Ruinaulta

Ruin Aulta - Rheinschlucht - Rhine Gorge


Useful Information

Location: Between
(46.807314, 9.310410)
Open: no restrictions.
Rafting: MAY to OCT daily with reservation.
[2021]
Fee: free.
Rafting:
wasserchRAFT: Half Day: Adults CHF 109, Children (10-17) CHF 75.
Full Day: Adults CHF 158, Children (10-17) CHF 125.
Overnight: Own Food CHF 260, Standard CHF 310, Premium CHF 340.
Swiss River Adventures: Adults CHF 109, Children (10-17) CHF 75.
Kanuschule Versam: Full Day CHF 125, Half Day CHF 89.
[2021]
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=13 km, H=400 m.
Guided tours:  
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: wasserchRAFT, Via Mulin 485, 7130 Ilanz, Tel: +41-81-936-07-40. E-mail:
Swiss River Adventures, Swiss River Adventures GmbH, Via S. Clau Sura 11a, CH-7130 Ilanz, Tel: +41-81-936-01-04, Fax: +41-81-921-22-04. E-mail:
Kanuschule Versam, Versam Station, 7104 Versam, Tel: +41-81-645-13-24. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

2006 Aussichtsplattform Il spir bei Flims-Conn erstellt.
2010 Aussichtsplattform Zault an der Strasse nach Bonaduz erstellt.
2015 Aussichtsplattform Crap Signina oberhalb Sagogn erstellt.

Description

Ruinaulta is a canyon created by the Hinterrhein (Anterior Rhine) in the debris of the Flims Rockslide. It begins near Reichenau where the Hinterrhein meets the Vorderrhein (Posterior Rhine). It ends near Ilanz (Glion), a small village which is named Ilanz in German and Glion in Romansh. This area of Graubünden (Grisons), which generally belongs to the German speaking part of Switzerland, is inhabited by a Romansh speaking minority. Romansh (Romansch, Rumantsch) is a Romance language spoken predominantly in parts of this canton, mostly in rather remote valleys. It is one of the descendant languages of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire but contains words from Celtic and Raetic, and is strongly influenced by German in vocabulary and morphosyntax. The name of this gorge, Ruinaulta or Ruin Aulta is also Romansh and means debris mountain, from ruina (debris slope, quarry) und aulta (high). The common German name is Rheinschlucht (Rhine Gorge). Sometimes it is dubbed the Grand Canyon der Schweiz (Grand Canyon of Switzerland).

The enormous mass of debris which fills the former valley more tha 400m deep was created by the Flimser Bergsturz (Flims Rockslide) about 10,000 years ago. Between the Flimserstein and the Piz Grisch some 10 Billion cubic meters (10 km³) of rock broke loose and filled the valley between Castrisch and Reichenau severel hundred meters high. The Rhine was blocke by this mass and formed a lake, which became 25 kilometers long and filled the upper valley several hundred meters high with water. Finally, the water reached the top of the rockslide and a river from the lake started to flow across the debris. As the material was not solidified, the water became muddy and transported much of the material in its bed away. The river cut into the debris quite fast, much faster than in solid rock. And while it cut deeper the lake above became continually lower until it finally vanished. Today the gorge has reached tho old ground of the valley, but the formerly wider valley is still full of debris on both sides of the gorge. The material is still not solidified, but rainwater has nevertheless started to glue the pieces together with a filling of dissolved and redeposited calcite.

This gorge is visited by train. The train route of the Rhätische Bahn was built through the gorge and there are even train stations at the ground of the gorge. Trin, Versam-Safien and Valendas-Sagogn are small villages high up at the mountain side. From each a road was built to the ground of gorge, so the inhabitants could reach the train. The Rhätische Bahn is a highlight of Switzerland and there are numerous trains with historic cars or panoramic windows. During summer there are even special trains with roofless cars. The route is quite famous for being a section the Glacier Express. It connects Zermatt with the famous pass routes with spectacular tunnels, viaducts, and great views. So we strongly recommend booking a ride on this fantastic train and enjoy the gorge relaxed from your seat.

If you intend to see it by car, you will have difficulties. You can use the road, which was built much later, and connects the villages high above the gorge. The cantonal road 2 to Ilanz offers a few views, but is in general too high. You can drive down into the gorge at the train stations, we recommend Versam-Safien. There is even a trail 200 m upstream to the huge cliffs around the next corner.

There is also a walking trail on the ground of the gorge, between Reichenau and Trin Station. It was built using the train dam, and runs beneath the tracks. But unfortunately that's the most harmless part of the gorge, the narrow section starts at Trin. But walking on this part of the track is illegal and dangerous. Be aware that this is a real railroad connection with numerous trains all day. The tourist trains are only a small part of the traffic on this connection. A walking trail on this section will not be builtin the future, the whole gorge is a Natural Monument and protected for its flora and fauna and only a project of national importance would be sufficient for a permit. A respective trial was dismissed by the Bundesgericht for this reason.

In the last 20 years seven outlooks were erected to offer a view into the gorge. Most are just protruding balconies, but some are quite exceptional. The most spectacular is probably Il spir near Conn which was erected by Corinna Menn, architect from Chur. It's a spectacular 17 m high tower with a platform at 12 m. It is located at a walking trail and can be reached in less than one hour walk from either Flims-Waldhaus or from Weiler Trin Mulin.

But the best way to see the gorge are rafting or kayak tours with one of the local operators. As far as we know there are currently three, and they offer half day, full day, and overnight trips. For more details you should check their websites. Reservation is necessary, and you will get more details with your reservation.