6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpenpässe-Weg
6 Alpenpässe-Weg

Hiking

etappe-01291

Alpine Passes Trail

Stage 12, Cap. Cadagno–Airolo

Route report
41 photos

WL_006_12_IMG_5717_R_F_M.jpg
etappe-01291

Alpine Passes Trail

Two exceptional lakes to start with: lake Cadagno, rich in fish and with different water layers, then the dazzling turquoise lake Ritom. On foot or with one of the world’s steepest funiculars down to the Leventina.
The idyllic lake Cadagno with its waterfall is situated just below the Cadagno mountain hut. The 21-metre-deep lake is a natural phenomenon due to its layering: There are two layers of water above one another here, each with a different composition. The lower layer is free of oxygen but rich in dissolved salts, while the upper layer is rich in oxygen but poor in mineral salts. Phototrophic bacteria develop between the layers, giving the water a reddish tinge. They also form a biological filter that prevents the layers from mixing.

As you continue descending to Lake Ritom, the marmots whistle and the sound of the Murinascia Grande waterfall roars in your ears. Follow the lake shore through the lovely forest of larches and Swiss stone pines to reach the dam. Since its height was increased in 1953, it allows the use of 49 million m3 of water. This is enough for an average annual production of 150 million kWh. In other words: enough power for 10,000 goods trains to run from Bellinzona to Arth-Goldau. From the lake, there is a steep downhill hike to Altanca, and then you mostly walk along the road used by cars. At about the midway point of the descent, you cross the Ritom funicular: with a maximum gradient of 87.8%, this is one of the world's steepest funiculars.

After Brugnasco, the road turns into a path until you reach Madrano. An old mule track connects the two villages, some sections are paved. Finds from a Roman cemetery from the 2nd/3rd century AD indicate that crystals were once traded in the area and probably processed in the Muralto glass factory. Slightly below Madrano, the mule track leads towards the Canaria torrent. It is paved with irregular stones and flanked in places by a dry stone wall. Now it is not far to the destination of this stage: Airolo (1175 metres altitude) at the foot of the Gotthard Pass is the site of both southern portals of the Gotthard road and rail tunnels. This is why the uppermost village in the Leventina valley is mainly regarded as a place of transit - an erroneous assumption. The countryside surrounding Airolo is a beautiful hiking region with intact historic villages, idyllic mountain lakes, agriculture and varied natural beauty.
Two exceptional lakes to start with: lake Cadagno, rich in fish and with different water layers, then the dazzling turquoise lake Ritom. On foot or with one of the world’s steepest funiculars down to the Leventina.
The idyllic lake Cadagno with its waterfall is situated just below the Cadagno mountain hut. The 21-metre-deep lake is a natural phenomenon due to its layering: There are two layers of water above one another here, each with a different composition. The lower layer is free of oxygen but rich in dissolved salts, while the upper layer is rich in oxygen but poor in mineral salts. Phototrophic bacteria develop between the layers, giving the water a reddish tinge. They also form a biological filter that prevents the layers from mixing.

As you continue descending to Lake Ritom, the marmots whistle and the sound of the Murinascia Grande waterfall roars in your ears. Follow the lake shore through the lovely forest of larches and Swiss stone pines to reach the dam. Since its height was increased in 1953, it allows the use of 49 million m3 of water. This is enough for an average annual production of 150 million kWh. In other words: enough power for 10,000 goods trains to run from Bellinzona to Arth-Goldau. From the lake, there is a steep downhill hike to Altanca, and then you mostly walk along the road used by cars. At about the midway point of the descent, you cross the Ritom funicular: with a maximum gradient of 87.8%, this is one of the world's steepest funiculars.

After Brugnasco, the road turns into a path until you reach Madrano. An old mule track connects the two villages, some sections are paved. Finds from a Roman cemetery from the 2nd/3rd century AD indicate that crystals were once traded in the area and probably processed in the Muralto glass factory. Slightly below Madrano, the mule track leads towards the Canaria torrent. It is paved with irregular stones and flanked in places by a dry stone wall. Now it is not far to the destination of this stage: Airolo (1175 metres altitude) at the foot of the Gotthard Pass is the site of both southern portals of the Gotthard road and rail tunnels. This is why the uppermost village in the Leventina valley is mainly regarded as a place of transit - an erroneous assumption. The countryside surrounding Airolo is a beautiful hiking region with intact historic villages, idyllic mountain lakes, agriculture and varied natural beauty.
14 km
260 m | 1100 m
4 h 00 min
medium (mountain hiking trail) | difficult

Season

Season
Beware: snowfields possible into summer months on high-level sections.

More …

Madrano
Duration
01.04.2022 - 31.08.2022
Reason
Landslide
Status
validated
Data source: Swiss Hiking Federation and Cantonal hiking associations
Saving metres in altitude
There is a funicular railway/bus between Piora and Airolo that saves about 650 metres in altitude.

Arrival | return travel

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

Contact

Signpost management
Signposting is managed by the cantonal hiking trail organisation on behalf of the canton.
Ticino Sentieri
Via A. Giovannini 3
6710 Biasca
info@ticinosentieri.ch
www.ticinosentieri.ch

Services

Accommodation

Capanna Cadagno
Capanna Cadagno
Quinto
Rifugio Lago Ritom – Berghaus
Rifugio Lago Ritom – Berghaus
Piora (Ritom)
Capanna Föisc
Capanna Föisc
Quinto
Motel Gottardo Sud
Motel Gottardo Sud
Piotta
B&B Gottardo
B&B Gottardo
Airolo
B&B Motta
B&B Motta
Airolo
Hotel Forni
Hotel Forni
Airolo
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Bookable offers

6 Alpine Passes Trail: Olivone - Rodi
6 Alpine Passes Trail: Olivone - Rodi
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Places

Airolo
Airolo
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Places of interest

Natural trail Lago Ritom
Natural trail Lago Ritom
Ritom funicular
Ritom funicular
Airolo, Ressiga–Madrano
Airolo, Ressiga–Madrano
Cheese factory Gottardo
Cheese factory Gottardo
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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