Walking Tour: Lai da Tuma Circuit

  • Start Oberalp Pass
  • End Oberalp Pass
  • Length 8.5km; four to five hours

This high-level route takes you through an Alpine nature reserve and along the crest of the Pazolastock Range to the source of the mighty Rhine, Lai da Tuma. The SAW 1:50,000 walking map Disentis/Mustér (Sfr21.50) is recommended.

Flanked by granite peaks, the Oberalpsee at the Oberalp Pass (2044m) is the trailhead. From the train station, walk 200m up to the Restaurant Alpsu. Take the dirt road opposite, then cut right over the open slopes. The path climbs alongside a grassy and rocky spur and through highland moors in the tiny upper valley of Puozas. Negotiate a series of tight switchbacks uphill through scree-strewn slopes.

Pass makeshift stone bunkers, coming to a signpost on the exposed ridgetop at 2571m after one to 1½ hours. Andermatt is now visible to the west in the valley of the Reuss, and, behind, the 3500m summits of the Winterberg Massif and Galenstock rise up on the Uri–Valais cantonal border.

The white-red-white marked route continues up the ridge past two rustic military buildings just under the 2739m Pazolastock (Piz Nurschalas).The trail now traverses the exposed crest of the craggy range with just enough rockhopping to make the going not too strenuous for the sure-footed.

At point 2743 follow the Fil Tuma southeastward, and sidle steadily down along the grassy, rock-strewn right-hand side of the ridge to arrive at the Badushütte, a small hut at 2505m, one to 1½ hours' walk further on. From here the path descends quickly over boulders to a signposted trail leading down to the shore of Lai da Tuma (2343m), 15 to 20 minutes' walk from the hut. This dazzling blue-green lake lies in a cirque formed by the grinding action of an extinct hanging glacier. The Vorderrhein, the true source of the Rhine, rises here.

Continue northward, winding your way down the initially rocky hillside, then past cow-grazed pastures and waterfalls. Follow the often-boggy banks gently up to arrive back at the Oberalp Pass, one to 1½ hours from the Lai da Tuma.