Located in Davos, Switzerland, between Monstein and Wiesen, lies Zügen Gorge (Zügenschlucht in German). Zügen Gorge is a three-kilometer-long scenic channel carved out by the Landwasser River. The best way to see Zügen Gorge is by walking through the old Zügenstrasse that runs from Davos Monstein to Davos Wiesen via Schmelzboden.
This scenic gorge is well worth a visit. With the Landwasser River flowing below and incredibly picturesque rocks all around, Zügen Gorge makes for a pleasant excursion in the Davos Region.
Zügen Gorge in Davos
Zügen Gorge can be found specifically between Silberbäärg and Steig between the villages of Davos Monstein and Davos Wiesen in canton Graubünden. Nearby is Steigruegg, a forest reserve around Steig, that preserves and promotes animal habitats, particularly grouse. It is part of the Silvretta mountain range.
Weather forces carved Zügen Gorge over millions of years. The fact that we can access it safely today is due to the efforts of many people. The Old Zügen Street (Alte Zügenstrasse) was built from 1870 to 1873 and connects Davos with Davos Wiesen. It is one of Switzerland’s historic streets. In the last few years, this street has seen diverse renovations such as adding walls and fences.
Until 1974, motorists used the road around Zügen Gorge. It was only after the Landwasser Road Tunnel was constructed that this road became off-limits to motorists. Using the Landwasser Tunnel, a 2,740-meter-long road tunnel, motorists had a safer way to travel between Davos Wiesen and Davos Monstein. Despite being generally safe, the bottom of the Zügen Gorge is prone to avalanches in winter.
Consequently, the old motorists’ road around Zügen Gorge has been transformed into a walking or biking path.
If you continue beyond Davos Wiesen, you will come across the Wiesner Viaduct, which stands as the Rhaetian Railway’s highest and largest stone bridge. Located near Filisur station, the Wiesner Viaduct with its impressive dimensions of 88.9 meters in height and 210 meters in length, offers a breathtaking view along this hiking trail.
Visiting Zügen Gorge: What to Expect
The easiest way to visit Zügen Gorge is to go to either Davos Wiesen or Davos Monstein and follow the hiking paths from there. As mentioned earlier, the path follows largely the old Alpine Swiss Highway path.
After reaching Davos Monstein, you will walk past Schmelzboden and the Bergbaumuseum. The path will lead you through Zügenstrasse, always walking alongside the Landwasser River. Passing through Brumbänz (Brombenz, 1260 meters) and Chlei Satteli, you will find a small waterfall. Besides the Zügen Gorge, you’ll also see the Rhaetian Railway train line and a waterfall near Bäratritt (or Bärentritt).
As the path passes Bärentritt, the terrain changes to a mountain path. But it is a short and easy one that descends to Davos Wiesen.
Hiking and Biking near Zügen Gorge
Walking or biking along Zügen Gorge is a wonderful and relaxing experience with imposing rock faces, ancient bridges, and tunnels. Previously, the roads were previously used by cars. That’s why they are wide and easy to walk on. There are neither falling rocks nor cars that disturb the wide, verdant path. Several scenic spots can be found on the route near the river or on the vantage points near Bärentritt.
You can follow the Geological Path, called the Gesteinlehrpfad Davos Zügenschlucht. There are informative signs dotted on the path pertaining to this theme trail. It is essentially the same trail mentioned above. Alternatively, the path mentioned above can also be walked the other way around, starting at Davos Wiesen and walking until Davos Monstein.
Other hiking possibilities include the following:
- Going to the right side of the valley from Ardüsch (Glaris) following the old mule track to see the Landwasser and Albula Valleys, before heading back down to Davos Wiesen
- Going further than Davos Wiesen to the Wiesner and Landwasser Viaducts
- Going from Davos Monstein village to Jenisberg before going back down to Davos Wiesen
Davos – Filisur Train
The Zügen Gorge can also be viewed from the Davos-Filisur Historical Train in the summer. However, you should keep in mind that viewing Zügen Gorge from the train is much faster than walking there.
Both experiences are well worth doing, and I personally enjoyed them both. Walking a portion and taking the train back might also be a good combination.
How to Get to Zügen Gorge
|By Train||Davos Monstein or Davos Wiesen|
|By Bus||Davos Monstein, Schmelzboden|
Davos Wiesen, Valdanna
Pratical Tips for Visiting Zügen Gorge
- In my opinion, it is ideal to go from Davos Monstein to Davos Wiesen. There is a restaurant and a toilet in Davos Wiesen, whereas there is nothing in Davos Monstein train station.
- Cars are not allowed on the road to Zügen Gorge. You can go either by bicycle or on foot.
- April to October is the ideal season to visit Zügen Gorge.
- It is ideal for children of all ages. Families, couples, individuals, and groups can visit it.
- Use appropriate shoes. It might be wet or slippery.
- Make sure you check the weather conditions before setting out on your journey. Zügen Gorge is a safe place to visit, but I will still exercise caution in case of extreme weather conditions. Additionally, it is not recommended in winter due to the risk of avalanches.
Final Thoughts: Zügen Gorge
Visiting Zügen Gorge by walking or by train is worth it if you are in Davos. Since cars used to pass here, both walkers and bikers have ample space to move around. There was only one tricky section of the hike near Bärentritt, but the rest was incredibly easy, even for children.
It is highly recommended that you visit Zügen Gorge. There are many scenic spots to enjoy in this wonderful and relaxing place. If you enjoyed visiting Zügen Gorge, Viamala in Zillis is also well worth seeing.
- Die Zügenschlucht entdecken. Zügen-Landwasser: Natur • Kultur • Geschichte. Interessengemeinschaft Zügen-Landwasser IGZL.
- Sanierung alte Zügenstrasse. Gemeinde Davos Tiefbauamt. Denkmalpflege. As of 4 August 2022.
- Sonderwaldreservat Steigrügg. Amt für Wald und Naturgefahren. https://www.gr.ch/DE/institutionen/verwaltung/diem/awn/dokumente_oeko/swr_129_Steigruegg.pdf. Accessed on 13 December 2022.
- Zwei Eisenbahnjubiläen bei der RhB im Jahre 1959. Schweiz Suisse Svizzera Switzerland. August 1959.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.