Water as the elixir of life, an important source of energy and as a root of inspiration is the theme of this long-distance hiking trail. You will be guided by this wonderful element for 85 kilometres (53 mi) through fantastic landscapes in the cantons of Uri, Grisons, Ticino and Valais.
On the Four Springs Trail you hike to the sources of the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone rivers in the legendary Gotthard massif. You follow historic mule trails, cross notorious passes and discover picturesque valleys. Water gushes out from unknown depths – initially as small rivulets, then as mighty rivers such as the Rhine and the Rhone, which have shaped cultures and landscapes for millennia, before finally flowing into the sea.
Since 2012, the Four Springs Trail has led from the Oberalp Pass to the Rhone Glacier. Since the five stages are laid out in such a way that you have access to the public transport network at the respective starting and finishing points, you can also plan them as day hikes. On the first day, you can admire the source of the Rhine and wildlife-rich alpine wetlands before spending the night at the Maighelshütte. The second stage takes you over the Piz Giübin to the famous Gotthard Pass.
The next stage continues to the Piansecco hut, past the impressive Lucendro reservoir and the source of the Reuss river. The Nufenen Pass, the source of the Ticino and Lake Gri are the highlights of the fourth stage, and on the last day you hike up to the Furka Pass to reach the Rhone Glacier and its source.
As you are always in the high alpine region on the Four Springs Trail, you should bring enough warm and weatherproof clothing. The Gotthard massif often sees a lot of snow and you may still encounter snowfields in summer.
You can reach the starting point on the Oberalp Pass above Andermatt by train from the cantons of Graubünden or Uri. The exact destination is at the Hotel Belvédère below the Rhone glacier. There you will find a bus stop that will take you to either Andermatt or Oberwald railway station. The Four Springs Trail will refresh and inspire you – just let the water guide you.
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Last updated: May 30, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
You can reach the Oberalp Pass, located above the town of Andermatt, from the cantons of Graubünden or Uri by train or by car. Since you start at an altitude of over 2,000 meters, you can look forward to gigantic mountain panoramas. The train station is on the eastern shore of Lake Oberalp and from there…
The second stage of the Four Sources Trail starts with a relaxed stretch through the lush wet meadows at the Maighelshütte. In the distance you can already marvel at the highlight of the day, the Piz Giübin. A particularly exciting section leads along the small Piogn Crap gorge - just fantastic, the…
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The third stage is also rich in water and views: After a hearty breakfast, you leave the hustle and bustle of the Gotthard Pass behind you and hike past smaller lakes in a northwesterly direction. You pass the unique Felsenhotel La Claustra, behind which the mighty Lucendro dam towers. Afterwards you…
On the fourth stage you will encounter historic traffic routes that have run through the Gotthard massif for centuries. The old mule tracks were already used by the Romans. At the beginning of the fourth stage, you hike from the Piansecco hut above the Bedretto valley. You cross mountain streams several…
Witnesses of the formerly important transport links through the Gotthard massif also accompany you on the last stage. From Obergesteln you follow the Rotten, which becomes the Rhone in France, to Oberwald. By the way, this is where the Furka-Höhenweg starts (komoot.de/collection/1390328). Afterwards…
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