There's hardly a place in Switzerland that showcases nature's elements better than Flims-Laax.
You may know this resort from the vantage point of its ski slopes. But during the rest of the year, mystical forests, roaring waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and epic sceneries come to life.
How to hike the Flims Water Trail
Lately, we have spent a lot of time in Romansh-speaking parts of Switzerland. One of the words that stuck is "flem", which translates to "village creek". Naturally, many villages in Grisons have a creek or river that runs through it. So we have spotted this word frequently.
The town of Flims is no other. Their "flem" gains speed and volume as it flows more than 1000 meters from the melting glaciers to the valley. Whether across meadows or down rocky waterfalls, gravity finds its way.
Flims has made it especially attractive to experience the forces of nature firsthand. The Flims Water Trail allows for a memorable round-trip hike starting in Flims. It takes anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 hours.
Along the trail, a Swiss bridge engineer has constructed seven exceptional crossings. These bridges add a level of adventure to the (otherwise beautiful) hike.
Officially, it is recommended to hike the Flims Water Trail in a counterclockwise direction.
You would start by taking the chair lift from Flims to Naraus. From there, continue on a panoramic trail to Segnesboden. After visiting this open plain, descend along the river back to the starting point. We prefer ascending, so we turn things around. For the first 3.5 hours (excluding a lunch break), we walk up, up, and up!
I love this particular bridge for its nearby waterfall. You will have to hike the trail yourself to see the breathtaking heights...
Right at the tree line, we meet a herd of grazing donkeys:
Once we finally reach Segnesboden with its mountain hut, we spend some time on the plain.
We follow one of the streams while marveling at the Tschingelhörner peaks. Somewhere up there is a window named Martinsloch. Its opening can be seen from the town of Elm, and twice a year the sun illuminates the town's church by shining exactly through this window. A definite "must-see" is the four-tiered waterfall which is mentioned on the way signs.
From Segnesboden, a slowly descending trail takes us to the chair lift in Naraus (1 - 1.5 hours).
Right before we reach the chair lift, we run into some loitering cattle.
This is only the second meadow with cattle we have to cross. And fortunately, they are nice bovines that even lick Mamiko's hand...
Art and engineering in harmony with nature
We are frequent mountain hikers, having walked many epic trails in Switzerland. Here are three reasons why the Flims Water Trail stands out to us: it is well marked (follow #764). The trail crosses an ever-changing landscape. And we felt like every bridge was a reward for all the climbing.
This hiking trail treads on surfaces with great significance. The area of Segnesboden, including the nine Tschingelhörner peaks, is considered a Unesco World Heritage site. The Sardona site exposes the geological fact that older rock layers lay on top of younger layers.
The Flims Water Trail allowed us to experience millions of years of history firsthand. The trail has carefully been laid out, not to distract the landscape and the existing meadows. And each bridge is fit into the surroundings, embedding both art and engineering into nature.
- Length: 14 km
- Duration: 4.5 - 5.5 hrs
- Profile: 460 m up, 1200 m down (counterclockwise)
- Start at Flims Talstation and have lunch at Ustria Startgels (try the polenta prepared over the open fire)