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Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Seattle
posts: 110
reviews: 8
Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Hello--

I have been reading, but am frankly having difficulty figuring out possible hikes when I am unfamiliar with the names/ locations and don't have a basis to figure out which of the 28 hike suggestions in the Engadin St. Moritz guide would work for us.

We are a family, including teenagers. They are very fit; our main limitation is my knee which acts up on descents over about 3 km (3 km of descent, not the whole hike). We have done day hikes up to 14-15 km, but would prefer not quite that much, esp. since we will be hiking on consecutive days.

We will be there in very late June, with an afternoon and two full days. (Staying 3 nights in Pontresina, and so we will get the pass.) While we like hiking and that is the main reason for going, we also like time to explore towns/ villages. The rest of my family has never been on a funicular, so routes that involve those will probably be favored. From previous posts, it looks like the Muottas Muragl might be an option for the day we arrive (close to Pontresina, yes?), as long as we can stow our luggage at the hotel before we actually check in.

I am certainly willing to do research; I just need to be pointed in the right direction. Many thanks for any advice.

St. Moritz...
Destination Expert
for St. Moritz, Engadin St. Moritz
posts: 3,177
reviews: 265
1. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Personally I would not do the Muottas Muragl hike on the arrival day, especially after a long flight (as mentioned in your other thread). You will much more enjoy it if you are relaxed and not rushed. However, in June days are long, so you could opt to do it starting in Alp Languard (above Pontresina) and taking the cablecar down to Punt Muragl after perhaps a nice dinner, as this is the only cablecar running later in the evening. Or you may even extend the hike and make it a full-day tour, going up to the Segantini hut, where the famous painter of alpine landscapes spent his last days - a wonderful spot to be in.

There are a lot of hikes you could do without long descents to avoid damaging your knee. You - or even the whole family - could choose to go down by cablecar. Have a look at the map on www.engadin.stmoritz.ch to see the names of the locations, this may help. And have a look at the map of the cable cars, so you see where you can take one down to the valley after your hike. It is difficult to suggest hikes without knowing what you are looking for, e.g. alpine flora and easy, flat hikes or mountain hikes on uneven paths or more adventurous hikes or "gourmet" hikes with moutain restaurants. But all the hikes on the website have descriptions, so this may help. You may find interactive maps for almost all the hikes here: http://www.wanderland.ch/de/welcome.cfm

I dont know which of the passes you have, different hotels offer different passes. If you have the one with two icons and a star, you might also consider hiking in the Bregaglia valley, which is at lower altitude as the Engadin St. Moritz area. Depending on the further course of the season, in the higher parts there may still be some snow in June, while the Bregaglia is snowfree at this time.

Dresden
posts: 2,133
reviews: 3
2. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

My recommendation would be to do the Muottas Muragl hike via Segantini hut to Alp Languard as a full day. The views from Segantini hut are gorgeous, IMO much better than from the lower trail. Also, I am afraid the prices for dinner at Muottas Muragl mountain hotel are quite steep, not sure you want to spend that much with the teenagers.

For the afternoon after arrival I'd recommend taking either bus or train to Bernina-Diavolezza and going up and down by cable car. Spectacular views of the glaciers and mountains there - a must.

The other day would IMO be spent the best in the lakes region between St. Moritz and Maloja. Take the bus to the cable car station Sils-Furtschellas, go up by cable car and hike from there via Marmore to Hotel Fex. If time allows continue farther to the end of the valley, if not just have lunch on their terrace and then walk back to Sils-Maria. It's a lovely valley, along the way you'll see nice houses, a chapel with frescoes, horse-drawn carriages ... and take the trail via the small gorge that ends up right on the small square in Sils-Maria. Stroll through the village, maybe drop into Nietzsche museum. If time allows you could add a walk to the shore of lake Sils, maybe even a walk around the peninsula Chaste - it is wonderful light in late afternoon. Bus back.

Seattle
posts: 110
reviews: 8
3. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Thank you so much for the suggestions, Engadiner and Eagle. We will be spending a night in Chur to start to acclimate to the time change from the US. A wise friend told me that scenic train rides right when you get off the plane make for an expensive nap.

Our pass is the mountain railways--not the one including the buses. I hope we will not regret having both; hotels are so expensive that we had to find something affordable.

I have downloaded the maps and will keep studying them. We are after some challenge on the hikes--not just flat & easy--and have hiked in several US locations with uneven terrain and steep slopes. I love the mountain flora, and I think all of us will love the views and adventure. We are not interested in actual mountain climbing or the hikes on glaciers where we would need specialized equipment and a guide. As you mention, we will have to be flexible with where the snow happens to be at the time we are there.

Eagle is right that we will probably not eat at the mountain restaurants b/c of cost. Could we go in to those hotels to look at the lobby, or is it considered rude if we are not actually staying there?

I have two more questions:

• Is it possible to buy to-go lunches that we could eat while on our hike?

• Is it possible to rent hiking poles in Pontresina? Poles ease the strain on my knee, but I don't want to pack them. It looks like there would be a shop, judging from the rent stations options on the Engadin-St. Moritz site.

Many thanks!

Dresden
posts: 2,133
reviews: 3
4. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

I think you should look up hotels again to find one in your price range that offers the pass including the buses/trains. These buses/trains do cost a lot, too - the cable cars are actually not *that* expensive. Question: Do you have another sort of travel pass, like Flexi Swiss Pass or so because you'll be riding from the airport to Chur and on to Pontresina etc.?

The hikes that we suggested are not too steep, they take you to wonderful mountain flora (especially the hike from Furtschellas via Marmore to Hotel Fex, the southern slopes of that mountain are famous for the flora!), do not include any climbing or glacier crossings. I doubt there will be much snow left end of June.

Which hotels do you refer to when you say you want to walk into their lobby? Poking your head inside for checking out the public restaurant is always fine, I'd say. Btw, if you want to enjoy the ambience in an upscale hotel, go in and have a coffee or drink in their lobby bar. I did that in many hotels, e.g. the Dolder Grand in Zürich, the Waldhaus in Sils, the Adlon in Berlin ... not too expensive.

I would buy rolls at the bakery or at the grocery (COOP is in Pontresina, excellent), buy some butter, meat, cheese etc. at the grocery and fix lunch myself. Check out the local shop of the Alpine cheesemaking in Pontresina, I believe it is close to the tourist info. Yummy!

I trust you can rent hiking poles. There are several sports shops in Pontresina. I would be VERY surprised if could not rent. some.

Seattle
posts: 110
reviews: 8
5. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Eagle, thank you for your suggestions and answers. (I almost asked about cheese; I looked through some past posts about it yesterday, and came across Engadiner's comment--I think it was his--about cows vacationing in Engadin. I had a good laugh and shared w/ my family.) Helpful ideas about making lunch too.

We will probably have a Swiss Pass, though I am still figuring out the prices & inclusions of the Swiss Pass vs. Swiss Flexipass vs. Graubunden Pass.

I meant the mountaintop hotels, where one could--but we probably will not--stop to eat. Great suggestion about having a drink in the nicer hotels in other places. Maybe my husband and I will do that as a date within our trip since our kids are old enough to be by themselves.

St. Moritz...
Destination Expert
for St. Moritz, Engadin St. Moritz
posts: 3,177
reviews: 265
6. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

While I agree with almost all of Eagles excellent advises as always, I would be cautious with " the cable cars are actually not *that* expensive", especially as already the ride up and down Diavolezza is CHF 33.00 per person - and it might not be included if you do it on the day of arrival. So check before you plan to do this on the arrival day. I think the pass is for the day after arrival - not sure however about this. However the Diavolezza is really rewarding and you could combine it easily with hikes of any lenght , see diavolezza.ch/en/… . You can get to three peaks from there. I love the hike up to Munt Pers - there is a difficult one around it and an easy one up to the top - the view is just awsome. But you need good shoes as there are loose rocks for some parts. If you dont want to eat in the restaurant - it's however not that expensive there and the view from their terrasse is really special - you could buy a saussage (Bratwurst or Cervelat - both Swiss icons) and BBQ them on the firepit on Sass Queder, the highest fireplace of the alps, above 3'600 masl. This is a special experience. Bring matches and an old paper or something to light the fire, wood is usually provided. You may buy the saussages - or a beef skewer - at the Coop grocery, a roll of local bread and wine or mineral water and a fruit and you are set for your high mountain lunch. There are several more BBQ places in the area if you want to avoid mountain restaurants (you however can easily go in and have a look, it's nothing secret about them). For all the BBQ firepits see: …stmoritz.ch/sommer/… Just be careful to spend the fire after you finished to avoid wildfires. Many of the firepits are along the water.

And by the way, it is true that cows spend their holidays here. You will see them as this is usually the time they are brought up to the higher places.

If you want an authentic cheese-experience, instaed of buying your cheese at the shop, you could also visit the alp cheese-making in Pontresina. It's near the train station Morteratsch (on the Bernina line, you pass through to go up to Bernina-Diavolezza where you take the cable car). sennerei-pontresina.ch/alp-schaukaeserei/lag… the site is only in German, if you want details and can't get Google to translate them, just tell me and I will help you. You can see the cheese production. From there, there is a nice easy hike toward the glacier, which would probably be what I would do the first day. It's well groomed and easy and ideal to adapt to the altitude and it does not need the cablecar pass - and you will probably have one of the other passes for public transport.. You can get any distance into the valley toward the glacier, and the further you go, the more beautiful it gets (and the more cool as you get all the way to the glacier). Sometimes there are glacier caves opening - be cautious to go inside if no other people are around, but it's a unique feeling to be inside the glacier and see the different shades of blue.

As for your whole-day tour, I really would suggest to consider the Segantini hut. You could have a pic-nic on top, but it's not allowed in the restaurant. They do a great job to carry everything fresh up to this remote place and they offer homemade cakes and dessert and so they do not appreciate if you take their tables without consumation. If you want a pic-nic, buy a "salsiz", another icon, but a local one to the Grison (Graubünden) area. This is a dried saussage and it comes in different types, e.g. beef or deer or lamb or liver etc. You just peel it and cut slices and enjoy it in the fresh mountain air (I get hungry writing this!)

For another day, I would choose another direction, so e.g. go all the way up to Piz Nair, from where you have a completely different view. Then hike down to the Suvretta pass (the first part is steep, so bring a brace for your knees and absolutely use walking sticks - I dont know if you can rent them, otherwise there are inexpensive ones you could buy or ask the hotel - someone may have left his there and you could use them - and as a last resort, tell me and you could borrow mines for the time you are here). From Pass Suvretta, you would have to options: one is down to the Val Bever (Spinas), where you can relax at the restaurant and either walk all the way to Bever (1 hour) or take one of the (infrequent = stop on demand) trains or a horsedrawn carriage (more expensive and not included in your pass). A shorter option would be to hike in the opposite direction and you would arrive in St. Moritz. Check those hikes on the interactive map.

If you want another glacier experience, go up to Corvatsch instead. Go all the way up to the second section for the view, then go down again one section. From there, hike along the mountain to the mountain hut Fuorcla Surlej corvatsch.ch/en/gastronomy/restaurants/mount… where you have an impressive panorama. Also there, if you take your pic-nic, you are not able to eat it on their tables for the above mentioned reasons - which is also understandable. From there, you could either go down to Hahnensee, a stupendous panorama hike to still another mountain restaurant on a small alpine lake (there are some steep parts however with high steps on loose rocks, so take you time with your knee problems). The other option would be a longer hike down the other side of the mountain to the Val Roseg roseg-gletscher.ch/roseg/gletscher_de.html , a beautiful and rewarding but rather long hike. If you want, instead of hiking all the way out to Pontresina (1 3/4 hours), you could take a horsedrawn carriage from there. They offer private carriages or an omnibus where you pay per person and travel together with others, see engadin-kutschen.ch/downloads/Omnibus-Sommer… If you decide for the hike, instead of doing so in the road with all the bikers and the horses, after the first few bends of the road, keep right and you will be on an idyllic hiking path, going slightly up and down but beautiful.

I dont know how old your young ones are, but they might probably enjoy the rope park …stmoritz.ch/sommer/… - e.g. when you will have your date with your husband in one of the traditional beautiful hotels. If you stay in Pontresina, visit the beautiful Hotel Kronenhof. If however you happen to be in St. Moritz, go to the Badrutt's Palace for high tea, the first Palace Hotel ever, all the others copied the name, and one of the flagship hotels of the area. Those are the kind of hotels you see in old films and it's absolutely ok to go there for tea. Also the Kulm is one of those beautiful places.

As for the hotel, I agree with Eagle, check again. They are not all expensive. Have a look at the booking platform on www.engadin.stmoritz.ch and do not limit your search to Pontresina, have a look at all the villages. Public transport is so good and distances are not big.

Seattle
posts: 110
reviews: 8
7. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

You two are amazing! Thank you so much. I am looking again at hotels for one that has the more inclusive passes. I think that the booking tools (both on the Engadin-St. Moritz site and the hotel websites) nearly always come up with "no rooms available" when I put in 5 people. This happens whether I select one or two rooms. I am having better luck emailing hotels directly, and think that I have at least two options.

With your suggestions, we will have a spectacular time, and be several steps ahead of where we would be otherwise. Engadiner, I had seen the "Fireplace" list on the site, but now you have given us a great way to integrate that into our trip. Lovely! Already, I think that we will want to come back.

St. Moritz...
Destination Expert
for St. Moritz, Engadin St. Moritz
posts: 3,177
reviews: 265
8. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

There are several hotels offering family rooms which could be what you are looking for. As long as you do not limit your search to just one of the villages, you should get results. Mind that weekends are booked earlier, as often people from the cities are going up to the mountains for the weekend.

Have a look at the complete hotel list on the booking platform on www.engadin.stmoritz.ch and start at the end. You will see what they offer (icons of the special) also there. And by the way, if you already have one of the tourist train passes, it is not important that you have all the icons, as public transport like buses and trains would be covered under this pass then. If you have detailled questions about hotels, write a PM.

Port Townsend...
posts: 213
reviews: 45
9. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Visiting the Segantini hut is really cool. Sitting there and looking out at the valley is wonderful. Personally, I would take the poles. They really helped on the descent. I can pull mine apart and get them into a small suitcase.

There's a pretty flat hike into a valley with a receding glacier -- Morteratsch. It has signs showing where the glacier was for every 10 years since 1900. Depressing how fast it is receding. But you can get close to the glacier at the end.

Personally, I would push on and not stop in Chur -- unless there is something in Chur you want to see. We made the trip a couple of times from Houston -- 24 hours by the wall clock to get all the way to Sils-Maria. I just think that your internal clock is going to be such a mess you might as well crash at the place you want to end up and not 2 hours away from it.

(BTW, we got smart and moved to Port Townsend a year ago.)

Seattle
posts: 110
reviews: 8
10. Re: Hike/ Itinerary Suggestions for Summer?

Henry,

(I didn't check back on my post for a while--sorry for the delay!) Do you put your poles in checked luggage ? We were hoping to just do carry-on luggage. I just checked the TSA site, for "hiking poles" it said "check only". I am wondering if I should check a bag just so that I can take the darn poles, which I will want in several locations on our trip, not only in the Engadin.

I hear you about not stopping in Chur. We went back & forth, but wanted a bit of time to acclimate to the time change and didn't want our teenagers to sleep through the scenic train ride. A wise world traveler friend mentioned that with sleepy teens, the scenic route might make for an expensive nap--not only in cost, but in lost opportunity. And, we have dealt with so many flight delays over the years that we wanted a slight cushion so that any delay doesn't eat into the main part of our trip.

Glad you are enjoying Port Townsend. That's quite a change from Houston! Thanks for your tips. I am looking up the hut info, and think that we are close to having a hiking plan for our few days. The experts and contributors on this forum are amazing.

Engadin, we switched to a hotel in Celerina that has a large family-style studio and includes both kinds of passes. That was a better deal for us than getting a Swiss Pass or Flexi Pass for more days. Thanks for your advice. It was best for us to email the hotels directly since that main search feature basically failed whenever I put in 5 people.

Now that our main arrangements are made, I have to figure out what to pack that will work for both hiking the Engadin and going out to dinner in Italy!