2 Trans Swiss Trail
2 Trans Swiss Trail

Hiking

etappe-01379

Trans Swiss Trail

Stage 24, Passo del S. Gottardo–Airolo

Route report
49 photos

WL_002_24_DSC8359_F_M.jpg
etappe-01379

Trans Swiss Trail

A steep mountain trail leads from the legendary Swiss Alpine pass down to the Leventina Valley. A spectacular Alpine landscape combined with amazing construction achievements from different eras and in close vicinity of the Tremola, a road with landmark designation.
This stage begins on Switzerland’s most important Alpine pass at over 2100 m. The scenery at the top is unforgettable. No wonder it is jam-packed with tourists during the summer months. Some take selfies at the sparkling mountain lakes, while others step back in time and visit the national St. Gotthard Museum or the Sasso San Gottardo defence installation. Few people know that the Gotthard Pass is also an important water divide with the sources of Rhine, Rhone, Reuss and Ticino all within this area.

Just a couple of minutes on the historic mule trail and the clamour is behind you. Heading south toward Airolo you pass the Chapel of the Dead and then the partly paved mule trail meanders down and across meadows scattered with rocks. Soon you will spot the world-famous Tremola road. The landmarked mountain pass is one of the highlights of today’s hike. It descends 340 altitude meters through 24 turns. Post coaches used to clatter down the road in the olden days. Now it is popular with mountain bikers and motorcycle riders. The hikers are very close to this impressive structure, which is perfectly embedded in the terrain. They cross this awe-inspiring road with retaining walls of as much as 8 m multiple times and in some places they even walk on it. Mother Nature is also part of the scenery: while the roar of an engine might occasionally disturb the peace, you will also hear marmots whistling nearby and if you pay attention, you’ll even see a few away from the road.

The upper part of the route is all about the old road and the muleteers, but the second section represents a different time. You see the Gotthard highway down in the valley and the new road across the pass. Crossing under a viaduct brings the former Motto Bartola defence structure into view, now a Swiss Army base. A narrow mountain trail leads past it and continues through meadows and short forest areas. The last section of the path down to Airolo offers a fantastic view of the Leventina Valley and the surrounding mountains. The trail passes through the lovely old town centre with its winding lanes and heads for the train station below. Airolo is a crossroads of traffic routes from different eras: the old 13th century mule track, the old railway tunnel which opened in 1882 and the Gotthard road tunnel, built approximately 100 years later. A monument by artist Vincenzo Vela near the train station honours the workmen who died during the construction of the railway tunnel.
A steep mountain trail leads from the legendary Swiss Alpine pass down to the Leventina Valley. A spectacular Alpine landscape combined with amazing construction achievements from different eras and in close vicinity of the Tremola, a road with landmark designation.
This stage begins on Switzerland’s most important Alpine pass at over 2100 m. The scenery at the top is unforgettable. No wonder it is jam-packed with tourists during the summer months. Some take selfies at the sparkling mountain lakes, while others step back in time and visit the national St. Gotthard Museum or the Sasso San Gottardo defence installation. Few people know that the Gotthard Pass is also an important water divide with the sources of Rhine, Rhone, Reuss and Ticino all within this area.

Just a couple of minutes on the historic mule trail and the clamour is behind you. Heading south toward Airolo you pass the Chapel of the Dead and then the partly paved mule trail meanders down and across meadows scattered with rocks. Soon you will spot the world-famous Tremola road. The landmarked mountain pass is one of the highlights of today’s hike. It descends 340 altitude meters through 24 turns. Post coaches used to clatter down the road in the olden days. Now it is popular with mountain bikers and motorcycle riders. The hikers are very close to this impressive structure, which is perfectly embedded in the terrain. They cross this awe-inspiring road with retaining walls of as much as 8 m multiple times and in some places they even walk on it. Mother Nature is also part of the scenery: while the roar of an engine might occasionally disturb the peace, you will also hear marmots whistling nearby and if you pay attention, you’ll even see a few away from the road.

The upper part of the route is all about the old road and the muleteers, but the second section represents a different time. You see the Gotthard highway down in the valley and the new road across the pass. Crossing under a viaduct brings the former Motto Bartola defence structure into view, now a Swiss Army base. A narrow mountain trail leads past it and continues through meadows and short forest areas. The last section of the path down to Airolo offers a fantastic view of the Leventina Valley and the surrounding mountains. The trail passes through the lovely old town centre with its winding lanes and heads for the train station below. Airolo is a crossroads of traffic routes from different eras: the old 13th century mule track, the old railway tunnel which opened in 1882 and the Gotthard road tunnel, built approximately 100 years later. A monument by artist Vincenzo Vela near the train station honours the workmen who died during the construction of the railway tunnel.
7 km
20 m | 950 m
2 h 00 min
medium (mountain hiking trail) | difficult

Arrival | return travel

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

Season

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

More …

Gotthard railway tunnel
226
Gotthard railway tunnel
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Erstfeld–Airolo
or
Airolo–Erstfeld
Reason: metres in height saved approx. 1600m.
SBB Timetable
Ascent Schöllenen
231
Ascent Schöllenen
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Erstfeld–Andermatt via Göschenen, Bahnhof
or
Andermatt–Erstfeld via Göschenen, Bahnhof
Reason: metres in height saved approx. 970m.
SBB Timetable
Ascent Gotthardpass (from Airolo)
233
Ascent Gotthardpass (from Airolo)
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Airolo, Stazione–Gotthard, Passhöhe
or
Gotthard, Passhöhe–Airolo, Stazione
Reason: metres in height saved approx. 1000m.
SBB Timetable

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. Lend a hand by becoming a member in your canton.
Become a member
Ticino Sentieri
Via A. Giovannini 3
6710 Biasca
info@ticinosentieri.ch
www.ticinosentieri.ch

Services

Accommodation

Casa Arcobaleno
Casa Arcobaleno
Airolo
B&B Motta
B&B Motta
Airolo
B&B Gottardo
B&B Gottardo
Airolo
Hotel Forni
Hotel Forni
Airolo
Show all

Bookable offers

2 Trans Swiss Trail: Gotthardpass & Strada Alta
2 Trans Swiss Trail: Gotthardpass & Strada Alta
Show all

Places

Airolo
Airolo
Gotthardpass
Gotthardpass
Show all

Places of interest

Airolo, Ressiga–Madrano
Airolo, Ressiga–Madrano
Cheese factory Gottardo
Cheese factory Gottardo
Gotthard Pass trade route
Gotthard Pass trade route
Malle-poste historique
Malle-poste historique
Tremola road (Val Tremola)
Tremola road (Val Tremola)
Show all

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