A chairlift ride saves your legs and transports you high into the mountains to begin your walk. From here you teeter above the valley on narrow paths that offer unparalleled views to craggy peaks, secluded valleys, St Moritz and its lakes, and even to Morteratsch Glacier.
Take a bus or train from Zernez to the centre of Pontresina. The chairlift scoops you off your feet from the heart of Pontresina and drops you high in the mountains, thus saving a lot of legwork! From here, the footpath winds higher still, zig-zagging up and then traversing along the steep flank of Piz Muragl; the higher you ascend, the more thrilling the walk, as the path becomes increasingly narrow and rocky. On the most precipitous sections, a fixed cable handrail is provided to ensure safety. This trail is not suggested for walkers with vertigo; the slightly lower ‘Panoramaweg’ trail is a good alternative; well-signposted, impressive views, and also finishing at the Muottas Muragl station.
From your lofty lookout high on the Klimaweg trail, the views are rich, varied and constantly changing. During the first half of the walk, be sure to look behind regularly to admire the Morteratsch Glacier. As you approach Muottas Muragl, the lakes of St Moritz and the Engadine Valley will unfurl with every footstep until you can peer straight through the valley. The secluded Roseg Valley on your left, with its narrow, tumbling stream and dense pine forest, is a teaser for the Val Roseg walk, the most challenging of the trip, which you will tackle in a few days.
From Muottas Muragl, you can take the Funicular Railway down into the valley, and then return to Pontresina by bus (both included in your Mountain Pass), or if you haven’t had enough walking yet, feel free to continue on foot!
Enjoy a hearty soup for lunch in the mountain hut which was a former residence to famous Italian artist, Giovanni Segantini.
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 trail is not suggested for walkers with vertigo; the slightly lower ‘Panoramaweg’ trail is a good alternative; well-signposted, impressive views, and finishing at the Muottas Muragl station.
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.
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.
Points of Interest
Ibex Outdoor Museum
A free outdoor museum at the top of the Pontresina Chairlift details the fascinating history of the Ibex in the Engadine Valley. The ibex was driven to complete extinction in Switzerland. Thanks to the work of poachers who stole baby ibex from Italy, and prominent Swiss figures who encouraged this illegal practice, today there are approximately 1800 ibex in Val Languard, and if you’re lucky, you may spot some today!
Giovanni Segantini was a 19th century artist famed for his pastoral paintings of the Alps, inspired by the very same landscapes through which you walk today. He worked in a mountain hut that overlooked one of the Engadine’s Valley most spectacular panoramas. You will pass that same mountain hut, which is now a vibrant café and rest area, serving the throngs of hikers who pass this way to appreciate the mountains.
Food and Drink
There is a restaurant at Alp Languard, at the top of the chairlift ride where you begin your hike. There is a mountain hut serving hearty meals after 3 kilometres; this hut is where famous Austrian artist, Giovanni Segantini, lived and was completing his final artwork when he died. There is a café and restaurant after 6.5 kilometres, at the end of the hike, before taking the funicular railway down.
There are plenty of benches providing opportunities to enjoy a picnic while absorbing the sensational views.