Photo: Helmut Tiefenthaler, Bodensee-Vorarlberg Tourismus GmbH
Photo: Bodensee-Vorarlberg Tourismus GmbH
Übersaxen, village square (899m, parking site) – St. Anna chapel (980m) – Weiherberg (1015m) – Gartis (1075m) – Gulmalpe (1217m)
The Rhine valley stands out for two distinct features: the vibrancy of a densely populated area and its rolling countryside with unspoilt and pristine recreational landscapes. Especially on winter days, when a thick blanket of fog covers the valley, you may feel tempted to escape high up to the mountains for the glittering white and the warming rays of sun. One such popular escape is Übersaxen, which derives its name from the Romansh term ‘sursaxa’ (above the rock) – high above the low-lying valley.
Starting in Übersaxen at the village square, pick up the trail at Kirchstrasse until you reach the end of the village in some minutes, then continue on the road in the direction of Dünserberg for another 10 minutes. At St. Anna’s chapel, take the branch-off to the left on Gulmweg. This trail, which serves as a cleared access road to the top-lying permanently inhabited buildings at Weiherberg, merges into Alpweg, a compacted snow trail which lures hikers as well as tobogganists. As you walk uphill on the sunny slopes of Gartisalpe, lovely views unfold across the attractive area where the Walgau merges into the Rhine valley and where the Western Alps end and the Eastern Alps begin. In the Walgau, the Rätikon beween the Zimba and the Drei Schwerstern belongs to the Eastern Alps, while the range of peaks in the Rhine valley, ranging from the Alvier group to the Appenzell mountains, forms part of the Western Alps. Shortly before we reach the final point of our tour, you may catch a glimpse of the sun-kissed side of the Laternser valley to Hoher Freschen. Übersaxner Gulmalpe – which derives its name from the Latin term “culmen“ meaning ridge – invites hikers to pause for a rest and take in the sheer endless panorama. To return, simply hike back to the village or, alternatively, don’t miss out on the fun of a toboggan ride down to Weiherberg.