dip. To the left of us, the Alps extend into the valley and behind us lies the rugged mountain world.

The weather is magnificent and so we decide to take a break at one of the meadows again and enjoy the landscape. The cows all around are very keen on our backpacks and so we suddenly have the whole herd around us. Some of them like to be cuddled. As we walk on, they keep standing there for a long time and look after us.

The path now continues downhill over meadows with little streams and the ringing of cowbells. Around 3 pm we reach the Schesaplana hut where we are assigned a nice double room. We enjoy the afternoon sun on the terrace - the weather is supposed to change in the evening and a cold front is coming. Tomorrow the nice weather will probably be over.

We can absolutely recommend the homemade cakes! The dinner consisted of a delicious vegetable cream soup, vegetable lasagna and delicious plum compote with curd cheese. All homemade and extremely delicious!

The Schesaplana hut is situated at 1908 meters and accommodates 66 hikers. There are 6 double rooms.

Day 4: From the Schesaplana hut to Malans

As we wake up, all we see from our windows is a grey wall. The whole landscape is shrouded in fog. The Swiss flag on the terrace just hangs down wet.

We hope that the fog will at least clear up a little after breakfast, otherwise we cannot leave without sight. Having packed everything and ready to leave, it actually looks a little better and so we start walking in rain gear.

Unfortunately, that day we hardly see anything of the landscape, which must be simply fantastic here. After a short time on a road, the path winds through alpine meadows and small woods. Every now and then the fog clears a little bit and single pieces of clouds give the landscape a mystic atmosphere. This moment only lasts a few seconds before a damp, grey wall closes around us again.

Hence, today our eyes are firmly fixed on the trail. Luckily, we always see the big black alpine salamanders in time. They enjoy this humid weather and sit in the middle of the paths.

Today we have four steep climbs over soaking wet meadows ahead of us – fortunately, we brought good rain trousers with us. The trail stretches out because we can't see anything around us and can't enjoy the views. The path leads partly along steep slopes – we have to pay attention to our steps to avoid slipping.

At least - around noon the fog clears a bit, the clouds start to rise higher. Every now and then we catch a glimpse into the valley or onto mountain tops. We finally leave the Prättigauer Höhenweg and follow the signs to the "Älplibahn".

A special experience along the way: We cross a pitch-black tunnel. We already have a queasy feeling as we approach this dark entrance.

Although the day today with 6 hours was not much longer than the previous day, we are happy when finally reaching the Älplibahn. We have to repeat the stage another time in good weather.

In the restaurant of the Älplibahn we are the only guests due to the weather and the innkeepers are happy to see us. With a cappuccino and a delicious nut croissant, we reflect on the last days before we take the Älplibahn on a rapid ride down to Malans in the Bündner Herrschaft.

After the hike: pure relaxation in the Tamina Therme

After such a strenuous hike, there is nothing better than pampering your body. Best of all with good food and wellness. As far as culinary delights are concerned, we have been pampered excellently in the Restaurant Weiss Kreuz in Malans.

And so that the feet, legs and shoulders can also relax, we treat ourselves to another day of relaxation in the Tamina Therme in Bad Ragaz.

Architecturally, the spa is a real eye-catcher and sends the designer's heart racing. Yet, it also has a lot to offer on the inside. In addition to a wellness and massage area, there is a large thermal bath and sauna landscape. Half a day was enough for us and we were deeply relaxed afterwards - simply wonderful.

Conclusion

The Prättigauer Höhenweg is unbelievably varied in terms of scenery - it offers a wealth of impressions in four days, from gentle paths through lovely alpine meadows to steep climbs in a rugged mountain backdrop and glittering mountain lakes. The steep climbs have sometimes left us running out of puff. But the breathtaking mountain scenery and the friendly hosts of the mountain huts have more than compensated for this. We can only recommend hiking the Prättigauer Höhenweg once. It is worthwhile either in one piece or as single stages.

Carolin Steig & Martin Merten
Carolin Steig & Martin Merten

Caro and Martin, two German travel bloggers, discovered their passion for hiking during their 10-month trip around the world. Since then they have been hiking as often as possible, whether in Kyrgyzstan, Nepal or Switzerland.

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