Your pulse rises, your breath quickens and your legs burn. Trail running is tough, especially in alpine terrain. In return, you will be rewarded with magnificent views that are even more beautiful when you earn them with your own calf power. In this Collection, we present ten varied running routes on the Pizol mountain in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen.
The Pizol area belongs to the popular holiday region of Heidiland and has true mountain grandeur. It’s so evocative of the classic books that you half expect to see Heidi and Peter skipping across the alpine meadows. But it's not the characters from the well-known books that whiz along the paths. This is your domain now.
In keeping with the Heidi theme, the various trails are named after the characters in the stories. You run in the footsteps of Heidi, Peter and Heidi’s grandfather Alpöhi through the fabulous, picturebook landscape. The starting point for the Heidi trails is the mountain station of the Bad Ragaz cable car while the Peter routes start from the Wangs cable car. Alpöhi, meanwhile, welcomes you to his running trails on the Pizol plateau at the Laufböden station.
To ensure that both beginners and experienced runners get their money's worth, we’ve selected three Tours with different levels of difficulty for you. This way you can adjust your training workload and gradually approach greater challenges. You can expect varied trails and sometimes tough climbs but your effort will be rewarded with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, the St. Gallen Rhine Valley and Lake Constance. Numerous picturesque mountain lakes turn it into an all-round package.
If you want even more, you can take up Fräulein Rottenmeier’s challenge. One route is dedicated to the strict housekeeper from the Heidi books: a 70-kilometre ultra-trail with almost 4,000 metres (13,100 ft) of elevation gain to master. Definitely no walk in the park, but a runner's high of the grandest order.
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On this twelve-kilometer loop, you will run through the best of the Bad Ragaz side of the Pizol. Fantastic views and crystal clear mountain lakes make your run particularly beautiful and reward you for your exertions. Because with its almost 800 meters of altitude, the trail is not without it. Should it get a little too much for you on the way, you can take a break at one of the scenic rest areas.
Where Peter in the Heide books was tending his goats, you can explore the area today at a run. This two-kilometer trail is ideal for runners who are alpine for the first time. True to the motto: short and crappy. The route does not present you with any major challenges, but offers you a varied run with a rushing waterfall and expansive alpine meadows. The starting point on the ford can be reached quickly from Wangs with the gondola.
You want more? Experienced trail runners get their money's worth on Peter's Long Trail. The 20 kilometer long path combines the most beautiful natural experiences on the Wangs side of the Pizol in one round - which is quite a challenge with more than 1,400 meters of altitude. To get in the mood for the alpine tour, however, you can first take the cable car from the valley to the starting point on the ford.
The Alpöhi was probably much slower in the mountains than you. But Heidi's grandpa was definitely a real mountain fanatic in his younger years. Reason enough to follow in his footsteps and discover the mountains around Laufböden. The gondola will take you up to the starting point. In Bad Ragaz, take the gondola to Pardiel and take the chairlift to Laufböden.
On the almost ten kilometer long Alpöhis Long Trail there is the complete package for passionate trail runners: You run over different surfaces, master one or the other ascent and enjoy the wonderful mountain world around Laufböden. What more do you need for a runner's high? The tour starts at the Laufböden mountain station, which you can reach from Bad Ragaz with a change of train in Pardiel.