1 Via Alpina
1 Via Alpina

Hiking

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Via Alpina

Stage 4, Elm–Linthal

Route report
64 photos

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Via Alpina

Elm lies in the GeoPark where the Glarner main thrust fault clearly reveals the creation of the Alps. Surrounded by rock bastions, the silted-up Wichlensee lake, resembles an amphitheatre. After the steep Richetlipass, the lonely Durnachtal awaits.
Elm is surrounded by a backdrop of high mountains. Past the church of the Wakker- Prize-winning village, the hiking trail leads through the Gandwald forest protection area. The latter is home to a rare denizen: the Turin master maple forest. With its rich variety of plants it can only grow in areas with warm Alpine winds, such as in the Sernftal Valley. The pleasant forest road makes way for a rocky path and a steep trail meanders past meadows and avalanche barriers. Another short piece of forest and you are in Elm’s ski area with panoramic views of the Tschingelhörner and the 16 m Martin’s Hole through which the sun falls directly onto the church tower of Elm, but this happens only twice a year.

Once you’re past the Ämpächli mountain restaurant, the first strenuous uphill part is over. A nice gravelly trail briefly changes to a path near the Steinibach. The horses may be long gone at the hamlet of Hengstboden (stallion land), but what’s left are some picturesque wooden huts built in the 19th century. After a last glance back to Foo Pass you continue through the trees and then the view opens up all the way to the Panixer Pass. When it was crossed by General Suvorov in 1799 countless soldiers died here in the snow during the retreat from the French army. Well into the 20th century, the mountain pass was an important connection leading from Glarus via the Grisons to Italy. The Obererbs ski hut appears a short while later. It can also be reached by bus and may be a possible intermediate stop on Via Alpina’s longest stage (walking time of approx. 9 hrs.).

If you choose to continue, take the steep path across the meadows and the Gasichlebach creek. Take a last look back at the Sernftal Valley, Hausstock Mountain and Panixer Pass from the lookout before Erbser Stock and a few minutes later you will see Alp Wichlenmatt ahead of you. The alp looks like an amphitheatre surrounded by rock bastions. The following uphill section to Richetli Pass is quite steep. At 2260 m you have reached the highest point of the hike and crossed the pass. On the way to Unterstafel in the Durnachtal you will descend approximately 800 m. Suddenly, there are marmots everywhere. Every now and then you hear them whistling a warning of danger. Continuing on a wide gravel or paved road, the route turns into a steep forest trail near Stalden. Today’s destination is Linthal, the southernmost village of the Canton Glarus.
Elm lies in the GeoPark where the Glarner main thrust fault clearly reveals the creation of the Alps. Surrounded by rock bastions, the silted-up Wichlensee lake, resembles an amphitheatre. After the steep Richetlipass, the lonely Durnachtal awaits.
Elm is surrounded by a backdrop of high mountains. Past the church of the Wakker- Prize-winning village, the hiking trail leads through the Gandwald forest protection area. The latter is home to a rare denizen: the Turin master maple forest. With its rich variety of plants it can only grow in areas with warm Alpine winds, such as in the Sernftal Valley. The pleasant forest road makes way for a rocky path and a steep trail meanders past meadows and avalanche barriers. Another short piece of forest and you are in Elm’s ski area with panoramic views of the Tschingelhörner and the 16 m Martin’s Hole through which the sun falls directly onto the church tower of Elm, but this happens only twice a year.

Once you’re past the Ämpächli mountain restaurant, the first strenuous uphill part is over. A nice gravelly trail briefly changes to a path near the Steinibach. The horses may be long gone at the hamlet of Hengstboden (stallion land), but what’s left are some picturesque wooden huts built in the 19th century. After a last glance back to Foo Pass you continue through the trees and then the view opens up all the way to the Panixer Pass. When it was crossed by General Suvorov in 1799 countless soldiers died here in the snow during the retreat from the French army. Well into the 20th century, the mountain pass was an important connection leading from Glarus via the Grisons to Italy. The Obererbs ski hut appears a short while later. It can also be reached by bus and may be a possible intermediate stop on Via Alpina’s longest stage (walking time of approx. 9 hrs.).

If you choose to continue, take the steep path across the meadows and the Gasichlebach creek. Take a last look back at the Sernftal Valley, Hausstock Mountain and Panixer Pass from the lookout before Erbser Stock and a few minutes later you will see Alp Wichlenmatt ahead of you. The alp looks like an amphitheatre surrounded by rock bastions. The following uphill section to Richetli Pass is quite steep. At 2260 m you have reached the highest point of the hike and crossed the pass. On the way to Unterstafel in the Durnachtal you will descend approximately 800 m. Suddenly, there are marmots everywhere. Every now and then you hear them whistling a warning of danger. Continuing on a wide gravel or paved road, the route turns into a steep forest trail near Stalden. Today’s destination is Linthal, the southernmost village of the Canton Glarus.
25 km
1650 m | 2000 m
9 h 15 min
medium (mountain hiking trail) | difficult

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Elm, Dorf
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Season

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Ascent Empächli
202
Ascent Empächli
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Elm SBE–Aempächli
or
Aempächli–Elm SBE
Reason: metres in height saved approx. 480m.
SBB Timetable
Via Alpina hiking pass
With the Via Alpina hiking passbook, you collect 38 stamps with memories to cherish. The stamp stations are located at each stage start and finish. More information about the hiking passbook.
Overview map of all stamp stations

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Linthal
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Contact

Gestione della segnaletica
La segnaletica è gestita dall'associazione cantonale per i sentieri escursionistici su incarico del cantone. Aiuta anche tu! Diventa socio nel tuo cantone.
Associati
Schweizer Wanderwege
Monbijoustrasse 61
3000 Bern 23

Services

Accommodation

Gasthaus Segnes
Gasthaus Segnes
Elm
Hotel Restaurant Adler
Hotel Restaurant Adler
Linthal
Hotel Restaurant Raben
Hotel Restaurant Raben
Linthal
B&B Fam. Manser-Betschart
B&B Fam. Manser-Betschart
Linthal
Adrenalin Backpackers Hostel
Adrenalin Backpackers Hostel
Braunwald
Berghotel Bischofalp
Berghotel Bischofalp
Elm
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Bookable offers

1 Via Alpina Eastern Switzerland
1 Via Alpina Eastern Switzerland
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Places

Braunwald
Braunwald
Elm / Sernftal
Elm / Sernftal
Linthal
Linthal
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Places of interest

Via Ferrata climbing routes
Via Ferrata climbing routes
Rüti–Braunwald
Rüti–Braunwald
Slate factory
Slate factory
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Signalization

Signalization
For hiking, follow the logo indicated on the yellow signposts. Take a printout of our web map on your hike for safety's sake.
Signalization