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Fitness
Hiking Trail

Pontresina to the Val Roseg

Hiking Trail · Graubuenden
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Swiss Cows in the Lower Reaches of Val Roseg
    / Swiss Cows in the Lower Reaches of Val Roseg
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Meltwater River from the Glaciers
    / Meltwater River from the Glaciers
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Looking Up the Valley
    / Looking Up the Valley
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Vadret da Tschierva (Glacier)
    / Vadret da Tschierva (Glacier)
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • Fuorcla Surlej Mountain Hut (11km)
    / Fuorcla Surlej Mountain Hut (11km)
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
Map / Pontresina to the Val Roseg
1800 2100 2400 2700 3000 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12

A walk to test your Alpine prowess, the Val Roseg is the most demanding (and rewarding!) walk of the tour. After a gentle warm-up through a glacial valley beside a cascading torrent of meltwater, the path veers right to zig-zag up the steep flank of Munt Arlas. A gondola ride brings you back to the valley.

difficult
13.2 km
6:00 h
1008 m
115 m

For our most challenging walk of the trip there is a remarkably gentle warm-up as you leave from Pontresina and stroll through the Val Roseg. A gravel path snakes its way through the pine forest, slowly gaining height beside the torrent of meltwater gushing from the glaciers at the head of the valley. Information boards punctuate the walk offering insight into the valley, the wildlife found here, the forces of nature at work, and the conservation efforts.

The restaurant at Roseg is a good opportunity to gather your energy, because here the valley walls begin to constrict around you, meaning the only way out is up and over; the path veers right and begins zig-zagging up the wall of grass and rock. Now out of the tree-line, you can enjoy unobstructed views to the hulks of mountain that blockade the valley and the glaciers that clasp their near-vertical slopes. These are the biggest mountains in eastern Switzerland and appear even more majestic when you’ve climbed 1,000 metres to witness them!

From Fuorcla Surlej, a mountain hut in the saddle between Munt Arlas and Piz Mortel, you drop into the Engadine Valley, and enjoy a short descent to the Murtel Gondala Station which will bring you effortlessly back down. From here, take a bus to St. Moritz for your overnight.

Author’s recommendation

Enjoy a celebratory beer-with-a-view at the Murtel Gondola Station Bar/Restaurant, before dropping back to Earth.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Josiah Skeats
Updated: July 05, 2019

Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2754 m
Lowest point
1712 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

There are several river crossings. There are always stepping-stones available but these may be slippery, and especially when wet. Take extra caution on these crossings.

Some of the path is along rocky steps and sections with exposed roots; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.

There are some exposed edges; be sure to read instructions carefully, stick to the main path, and don’t wander close to the edge. Use handrails where provided.

In early spring/summer there may still be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them.

This path requires you to cross the railway tracks. Check whether the warning lights are flashing, and then check both directions, before crossing carefully.

This route is above 2,500 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.

Equipment

Such is the way of Alpine hiking, that you need to be prepared for all seasons and weathers; sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required, as is plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.

Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

Val Roseg

This secluded glacial valley is towered over by the highest mountains in Eastern Switzerland; along the way you will get glimpses to Piz Bernina 4049 metres, Piz Scerscen 3971 metres, and Piz Roseg 3937 metres. Clinging to these mountains you will see the glaciers of Vadret da Roseg above the lake, and Vadret da Tschierva to the east. The lake, Lej da Vadret has only been revealed by the retreat of these glaciers over the last century. The pine forest section through which you walk is rather more hospitable, and you might see red squirrels, woodpeckers and alpine flowers.

 

Food and Drink

After leaving Pontresina, there are restaurants at Roseg after 7km, Fuorcla Surlej after 11km and Murtel Gondola Station after 13km.

A steep climb separates Roseg and Fuorcla Surlej, which will take approximately two and a half hours. Be sure you have enough water before leaving Roseg.

Start

Pontresina Tourist Information (1805 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.492998, 9.902512
UTM
32T 569260 5149221

Destination

Corvatsch-Murtel Gondola Station

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start with your back to the Pontresina Tourist Information Office, and with the church clock/bell tower on your right. BEAR LEFT onto the paved road heading downhill to immediately leave the 30km/hour speed zone.

0.30km – TURN RIGHT at the T-junction to cross the bridge over the river. Once over the bridge, TURN LEFT onto the gravel road that heads into the pine forest, following the yellow signpost to Val Roseg and Fuorcla Surlej. Ignore the sharp left turn for Staziun Surovas.

0.50km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON heading uphill, ignoring the right downhill turn to Staz. Puntreschigna. After 150 metres, take caution as the path continues over the railway. Double-check both directions before crossing.

0.80km – At the crossroads with a hut directly ahead, TURN RIGHT following the sign to Roseg. Continue along this path for 700 metres, ignoring all side paths.

1.50km – As a path joins from the right, BEAR LEFT. After 200 metres, BEAR LEFT as the path forks beside a wooden bench. At both junctions follow signs for Roseg and Fuorcla Surlej.

2.90km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON along the well-established path, ignoring the right fork heading downhill towards the river. The path continues with the river on your right.

4.40km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON across a wooden bridge over a small stream, but do not cross the main river. The path may require you to unhook sections of electric fencing to pass through enclosures with cows. Cows are docile and not aggressive but take care not to surprise them, and pass them with a wide berth.

5.70km – After passing through a section of electric fencing and emerging near a gravel road, BEAR LEFT to remain on the footpath rather than the road. After 500 metres, BEAR LEFT as the footpath eventually emerges onto this gravel road.

6.90km – BEAR RIGHT to cross the wooden bridge over the main river, so you are now walking directly towards the collection of huts. Enjoy the great views to the glacier from here.

7.20km – Just before reaching the collection of buildings, and opposite a gravel road on your left, TURN RIGHT at the signpost to pass through a section of electric fencing, and follow the sign to Fuorcla Surlej, 2¼ hours away. This path is grassy and vague for 100 metres, but ahead you should see a rocky path leading into the woodland, where it will begin zig-zagging steeply uphill.

8.60km – As you emerge onto a flat clearing near the hut of Alp Surovel, BEAR RIGHT along the grassy path that heads uphill, following rocks with red and white blazes of paint to guide you. The grassy path will soon become rocky and easier to follow as it continues climbing uphill.

9.60km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, passing a hut set against a beautiful backdrop of the glacier and mountains, on your left. This path will climb uphill with various minor paths branching off, all heading to the summit. Follow the main path, walking generally parallel to the row of telegraph poles.

11.10km – BEAR RIGHT, following the sign for Fuorcla Surlej, and let the red and white blazes of paint guide you across this rocky landscape to the mountain hut.

11.20km – Facing Fuorcla Surlej mountain hut, BEAR RIGHT to pass it on your left, and head downhill on the winding gravel track. Ahead you will see a chairlift and two gondola stations, one on the summit of the nearby mountain, and a lower, ‘middle’ station, near the top of the chairlift -  you are heading to this middle station. Information about the gondola available here: https://www.corvatsch.ch/en/

13.20km – Finish at the Corvatsch Gondola Mittelstation and descend into the valley to Surlej; from the bottom station you can then catch a bus to St Moritz.

Note

Wildlife refuge Val Roseg: December 20 - April 30
all notes on protected areas

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
13.2 km
Duration
6:00 h
Ascent
1008 m
Descent
115 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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