Gravel Bike Route Vorderrhein
The gravelbike tour through the Surselva to Disentis-Sedrun and the Maighelshütte promises not only an exciting journey of discovery, but also a journey through the largest Romansh-speaking area of Graubünden to the source of the Rhine.
- Type Gravelbike
- Difficulty medium
- Duration 30:05 h
- Distance 281,7 km
- Ascent 7856 m
- Descent 7856 m
- Lowest point 559 m
- Highest point 2311 m
Your journey starts in Chur (593 m above sea level) and ride the bike path along the Rhine to Reichenau where the Anterior and Posterior Rhine merge. On secondary roads, you’ll ride along the cycle route no. 3 to Bonaduz. Here, you’ll reach a spectacular road, which takes you through the Ruinaulta. Due to its 300 meter high rock walls and rock formations, the Rheinschlucht (Rhine gorge) is called “Little Swiss Canyon". A fantastic panoramic road also belongs to it. Take a little rest to enjoy one of the most varied landscapes in the Alps. Over the bridge at the end of the first short descent, you’ll reach a short ascent with splendid hairpin bends leading you to Versam (909 m above sea level). Once you get to the village entrance turn in direction of Safiental and follow the MTB route no. 157 "Calörtsch". Via Arezen, you’ll get on natural roads through forests and meadows to the Maiensässen at Calörtsch (1,401m above sea level). You’ll be able to enjoy a particularly impressive panoramic view of the Flimser Stein. Following the MTB route, you’ll reach a short forest path through the Calörtscherwald (1,580m above sea level) and get back onto a road that takes you to the idyllic village of Brün. On the fast descent from Brün onto the main road (910m above sea level), you’ll get back to cycle route 3, which you follow in the direction of Valendas. Valendas delights not only with countless well-preserved manors, but also with the largest wooden fountain in Europe. From here follow the cycle route to Ilanz (699m above sea level), the first city on the Rhine.
Ilanz - Lag Pigniu - Brigels: 31.9 kilometers - 1395 altitude
From Ilanz (699m above sea level) the journey takes you on a paved road with a crisp ascent to Ruschein (1,166m above sea level). The view from Ruschein over Ilanz to Valsertal is the first highlight of the route. In Ruschein, you’ll reach the Graubünden bike route no. 90 and traverse to Siat. Steep ascents alternate with relaxing flat sections. In Siat, some of the fountains are a welcome opportunity to fill up your bottles. The view of the Obersaxen plateau lets you forget your sore legs for a while. Until Darpagaus (1,494m above sea level), the road ascents, before you’ll reach the side valley "Val da Pigniu" on a fast descent.
The ascent towards Pigniu and up to the reservoir Lag da Pigniu (1,447m above sea level) is easy to master. The rock wall with impressive waterfalls at the very back of the lake is so impressive that the detour to the very end of the gravel road is definitely worthwhile. The route only folows the road for a short while before you turn right on the MTB route 90. On the other side of the river, you’ll first get onto a dirt road, and then followed by a short interlude through woods and meadows to Andiast. From Andiast you follow the main road to Waltensburg (1,003m above sea level) for short stretch. The church in Waltensburg has an inspiring interior with fantastic paintings and is certainly worth a stop.
A gravel road with a panoramic view and an impressive rock tunnel will take you to Brigels (1,290m above sea level).
Brigels - RhB - Lai Tuma - Disentis: 44.1 kilometers - 1238 altitude
Today’s motto is starting comfortably! From Brigels (1,290m above sea level) you’ll ride through typical villages of Surselva to Trun (861m above sea level). Once every hour, the Rhaetian Railway rolls up into the valley. You’ll load your gravel bike into the red RhB and together you’ll get from Disentis to Tschamut (1,645m above sea level). From here, you’ll follow the young Rhine towards its source. At first, the cycle route no. 3 leads you in the direction of the Oberalp pass, in Surpalits you’ll turn onto the MTB route no. 205. A steep gravel road will take you into high Alpine terrain and every time you pedal, the air gets a little thinner. In Siara (2,174m above sea level), you’ll have the opportunity to tackle the last 900 meters and 176 altitude to the source of the Anterior Rhine on foot. A steep and difficult path leads to Lai da Tuma (2,345m above sea level).
If you prefer travelling on two wheels, follow the dirt road to Maighels Hut (2,314m). The hut is the highest point on the tributaries of the Anterior Rhine, which can be reached by bicycle. Taking a break is more than deserved at this point, you’ll first get back on the dirt road, which will be followed by the Oberalp pass road back to Tschamut (1,645m above sea level). In Selva you’ll leave the main road and follow the Graubünden bike route no. 90 to Sedrun (1,406m above sea level). Taking a short detour to the village to strengthen yourself in "La Conditoria" with a piece of the smallest nut cake in the world is definitely worth the trip. Via Surrein, taking the path through the Muota Pigniel, you’ll get to Uaul Cavorgia (1,662m above sea level), which stuns with its flora and a great panoramic view. The route will take you to Disentis (1,130m above sea level) via Mumpé Medel. From a distance, you’ll be able to see the imposing Benedictine monastery, which has made an impact on the town since the 13th century.
Disentis - Obersaxen: 29.2 kilometers - 1260 altitude
From Disentis (1,130m above sea level) you’ll already be able to see Cavardiras towering high above the Surselva. A short descent to the Rhine and a slight incline take you to the village on the other side of the valley. You’ll be on cycle route no. 3. A short, fast descent will take you to Pardomat and riding along the Anterior Rhine you’ll encounter gravel banks and riverside forests from Surrein to Trun (852m above sea level). MTB route no. 90 takes you to the Obersaxen plateau. The area was settled by the Walsers and acts a Swiss German language island in the middle of the Surselva. Above Friggahüs, you’ll reach the highest point of the day (1,481m above sea level) and accompanied by an imposing view into the Surselva, you can take it easy riding down to Meierhof (1,259m above sea level).
Obersaxen - Alp Nova - Ilanz: 38.3 kilometers - 1252 altitude
Many roads lead to Rome and many through Obersaxen. You’lll reach Meierhof (1,259m above sea level) via Miraniga to Wali. Here you’ll get on the MTB route no. 90 which continues via the Alp Stavonas to the Alp Prada (1,971m above sea level). A short descent promises some rest, but shortly after the route will ascent again with a short, steep meadow path to Alp Naul. A natural road will take you to the highest point of the day, the Alp Nova (2,077m above sea level). You’ll be way past the tree line now, and up here, wind and weather have no mercy. The route comfortably leads to Alp Sezner (1,982m above sea level). On the descent to Vignogn, you’ll be able to enjoy a breathtaking view of the Val Lumnezia - and on hot days you can cool off in the Davos Munts bathing lake.
Via Vella (1,244m asl), the journey continues through the valley to Morissen, where the route’s last ascent awaits you. Via the small chapel Sogn Carli, you’ll get to the Mountain Inn Bündner Rigi. At 1618 altitude, a magical view of the Val Lumnezia and the Rheinschlucht (Rhine gorge) will surprise you. Enjoy the winding descent towards Luven (998m above sea level), before you end the gravel bike day in Ilanz (699m above sea level), the first city on the Rhine.
Ilanz - Flimserwald - Chur: 65.7 kilometers - 1397 altitude
From Ilanz (699m above sea level), you’ll take the MTB route no. 260 "Rheinschluchttour" via Schluein and Sagogn into the Flims Grosswald. The tour takes you over Flims landslide’s scree and forest roads accompanied by views of the UNESCO World Natural Reserve Sardona past the picturesque Lake Cauma (997m above sea level) to the Conn viewing platform. Here you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the Rheinschlucht (Rhine gorge). The Conn restaurant serves local specialties where you can take a minute to spoil yourself. Strengthened; the route takes you back on natural roads on the MTB route no. 245 "Flimserwald Rundtour". An open hedgerow landscape with panoramic views will take you to Trin Digg, from where you’ll Lake Cresta (845m above sea level), you’ll ride through the Flimserwald and along the Felsbachschlucht (gorge) passing steep natural roads back to Flims (1,099m above sea level). Via Murschetg, you’ll return to Sagogn on a rapid descent and cross the Rhine at Valendas’ station (669m above sea level). A short ascent takes you up to the road above Ruinualta, which you already know from the first stage. Finally; enjoy riding on the Rheinschlucht-Strasse before you get onto the route to Bonaduz and Reichenau, where the Anterior Rhine and Posterior Rhine merge. From here, you comfortably ride back to Chur (593m above sea level).