caumasee

Lake Caumasee & Swiss Grand Canyon: hiking to the Il Spir viewpoint above the Rhine gorge

When we moved to Switzerland, Lake Caumasee in the canton of Graubünden was not at all on the list of places I wanted to visit here. It wasn’t even mentioned in the printed guides we bought or got before moving. I only found out about it from social media (thanks, Instagram!), when every summer, users’ accounts started filling up with pictures of the turquoise blue lake, with captions like “The Caribbean in Switzerland”, “the most beautiful Swiss lake”, etc. We only managed to get here this year, when we spent an autumn weekend in the rocksresort Laax.

Flims Waldhaus

A 20-minute drive from Chur (Switzerland’s oldest city) is the trio of attractive mountain villages of Flims, Laax, and Falera, which together form a large summer and winter sports resort. There are no trains, but it’s easily reached by regular post-bus services from Chur.

The starting point of the route to the lake and the Il Spir viewpoint is the Flims-Waldhaus. The car park is located on Rudi Dado Street. This official car park can be full soon, so you’d better arrive early to avoid looking for a parking space. The next parking lot is Parkplatz Flims Waldhaus on Rudi Dadens Street, opposite the mansion in the photo. Parking is charged daily, costing 1 franc/hour. It is a fairly easy not too steep walk from the parking place to the lake.

Lake Caumasee

This turquoise-blue lake surrounded by forests is about a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute walk and then a short lift ride south of the Flims Waldhaus. A perfect place to go swimming in the summer, or rent a boat and take a ride on the lake or eat in the restaurant overlooking the lake.

Surprisingly enough, the lake is surrounded by a fence and there is an entrance fee to enter the lakeshore: 19 francs for an adult, 9 francs for children aged 6-16. If you have a Guest card (the one you get when you check into your hotel), then the prices are reduced (adults 8 francs, children free).
Tickets are limited in number and can only be purchased through the INSIDE LAAX app.

From mid-September, admission to the lake is free.

Hiking trail

On various websites, you can find different routes to get from Flims to the Il Spir viewpoint. Because the forests around Lake Caumasee are interwoven with forest paths. But if you follow the signs for Conn, you’ll definitely get there.

We followed the white sign (see photo below). I apologize for not having a better map for you, but my smartwatch ran out of battery, so it was only in retrospect that I found out which way we actually went and how far it was. We took the blue route there, the green route back.

Il Spir viewpoint

From this viewpoint, you can see the Ruinaulta Gorge (Rhine Gorge), which is over 400 meters deep and was excavated by a glacier and is known as the Swiss Grand Canyon. You can enjoy views of the canyon from the observation platform, which opened in September 2006 and was designed by the Chur architect Corinna Menn. It must be said that the viewing platform is rather small and taking a popular selfie here is almost impossible.

Conn Restaurant

About 5 minutes from the viewpoint is the Conn Restaurant. The large terrace of the restaurant invites you to enjoy a coffee, dessert, or lunch. The wide forest path then leads you comfortably back to the lake.

Summary

  • The loop trail is just under 8 kilometres long and is suitable for strollers. If it’s a hot day, combine it with a swim in the beautiful Caumasee water.
  • Lake Caumasee is a top trip destination in Flims. In my opinion, the lake is beautiful, but quite overrated and also expensive. If you want to go here, you’d better only go if you’re going to spend the whole day here to “justify” the high entrance fee. There are plenty of lakes in Switzerland where you can swim without having to pay for it.
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