Map

Thumbnail for the map of the 'Alp- und Kulturweg Schrina' trail, opens link to interactive web map.
Source1

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile for the map of the 'Alp- und Kulturweg Schrina' trail
Source1: Bundesamt für Landestopografie; Drawn with schweizmobilplus.ch

Useful Links

Original Route
Bus Stop
Free Parking
Weather
Cable Car

Short Description

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.


Impressions

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.

Click image to see 4K video (Youtube)

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:

Photo of Vrenelis Gärtli & Vorder Glarus peaks, as seen from the ascent to Mettmen (View from the East)
Vrenelis Gärtli & Vorder Glärnisch peaks, as seen from the ascent to Mettmen (View from the East)

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.

View along the ascent

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.

View from Matzlenfurggelen, as taken against the sun: A mosquito swarm, Riedmatt Alp, Franzenhorn (hill), Clariden to the left and Orstock to the right?
View from Matzlenfurggelen, as taken against the sun: A mosquito swarm, Riedmatt Alp, Franzenhorn (hill), Clariden to the left and Orstock to the right?

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.

Silhouette of a Gämse (Chamois, Swiss mountain goat) against a towering backdrop of the highland slopes of the other valley side with its rock faces, mossy green grass, shrubs, and rusty reddish patches, as seen near Matzlenstock, Switzerland, during the Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg hike
Gämse (Chamois, Swiss mountain goat)

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.

Kärpfbrugg (Kärpf Bridge)
Kärpfbrugg (Kärpf Bridge). It’s theoretically possible to walk in there at low water, though at your own risk (as usual).
The Waterfall leading to the namesake rock bridge (and cave)

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 🙂

Vorder Glärnisch in the distance, framed by a rock with a hiking road tag painted on it to the left, and the slope to the right, with the trail going through the middle, in soft evening pastel tones and shadows.
‘Glärnisch Gate of Kärpfbrugg’

Back at the lake and theoretical end of the tour, we stopped to enjoy the weirdly Nordic atmosphere once more, then started our descent.

Lake shore littered with driftwood. If you squint, you can imagine the white rock shore as a mountain peak and the water as the sky, thus the title 'Driftwood Peak'
‘Driftwood Peak’

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.

Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
‘Glarus Valley Sunset’

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

Full size images without watermarks are available for licensing to interested parties. Check romans.pictures for a selection of my favorites, or contact me for details.

  • Image of Vrenelis Gärtli & Vorder Glärnisch peaks, as seen from the ascent to Mettmen (View from the East)
  • Photo of Vorder Glärnisch & Rautispitz Peaks & Glarus Town as seen from Mettmen (South of Glarus), Switzerland
  • Chrämer & Gandstock mountains, probably. (Switzerland)
  • Image of Glarus town as seen from Mettmen
  • Garichti barrier lake and Gandstock mountain, probably. (Switzerland)
  • Photo of Vrenelis Gärtli & Vorder Glärnisch peaks, as seen from the ascent to Mettmen (View from the East)
  • MatzenGrat (foreground, definitely), Bliistock (left, probably), and Gross Kärpf (right, probably)
  • Charenstock, probably
  • MatzenGrat (foreground, definitely), and Gross Kärpf (right, probably)
  • MatzenGrat (foreground, definitely), and Gross Kärpf (right, probably)
  • View from Matzlenfurggelen, as taken against the sun: A mosquito swarm, Riedmatt Alp, Franzenhorn (hill), Clariden to the left and Orstock to the right?
  • View from Matzlenfurggelen: Riedmatt Alp, Franzenhorn (hill), Clariden to the left and Orstock to the right of Linthal (valley) (probably)
  • Gämse (Swiss mountain goat) as seen near Matzlenstock, Switzerland
  • Gämse (Swiss mountain goat) as seen near Matzlenstock, Switzerland
  • Gämse (Swiss mountain goat) as seen near Matzlenstock, Switzerland
  • Gämse (Swiss mountain goat) as seen near Matzlenstock, Switzerland
  • Unnamed lake and Gross Kärpf peak (probably)
  • Gross Kärpf peak (probably)
  • Kärpfbrugg (Kärpf Bridge)
  • Alpbeizli Nideren Mettmen (Closed)
  • Toad.
  • Vorder Glärnisch in the distance, framed by a rock with a hiking road tag painted on it to the left, and the slope to the right, with the trail going through the middle, in soft evening pastel tones and shadows.
  • Stausee Garichti (barrier lake), fed by Niderenbach (stream), with the Matt moor in the foreground and Vorder Glärnisch peak in the background.
  • Lake shore littered with driftwood. If you squint, you can imagine the white rock shore as a mountain peak and the water as the sky, thus the title 'Driftwood Peak'
  • Fireplace in the forest, surrounded by benches, at the beginning of "golden hour"
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset
  • Glarus Valley as seen on the way back from Kärpfbrugg-Rundweg during sunset

NEWSLETTER

Don’t miss a hike 🙂

Basic Data

Date of Hike:2021-09-24
Participants:Roman, Jenny
Technical Difficulty:T2: Mountain Trail

Stats

Roman’s Version

Km12
Net Hours (Est.)5
Net Hours (Act.)4.7
Ascent (m)1014
Descent (m)1014
Max. Alt. (m)1972
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?No

“Official” Version

Km7
Net Hours (Est.)2.5
Ascent (m)420
Descent (m)420
Max. Alt. (m)1972
Loop?Yes
Cable Car?Yes
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