Trekking in the Silvretta and Ratikon Alps
Tour of the Silvretta, the Prattigauer Hohenweg and the Ratikon Hohenweg plus 12 day routes
By Kev Reynolds
This guide describes three treks, between 5 and 8 days, in the Silvretta and Rätikon Alps starting near Klosters, and 12 half-day hut-to-hut routes. These contrasting ranges form a line on the borders of Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. The Tour of the Silvretta, the Prättigauer Höhenweg and the Rätikon Höhenweg.
SeasonsWhen snow has melted from the high passes and all the huts are open, the treks are best tackled from late June until the end of September.
CentresSince these are multi-day routes there are no bases as such, but the treks either bein at, or pass through, Klosters, Lavin, St Antönien, Nenzinger Himmel and Brand.
DifficultyNo technical difficulty or special equipment will be required to tackle these routes under normal summer conditions, but the 7-8 day Tour of the Silvretta has several challenging and remote passes to cross and is suitable for experienced trekkers. The 5-day Prättigauer Höhenweg and 7-8 day Rätikon Höhenweg are both moderate.
Must SeeThree great trekking routes among such peaks as Piz Buin, Piz Linard, Dreiländerspitz, Schesaplana, Sulzfluh and Drusenfluh, crossing the Vereina Pass, Furcletta, Pass Futschöl, Hochmaderer Joch, Gross Furgga, Verajöchl and Plasseggenpass, and visiting villages like Lavin, Guarda and St Antönien. The Silvretta has snowfields and glaciers, the Rätikon is limestone and almost dolomitic in grandeur.
Straddling the borders of Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the limestone Rätikon Alps reach into the snow-bound and glacier-hung Silvretta Alps to provide a richly diverse series of landscapes. The Tour of the Silvretta, the Prättigauer Höhenweg and the Rätikon Höhenweg, all within easy reach of Klosters, have been devised to help trekkers explore the best of the region. Given sifficient time they can also be combined to create a continuous 2-week tour.
The Silvretta and Rätikon may stand together, but their geology and landscapes are vastly different. Together, they feature picturesque alpine villages, a large selection of mountain huts and a range of walkers' passes to provide excellent trekking.
This guide describes all three treks, step by step, as well as 12 short routes linking some of the area’s most idyllically-located huts, for those who prefer to plan their own tours.
A Tour of the Silvretta Alps - this fairly strenuous hut-to-hut tour makes a counter-clockwise circuit of the Silvretta Alps over the course of about a week. With magnificent scenery throughout, there are several rugged passes to negotiate and a number of beautiful valleys to wander through.
The Prattigauer Hohenweg - a medium-grade multi-day route that works its way along the south flank of the Silvretta and Ratikon mountains between Klosters and Landquart. This very fine trek is demanding in places, but it rewards with numerous memorable views especially of the abrupt walls of the Ratikon mountains.
The Ratikon Hohenweg - the Ratikon Hohenweg Nord runs along the Austrian flank of the mountains, while a roughly parallel route known at the Ratikon Hohenweg Sud takes a similar course on the Swiss flank. By linking them at either end of the mountain range, a first class hut-to-hut circuit can be achieved.
Along with detailed route descriptions, maps, information on travel to and around the area, practical tips on equipment and trekking logistics, as well as details on climbable peaks and points of interest, are all included.
- 3 treks between 5 and 8 days long, suitable for moderately experienced trekkers, with optional side excursions to climb nearby peaks
- 12 full- or half-day hut-to-hut routes
- includes a hut directory with full information about all the mountain huts in the region, as well as language notes and recommended pre-holiday reading
Linking all three treks
Wildlife and alpine flowers
When to go
Notes for walkers
Clothing and equipment
Safety in the mountains
Using this guide
Trek 1: A Tour of the Silvretta Alps
Prelude Klosters Platz to Berghaus Vereina
Stage 1 Berghaus Vereina to Lavin
Stage 2 Lavin to Chamanna Tuoi
Stage 3 Chamanna Tuoi to the Jamtal Hut
Stage 4 Jamtal Hut to the Wiesbadener Hut
Stage 4A Jamtal Hut to the Bielerhöhe
Stage 5 Wiesbadener Hut (or Bielerhöhe) to the Tübinger Hut
Stage 6 Tübinger Hut to Klosters Platz
Stage 6A Tübinger Hut to Schlappin
Stage 6B Schlappin to Klosters Dorf
Trek 2: The Prättigauer Höhenweg
Stage 1 Klosters Platz to Schlappin
Stage 2 Schlappin to St Antönien
Stage 3 St Antönien to the Carschina Hut
Stage 4 Carschina Hut to the Schesaplana Hut
Stage 5 Schesaplana Hut to Seewis
Trek 3: The Rätikon Höhenweg
Stage 1 St Antönien to the Carschina Hut
Stage 1a St Antönien to the Carschina Hut via Partnun
Stage 2 Carschina Hut to the Schesaplana Hut
Stage 3 Schesaplana Hut to Nenzinger Himmel
Stage 4 Nenzinger Himmel to the Douglass Hut (or Brand)
Side trip Ascent of the Schesaplana
Stage 5 Douglass Hut to the Lindauer Hut
Stage 6 Lindauer Hut to the Tilisuna Hut
Side trip Ascent of the Sulzfluh
Stage 7 Tilisuna Hut to St Antönien
Route 1 Wiesbadener Hut – Rote Furka – Silvretta Hut
Route 2 Wiesbadener Hut – Litzner Sattel – Saarbrücker Hut
Route 3 Saarbrücker Hut – Schweizerlücke – Plattenjoch – Seetal Hut
Route 4 Schlappin – Schlappiner Joch – Gargellen
Route 5 St Antönien – Tilisunafürggli – Tilisuna Hut
Route 6 Tilisuna Hut – Plasseggenpass – Sarotla Joch – Gargellen
Route 7 Tilisuna Hut – Tilisunafürggli – Carschina Hut
Route 8 Carschina Hut – Drusator – Lindauer Hut
Route 9 Douglass Hut – Lünerkrinne – Heinrich-Hueter Hut
Route 10 Douglass Hut – Cavelljoch – Schesaplana Hut
Route 11 Douglass Hut – Totalp Hut
Route 12 Totalp Hut – Gamsluggen – Schesaplana Hut
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B The huts
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Language notes and glossary
Appendix E Further reading
All but a very small section of the Tour of the Silvretta Alps is found on the Kümmerley + Frey Wanderkarte, Unterengadin (Engiadina Bassa) map at 1:60,000 scale. The only section missing includes Klosters and Monbiel at the start and finish of the trek, but this is covered by the same publisher’s Prättigau-Albula sheet. Trails and huts are clearly marked in red on both maps, whose scale should be perfectly adequate for most occasions. Should you require greater detail, the DAV has produced an excellent 1:25,000 sheet covering all the Austrian side of the Silvretta, as well as a good proportion of the Swiss flank, under the heading Alpenvereinskarte 26 Silvrettagruppe.
Kümmerley + Frey’s Prättigau-Albula not only overlaps a section of the Tour of the Silvretta, it’s also ideal for trekkers following the Prättigauer Höhenweg where the whole route is covered.
The same sheet (Prättigau-Albula) includes all of the Rätikon Höhenweg, although if you plan to approach Nenzinger Himmel or Brand from the north, you will need an Austrian map such as Freytag & Berndt’s 1:50,000 scale WK374 which covers the Austrian flank of the Rätikon and Silvretta Alps as far east as the Fimbertal.
Available locally, a very fine map at a scale of 1:40,000 with the title Schesaplana Wanderkarte shows all the huts and footpaths highlighted in red (the Prättigauer Höhenweg is marked in green). On the reverse is a depiction of the main footpaths with estimated walking times between selected points. This sheet includes the whole of the Prättigauer Höhenweg trek and that of the Rätikon Höhenweg, but does not extend into the Silvretta range.
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page 63: Please note there is a small shop attached to the hotel/restaurant at the eastern end of the Bielerhöhe
page 65: The route to the Tübinger Hut is now signed from the track/dirt road you join after crossing the Kromer Bach. Walk up the track for about 20m where you will then find waymarks on the right.
page 126: Brand has an ATM if you’re running short of cash.
Since this guide went to print, the following website addresses have changed:
When to go
www.meteoschweiz.ch/en has changed to www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/web/en.html
Stage 2 Lavin to Chamanna Tuoi
www.engadin.net/guarda has changed to www.engadine.com/guarda
www.st-antonien.ch has changed to www.st-antoenien.ch
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A lifelong passion for the countryside in general, and mountains in particular, drives Kev's desire to share his sense of wonder and delight in the natural world through his writing, photography and lecturing.
Claiming to be The Man with the World's Best Job, he has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Cicerone since the 1970s, producing over 50 books, including guides to five major trekking regions of Nepal, and to numerous routes in the European Alps and Pyrenees, as well as walking guides for Kent, Sussex and the Cotswolds.