Tamara

Where the Alps once formed – Sardona World Heritage Trail

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Where the Alps once formed – Sardona World Heritage Trail

Hiking Collection by Tamara

6-13

days

3-7 h

/ day

60.5 mi

19,900 ft

20,650 ft

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.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    04:58
    6.88 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,175 ft
    1,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    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.

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  • Difficult
    05:04
    8.07 mi
    1.6 mph
    3,050 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    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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  • Difficult
    06:52
    10.2 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,325 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    After a night at the Spitzmeilenhütte, the third day goes back down into the valley. At the beginning you hike on flat paths over a wide grass landscape that is …

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  • Difficult
    06:58
    9.68 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,800 ft
    1,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    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.

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  • Difficult
    08:05
    12.7 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,200 ft
    6,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The fifth stage of the long-distance hiking trail starts high up, at over 2,000 meters. Around the Sardonahütte, some waterfalls rush into the depths - a worthwhile detour before you …

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  • Difficult
    10:01
    12.9 mi
    1.3 mph
    5,350 ft
    5,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    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.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    60.5 mi
  • Duration
    41:57 h
  • Elevation
    19,900 ft20,650 ft

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Tamara

Where the Alps once formed – Sardona World Heritage Trail