Wednesday, 5 October 2016

St Moritz Trails Part 5: Behind the Mountain

Val Roseg

When you think you've explored all that St Mortiz has to offer - circled the lakes up the valley; explored the valley around Celerina, Samedan and beyond; ran the forest trails to the east of the town; even tested out the mountain routes to the north and west - there are still surprises awaiting.

Looking at my treasured map the other morning, I felt that there couldn't be many more surprises - sure, there were paths and trails that I'd never reach on, but after two visits I felt that I had a good feel of the area and all that there was on offer.

But there was one possible option left. My map showed a valley at the back of the mountains south of the town, and the access from Pontresina seemed pretty flat. Only problem was that I knew that it would take almost 30 minutes to get to Pontresina - if I was going to make this, I'd have to do longer than the planned 60 min run.

And so off I set...

From Lej da Staz, take the trail behind the restaurant towards Pontresina. The first section is slightly uphill, but then it's gradually downhill all the way towards Pontresina station where the trail comes to an end.

Leaving the station to your left, follow the road for a couple of hundred metres past some houses until it veers right just before the river and turns into a trail again. Do not cross under or over the railway line at any point.

The trail here is wide, level and gradually uphill, and stretches on for miles up the valley. At first it looks like it is one long straightway with spectacular - but similar - scenery as far as the eye can see. But the scenery does change. There are more trees in parts, cool waterfalls, and as the path gently meanders up the valley you get different perspectives of the mountains. You even cross a bridge to the other side of the river at one stage! The incline does also get a bit steeper in places, but the route is so beautiful you hardly notice.

Don't forget to look up. The glacier covered Corvatsch peak is straight ahead, and mid-summer offers a surprising winter feel to this outdoor wonderland.

I ran the route as a simple out-and-back; the mountains gave me little other option, though it is possible to do a circular route if you don't mind a fairly serious mountain climb. The range is at its lowest at Fuocla Surlej on the town side of Corvatsch (still 2755m mind!), with the decent towards Silvaplana. If your fit and up for a challenge, this has got to be a pretty spectacular route. The Scott Engadin St. Moritz Mountainbike Map suggests doing this route in the opposite direction. It rates the route as 'technically demanding over long distances'.


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