The (supposed) main attraction of “Kärpfbrugg Rundweg” (“Kaerpf-Bridge Round Tour”) is Kärpfbrugg, a rock formation over Niderenbach (Nideren Stream). During low water conditions, one may enter the cave at one’s own risk. There are also guided tours.
The route selected by Schweizmobil starts and ends at the Mettmen cable car station at Garichti barrier lake and can be done in around two hours. it’s also rather family friendly.
My version skips the cable cars and adds a plenitude of awesome vistas one would miss during the short “official” route.
Elongating the loop by skipping the cable car and adding about 600 height meters of ascent and descent, as well as roughly doubling the estimated time required was most definitely the correct decision.
We were privy to so many gorgeous views and awesomely atmospheric scenes and locations we would have missed otherwise. Not being a slave to the cable car’s schedules also allowed us to do the tour later than others and having it almost to ourselves, and some wildlife (see below).
In fact, there were so many moments worthy of immortalization through photography (in my mind) that you’ll have to excuse the unusual torrent of pictures and impressions following this paragraph. I hope you’ll agree it was worth it.
For starters, the additional ascent route was well-chosen; leading along peacefully babbling brooks, pleasant, cow speckled meadows, and cool, shaded forests with the occasional mountain view vista:
I’m also particularly partial to the Swiss highland biome with its red ferns, sparse pine trees and white rocks, of which you get plenty along this route.
Pretty soon we joined the paths of the “official” Kärpfbrugg tour, going counter-clockwise, thus finishing the ascent portion first.
This was also around the time we encountered most of the humans we would see that day; mostly stragglers who were surprised to see us “just setting off” when they themselves felt like they were pushing it, trying to catch the last cable carriage down.
It was a trickle rather than a stream and it died out roughly at Matzlenfurggelen, about a quarter of the official route in, where we had a quick snack and enjoyed the view of the alps to the South-West.
A bit later, and doubtlessly thanks to the late hour and mostly human-free trail, we got a glimpse of a lone Gämse (Chamois), striking a pose against the awesomely towing backdrop of the highlands on the other side of the valley.
I could have tried to get closer, but staying on the path and leaving the animals their space is the right thing to do when out hiking in their territory.
The supposed highlight of the tour, Kärpfbrugg, was a bit anticlimactic at that point. Surely, this was partially due to the time of day and the lighting, but we had already had much more impressive experiences that far.
Of course, the geology is interesting. And at least we saw it without a gaggle of people taking Instagram pictures under the arch.
As the light grew dimmer, the views grew ever more beautiful, and the opportunity density for taking great pictures intensified. I still consider myself an amateur and beginner, but I do think some came out rather well 🙂
Back at the lake and theoretical end of the tour, we stopped to enjoy the weirdly Nordic atmosphere once more, then started our descent.
Once again the facultative stretch of trail proved to add immense value to the experience of the day, offering a practically non stop view of the Glarus valley in ever warmer pastel tones as the sun set over the opposing ridge. Magical.
In summary, we had a fantastic time on this trail, enjoyed some unforgettable vistas, and the namesake Kärpfbrugg, while interesting, was not even among the Top 5 highlights of the day. In no small part due to not taking the lazy option (cable car).
I encourage you to do the same and hope you’ll enjoy the region as much as we did. As always: Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures and memories.
Would you like to share your own experiences with this hike? Do you have any questions? Something to add? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂
Route Report / Gallery
Don’t miss a hike 🙂
|Date of Hike:||2021-09-24|
|Technical Difficulty:||T2: Mountain Trail|
|Net Hours (Est.)||5|
|Net Hours (Act.)||4.7|
|Max. Alt. (m)||1972|
|Net Hours (Est.)||2.5|
|Max. Alt. (m)||1972|