Beat Friedli’s hiking tip: the circular trail from Kies to Garichti Reservoir and the mysterious Kärpfbrugg natural bridge

The hiking bug: Kärpfbrugg natural bridge

Immerse yourself in a world full of breathtaking landscapes, wildlife and mysterious miracles of nature. The hike from Kies to Garichti Reservoir – also called Mettmensee by the residents of Glarus – to the spectacular Kärpfbrugg natural bridge is an experience that you will never want to forget!

Just getting there is an adventure in itself

The road winds its way from Schwanden into the mountains. As the road is not just twisty, but also very narrow in places, many people in Schwanden prefer to take the post bus. This way you can enjoy the ride to Kies Valley Station and relax as you admire the beautiful mountain landscape.

Start point: Kies-Mettmen cable car mountain station

The hike starts at the mountain station for the Kies-Mettmen cable car. The path to Garichti Reservoir (1625 m.a.s.l.) leads past Mettmen Mountain Hotel. You then immediately turn right over the dam wall to the start of the constantly ascending path for Börtli which leads up to Matzlenfurggelen. If you’re lucky, you will see wild animals, such as the marmot, which is native to Mettmenalp.

At Matzlenfurggelen you continue on the left, descending gently and passing small mountain pools and grazing cattle, until you reach Kärpfbrugg natural bridge (1800 m.a.s.l). If the water is low, it’s worth taking a look under the bridge. You can even walk right under it to the other side!
Shortly afterwards you reach Alpwirtschaft Niederen (1795 m.a.s.l.), where you can refuel before embarking on the last stage of the hike. Here it’s worth taking a look behind you. The end of the valley is remarkably, austerely beautiful and the horizon is dominated by the deep fissures in Kärpf’s rocky ridge. The trail now follows a gravel alpine path for a moderately steep descent. As you follow it, you will pass a wildlife-watching station in the form of a gigantic bird’s nest right beside the path. Finally you will reach Garichti Reservoir and Kies-Mettmen Mountain Station again.

The hike from Kies to the idyllic Garichti Reservoir and the Kärpfbrugg natural bridge is a real outdoor adventure that will reward you with magical moments and unforgettable impressions. Pack your hiking shoes, grab your nearest and dearest and experience the fascinating beauty of the Glarus Alps! Hike time: approx. 2.5 hours.

Additional information

  • Walking time: 2h 30 min.
  • Difficulty: T2 mountain hike
  • Route length: 7.2 km
  • Ascent: 410 m
  • Descent: 410 m
  • Highest point: 1972 m
  • Lowest point: 1599 m
  • Refreshments: Alpwirtschaft Niederen
  • Ideal time of year: Early June to late October

Beat’s tip

If you would like to take it a bit easier, then you could try the shorter, 45-minute trail around Garichti Reservoir. This lake, which is approximately 500 metres long, has a number of firepits to tempt you to linger for a while. Or you could go fishing! The path to the reservoir is suitable for wheelchairs and prams.

If you have the time and are feeling adventurous, I recommend you extend the hike to Swiss Alpine Club Leglerhütte at 2273 m.a.s.l. This cosy, modern alpine hut will pamper you with cordial hospitality and delicious food.

More about the Kärpfbrugg natural bridge

The upper layer of the Kärpfbrugg natural bridge consists of Lochsite limestone. Beneath it lie the softer, shaly flysch rocks, through which the Niederenbach River carved its underground course, forming the Kärpfbrugg. This natural bridge is one of the most spectacular outcrops in the Glarus geological thrust.


Wanderung Mettmen-Kärpfburgg;

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