Dubbed the Grand Canyon of Switzerland, the Rhine Gorge Ruinaulta is a sight to behold on private tours of Switzerland.
More than 10,000 years ago, during the Flims Rockslide, huge rocks tumbled down into the Anterior Rhine Valley obstructing the Rhine River. Over the course of time, the mighty stream carved its way through the pile up forming the dramatic Ruinaulta. Hundreds metres deep, the canyon is flanked by imposing cliffs and dense forests. Outdoors enthusiasts flock in the area for great rafting, biking, canoeing and hiking. The gorge is also famous for its diverse wildlife and stunning orchid blooms.
One of the most popular hiking trails runs from Laax to Il Spir, a high observation platform that allows breathtakingly beautiful views over the Rhine Gorge. Lake Cauma is another popular spot where, after a good hike, you can swim in the turquoise waters.
The gorge can also be reached by the Rhaetian Railway. You can get off at Trin, Versam-Safien or Valendas-Sagogn stations and continue to explore on foot or just relax in your seat and take in the spectacular views of the canyon from your window.
There are many picturesque villages along the trails running to the Ruinaulta where you can stop to relax and have a hearty meal. Ilanz sits at the start of the gorge and is a great starting point for adventurous explorers. In winter, the area around the village fills up with winter sports enthusiasts who come here for skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, Nordic skiing and winter hiking. In Reichenau, where the Upper and Lower Rhine meet, you can cross a 100-metre long suspension bridge across the river, walk to a spectacular viewing platform in the Bonaduzer Forest or tale a tour and chill out with a glass of wine at the 17th century Reichenau Castle’s winery.
Photos via Flickr by: Rosmarie Voegtli, Kurt Zwahlen.