Magical lines, fossilised rocks and mighty peaks – the Tectonic Arena Sardona is fascinating. Over millions of years, the African and European continental plates collided to create the Alps. The mountains pushed towards the sky and wind and weather then worked their magic to create the mountains we know today. Not many people know about the exciting history of their formation. On the Sardona World Heritage Trail, you can marvel at the traces of the formation with your own eyes.
On six stages between Lake Murg, Pizol and Elm, you explore the UNESCO World Heritage Tectonic Arena Sardona – a unique experience in the Alps. You hike over rocks, each a different colour, age and softness. The ‘magic lines’ created by layers of red Verrucano rock and younger limestone are a special highlight. On the last stage, you can also enjoy the view of the famous Martin's Hole.
The Sardona World Heritage Trail leads you through the original border area between the cantons of St. Gallen, Glarus and Graubünden. The process and traces of the formation of the mountains are more visible here than anywhere else. The landscape is characterised by glaciers, moraines, gravel plains and gorges – a combination that you rarely find today. To learn more about the Tectonic Arena, see: unesco-sardona.ch.
The Sardona World Heritage Trail is almost 100 kilometres (60 mi) long and requires stamina, surefootedness and a head for heights. Some sections lead over rope-secured passes and steep scree slopes. The stages are up to 21 kilometres (13 mi) in length and include a fair amount of ascent and descent. In return, you’re rewarded with incredible panoramas and quiet hiking trails. You spend the nights in huts or small villages – I recommend booking your accommodation in advance.
You can reach the starting point in Habergschwänd with the chairlift from Filzbach. The village is connected to the bus network and the nearest train station is in Mühlehorn. From Zurich, you can take the S-Bahn to Näfels-Mollis and then continue to Filzbach by bus 511 or 512. The destination Flims also lies on the bus network. The nearest larger train station is in Chur which also has connections to Zurich.
The starting point of the Sardona World Heritage Trail is Filzbach, from where you take a nostalgic chairlift up to Habergschwänd. There is a bus stop just a few minutes' walk away from the valley station if you want to travel by public transport. You conquer the first 600 meters of altitude in a relaxed manner by train - once you have reached the top, the Habergschwänd mountain inn awaits you.
The second stage of the Sardona World Heritage Trail starts in a picturesque setting on the banks of the Upper Murgsee. From the rustic Murgseehütte, a short detour over to the Murgbachfall, which is only a few minutes' walk away, is worthwhile. Then it goes straight to the sometimes steep ascent up to Widersteinfurggl, which you master brilliantly thanks to an invigorating hut breakfast.
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The starting point of the fourth stage of the Sardona World Heritage Trail is the small town of Weisstannen. Right at the beginning there is a long ascent with more than 1,300 meters of altitude on the program - so it's best to load an extra portion on your breakfast plate. It starts along the stream towards the southeast. The route takes you into the wild Underlavtina valley, which is characterized by rugged rock faces and lush meadows.
The sixth and last stage of the Sardona World Heritage Trail is already beginning. With 21 kilometers and more than 1,600 meters of altitude, it is the most demanding of the entire long-distance hiking trail, but don't worry - you can easily defuse the route by taking the cable car. From Elm you hike back to Töniberg to the Tschinglenbahn valley station.