Rhine Gorge (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Ivo Scholz)

Rhine Gorge - the perfect visit to the Swiss Grand Canyon

7 Highlights in the Rhine Gorge

  • Experience one of the most impressive and unique landscapes in the Alps. Due to the size and beauty of the Rhine Gorge, it is also known as the "Grand Canyon of Switzerland".
  • The gorge is home to fascinating flora and fauna. With a little luck you will discover many rare bird species and beautiful orchids.
  • The breathtaking size of the canyon enchants every visitor. The steep walls on the sides of the valley rise up to 350 meters.
  • On warm days you can cool off in one of the three bathing lakes near the gorge: Lake Laax, Lake Cresta and Lake Cauma.
  • Many hiking trails wind through the valley, offering you unique views. They often lead you to one of the six well-known viewing platforms.
  • The gorge also offers many opportunities for mountain bikers. A total of five trails lead through the region.
  • The good rail connections make it very easy to get there by public transport. In addition, an open adventure train runs through the valley, with which you can comfortably discover the natural spectacle.

What awaits you in the Rhine Gorge

The Rhine Gorge is one of the most impressive regions of the Swiss Alps and is located only about 20 min from Chur. The beautiful flora and fauna amidst the mighty rock walls fascinates every visitor. During 14 km the Rhine flows through the gorge before it crosses Europe and reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the size of the gorge, it is often called the "Grand Canyon of Switzerland".

You can discover the Rhine Gorge in your own way. Many hiking trails of various difficulties wind through the valley. Also as a mountain biker you will get your money's worth with the exciting trails of the region. And if you just want to take a leisurely ride through the gorge, there are open adventure trains of the Rhaetian Railway. By the way, the world-famous Glacier Express also runs through the Rhine Gorge.

The nature you discover during your visit has something for everyone. From various viewing platforms you can enjoy unique views of the fascinating panorama. These include, for example, the Islabord or the Wackenau platform. In addition, many rare species of birds and insects, as well as beautiful orchids await you. And when it gets warm in summer, you can cool off in one of the mountain lakes.

Swiss Activities in the Rhine Gorge offers

Rhine Gorge viewing platform (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Christoph Sonderegger)Rhine Gorge viewing platform (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Christoph Sonderegger)
Rhine Gorge (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Andreas Gerth)Rhine Gorge (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Andreas Gerth)

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The best hikes in the Rhine Gorge

The Rhine Gorge offers many exciting hiking trails. Learn about five hikes of varying difficulty here.

Alluvial path from Ilanz

Ilanz - Castrisch - Sagogn - Schluein - Ilanz

This beautiful hike is perfect for all nature lovers. You start in Ilanz and hike from there through floodplain forests and nature reserves along the Vorderrhein. You will pass through the villages of Castrisch, Sagogn and Schluein before returning to Ilanz.

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Distance: 16.7 km
  • Duration: 5:00 h
  • Ascent / descent: 278 (↑ hm) / 278 (↓ hm)
  • Season: April - October

Circuit Ruinaulta Sut

Trin Digg - Versam/Safien Station - Versam Islabord - Trin Station - Trin Digg

This rather difficult circular trail leads you from Trin Digg down into the Rhine Gorge to the Versam/Safien train station. From there you walk up to the viewing platform Islabord. After you have enjoyed the great view, you hike back to Trin Digg.

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Distance: 21.4 km
  • Duration: 6:50 h
  • Ascent / Descent: 917 (↑ hm) / 917 (↓ hm)
  • Season: April - October

Tuora from Flims

Flims Waldhaus - Salums - Conn - Lake Cauma - Flims Waldhaus

From Flims Waldhaus you hike through beautiful forests up to the viewing platform "Il Spir". There you can enjoy a unique view of the panorama of the Rhine Gorge. After the turquoise-blue Lake Cauma, a popular bathing resort, the path leads you back to Flims.

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Distance: 13.3 km
  • Duration: 4:00 h
  • Ascent / descent: 460 (↑ hm) / 460 (↓ hm)
  • Season: April - October

Fascinating trail Valendas

Valendas - Valendas

On this adventure trail you walk along the Rhine past seven stations. These stations inform you about nature, geology and history of the region. You can walk the circular trail in both directions and start at different places.

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Distance: 4.6 km
  • Duration: 1:25 h
  • Ascent / descent: 159 (↑ hm) / 159 (↓ hm)
  • Season: May - October

Family circular route Castrisch

Ilanz - Castrisch - Ilanz

This leisurely walk is perfect for families. You start the trail from Ilanz. From there you walk to the mountain village Castrisch. The short hike leads you through the village before you return to Ilanz.

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Distance: 6.2 km
  • Duration: 1:45 h
  • Ascent / descent: 111 (↑ hm) / 111 (↓ hm)
  • Season: April - November
Rhine Gorge View (Photo: Seraina Zellweger)Rhine Gorge View (Photo: Seraina Zellweger)
Rhine Gorge Panorama (Photo: Seraina Zellweger)Rhine Gorge Panorama (Photo: Seraina Zellweger)

The 3 best viewing platforms

Islabord viewing platform

The Islabord viewing platform is located a little above Versam village. It offers you a great view of the Rhine Gorge. It was created from wood and concrete by engineer Jürg Conzett. You can easily reach it on foot from Versam. There is also a post bus stop right next to the platform.

Wackenau viewing platform

At the Wackenau ruin there is also a great viewing platform. It is located rather at the end of the 14 km long gorge and thus offers a unique view of the mountain panorama. You can reach it via Trin Station or Bonaduz.

Spitg viewing platform

This platform is a bit more difficult to reach, but the hike is worth it. At the vantage point you can admire a unique panorama with the Versamer Tobel, the Rhine Gorge and the Flims mountains. The hike from Versam village or Trin station takes about 1.5 hours on foot.

Rhine River Loop (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Jan Geerk)Rhine River Loop (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Jan Geerk)
View Rhine Gorge (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Jan Geerk)View Rhine Gorge (Photo: Switzerland Tourism Jan Geerk)

Journey to the Rhine Gorge

The approximately 14 km long gorge is located between Ilanz and Reichenau in the canton of Graubünden. It is easily accessible by car as well as by train. There are several train stations in the gorge and some roads lead to viewpoints and villages in the region

Public transport

The only continuous transport route through the gorge is the railroad line. Besides the gorge, there are a few larger towns with train stations. The most important two for visiting the Rhine Gorge are the train stations Ilanz and Reichenau. And of course Chur, which is only 20 min away from the gorge

There are a total of three train stations in the gorge: Trin, Versam-Safien and Valendas-Sagogn. Most hiking routes start from one of the train stations. Mountain bikes may also be taken on the train with a special ticket. The journey through the gorge takes about 30 minutes in total. It offers you an impressive view of the massive rock walls throughout.

By car

The valley is partially accessible by car. However, it is recommended to leave the car at the train stations Reichenau or Ilanz and to discover the gorge by train. Parking spaces are available in many places:

Parking spaces railroad accessParking spaces left gorge sideParking spaces right gorge side
Reichenau-Tamins train stationTrin PorclisBonaduz
Ilanz train stationFlims villageVersam village
Laax villageValendas village

Who is the Rhine Gorge suitable for?

You should definitely add the fascinating Rhine Gorge to your list when you are traveling in the region. The unique natural spectacle with exciting flora and fauna enchants every visitor. Since the gorge is very well connected by rail and roads, it is suitable for everyone. Families can enjoy one of the shorter hiking trails. And even wheelchair users get their money's worth with the open adventure cars of the Rhaetian Railway.