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Walk to Elm

Wanderung · Mels
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Macs Adventure Verifizierter Partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Waterfall
    / Waterfall
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / The pass from afar
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / Winding track
    Foto: Macs Adventure
  • / View down the valley
    Foto: Macs Adventure
m 2500 2000 1500 1000 20 15 10 5 km

A long low walk before a very steep ascent over the Foopass and then a long descent down into the town of Elm.
24,2 km
9:00 h
1292 hm
1301 hm
Warm up with an easy going 9km walk on country roads, before starting the ascent to the first pass of the trail, the Foopass (2223m). This is an exciting day of walking as you get into the true mountainous arena of the Via Alpina. The ascent is steady and surrounded by alpine farmland, fields, waterfalls and marmots. The Foopass also marks the border between St Gallen and Glarus, and you will notice a definite change in the character of the terrain from here on. Descend to the attractive town of Elm, home to a 15th-century church with a backdrop of Piz Sardona and Piz Segnas. 


Pack light today, as there is a lot of ascents - there is a healthy amount of up throughout the Via Alpina but this is your first taste of a 1000 metre plus climb so be gentle with yourself.

Höchster Punkt
2223 m
Tiefster Punkt
968 m


The weather can change rapidly in the Alps, always check the forecast before you start the days hiking and pack appropriately. If the weather is too rough, do not begin the trek.

There can be left over snow drifts early in the season, they have sometimes melted underneath - particularly if it covers moving water. Just because it looks solid, it doesn't mean it is. Exercise extreme caution when crossing such snow drifts and if possible walk around them to where you can see the solidity of the ground clearly.

Some of the ground can be uneven, with rocky/pebbly paths and even ice. Ensure you have suitable footwear with ankle support, and step cautiously when needed. 

Much of the path is on clifftops and there has been some erosion, for this reason, the path is sometimes unclear, be careful of the drop and of loose rocks and edges to the cliffs.

Some of the gates are cattle deterrents and are electrified, be sure to use the plastic handles and reattach the cable to the housing when you pass through, they are 12 volts, so not dangerous but very unpleasant.

Weitere Infos und Links

Food and Drink

You must bring all of your food and drink with you as there are no stops en route. Ask the hotel to provide a packed lunch (be sure to do this upon checking in)


Points of Interest

The Foopass

This pass at 2223 metres offers amazing views down the valley, with long waterfalls dissipating to vapour on their long journey from the clifftop to the rocks below. Wildflower meadows and rich pine forests carpet the valley floor and the lower sides.


A delightful little town at the base of the valley, with shops and a couple of bars and a tourist information point. There is also a sports shop in case you are missing any outdoor equipment like walking poles or decent gloves.



Weisstannen (981 m)
46.992966, 9.345880
32T 526299 5204440


Elm high street


0.00 km - TURN RIGHT out of the hotel and follow the tarmac road

0.50 km - Cross the bridge and BEAR RIGHT, you will see a sign for Elm, 9 hours

0.81 km - TURN RIGHT off the main road, cross a small bridge and then follow the river as you BEAR LEFT signed for Elm

2.10 km - Come to a T Junction on a vehicle track, BEAR LEFT to cross the river and then  BEAR RIGHT on the other side of the river to rejoin the trail

2.20 km - BEAR LEFT to stay on the trail and avoid crossing the river, there is a yellow way marker on the tree

2.40 km - BEAR RIGHT to join the road for 50 metres and then BEAR LEFT to rejoin the trail and stay left as the trail ascends away from the road,  yellow way markers still visible

4.10 km - BEAR RIGHT descending off the path down large steps made of wooden logs and at the bottom of the hill, BEAR LEFT to cross a small metal bridge, pass a shed and then TURN RIGHT across a vehicle bridge to then TURN LEFT to follow a small riverside trail

4.50 km - The path forks, take the right fork ascending away from the bridge

5.20 km - Just before you reach a bridge, TURN RIGHT off the trail with blue markers, ascending straight up to join the vehicle track that runs above the trail where you TURN LEFT

5.90 km - TURN LEFT descending off the main track onto another vehicle track 

6.60 km - The trail hairpins, BEAR RIGHT to leave the vehicle track and join a fainter stone and earth track

6.90 km - BEAR LEFT as the trail forks, keep looking for the red and white markers from here in

7.20 km - The path forks, TURN RIGHT following the markers

7.20 km  - Join a larger vehicle trek, TURN LEFT following signs for the Foopass and Elm

8.00 km - Cross a small bridge entering some pasture land, BEAR LEFT slightly and then BEAR RIGHT to follow a trail across the meadow which then joins an ascending track as you BEAR RIGHT and follow the waymarkers as the path ascends and passes through an alpine gully

11.40 km - Pass through the gate and pass between the two buildings before you BEAR LEFT across a stream and rejoin the trail as it ascends towards the pass

13.20 km - Pass over the Foopass and begin the steep ascent down the other side

15.80 km - Pass to the right of a barn and then BEAR LEFT to join a descending vehicle track

 16.80 km - As the track forks, BEAR RIGHT sharply

15.80 km - When you come to the next farm building, TURN LEFT still following way markers and signs for Elm

16.80 km - As the path reaches the buildings of Mittlesafel, TURN RIGHT continuing on the trail

17.90 km - TURN LEFT descending

22.20 km - The track has turned to a surfaced road, at this point TURN LEFT off the road onto a smaller path

22.60 km - The path enters a carpark, BEAR RIGHT through the carpark and then BEAR LEFT off the road onto a smaller path signed for Elm Station, follow this path onto Elm high street

24.20 km - You have arrived on Elm High street, your days walking is done.






alle Hinweise zu Schutzgebieten


46.992966, 9.345880
32T 526299 5204440
Anreise mit der Bahn, dem Auto, zu Fuß oder mit dem Rad

Buchtipps für die Region

mehr zeigen


As well as the appropriate shoes and layered clothing for the changeable weather and other essentials, you should consider walking poles, UV sunglasses and factor 30 suncream. The sun is bright and high UV in the higher Alps and the snow can reflect it and intensify the exposure.

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24,2 km
1292 hm
1301 hm
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