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Julia Bleasdale: Eight Unmissable Engadin Trails

Julia Bleasdale is one of Europe’s top distance runners. She's an Olympic athlete, a Swissalpine T88 and European Cross Country champion. She's also lived in Engadin for years. So we asked her for eight excellent trails that you won’t want to miss when visiting the On Mountain Hut.

 

As well as being an official On athlete, Julia has been visiting the Alps since she was a toddler. 

After deciding to call time on her athletics career, she turned her attention to ultra-distance running in natural landscapes. And natural landscapes don't get much better than the ones you find in Engadin. Perhaps that's why she's lived there for years. 

Having put in so many miles and spent so much time exploring the wonderfully unique terrain and trails there, she knows them like the back of her hand.

Who better to give their suggestions for unmissable Engadin trails? 

 

Engadin is a running and hiking paradise. It has it all - smooth, flat trails and winding, more technical routes. Mountains then a swim in a lake. Whatever runner you are, there’s something for you. Then, of course, there’s the spectacular views too.

 

 

Trails leading to the On Mountain Hut

1. From Maloja

"The trail from Maloja is the most direct route to reach the On Mountain Hut. But with 700m of ascent in under 4km, you’d best bring your strong legs!

"As the path zigzags up the mountainside through alpine meadows and beside pretty streams flowing from Lej Lunghin(Lake Lunghin), you can expect wonderful views over Maloja and across the glistening Engadin lakes."

Length: 3.7km | Ascent/Descent: 708m/32m

 

2. From Sils

"If you fancy more of a meandering route up to the On Mountain Hut then start in Sils. Rising gently at first, the path then heads up above the picturesque hamlet of Grevasalvas - which is where the first Heidi film(and the 1978 26-part series) was shot.

"Crossing lush pastures and flowing rivers - all to a soothing backdrop of cowbells - you will reach Lej Lunghin in a truly relaxed state."

Length: 7.6km | Ascent/Descent: 765m/82m

 

3. From Julier Pass

"For a longer and wilder approach to the On Mountain Hut, start at the Julier Pass and head to Fuorcla Grevasalvas via Lej Grevasalvas. At the col(the lowest point between two ridge peaks) you will be rewarded with a breathtaking first view over the Engadin valley and across to the majestic Piz Bernina - which is the highest peak in the eastern Alps.

"But make sure to take care on the steep descent before climbing gently up to Lej Lunghin."

Length: 9.3km – Ascent/Descent: 805m/557m

  

Trails near to the On Mountain Hut

1. Pass & Piz Lunghin

"Pass Lunghin is a must for all On Mountain Hut visitors. Situated just a kilometre’s hike (and a 150m climb in elevation) above Lej Lunghin, it is Europe’s only three-way water divide. To the east, the water flows into the Inn and via the Danube into the Black Sea. To the north-west, the water flows into the Julia and then the Rhine, which eventually reaches the North Sea. The water in the Mera flows south-west into Lake Como and via the Po into the Mediterranean. 

"The pass is surrounded by a towering mountain landscape of rubble and boulders, and if you are feeling adventurous you can continue climbing up to Piz Lunghin. But make sure you take care amongst the loose rock and scree, as well as on the exposed peak top with its glorious vista!"

Length: 3.2km | Ascent/Descent: 265m/265m

 

2. Grevasalvas Loop (Heidi Dorf)

"If you are looking for a 10km running loop to get you going in the morning then try this. It combines many elements of the main On Mountain Hut approach routes with a glorious contouring traverse where you can really relax and just appreciate the vast Engadin lake view.

"Take your time passing through the unique and rustic hamlet of Grevasalvas, and perhaps take a Heidi-style skip beside the meadow!"

Length: 10.6km | Ascent/Descent: 719m/719m

 

3. Silsersee Loop

"Spend some time beside the Silsersee (Lake Sils) with this 20km running loop. After the steep decent from the On Mountain Hut down to Maloja, you can cruise along the lakeside trail which passes through the undisturbed and somewhat isolated hamlet of Isola. 

"The peninsular by Sils is also a joy to traverse and somewhere you will find many hidden coves where you can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters. Or head back to Lake Sils and maybe enjoy a boat ride with Europe's highest scheduled boat service if you want. Climb back up to the On Mountain Hut to relax, recover and enjoy the sunset!"

Length: 19.8km | Ascent/Descent: 1016km/1016m

 

4. Fuorcla Grevasalvas

"Fancy a steep hike starting at the On Mountain Hut and ending with a great viewpoint? Lying at 2687m above sea level, Fuorcla Grevasalvas offers a great picnic spot with some stunning views across to the Bernina Massive - as well as back in the direction of the Julier Pass. Be careful with your step going both up and down, as it is a little technical in places and does require some leg strength."

Length: 5.1km | Ascent/Descent: 472m/270m

 

5. Maloja Pass Loop

"Heading down into Val Bregaglia, this longer loop takes you from the On Mountain Hut into a varied landscape that surrounds the Septimer Pass - which is said to have been the preferred route of traveling emperors in days gone by - and then down to the quaint village of Casaccia. 

"Enjoy stretching your legs then catch a bus back up the winding Maloja Pass road or, if you are feeling adventurous, hike back up the steep 400m climb! You might want to catch your breath and relax in Maloja for a while, and maybe also devour some local specialities before returning back up to the On Mountain Hut."

Length: 17.1km | Ascent/Descent: 1328m/1329m

 

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The images in this article appear courtesy of Switzerland Tourism and Ivo Scholz. We thank them for their friendly cooperation.