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Switzerland: Ruinaulta, Chur, Klausen Pass
May 2014

Ruinaulta - Rhine Gorge

 

Ruinaulta is a spectacular white gorge in Graubunden. Plus a short visit to Chur and an exhilarating drive across the Klausen Pass on the way home.

on the walk to Ruinaulta
On the walk to Ruinaulta.

 

Ruinaulta - Rhine Gorge - was carved out 10,000 years ago when a huge landslide sent 10 billion cubic metres of rock crashing into the valley.1

on the walk to Ruinaulta
On the walk to Ruinaulta.

The gorge is actually on the Vorderrhein, one of the two sources of the Rhine in the Graubunden. The other is the Hinterrhein to the east. They meet at the village of Reichenau.

on the walk to Ruinaulta

 

on the walk to Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta

We drove down early from Basel and parked at some parking on the road south of Flims. Then a good walk to Il Spir viewpoint and a great lunch at Restaurant Conn. On the way we had our first glimpses of the gorge.

Ruinaulta
First glimpse of the gorge.
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta

 

Ruinaulta

The meadows were full of beautiful wildflowers.

 

Lunch at Conn
Lunch at Conn.
Ruinaulta
From Il Spir.


Ruinaulta
From Il Spir.
Ruinaulta

 

After lunch we went to Il Spir for views over the gorge and then a stiff climb back to the car and on to our overnight lodging.

We stayed at Ustria Parlatsch at Trin Mulin - basic but very clean rooms and a good restaurant. We chose it particularly because it was a very good location for the walk we planned to do the following day.

 

Ruinaulta
From Il Spir.
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta

 

We made an early start on a glorious day on this walk which isn't too strenuous. First on a track through flower-filled meadows past grazing cows, and then through woods down into the gorge.

Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta

We descended into the gorge, lined with white cliffs it is stunning.

Ruinaulta
The Bernina Express travelling through the gorge.

The railway line also runs through the gorge but it isn't intrusive. Both the Glacier Express to Zermatt and the Rhaetian Railway travel through here - both spectacular journeys.

Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta

 

Ruinaulta

 

We had a very expensive coffee and apfel strudel at the first railway station then caught the train from the second station, Valendas Sagogn, into Chur.

Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Chur
Chur

 

Ruinaulta
Ruinaulta
Chur
Chur
Chur cathedral
Chur, inside the cathedral.
Chur
Chur

 

While waiting for the train we saw the most curious sight - cows being lifted, one by one, in a harness, from the riverbank to a high pasture by helicopter! Only in Switzerland!

Ruinaulta

 

Chur, the capital of Graubunden, is Switzerland's oldest city; there has been a settlement here since 3000BC. It's a pleasant place and we found good ice cream before returning on the excellent fast Post Bus to Trin Mulin.

Chur
Chur
Chur cathedral
Chur, inside the cathedral.
Chur cathedral
Chur cathedral.
Chur cathedral
Chur, inside the cathedral.
to the Klausen Pass
To the Klausen Pass from Trin Mulin.
Chur cathedral
Chur, inside the cathedral.

 

The following day we left after breakfast and made our way home via the spectacular Klausen Pass. It's obviously not the most direct route but we just wanted to drive it!

 

to the Klausen Pass

Like all the Alpine Passes, Klausen is very popular with bikers, and not a few cyclists!

to the Klausen Pass
to the Klausen Pass
to the Klausen Pass
At the pass, 1948m.
to the Klausen Pass
to the Klausen Pass

 

 

The pass is closed in winter as it does get a lot of snow; it was June 1st when we were driving it so we were fairly sure it would be open, obviously checking weather forecasts and road conditions before we travelled.

It connects the cantons of Uri and Glarus and has lots of hairpin bends - great to drive!

to the Klausen Pass

 

 

References

  1. Rhine Gorge (Ruinaulta)