Rhine Gorge Ticket
Trough Switzerland's «Grand Canyon».
An account of a hike from Flims to the «Il Spir» viewing platform and back
Coming from Glarus, I was always being told by my RhB colleagues about the beautiful hiking trails in the Swiss canton of Graubünden and the renowned Lake Cauma. After being shown the mountain lake on a social media platform for the umpteenth time, I decided to grab my colleague and head for Flims to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
We caught the early train to Chur and then headed straight for the PostBus to Flims – to Flims Waldhaus station, Camping, where our journey was to officially start.
Just a few metres in, we caught our first magnificent glimpse of the famous Lake Cauma, making us want to abandon our hike a few minutes later in favour of a quick dip in the deep-blue water.
Instead, we continued on our leisurely way along the wide and well-signposted trail after a brief stop to take some photos. Luckily, in the early hours of the morning, we had the trail more or less to ourselves on the way to Conn. After a short while, we caught our first glimpse of the impressive Rhine Gorge. All along the way, red benches invited us to stop awhile to enjoy the fantastic view.
After about an hour, we’d already reached the “Il Spir" viewing platform. Inaugurated in September 2006, the platform offers a unique 180-degree view of the Ruinaulta – as the locals call it.
Just one look is all it takes to see why tourists often call the Rhine Gorge the Grand Canyon of Switzerland. The deep gorge with its rugged rock faces and the blue water of the Rhine really is reminiscent of its big brother in the US – and is certainly no less stunning. Incidentally, the entire way leading up to the “Il Spir" viewing platform is wide and well-constructed, making it easily manageable for those with prams.
For the more sporty types, there’s also a trail leading down into the valley. However, this is rather steep and should only be attempted when wearing sturdy footwear. Those who do manage to make it all the way to Versam, however, can celebrate in summer by taking a very special trip in the open scenic carriages of the Rhine Gorge Experience train – which runs between Chur and Ilanz every Sunday, making the return journey to Chur a breezy affair.
This day, we decided to take things a little easier and continued heading towards Lake Cresta. Once again, we had to go over rough and smooth terrain. After around 40 minutes, we caught our first glimpse of the blue water of Lake Cresta shimmering through the green leaves. While Lake Cresta is slightly smaller than Lake Cauma, it is equally as beautiful as its neighbour. During the summer, you can actually bathe here, rent stand-up paddles or just laze in the sun.
We stopped off for some traditional Graubünden Pizokels (a local kind of pasta) at the Lake Cresta hotel – which is highly recommendable by the way. After a well-earned lunch break, it was time for us to head back to Flims, to where we set out on our hike and took the PostBus to Chur.
It’s clear that we have to come back in the autumn to see the Rhine Gorge in all its glorious shades of orange. But next time, we plan to start in Versam – I’ll keep you posted.