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Hike to four sources/Vierquellenweg

Mountain Hike · Switzerland
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Sedrun Disentis Tourismus Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Tomasee Rheinquelle
    / Tomasee Rheinquelle
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
  • / Lai Urlaun
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
  • / Im Val Maighels
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
  • / Portgeren See auf dem Maighelspass
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
  • / Gotthardpass
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
  • / Alpenrosen unterwegs
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
  • / Wollgras im Val Maighels
    Photo: Heidi Meier, Sedrun Disentis Tourismus
m 2500 2000 1500 1000 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 km
In the Gotthard massif we walk to the four sources Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone. For the overnight stays are mountain huts directly on the way or hotels in the nearby villages available.
Distance 77.3 km
29:00 h
4,042 m
3,770 m
The Vier-Quellen-Weg is an alpine hiking trail of about 85 kilometers in length. In five daily stages, we discover the sources of four important rivers as well as clear blue mountain lakes, bubbling streams and rocky transitions into other valleys. We walk through wide plains with mossy areas or green alps with grazing cows. Depending on the season, the variety of flowers around Lake Toma or the colorful larch forests in the Val Bedretto inspires us. But we do not just switch to different landscapes, but also to different language regions. The first coffee on the Oberalppass we order in the restaurant Piz Calmut in German , a little later we are greeted in the Maighelshütte with a Romansh "Bien di". If we are then beyond the Lucendropass, we are in the Italian part of Switzerland: Benvenuti in Ticino ! The tour ends in the canton of Valais, where a last climb to the Belvedere at the Furka Pass awaits. The view of the Rhone glacier is a final highlight.

Author’s recommendation

Visit Sasso san Gottardo www.sasso-sangottardo

The fortress until recently classified “TOP SECRET” is one of the largest underground defensive fortifications in Switzerland.

Hiking without baggage:


Profile picture of Heidi Meier
Heidi Meier
Update: September 11, 2021
Risk potential
Highest point
Giübin, 2,744 m
Lowest point
Oberwald, 1,353 m
Best time of year
Exposition / cardinal direction

Safety information

The Passo Lucendro could be dificult

Tips and hints




Oberalppass (2,045 m)
2'694'368E 1'168'322N
46.659465, 8.671624
46°39'34.1"N 8°40'17.8"E
32T 474876 5167375



Turn-by-turn directions

Stage 1

We orient ourselves at the yellow Wanderwegtafeln with the number 49 and take the way to Tomasee. At point 2065 we ascend in south-westerly direction in some turns to Tomasee. At the outflow of the lake, the hike leads over a newly created stretch of road to the Lai Urlaun. Below the Maighelshütte, the signpost now points towards Val Maighels until the turnoff at the Plaunca Purtgera to Maighelspass. We hike on a zigzag path down to our destination of the Vermigel Hut.

Stage 2

We start at the Vermighel hut in the direction of Sellapass and continue to the highest point of the Vier-Quellen-Weg, the Piz Giübin (2776 m). The descent is via a crete overlooking the Val Canaria to Madrano and Airolo. Below the Posmeda pass, we take the direct route to the dam. The last stretch is on a road. The "Albergo San Gottardo" is located directly on the famous Tremola.

Stage 3

We leave the Gotthard hospice and walk a few minutes past the fort "Fort Hospiz". The path crosses the pass road and continues to the dam wall of Lake Lucendro. At the Alpe the Lucendro, the trail climbs gently at first, then progressively steeper under the flanks of the Pizzo delle Valletta. Then we cross a small valley and are suddenly in front of a lake, which is the source of the Reuss. The path climbs gently uphill again to the Lucendropass. First along the southern flank of the Fibbia and later on a steep zigzag path we descend to the Alp Rosso di Fuori. We are now on the "sentiero alto Bedretto". On this wide trail we pass the Ri di Cavanna, Ri di Bedretto and Ri di Ronco. From Alpe Pesciora we reach in less than an hour our destination, the Piansecco hut.

Stage 4

From the Piansecco hut, stay on the Sentiero alto Bedretto until the Nufenen Pass road. Below the road our hiking trail leads down to the alpine huts at the Postautostation "Cruina". We now tackle the hike to the Nufenen Pass and reach a small tributary of the Nufenen Pass. After a short descent you come to the road that leads to the Griespass with its distinctive dam. Now we follow this wide road to the Griessee and then reach a turnoff that leads down into the valley. We get off and come to the so-called "Sbrinzweg". The mule track leads down to Nufenenstrasse. Below Aarena you reach a hilltop and look into a wild ravine. On a solid suspension bridge we cross the river. Then it goes through a forest down to Alpweide Kitt, where you cross the pass road. After crossing a wooden bridge we are standing at the first houses of Ulrichen. Whoever is aiming for Obergesteln, wanders into the valley in the direction of Rotten and Golfpaltz.

Stage 5

On a wide trail along the Rhone we reach Oberwald. At the first branch after the Rottenbrücke we go to the left and pass under the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn. Passing the St. Nicholas Chapel and partly along the Furka Steam Railway, in the upper part of the road, we reach a roped-up jetty, which zigzags down to the rump. Along the stream, you will ascend to the portal of the steam tunnel's spiral tunnel. Via a staircase you finally reach the pass road and follow this a few meters out of the valley. Then you reach the trail back to Gletsch. Past the "Blue House" we walk across the plain of the glacier floor. Afterwards it goes down from the edge, where we then climb obliquely to the route of the steam train. We now cross the railway track and take the path towards the Muttbach bridge at the Oberalpenstafel. Now we have a sweaty climb through many hairpin bends up over the Rossboden to Furkapass before. On the Furkapass we cross the road and climb a few minutes in a westerly direction on a hill. Then it goes on a well-developed path down rough terrain with many granite blocks, and we reach a summit with a magnificent view: namely our destination, high above the Rhone spring. We do not go straight to the source of the Rhone, but look at it from high above.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


By train from Lucerne via Andermatt or from Zurich via Chur to the Oberalp Pass

Getting there

By car from Lucerne via Andermatt or from Zurich via Chur to the Oberalp Pass


Public parking at the pass (free of charge)


2'694'368E 1'168'322N
46.659465, 8.671624
46°39'34.1"N 8°40'17.8"E
32T 474876 5167375
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

Vier-Quellen-Weg im Gotthardmassiv / Gamma Druck&Verlag, Altdorf

Author’s map recommendations

Swisstopo, Blatt 5001T , Gotthard, 1:50`000


Hiking boots are nessesary.

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77.3 km
29:00 h
4,042 m
3,770 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Secured passages Linear route Cultural/historical interest


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