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Hiking in the Alps is like peanut butter with jelly—it just feels right. But with so many options, the question is: where to go? As a team of local Swiss guides, we have one very unique and often overlooked trail in mind—the 5-day Four Springs Trek. As its name suggests, the trail leads to the sources of four major European rivers: the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino, and Rhone. Ever wondered where rivers start before they become household names in large cities like Lyon or Cologne? Well, wonder no more! To get a proper Alpine experience, we’ll stay in high-quality mountain huts. No wonder this trek is a local favorite, with Swiss hikers leading the charge. And with a local guide by your side, everything will run smoother than, you guessed it, a Swiss watch. Ready to uncover the authentic side of the Alps? Let’s hit the trails!

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  • Hidden gem of Alpine hiking

    Ditch the crowds of more famous routes and hike along a unique Swiss trail favored by local hikers

  • Incredible landscapes

    Discover gorgeous natural wonders of central Swiss Alps around sources of 4 major European rivers

  • Swiss mountain huts

    Get a proper Alpine experience by staying in mountain huts that combine a rustic appeal and high-quality amenities

Itinerary

Explore the majestic Swiss Alps on the 5-day Four Springs Trek. Traverse breathtaking Alpine meadows, rugged mountain passes, towering peaks, and pristine glacial landscapes as you discover the sources of four major European rivers—the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino, and Rhone. Experience the tranquility of crystal-clear mountain lakes and marvel at towering peaks. With an expert local guide leading the way, immerse yourself in the diverse and awe-inspiring beauty of Switzerland. Enjoy comfortable accommodations in mountain huts, delicious vegetarian breakfasts and dinners provided, group equipment, and the added benefit of a carbon offset program.

  • From the meeting point at the Oberalp Pass (6,706 ft / 2,044 m) near the lighthouse (close to the village of Andermatt), meet your guide and start the hike in the direction of Lake Toma. The trail leads your group along hiking boards across alpine meadows in the direction of Badus (9,606 ft / 2,928 m). The picturesque Lake Toma awaits there—the source of the Rhine. As you continue to the Maighelspass (7,913 ft / 2,421 m), you’ll pass numerous streams, wetlands and the Urlaunsee (Lai Urlaun), which is surrounded by a rich native flora and fauna. Shortly after the Maighelspass, discover the picturesque Portgerensee lake, offering a perfect place to take a break in the midst of the beautiful mountain landscape. After a further hour’s walk, reach the cozy Vermigelhütte (6,699 ft / 2,042 m), from where you can round off the day with a delicious dinner.

    Meals: Dinner
    Accommodation: Vermigel mountain hut

    Source of the Rhine river.
  • Today’s hiking stage takes you to one of the highlights of the Four Springs Trail – the Giübin, the highest peak on the route at an altitude of 9,108 feet / 2,776 meters. The goal for today is to cross the Giübin and reach the Gotthard Pass. After a hearty breakfast, your group sets off from the Vermigel hut and hikes through a picturesque landscape adorned with Alpine roses. Soon, you’ll be able to see the Giübin in the distance and the path will lead you through an area that has been known since ancient times for its mineral wealth. Finally, your group will reach the Giübin and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the Gotthard massif. During the descent, you’ll pass Lake Sella (7,401 ft / 2,256 m), which is now on the soil of the Ticino canton, an Italian-speaking Swiss region. Continue your hike and reach the Gotthard Pass, where the day ends in a relaxed manner with another delicious dinner.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Mountain hut near the Gotthard Pass

    Gotthard Pass in the Swiss Alps.
  • On the third day of the hike, an exciting route awaits, leading your group to the Lucendro Pass (8,274 ft / 2,522 m). Cross the Bedretto Valley and admire the Lucendro reservoir, whose dam wall was built during the Second World War. Continue your hike to the Lucendro Alps, where your group will be able to enjoy a wonderful view of the source of the Reuss. After a break, cross the pass and follow the Sentiero Alto Bedretto, a breathtaking high-level trail that offers a unique view of the picturesque Bedretto Valley. You’ll also be able to pick some blueberries along the way. Finally, we reached the Piansecco hut (6,562 ft / 2,000 m), the final destination for the day.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Piansecco mountain hut

    Lake Lucendro in the Swiss Alps.
  • Today, your group continues the hike to the Nufenen Pass. On the way, pass the Manio Alps and the Cruina Alps mountain pastures, along with historic traffic routes that illustrate the economic importance of the Gotthard massif in earlier times. The trail leads you through varied terrain, such as mountain ranges, meadows, plateaus and wetlands. Your group will then take a break at the Ticino spring and enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains reflected in the glistening water. This is also the source of the Ticino, whose path leads down into the valley to Lake Maggiore. On your way, admire what is probably the oldest tree in Switzerland, a larch that is around 1,500 years old. Finally, reach your accommodation for the night near Grimsel.

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner
    Accommodation: Mountain hut near Grimsel

    Nufenen Pass in the Swiss Alps.
  • On the last stage of the 5-day trek, the highlight of the Rhone glacier and the source of the Rhone await. However, there are still a few meters of altitude to overcome as your group hikes from the Obergoms to the Furka Pass. The glacier, which was accessible from the village of Gletsch decades ago, has retreated considerably due to climate change, altering the landscape. During the ascent, cross impressive areas and admire the high alpine mountains of Switzerland. Once you arrive at the former Hotel Belvédère, it is only a short walk to the starting point of the Rhone Glacier. After congratulating yourselves, your group will enjoy the view of the glacier and the source of the Rhone and conclude the last day of hiking. Finally, take the bus to Andermatt, where the trip is rounded off with a delicious meal in Andermatt. Say goodbye to your guide, fellow hikers and to Switzerland—or continue touring on your own!

    Meals: Breakfast and dinner

    Rhone glacier and the source of the Rhone river.
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Meet your guide

Exped Tribe
5.00
Exped Tribe
Formerly known as the Afterbang Squad, Exped Tribe was founded in the picturesque mountains of central Switzerland in January 2020. With roots dating back to 2009, when they specialized in crafting unique marketing content for the outdoor industry, the team evolved their expertise in planning and executing expeditions into a mission to provide authentic experiences to adventurous souls and mountain enthusiasts. Their journey encompasses faraway lands, lonely peaks, and the exploration of hard-to-reach areas, alongside exhilarating courses and tours within Switzerland. Committed to leaving only footprints behind, Exped Tribe invites fellow adventurers to join them in shaping the future of remote exploration and experiencing the unparalleled freedom that nature bestows.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Support member who documents the trip photographically
      • 5 days of hiking along the Four Springs Trek in Switzerland
      • Overnight stay in quality mountain huts
      • Half board (breakfasts and dinners)
      • Group equipment
      • Carbon offset program (planting 10 trees per participant)

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to the starting point of the tour
      • Accommodation before and after the tour — if applicable
      • Snacks between breakfast and dinner
      • Drinks
      • Travel and medical/rescue insurance
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • To participate in the Four Springs Trek hiking tour in Switzerland, you should have a very high level of fitness and experience of mountain hiking. You should be able to walk up to 7 hours per day with a daily elevation gain between 2,625 and 3,940 feet (800-1,200 m). You’ll cover a total distance of 50 miles (81 km) with a ascent of 15,090 feet (4,600 m) over the course of 5 days.
    While the trek does not require advanced technical skills, you should be a confident hiker comfortable with covering exposed sections from time to time.

    To prepare for the Four Springs Trek, consider incorporating regular cardio and strength training into your fitness routine. Focus on building endurance through long walks or hikes, gradually increasing both duration and elevation gain to simulate the conditions of the trek. Additionally, practice hiking on uneven terrain to improve your balance and stability.

    It’s important to note that throughout the trek, you’ll have a guide by your side, always providing support, guidance, and assistance, ensuring your safety and enjoyment throughout the journey.

    With the right level of fitness and preparation, coupled with the support of a knowledgeable guide, you can fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Four Springs Trek in the Swiss Alps.

  • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

      • Backpack (around a 60-80L bag)
      • Telescopic poles
      • Mountain boots or high hiking boots
      • Gaiters
      • Hard shell jacket
      • Down jacket
      • Moisture-wicking long hiking pants
      • Moisture-wicking long and short hiking shirts
      • Soft shell or fleece jacket
      • Hat and gloves
      • Sunglasses
      • Sun and lip cream
      • Water bottle and thermos flask
      • Camera and power bank
      • Hut sleeping bag
      • Headlamp
      • Toiletries (reduced to a minimum)

    Bring comfortable clothing appropriate for varying weather conditions. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • During the Four Springs Trek adventure in Switzerland, participants can expect comfortable accommodation and nourishing meals along the route. The huts along the trek boast a very high standard, equipped with all modern amenities to ensure a pleasant stay. You’ll sleep in dormitory-style rooms with mattresses provided for sleeping bags, offering a cozy and restful environment for a good night’s sleep.

    The tour includes half board, consisting of breakfast and dinner. Meals provided adhere to a commitment to animal welfare, meaning fish and meat are not offered. However, participants have the flexibility to order their preferred dishes of animal origin at local restaurants if preferred (not included). Additionally, you’re welcome to bring and consume your own food of animal origin at any time. While snacks are not included in the tour package, it’s recommended to bring replenishing snacks to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Suitable options include dried fruit, chocolate, cheese, wholemeal bread, and energy bars.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • For this group adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
      • It takes a minimum of 4 people for this tour to operate, while the maximum number of participants is 10.
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

    Hiking the Four Springs Trek in the Swiss Alps can be arranged for larger and for private groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Your tour starts in the Oberalp Pass area. To get there, most people fly into Zürich Airport. From there, the easiest way to get to the starting point is by train. You should first take a train ride to the village of Andermatt and then another short ride to the Oberalp Pass station. Once there, it’s 5 minutes by foot to the trailhead, next to the lighthouse. You can meet your guide in Andermatt in the evening before the tour starts or the morning of Day 1 and take a train ride to Oberalp Pass together.

    We suggest arriving at least one day before the tour starts, especially if flying for afar. We suggest arranging accommodation either in Zürich or in Andermatt before the tour.

  • Participants should cover all their bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in Switzerland, please refer to Switzerland travel advice.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 1 month (30 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund.
      • For cancellations twenty (20) to thirty (30) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
      • For cancellations ten (10) to nineteen (19) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. An additional administrative fee of approximately $70 will also be charged in case of cancellation.

    Secure your spot for the following season with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you’ll be the first one to know. Pick the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know once the dates are live—don’t risk missing out on your bucket list adventure!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the set dates for the following season are live, you can confirm your booking by the end of this year by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.
      • Once the trip has been confirmed, the regular cancellation policy applies.
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