|The Upper Engadine : Hiking|
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The 94km Engadine valley, with its numerous tributaries and adjacent valleys, offers a wealth of opportunities for walks of all degrees of seriousness, as well as the modest ascent of several peaks with commanding summit viewpoints. Maps which cover the area are the LS 249, 259, 268, and 269, all of them 1:50,000. Valuable reading are two books by Kev Reynolds: Walking in the Alps and Walks in the Engadine (see “Books”).
Starting in the south in Val Bregaglia, one of the most notable villages is Soglio, which sits on the right-hand hillside gazing south to Val Bondasca, Piz Badile and the blade-like Sciora aiguilles. Paths leading out of Soglio climb the hillside to Alp Tombal, to Pass da Cam and Pass Düana for the most breathtaking views. These are steep trails, while a slightly less severe path (of 4hr) entices the walker from Promontogno below Soglio into Val Bondasca and up to its inner recesses where the Sciora Hut (081/822 11 38) stands immediately below the pinnacles after which it is named, with Piz Badile towering above to the southwest. Experienced mountain walkers could continue for four hours over the exposed Colle Vial below Badile to the Sasc Furä Hut (081/822 12 52), or cross the high Cacciabella Pass in the east to reach the Albigna Hut (081/822 14 05) in 4hr 30min.
In the Upper Engadine, Maloja offers several rewarding walks, especially up to the lovely alp hamlets of Grevasalvas and Blaunca (1hr). Above them lies Lägh da Lunghin, birthplace of the River Inn, and a path which climbs to Piz Lunghin (2780m) in 3hr 30min from Maloja. From that elevated point both Engadine and Bregaglia are spread out below. Across the valley, Val Fex gives gentle walking in idyllic surroundings, while a belvedere path above its entrance makes a high traverse round to St Moritz-Bad (up to 5hr from Sils Maria). From St Moritz a classic walk crosses the 2755m Fuorcla Surlej for a stimulating view of Piz Bernina and Piz Roseg (Berghaus Fuorcla Surlej; 081/842 63 03), then descends into Val Roseg and continues to Pontresina (up to 6hr). Walkers staying in Pontresina should visit the Coaz Hut (081/842 62 78) and neighbouring Tschierva Hut (081/842 63 91), the first in 4hr 30min, the second in an hour less: both give close views of glaciers and their icefalls. The Boval Hut (081/842 64 03) is another unmissable 3hr 30min walk, giving stupendous high mountain and glacier scenery for much of the way, while the easy but steep ascent of the 3262m Piz Languard directly above Pontresina (up to 4hr) is the best place to enjoy an alpine sunrise or sunset.
The Parc Naziunal Svizzer in the Lower Engadine has any number of walks from which red and roe deer, marmots, chamois and ibex may be seen. The best base for an exploration is the Blockhaus Cluozza, reached in 3hr from Zernez, since an overnight there enables you to cross into neighbouring valleys by a choice of passes. Further down-valley, the charming village of Guarda gives access to Val Tuoi, near the head of which stands the Tuoi Hut/Chamanna Tuoi (081/862 23 22) below Piz Buin. This is gained in about 2hr 30min from Guarda, while strong walkers could continue across the right-hand ridge at the 2735m Furcletta and descend through Val Tasna to Ardez – a total of 7hr 30min.
Scuol is the main resort in the Lower Engadine. Behind it to the south, Val S-charl leads to S-charl, a tiny summer-only hamlet at a confluence of glens. From here, walkers could cross Fuorcla Funtana da S-charl to the Ofen Pass/Pass dal Fuorn (3hr 30min); the Pass da Costainas to Santa Maria in Val Müstair (5hr; see p.469); or take an easy 1hr stroll to Alp Sesvenna among streams and pastures that are full of Alpine flowers in early summer.
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