Another very beautiful lake in the upper Engadine is located in a side valley off the village Maloja - Lake Cavloc. It's a rather short hike, more a walk, which takes only about 1:30 h from the village, the elevation difference is not too much either: less than 200 m.
You're on a historic trail here. From Maloja through this valley - Val Forno - leads an old smuggler's trail over the Muretto Pass to Italy. It also was quite much frequented by political refugees from Italy - e.g. during the Mussolini era. Shortly after the lake the smuggler's trail turns left into the Muretto valley while the main Forno valley goes up to the glacier of the same name (mountain hut also).
The trail offers nice views back at Maloja and the mountains at the opposite valley of the Engadine valley first. Reaching the lake will have a sort of "Wow"-effect as you step out of the woods and see the lake right in front of you, the huge massif of Pizzi dei Rossi in the back.
There is a restaurant by the lake and a few minutes beyond the lake is a goat Alp (yummy cheese available). I highly recommend to walk around the lake and take the small path at its end back which meets the main trail a half hour later, further down the valley.
In case you're wondering about pictures 4 and 5 - yep, you can see Edelweiss in this valley. Not telling where, you must look for it yourself! :-) And I saw a bear, yes! Only that it was a film crew that had brought it ... LOL
Usually I am not a big fan of hikes in ski areas. However, sometimes the cable cars offer good / easy access to hiking trails that lead away from the skiing area. After taking the funicular from St. Moritz Dorf to Corviglia and the cable car up to P. Nair you're standing at more than 3,000 m / 10,000 ft. Wow. The views are impressive although not as beautiful as from other viewing points in the Upper Engadine. Thus P. Nair is not in my list of *must do* places here.
Anyway, hike down along the ski piste on the backside - it is very rugged, gravel in parts. Not exactly "beautiful". But just ten minutes or so down the way you'll notice blooming wildflowers in all colours. And once you left the ski piste and are on the hiking trail in the Suvretta pass (meeting it at the Suvretta pass, where another trail comes up from Bever) it is green around you. Now the trail follows the valley down, always along the gurgling creek, until you reach an Alp where you can choose between descending down to Champfer (bus stop) or follow the trail relatively flat along the slopes of the mountain to one of the gondolas that take you down to St. Moritz (Suvretta, Signal, Corviglia-Chantarella).
The hike is basically easy. No problems with directions. But keep in mind the elevation difference is about 1,000 m - DOWN! Which can cause knee problems.
This hike takes you to one of the most spectacular viewing points in the Alps - Fuorcla Surlej, which is a pass between the main Engadine valley and the Roseg valley. Access to the hiking trail is easy: Take the cable car from Silvaplana Surlej up to the middle station Murtel. (If you want, go all the way up to P. Corvatsch for the views first, then back down to the middle station - special "hiking tickets" available.) The slopes around Murtel are an excellent skiing area in winter, in summer they appear very rugged and sometimes unfriendly with the boulders spread all over and hardly some green or flowers anywhere.
The trail to Fuorcla Surlej is first flat, then a short but steep zigzag ascent follows. And at once, when you reach the pass, the view of the Bernina massif with the glaciers literally takes your breath! Take the time to have a drink or snack on the terrace of the mountain hut and enjoy the views.
From Fuorcla Surlej you have three options to hike down to Roseg valley: The shortest route takes less than 2 hours and leads directly to Hotel Roseggletscher. It is quite steep and challenging for the knees, though. The other two routes first take you deeper into the valley, almost flat along the slopes of P. Corvatsch. After a while the "middle" route takes a turn left, descending on a quite steep trail down and closer to the glacier lake with the icebergs.
The most exciting and longest route runs farther to the end of the Roseg valley to the Coaz hut. Once there enjoy the ambience of an authentic mountain hut, built of stone and wood and frequented by mountaineers, hardly any hikers. Have a snack and drink, then descend via the glacier lake to Hotel Roseggletscher. LONG!
From Hotel Roseggletscher you have several options to get back to Pontresina (where you can catch a train or bus to your base): 1) Walk - quite long, 1.30 hrs; 2) Take the horse-drawn carriage - reservation recommended and 3) rent a bike - it's a fun ride down to the train station Pontresina where you can return the bike.
The so called "Via Segantini" is named after the most popular painter of the valley, Giovanni Segantini whose pictures are to see in the museum in St. Moritz and elsewhere in big art museums. The trail runs along the northern slopes of the Upper Engadine valley, usually 100 - 200 m above the valley floor, thus providing excellent panoramic views. It is not overly challenging, most parts are pretty easy.
The trail starts in S-chanf, touches the upper parts of Zuoz, crosses the Albula pass road and meets the gondola from Celerina in Marguns. From there on it is more frequented as it is so easily accessible by gondola. The trail now runs via the middle station of the Corviglia funicular from St. Moritz Dorf (Chantarella) and through the skiing area, meeting the upper stations of the St. Moritz Bad - Signal cable car and the chair lift Suvretta - Trutz.
From there on you'll again hardly meet many people on the trail. Above Silvaplana it crosses the Julier pass road, descends to Sils-Baselgia and ascends to the hamlet Grevasalvas (where one of the Heidi movies was filmed) before ending in Maloja.
You can walk the whole trail in two or three days with overnights in the respective huts along or near the trail (Es-cha hut, Salastrains e.g.) or hiking down the few hundred metres to the villages to stay there - no sweat.
Or you walk only parts of it. I have done several parts as day hikes: Zuoz - Cinuos-chel, Samedan - Suvretta, Silvaplana - Maloja. Most rewarding were the less frequented parts around Zuoz and Silvaplana - Maloja.
Another very rewarding hike starts at the top station of the Furtschellas cable car near Sils-Maria (bus stop). From here several trails start - I prefer the one via Marmore to the Fex Valley. The option higher up the mountainside via P. Grialetsch and Lake Sgrischus is much more strenuous and longer.
After some up and down you quickly reach the viewing point Marmore - the trail offers fantastic panoramic views of the main Engadine valley with the lakes of Silvaplana and Sils (pictures 1+2) until here, where you get a beautiful view of the whole Fex Valley for the first time (picture 3). From now on the trail leads along the mountainside, half way up and slightly descending until you reach the floor of the Fex Valley almost at the Hotel Fex. Follow the trail (actually an asphalt road, but most traffic are horse-drawn carriages :-)) to Hotel Fex which is a great place to rest and have a meal. From Furtschellas to Hotel Fex I'd calculate 1.30 h if you're a fast hiker, if you prefer to rest here and there and take zilions of photos then add another hour.
Either jump on a horse-drawn carriage back to Sils-Maria (not cheap!) or walk back to the village - calculate about an hour, maybe a little more. And if you plan to visit the chapel at Fex Crasta and/or have a piece of blueberry cake plus cappuccino at Pensiun Cresta then you might add another hour ... :-)
Equipment: It's a leisure hike, not exactly a walk anymore, but still easy. Wear hiking boots, bring sun screen and all the usual stuff you need in the high mountains. Don't forget your camera, maybe bring binoculars - the mountainside between Marmore and Fex valley is famous for rare Alpine wildflowers and also marmots.
One of *must* things to do in the Engadine is the Muottas Muragl - Alp Languard hike. There are a couple of reasons for this: For one, the panoramic views are breathtaking - the main valley from St. Moritz to Maloja pass with the lakes, the Bernina massif with huge mountains and glaciers and two of its most beautiful valleys (Roseg and Morteratsch) - then also the convenient access to the trail head (Muottas Muragl funicular) and the chair-lift that takes you back down to Pontresina after the hike, and last but not least that there are two options to choose from: The easy one, quite flat (slightly downhill, in fact), and the strenuous one via Segantini hut, which is more interesting.
I always recommend to do the hike in the direction given above. This way you have the gorgeous mountains and glaciers of the Bernina massif in front of you all the time. Calculate about 2.30 or 3 hours for the easy/flat version, add at least an hour if not more for the strenuous version. The decision has to be made soon after starting at Muottas Muragl. After a 15 minutes downhill walk the strenuous trail zigzags up the steep mountainside while the easy trail follows the flank of the mountain without gaining or losing much altitude. The plus of the more challenging one is that there's a mountain hut on the top where you can have basic but very good food (a barley soup, cheese and salami e.g. and something to drink). Please note that the hosts of the hut carry all the food and beverages up the mountain a couple of times a week - please honour their effort and do NOT eat the picnic you might have brought with you, at least not in viewing distance of the hut ...
The Alps in general and the Engadine in particular are perfect for hiking. The region around St. Moritz offers more than 500 km hiking paths from easy walks over more challenging hikes to mountaineering/glacier tours. Trails are signposted and well maintained. Enjoy the fabulous panoramic views with lakes, glaciers etc. and don't miss the attractions at your feet - wildflowers! Very often you can take a cable car up and/or down. Or the walk/hike starts or ends at a train/bus stop. Give your car a rest!
Great easy walks are: along the lakes, into Fex and Roseg valleys, Muottas Muragl to Alp Languard to name just a few.
Rewarding longer and more challenging hikes are e.g. Murtel - Fuorcla Surlej - Coaz hut - Pontresina, Muottas Muragl - Segantini hut - Piz Languard - Alp Languard.
See the following tips also for more details on selected walks/hikes.
Equipment: Be sure to wear hiking shoes, bring layers, a hat, sunglasses, sun care, and always keep in mind that the weather can change within a couple of minutes. A map is a must for the longer hikes. Water and simple food are always recommended to bring although often you'll pass mountain huts/restaurants.
Esquiar, esquiar esquiar, esquiar
Esquiar, esquiar esquiar, esquiar
Esquiar, esquiar esquiar, esquiar, Almorzar
Esquiar, esquiar esquiar, esquiar
Sky, sky sky sky
Sky sky sky Lunch
Sky sky sky
Equipment: Si no tienes tu propio equipo hay varios lugares donde puedes alquilar y tambien tienen donde guardarlo en la noche.
Yo alquile en un lugar el mismo lift, la ventaja es que no tenia que trasladarte hasta otro lugar para dejar los sky (que pesan mucho), lo malo es que es mas costoso. www.skiservice-corvatsch.com
If you do not have your own equipment, there are several places to rent it. And also to storage during the night.
I rent the sky on the same mountain. The advantage it is that i do not have to carry the sky to other places, the only thing that it is more expensive
Not really a surprise that the Engadine offers a lot of groomed hiking paths in winter as well, eh?
All in all, there are about 150 km groomed for hikers in winter. Not only on the valley floor, you can also use cable cars and hike at higher altitude! e.g. at Muottas Muragl (7 km, Philosopher's path), Diavolezza (alt. 3000 m) or in the Corviglia - Suvretta region above St. Moritz. And the highlight are of course the hikes into the side valleys Fex and Roseg.
A map is available at the tourist offices.
Equipment: Hiking shoes, sun screen, layers, walking sticks are helpful.
The Engadine is Alpine Skiiers' heaven. All in all about 350 km runs are prepared. It sounds huge, but the resort is divided into some separated areas.
The most frequented and probably most famous is Corviglia/Piz Nair above St. Moritz. Altitude 1800 - 3025 m. The lifts are up to date (chair lifts/gondolas/cable cars only). In 2003 the Alpine Skiing Championships took place here. Access from St. Moritz Suvretta (chair lift), St. Moritz Bad (Signal cable car), St. Moritz Dorf (Corviglia funicular) and Celerina (gondola). Free parking at Suvretta, Signal and Celerina, frequent Ski bus service to Signal, St. Moritz Dorf and Celerina. Most of the slopes are sunny and well manageable for intermediates. Some easy runs around Corviglia and some difficult runs at Fuorcla Grischa and Trais Fluors. Snow conditions are (almost) always perfect. A secret spot: the chair lift Lake della Pesch to Fuorcla Grischa (intermediate). Plenty of restaurants, high quality, but most expensive in the Engadine's skiing areas. I recommend the Corviglia self service restaurant, or still better the bistro with daily offers of outstanding quality for about 18 Sfr. Excellent food and the best hot chocolate ever at "Chamanna" on Munt da San Murezzan (operated by five star hotel Suvretta).
My favourite area is Corvatsch/Furtschellas above Silvaplana-Surlej and Sils. Altitude 1820 - 3303 m. Absolutely snow reliable. The perfect area for spring skiing. It is more challenging than Corviglia, but offers intermediate runs as well. The upper section between Murtel and the top of Piz Corvatsch is really outstanding - the runs lead across a glacier, away from the lifts or cable cars - pure nature and you. These runs are never crowded, because the capacity of the cable car to the top is limited. So expect lines at Murtel :-( However, don't miss a trip to the Furtschellas area, which is really remote and fine.
Equipment: Most favourite run is the standard run from Murtel down to Alp Surlej and further to Surlej. Another unique run is the run down to St. Moritz via Hahnensee restaurant, again away from lifts. Good and cheaper restaurants everywhere (Alpetta is cosy, Fuorcla Surlej is charming, excellent wood oven Pizza at Murtel). Fine Apres ski at Alp Surlej till 8 pm, every Friday night skiing till 02 am with party at Murtel!! Ski buses operate between the Engadine villages and the cable car stations.
A third big area is Diavolezza/Lagalb. It is somewhat off the beaten path, some 20 km from Pontresina toward Bernina Pass. Altitude 2100 - 3005 m. Very snow reliable!Diavolezza is sunny and mild, but offers stunning views of the glaciers and peaks in the Bernina massif. The upper part of the runs leads across a glacier. Intermediate and challenging runs are available. A special run is the route down to Pers and Morteratsch glacier and further to inn Morteratsch at the train stop. Marked, but not groomed. For experienced skiiers only! Night skiing on the standard run with party at the hut when full moon. Lagalb is very challenging, is served by a cable car and almost always has great snow. Absolutely off the beaten path, never crowded. A ski bus runs between both Diavolezza and Lagalb. Skibus and railway from the Engadine villages to both stations.
There are some other small areas in addition, worth to try out for a half day or for some relaxed skiing: Muottas Muragl, Zuoz and Maloja e.g.
However, skiing in the Engadine is always great, a combination of adventure, fun, fascinating landscape and great food.
Rental stations everywhere in the villages. On Corviglia as well. I use to bring my own to reduce costs. Ski Pass is about 300 Sfr. for 6 days - not even cheap, but public transportation and the indoor pools in both St. Moritz and Pontresina are included.
The Engadine is a paradise for cross-country skiiers. About 180 km tracks are groomed for both classical and skating style. Since it is located at (for the Alps) unusual high altitude it is very snow reliable. Easy tracks lead along the main valley, more challenging tracks lead into romantic side valleys (Fex, Roseg, Bever, Forno).
It is pure fun to run across the frozen lakes, but be forewarned: sometimes a cold wind blows down the valley from Maloja, called Maloja Wind. So check before you start and choose the right direction!
Schools are to find in every village. Maps are sold in tourist information centres. You may be asked to pay for the use of the cross-country tracks (6 Sfr. per day), but it is your decision.
Equipment: You can rent equipment in every village in sport shops. No problem. I personally prefer to bring my own.