Fuorcla Surlej: One of Engadin’s Most Beautiful Viewpoints

Fuorcla Surlej caught my attention when I first saw a picture in a guidebook. For a very long time, it had been at the top of my bucket list. It was wonderful to finally see it in September. The experience was absolutely wonderful. It seems like I said wow about a hundred times that day. I can’t wait to go back. 

Graubünden’s Engadin is one of Switzerland’s most scenic regions. This region is teeming with gorgeous spots. Among all of them, one stands out in particular – Fuorcla Surlej.

Engadin’s Fuorcla Surlej is without a doubt one of the most impressive viewpoints in Switzerland

Fuorcla Surlej is always open and you can get there on foot from all over Engadin. This is the easiest way to get from Roseg Valley to Engadin Valley or vice versa.

Fuorcla Surlej: What’s in a name?

Fuorcla is a Romansh word meaning fork. The word comes from the Latin furcula meaning “small fork” or “small mountain pass”. The fork itself is a saddle between Piz Murtèl and Munt Arlas.

Surlej village can be found beneath Fuorcla Surlej. And if you were curious where the name comes from, sur lej means super lacum, which translates to “over the lake”. 

Lake at Fuorcla Surlej

Image of the lake at Fuorcla Surlej by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Fuorcla Surlej lake is only accessible on foot. It’s a little mountain lake, so small it almost looks like a pond. This object, which is still and reflects the mountain peaks, is an appropriate subject for a photograph. It is only possible to reach the mountain lake by foot from Silvaplana, St. Moritz-Bad, Roseg Valley, and the Murtèl mountain station.

The Fuorcla Surlej lake is also a great place for pictures. Especially when there are no other guests around, you should be able to take wonderful photographs. There’s also peace and quiet there. You can possibly have a picnic, enjoy the lovely sunshine, and admire the breathtaking views of the Bernina Massif. 

Views at Fuorcla Surlej

Mountain views as seen from Fuorcla Surlej by TouringSwitzerland.com

The views from Fuorcla Surlej are amazing. You can find the following mountain peaks along with their recorded heights (in meters):

  • Piz Boval – 3,353 meters
  • Piz Tschierva – 3,546 meters
  • Piz Morteratsch – 3,751 meters
  • Bernina Massif – 4,049 meters
  • Piz Scerscen – 3,971 meters
  • Piz Roseg – 3,937 meters
  • Dschimels (The twins) – 3,479 meters and 3,508 meters
  • Piz la Sella – 3,584 meters
  • Piz Glüschaint – 3,593 meters
  • Piz Chapütschin – 3,386 meters

How to Get To Fuorcla Surlej

Route from Murtèl to Fuorcla Surlej by TouringSwitzerland.com

The easiest way to get to Fuorcla Surlej is to take the Corvatsch gondola to Murtèl (2,699 meters). From the Murtèl mountain station, you can easily reach Fuorcla Surlej (2,755 meters). You can walk there in 45 minutes to an hour. With wide enough roads, it is an easy walk. Also, the climb is not too demanding. 

From Murtèl, there is a second option. A longer walk leads across a small lake called Lej da la Fuorcla (2,490 meters). Take note that Lej da la Fuorcla is NOT the same as the tiny lake near Fuorcla Surlej. The last ascent can be quite steep and exhausting.  It probably takes about half an hour longer than the easier route. It is also more strenuous.

Other options to get to Fuorcla Surlej are by going to Silvaplana, St. Moritz Bad, or Val Roseg.

Hikes to Fuorcla Surlej

Image of the trail from Murtèl to Fuorcla Surlej by TouringSwitzerland.com
  • Circular Trail to Fuorcla Surlej: The trail takes you from Murtèl middle station to Fuorcla Surlej through a simple circular route. Once you have reached Fuorcla Surlej, simply head back in the same direction.
  • Murtèl – Fuorcla Surlej – Lej dals Chöds – Lej Nair – Lej Marsch – St. Moritz: The hiking trail begins at Murtèl, the middle station of the Corvatsch gondola. First, the route drops down to the Lej da la Fuorcla, then briefly climbs up to the Fuorcla Surlej. Following a steep descent from Fuorcla Surlej, you will reach the Restaurant Hahnensee, which is ideally located beside Lej dals Chöds lake. After another descent, proceed to Lej Nair and Lej Marsch. The trail ends in St. Moritz. The trail is 10.5 kilometers long and takes approximately 3 hours.
  • Val Roseg to Fuorcla Surlej hike: The hike from Hotel Roseg Glacier to Fuorcla takes around 2 hours. From Pontresina, the hike takes a bit longer. Or you can do it the other way around by going from Murtèl all the way down to Roseg Valley, one of the side valleys near Pontresina. While the route from Pontresina is more demanding, the route from Murtèl is less so. The views are outstanding and highly recommended.
    • The hikes to and from Fuorcla Surlej are marked by the Bernina Tour hiking trails (Trail 53). You can view the profile here on Schweizmobil.ch.

Fuorcla Surlej Mountain Restaurant

Berghaus Fuorcla Surlej by TouringSwitzerland.com

The self-service mountain restaurant Berghaus Fuorcla Surlej serves warm meals and offers snacks. They also have an outside terrace that affords fantastic views of the Bernina Massif and Piz Roseg. You can also order food to go if you wish.

I would recommend stopping by as the views itself together with the fantastic food are totally worth it.

Final Thoughts

What a view!  Fuorcla Surlej is definitely worth a visit. And so close to St. Moritz, Silvaplana, Pontresina, and Sils Maria. Additionally, you can get there in no time with the cable car that goes from Surlej to Murtèl. There aren’t many better views in the Engadin than this. So if you’re visiting Upper Engadine, in particular St. Moritz, Silvaplana, Pontresina, and Sils Maria, do check it out. You will not regret it.

Resource

  • M. Perego, Giuseppe. Ausflugsparadies Engadin. Wanderführer von Giuseppe M. Perego. Montabella Verlag AG, St. Moritz, 2000.