The Sunnig Grat Snowshoe Hike – Uri Canton, Switzerland
Far from the crowded Swiss Sky slopes, the Snowshoe hike to Sunnig Grat offers a unique snowshoeing experience. Beautiful nature, a rewarding day out on the trail and the possibility to trailblaze up the mountain after a fresh snowfall.
Located in the Swiss Canton of Uri, the start of the hike is easy to reach from central Switzerland and Andermatt, should you happen to be in the area for a winter vacation.
The trail starts by the Arnisee lake, a popular attraction in its own right. People flock to this spot in summer for a day out on the trail or a barbecue by the lake.
In winter, however, it understandably is less crowded. This adds to the magic. Can you imagine being up on the Swiss mountains, no one else, blazing the snowshoe trail to the top after a fresh snowfall? That is precisely my experience—silence, Nature and scenic views.
This is one of my favourite snowshoeing experiences since I started snowshoeing, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. Find out why I liked it so much, and if you are looking for a snowshoeing adventure, perhaps you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Quick overview of the Sunnig Grat Snowshoe Hike
|Elevation Gain||650 m|
|Hike Time||3:30 / 4:00 Hrs|
|Hike Difficulty||Moderate to hard|
Tip: the parking area at the gondola station fills up relatively quickly, as most people will take a ride to Arnisee, a beautiful lake/reservoir by the mountain station.
How to get to Sunnig Grat and Parking
It’s impossible to drive to the trailhead, but you can take the cable car to Arnisee. That will be the start of the trail.
- Driving Directions: If you are coming from Zurich or Lucerne, you must head towards the Gotthard Pass. Take the exit as Amsteg, then keep following the road in the direction of Andermatt. Keep an eye out for the parking area to your left; it will be right before the cable car station.
- Parking: Amazingly enough, there is free parking at the valley gondola station. This is rare in Switzerland, where you usually need to pay for parking even at the Supermarket.
- By Public Transport: From either the Göschenen, Bahnhof or the Erstfeld, Bahnhof stations, take bus 401. Get off at the Intschi, Seilbahn stop.
Click here to check the operating hours and prices of the Cable Car (in german). The cable car can only carry six persons at a time, so unless you are one of the first in the morning, there may be a little queue to get up there. The price is 16CHF for a return ticket as of December 2022.
The Snowshoe trail to Sunnig Grat
First of all: The snowshoeing trail is unmarked, so you will not see the classic pink poles marking all the official snowshoeing trails. For this reason – and second of all: I highly recommend having a GPX track with the route. You can download it from my Komoot activity below.
As you leave the cable car station and pass by Arnisee, the first part of the trail will lead you uphill through a forest. For the next 30 minutes, it will be a beautiful walk in the wood up to the first lookout above Arnisee. If you, like me, enjoy being in the woods as much as scenic views, you will love this part of the trail.
The trail continues into the woods for a while, crossing some clearings. Soon enough, the vegetation will be replaced by sparse bushes, and the views will start to open up, revealing the surrounding mountains.
From here to the summit, there will be a couple of moderately steep slopes to climb up to. After the first one, you’ll see the Sunniggrathütte, which will be closed for the winter. No warm drinks, so make sure you bring your thermos :)!
The Sunnig Grat Summit
From the Sunniggrathütte, the Sunnig Grat summit will be in sight. A relatively big cross marks it, and the best line is easy to spot. Up to the ridge before you, then follow it to the cross.
This is the part of the trail that requires caution. Being a ridge covered in snow, you want to be careful, especially on the last stretch before the summit. It is relatively narrow and steep on either side. A fall will not be much fun here.
Other than that, the summit is now only a few minutes away. Rest, and enjoy the beautiful views of the valley below and the white, snow-capped mountains above!
Map of the Sunnig Grat Snowshoe Hike
Where to stay
- The Berg-Gasthaus Alpenblick by the mountain station is the only option if you want to spend a night there. The Sunniggrathütte is closed in winter.
- More Snowshoe hikes in Switzerland: Englelber Ristis, Arnisee, Fronalpstock. Melchsee-Frutt – Erzegg or the Obertrübsee Snowshoe Hike in Englelberg.
- This is also a good, moderate-difficulty hike in summer. More information can be found here.
- Check out my main Switzerland page for more info and hikes in Switzerland.
- Check out my top Snow and winter Landscape Photography Tips
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