Walk 8066 - Swiss National Park from S-chanf
Canton - Graubünden/Grisons - Lower Engadine
Author - Lou Johnson
Ascent - nominal or unknown
Descent - nominal or unknown
Time - 6.00 hours
Grade - moderate
Switzerland has only one National Park in Switzerland (with plans to create more) and is the largest protected area of the country. Inaugurated in 1914, it was one of the first national parks in Europe. Strict rules apply and it is forbidden to disturb the animals and plants. Located close to the village S-chanf, which has a regular train service, the walk to the park entrance from the station takes about 45 minutes. There is a limited bus service but you need to check times to and from the park before planning your walk.
From the park entrance and café at Prasüs you initially have a choice of either following a gravel track or a forest path. The former is probably better as the views from the path are more open. Walk up the track and continue past Mulins, Varusch and the Punt da Val da Scrigns. Do not cross the bridge but continue straight ahead for 100 metres and take the path on the left towards the Parkhütte Varusch, where a range of food and refreshments are available.
From the Parkhütte there is a single path up the valley so navigation is never an issue. You will reach another bridge (1858 metres) at Alp Purcher. Cross the bridge and turn left (with the river on your left). You soon reach another bridge (1878 metres). Cross this bridge and just before the second bridge go right following a narrow path signed to Alp Trupchun.
The path climbs gently with superb views to the river on your right. Reaching the final bridge (1995 metres), continue upstream as far as you wish. The higher you go the more chance you have of seeing wildlife as the number of visitors drops significantly as you go higher. Despite relatively poor weather we saw marmot, chamoix and ibex about 30 minutes upstream from this bridge.
The return route follows the outward route. However there are other paths you can use in descent and the 1:25000 map will help you explore the area in more detail.
Landeskarte der Schweiz - 1:25000 - Sheet 1238 - Piz Quattervals