Guarda to Ardez via Furcletta Pass

Distance: 9.4 - 13.5 miles (one way)

near Scuol in Eastern Switzerland

Introduction

Piz Fliana, the Verstanclahorn and Piz Buin

Serious hikers will love this long strenuous walk with knockout views of the high peaks of the Silveretta and Dolomite Engadine Alps. The hike starts with a beautiful walk up the Tuoi Valley, traveling through flower filled meadows to Chamanna Tuoi (Tuoi Hut). From the hut enjoy fine views of Piz Filana rising above the west side of the valley while Piz Buin, Piz Jeramias and the Dreilanderspitz straddling the Swiss-Austrian border, tower above the head of the valley.

From the hut the trail turns east and climbs steeply through meadows where views open to the Tuoi Glacier, cradled in a bowl beneath the Dreilanderspitz, Hinter Jamspitz and Piz Tuoi. The final climb to the pass ascends steeply through scree, boulders and snow fields to Furcletta Pass, with panoramic views of the jagged peaks rising along the west side of the Tuoi valley and beyond. To the east, lovely views extend down the Val D’Urezzas to Piz Minschun towering about the east side of the Val Tasna.

Beyond the pass the trail drops steeply down scree-covered slopes that give way to pretty meadows beneath a beautiful cirque towering above the north side of the Urezzas valley. The trail then descends along the north side of the valley to Val Tasna. At Val Tasna the path turns south and descends through wild-flower filled meadows and forests of larches and pine with wonderful views of the Dolomite Engadine range rising above the south side of the Inn (En) River valley.

This is a very long and strenuous hike, gaining over 3,500-ft on the climb to the pass and then dropping over 4,200-ft to Ardez. Get an early start and allocate 7-8 hours to complete the walk, depending on you pace and the number of stops along the way.

An out-and-back hike to the Tuoi Hut offer hikers a shorter and less strenuous day while still enjoying the scenic delights of the Tuoi Valley.

Trailhead to Tuoi Hut

Hiking up the Tuoi Valley

Distance from Trailhead: 9.0 miles (round trip)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 7,382-ft.

Elevation Gain: 1,958-ft.

This hike starts in the village of Guarda. To reach Guarda from Scuol, take the train to the Guarda train station (4,720-ft/1,438-meter). The village (5,424-ft/1,653-meters) is a 700-ft climb above the station. You can reach the village by walking (45 minutes - follow the signs behind the station) or by taking a minibus. The best bet is to take the bus and save your time and energy for this beautiful walk. Be aware that the bus does not run as frequently as the train, so check the schedules before you start your journey. (See directions below for more information.)

From the bus stop in the village, walk a short distance (about 700-ft) east/northeast along the main street to a fountain in front of a house. Look for a sign on the east side of the house pointing left (north) toward Alp Sura and Chamanna Tuoi (Tuoi Hut). Follow the paved lane between houses. Soon the road turns to gravel, ascending northwest on easy and then moderate grades through pastures toward the Val Tuoi (Tuoi Valley). As you head uphill enjoy views of the Engadine Dolomite range rising above the Inn (En) River valley to the south and the peaks towering above Susch to the west.

At 0.7 miles the trail curves to the right (north) in the Tuoi valley, ascending at a steady pace through flower-filled meadows and cluster of larch and pine trees along the east side of the valley. Ignore any trails branching right and left. Instead keep to the gravel road, following the signs to the Tuoi Hut.

At 1.3 miles the grade eases as the trail skirts a forested hillside. Soon the trees give way to meadows and views opens to the cirque at the head of the valley, dominated by Piz Buin. The buildings of Alp Suot are seen along the valley floor in the distance.

Shortly before reaching Alp Suot the track splits at 2.5 miles. Take the dirt/gravel road branching right toward the Tuoi Hut, Alp Sura and Lai Blau, climbing on moderately-steep grades up a hill. The road straight ahead goes to Alp Suot.

Part way up the hill the trail passes Via Braja (6,742-ft/2,055-meters) where a trail branches right toward Alp Sura and Ardez. We continue along the main trail climbing toward Lai Blau and the Tuoi Hut. As you ascend the hill, turn around for great views of the peaks rising to the south of the Inn valley.

At 3.0 miles the grade abates at a “Y” intersection. The trail to the right heads to Lai Blau. We bear left toward the Tuoi Hut on a wide track that descends to and then gently climbs along the right (east) side of the stream.

As the trail nears a small wood building the trail veers away from the stream and begins ascending on moderate grades toward the head of the valley. To the west a pretty waterfall tumbles down the craggy slopes along the west side of the valley.

Reach Chamanna Tuoi (7,382-ft/2,250-meters) at 4.5 miles. The stone structure, offering dormitory accommodations and meals, enjoys lovely views of the peaks surrounding the head of the valley. Piz Filana rises to the west while Piz Buin, Piz Jeramias and the Dreilanderspitz, along the Swiss-Austrian border, tower above the head of the valley.

At this point you can turn around and retrace your steps to Guarda for a 9.0 mile round trip hike, climb to Furcletta Pass to enjoy the views or cross the pass and then head down the Tasna Valley to Ardez.

Tuoi Hut to Furcletta Pass

Small tarn on the way to the pass

Distance from Trailhead: 11.4 miles (round trip)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 8,973-ft.

Elevation Gain: 3,549-ft.

To continue the hike to the Furcletta and Ardez, go around the left (west) side of the hut and follow the trail as it curves to the right (east/northeast) and climbs very steeply through rocky meadows toward Furcletta and Urezzas, staying to the left (south) of a stream. Along the way pass the trail branching right toward Lai Blau. As you ascend, enjoy ever expanding views of the peaks to the north and west. Soon great views open to the Dreilanderspitz, Hinter Jamspitz and Piz Tuoi straddling the border to the north between Switzerland and Austria. The Tuoi Glacier lies cradled in a bowl beneath the peaks.

At 5.1 miles the path begins a steep ascent along a rocky gully, staying to the left (north) of a small stream. Soon the trail crosses the stream, climbs out of the gully and skirts the right (east) side of a small tarn. Before reaching the end of the tarn the trail curves to the right (east) and climbs another rocky gully. Red and white blazed rocky help keep you on track.

The final ascent to the pass climbs very steeply up a boulder field, marked by red and white blazed rocks and stakes. Sections of the route are often covered in snow. If this is the case, located the sign at the top of the pass and pick a route through the snow, following the footsteps of others uphill. As you ascend, enjoy splendid views of the peaks rising along the west and north sides of the valley.

Reach Furcletta Pass (8,973-ft/2,735-meters) at 5.7 miles. The pass, a saddle on the ridge between Piz Furcletta and Piz da las Cavigliadas, enjoys magnificent views to the west of Piz Fliana, Piz Buin and beyond to the Verstanclahorn. To the east views extend down the Val D’Urezzas to Piz Minschun towering about the east side of the Val Tasna. Piz Chaschlogna dominates the views along the north side of the Urezzas valley.

From the pass you can either return to Guarda for an 11.4 mile round trip hike or continue the hike over the pass to Ardez for a 13.5 mile point-to-point hike. I recommend heading toward Ardez (3h 14 min) via the scenic Urezzas and Tasna valleys.

Furcletta Pass to Ardez

Beautiful cirque towering above the north side of the trail

Distance from Trailhead: 13.5 miles (one way)

Ending/Highest Elevation: 4,708-ft.

Elevation Gain: -4,265-ft.

To walk to Ardez, follow the trail as it drops steeply down the east side of the pass through scree, boulders and, at times, snow fields. Use caution if the route is covered in snow and turn around if you don’t feel comfortable descending the slick slopes.

Cross the stream draining snowmelt from the pass at 6.2 miles and 6.3 miles. Beyond the crossings the grade abates temporarily, crosses a small side stream and then drops down very steep switchbacks. As you descend, rocky slopes give way to flower-speckled meadows and views open to a beautiful cirque towering above the north side of the trail.

At 7.1 miles the grade abates as the trail crosses a braided section of the stream carrying meltwater from the Urezzas Glacier, nestled in the cirque along the north side of the valley. Depending on the time of year, crossing the streams may involve simple rock hopping or getting your feet wet. In places, wooden planks help to keep your feet dry.

On the other side of the stream are the remains of old stone buildings at Marangun d’Urezzas. Past the old alp the path stays to the north (left side) of the Urezzas stream.

Reach the alp buildings at Urezzas (6,926-ft/2,111-meters) and a trail junction at 8.0 miles. Turn right (south/southeast) on the trail toward Alp Valmala (25 min) and Ardez (2h 15 min). The trail to the left (northwest) heads to the Jamtal Hut and Pass Futschol in the Val Urschai. The valley looks enticing, but we need to save it for another day.

The trail to Alp Valmala crosses a bridge to the south side of the Urezzas stream and the travels through pastures, curving to the right (south) as it enters the Val Tasna (Tasna Valley). Ignore the trail crossing a bridge to a dirt road on the the east side of the Tasnan River. Instead continue heading south down the west side of Val Tasna beside the rushing waters of the Tasnan River.

Reach Alp Valamal (6,493-ft/1,979-meters) and a trail junction at 8.9 miles. The trail to the left crosses the Tasnan River and then heads toward Alp Laret and Ftan. We continue straight ahead toward Ardez (1h 45min) on a trail skirting the right (west) side of the alp buildings. Beyond the alp the trail descends on easy grades, passing through pastures with nice views of the peaks rising above the Inn River valley to the south. Behind you are nice views up Val Tasna.

At 9.9 miles a junction offers two options for returning to Ardez, a high route and a low route. Both are the same length. The high route or Via Engiadina trail, branching right toward Ardez and Munt, is the more scenic option but involves some ups and downs as it crosses minor drainages high above the west side of the valley. The low route, branching left, drops down to the river and then travels along the west side of the river before turning west toward Ardez.

I prefer the high route which travels through lovely wildflower-filled pastures with expansive views to the south. Beyond the meadows the path travels though clusters of larch and pine trees as it dips in and out of minor drainages. At 11.7 miles the trail reaches a large meadow at the foot of the valley with spectacular views of the Engadine Dolomite peaks towering above the south side of the Inn River valley.

Beyond the meadow the trail drops down to meet a broad track above Ardez. Turn left and follow the track as it descends steeply to Ardez. The train station is located on the south side of the village near the highway. Signs along the way will keep you on track.

Note: This is a very long and strenuous hike, gaining over 3,500-ft on the climb to the pass and then dropping over 4,200-ft to Ardez. Get an early start and allocate 7-8 hours to complete the walk, depending on you pace and the number of stops along the way.

An out-and-back hike to the Tuoi Huts offer hikers a shorter and less strenuous day while still enjoying the scenic delights of the Tuoi Valley.

Hike Facts

  • Distance: 9.4 - 13.5 miles (one way)
  • Elevation: 5,424-ft. - 8,973-ft.
  • Elevation Gain: 1,958-ft. - 3,549-ft.
  • Difficulty: strenuous
  • Basecamp(s): Scuol
  • Region: Eastern Switzerland

 

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile - Guarda to Ardez via Furcletta Pass Hike

 

 

Driving Directions

From Scuol to Guarda: Take the train from Scuol to Guarda. The ride takes about 12 minutes. In Guarda, change to the minibus that climbs to the village in 8 minutes. Depending on the time of day, you will either need to wait for 5 minutes or 18 minutes to catch the bus. You can also reach the village by walking. (Follow the signs behind the train station.) I recommend taking the bus, which eliminates 660-ft of elevation gain, allowing you to save your time and energy for this beautiful walk. Consult the SBB Website or download the app to check the current schedule and wait times. Note: Guarda, cumün is the name of the bus stop in the village while Guarda, staziun is the name of the bus stop at the train station.

From Ardez to Scuol: Take the train from Ardez to Scuol. The ride takes about 10 minutes.

 

Trail Resources

Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Scuol

Region Information:
Eastern Switzerland

Other Hiking Regions in:
Switzerland