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Home   Hiking in Switzerland   Bergün to the Kesch Hut

Lace up your boots in Switzerland's largest
Nature Park - Parc Ela
Circular hike from Bergün

The scenic circular hike from Bergün leads past hamlets and through the unspoilt alpine landscape of the Val Tuors to the Kesch mountain hut, the Portchabella Glacier and back via the Ravais-ch valley to Chants and Bergün.

You'll experience enchanting forests, flower filled mountain pastures, gurgling brooks, shimmering lakes, a glacier, wild animals and you'll be treated with great views.

Val Ravais-ch in Bergün Chants and Val Ravais-ch. Courtesy www.val-tuors.ch

In Bergün look for the signpost that prompts you to the hamlet of Chants and the "Val Tuors", a side valley of the Albula valley. You can follow the main road or the path that more or less parallels the road to Chants.

First, a winding road goes up to Latsch, a settlement above Bergün, and then through the picturesque "Val Tuors" to the quaint hamlet of Chants, a way station between the surrounding Alps and Bergün. It's inhabited in the summer and autumn months by farmers and vacationers.

Hike in the Switzerland's largest Nature Park - Parc Ela

The hamlet is in a very idyllic setting. The buildings are still largely preserved in their original state. The architecture is not quite in the Walser style, nor in the style of the Engadin houses - but quite a unique mixture of both.

A cosy and rustic restaurant invites you to rest before you continue your hike to the Kesch hut or to relax after you've done the circle hike.

Two trails lead from Chants to the Kesch mountain hut ("Chamanna digl Kesch" in the local Romansh language):

  • Route A: Follow the signs directly south towards "Alp digl Chants" (2 buildings) or Schegvel, how the region above the Alp is called. Shortly before the "Alp digl Chants" is a turnoff to the left toward east at an elevation of 1952 metres above sea level. After a steep climb to 2200 m follows the easier part, and the next 400 meters in altitude difference are a pleasure to walk. This route is also used during the winter because the avalanche risk is lower.
  • Route B: The second path leads from Chants directly to the east and is a bit narrower but very beautiful too. This route to the Kesch mountain hut is used by marathon runners via Mignaclas where route B joins route A at 2520 m above sea level.

From this point on there are only a few meters in elevation to overcome to the wonderfully located Kesch mountain hut - with a fantastic view to "Piz Kesch" (Piz meaning mountain peak) with its distinct box shape of which its name is derived. It is the highest and most famous mountain in the Albula region and the "Nature Parc Ela" and can be seen from far away.

The view from the Kesch Hut Commanding panorama - view from the Kesch Alpine Hut

The landscape is hilly, mossy and sparse and around the Kesch Alpine Hut are many small lakes. It's also home to large colonies of wild animals, among them ibexes, the symbol of Graubünden. In the southern direction - not far from the hut - begins the "Vadret da Porchabella", the Porchabella Glacier.

Note:

Never hike a glacier on your own if you are not experienced. It's far too dangerous and Glacier equipment is a must. Even a short detour - tempting as it may be - should not be undertaken without suitable equipment.

The glacier is impressive and the milky runoff waters show different colours, depending on the type of rocks beneath the ice. Interesting too are the numerous high alpine plants that flourish abundantly in the nutrient-poor soil.

You can stay overnight in the Kesch hut or just stop for lunch or a snack before you continue your hike.

From the Kesch hut one follows the hiking path in the northern direction and on the left side of the small stream to the "Ravais-ch Seen" (lakes) and the "Sertig and Scaletta passes". For a short distance there's only one path that winds along the slope at an altitude of about 2430 m.(The pathway to the right of the small stream leads down into Engadin valley).

After about one hour one reaches a turnoff to the left that ascents to the lakes. The path that leads straight ahead goes to the "Scaletta pass" and then down into the Davos-Dischma valley - the original route of the Alpine Marathon.

Ravaish-ch lakes

From the beautiful high moor that surrounds the "Ravais-ch lakes", one continues west. In walking directions you see the massif's of the "Three Ducans" - to the left the Ducan glacier, in the middle the "Ducan Pitschen" and then the "High Ducan" (Hochducan), followed by the "Plattenflue".

Behind the lakes the path turns south through the beautiful "Val da Ravais-ch" with its lush alpine meadows along a wild mountain stream to Chants, the starting point.

Circle hike Bergün to the Kesch hut
Map made with SwissTopo

Good to Know

  • Chants can also be reached by the Alpine Bus (Bus alpin) which shortens the circle hike considerably. You would need to make a reservation, one or both ways (daily mid-June to mid-September);

  • The hike is marked as Mountain trail but absolutely safe, easy and suited for children too. The paths are well maintained and all it needs is a pair of good walking shoes;

  • As you know, the Swiss love to hike and therefore the route can be somewhat crowded on weekends in July and August and during school holidays. The best time to hike and to avoid the crowd would be June or mid-August to end of September on weekdays. October can be beautiful too, but there's a chance of early snowfall;

  • Hiking time:
    Bergün (1400m) to Chants (1822 m) approx. 2 hours
    Chants (1822 m) to the Kesch hut (2632 m) approx. 2.5 hours
    Kesch hut (2632 m) to Raivais-ch lakes (2505 m) approx. 1 ¼ hours
    Ravais-ch lakes (2505 m) to Chants (1822 m) approx. 2.5 hours

  • Parc Ela Mobile App for detailed info including photos and route planning;

  • In case of emergency, I recommend to upload the REGA Mobile App for iPhone or Android;

  • There are a myriad of amazing trails in the "Parc Ela", Switzerland's largest Nature Park. More info here.

Stay

Kesch hut in the Parc Ela Kesch hut with part of the Portchabella glacier
Rütlischwur




Fida Willi is an avid outdoor enthusiast. When she's not exploring the world, she and her cats live totally off the grid on the "sunny side" of the Prättigau Valley.

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Piz Kesch in the Nature Parc Ela, Graubünden Piz Kesch

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