Hike to Caumasee and the Swiss Grand Canyon!

Hiking, Switzerland13 comments

This easy trail covering the 2 beautiful lakes of Caumasee and Crestasee, and the incredible Rhine Gorge (also known as the Swiss Grand Canyon) is the perfect way to whet your appetite for more hikes in Switzerland. I came across these places when I was looking for less touristy places to visit in Switzerland and the incredible pictures (and the promise of an easy hike) had me sold on it. This hike can be done in both directions but the Caumasee-Crestasee route is downhill all the way and you can take a bus from the endpoint to get back to your car! What more can you ask for?!

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Here are more ideas for your trip to Switzerland: 25 best places to visit in Switzerland!

Points of interestCaumasee, Rhine Gorge, Crestasee
Best time to visitAll year round for the hike; May to October for Swimming in the lakes
LocationCaumasee, Flims Waldhaus (Rudi Dadens & Rudi Dado streets both have parking available)
Travel timeBy car: 1 hr 30 min from Zurich
By public transportation: 2 hr from Zurich HB
Opening hoursCaumasee lift: 08:00 – 17:00 (The hike can be done without the lift too)
Ticket pricesCHF 15 per adult to visit Caumasee
Ease of accessModerate – Caumasee can be visited by simply walking from the parking area/ bus stop; Rhine Gorge and Crestasee need a longer hike
Closest towns to stay inFlims, Chur
Read morehttps://www.flimslaax.com/en; https://www.graubuenden.ch/en
Check out the weather camhttps://live.flims.com/en/webcam

Where is Caumasee and the Swiss Grand Canyon located

Caumasee, Crestasee and the Rhine Gorge are located in & around the town of Flims in the Swiss canton of Graubünden. It is a beautiful area and one of the less-touristy places in Switzerland.

Caumasee quite whimsically translates to Lake of Noon Rest. Surrounded by forests, it’s an ideal place to relax, swim and have a picnic. The most stunning feature of the lake is its turquoise green water, unlike anything you may have seen before. Caumasee is easily accessible by a very short walk. It can be visited standalone without the need for a hike. Take a virtual tour of the lake here.

Have limited time in Switzerland? Here’s a 5-day Switzerland itinerary to take in the best of the country!

Lake Cauma Switzerland
Turquoise waters of Lake Cauma

The Rhine Gorge is Switzerland’s very own Grand Canyon. This 13-kilometer long gorge is the result of geological events tracing back 10,000 years. There are multiple ways to visit this natural wonder including the hike described here – see here for more options.

Rhine Gorge - Conn Viewing platform
The Swiss Grand Canyon!

Crestasee with its brilliant green water is another beautiful spot for a relaxing day. It is however accessible only through a 20-30 min walk from Trin-Mulin or through the hike described in this post covering Caumasee, the Rhine Gorge & Crestasee.

Lake Cresta Switzerland
Lake Cresta

What is the best time to hike to Caumasee and the Swiss Grand Canyon

While this hike can be done year-round, check the weather cam before you visit.

The Caumasee lift and the bathing area at Caumasee are open from the end of May to October. While the lift helps save some time, it’s not essential for the hike.

The Crestasee bathing area is open from mid-May to mid-September.

How to get to Caumasee

You need to first get to the Flims Waldhaus bus stop. From there, follow the signs along the parking lot behind the bus stop to Caumasee lift – it’s an easy 10-15 minute walk. This lift takes you directly down to the lake. You can also skip the lift and walk another 15 minutes down to the lake if so inclined.

By car: We drove from Zurich and it took us around 1 hr 30 min to reach Flims. It was a beautiful drive, along the banks of Lake Zurich followed by Walensee. We parked behind the Flims Waldhaus bus stop and it was a pre-paid parking.

By public transportation: Take the train to Chur and then the postauo bus to the Flims Waldhaus bus stop. The total journey time is ~2 hrs from Zurich.

Flims Waldhaus, Caumasee
Flims Waldhaus, Caumasee (Google Map Data ©2020) – Click to expand map

What are the opening hours for the Caumasee lift

Caumasee lifts operating times: 08.00 to 17.00 h, June to August. Check the latest operating information here. The lift saves ~15 min walking time but the hike can be done without it as well.

The rest of the hike can be done at any time.

Tickets/ Prices for visiting Caumasee

Caumasee requires an entry ticket of CHF 15 per adult (however, the 2nd time when we went, it was after 5 pm so the entry was free) to get close to the lake. 

The Caumasee lift is free of charge. There are a pair of lifts in operation, and each has a capacity of ~12 adults.

At Crestasee, you need to pay CHF 7.

Hike to Caumasee and the Swiss Grand Canyon

Hike overview: One way hike: Caumasee – Conn – Crestasee

Distance: ~6 km

Duration: 1.5 – 2 hrs

Ascent: 69 m

Descent: 330 m

Path: Broad and smooth

Difficulty level: Easy – this is a downhill hike suitable for families of all ages

Hiking maps - Caumasee, Rhine Gorge, Crestasee
Hiking map – Caumasee, Rhine Gorge, Crestasee (Google Map Data ©2020) – Click to expand map

Caumasee

From the parking lot, we followed the signs to the Caumasee lift, a short walk away. You can walk all the way down to the lake but the lift is an easier way to get there. Near the lift is where we caught our first glimpse of the lake and were blown away by the incredible colours. Even seeing the pictures beforehand had not prepared us on how vividly coloured the lake was!

Caumasee lift
Heading down to Caumasee on the lift

Down from the lift is the ticket window and the ticketed entrance area. It’s a small lake but there’s a lot to do. There are boats available to take around the lake, facilities for swimming, a restaurant and a play area for kids. We spent a long time perched on some rocks admiring the crystal clear, incredibly blue-green waters.

Lake Cauma in the summer
A lovely sunny day at Lake Cauma

Caumasee can be visited as is without the hike since it’s so easily accessible – we brought our parents here when they were visiting and they loved the place.

Caumasee in the evening
Our parents loved the lake!

Rhine Gorge or the Swiss Grand Canyon

From Caumasee we followed the signs for the Rhine Gorge/ Conn. It’s about a 40-50 min easy hike on a broad path, occasionally through some forest areas. There are plenty of water fountains and benches along the way.

Water fountain on the caumasee crestasee hike
Quite a unique water fountain along the way
Caumasee Conn Crestasee hike
The hike is on an easy path through forests

While you can see the Rhine Gorge from several points along the way, the best views are from the viewing platform – The Il Spir viewing platform is located just a few minutes from Restaurant Conn. The Swiss grand canyon in all its glory can be seen from here. We took a break here and had our picnic lunch.

Conn viewing platform
View from the Conn Platform

Crestasee

We continued to make our way towards Crestasee, following the signs. It was again an easy ~40 min walk which brought us to the emerald green waters of Crestasee.

Caumasee Rhine Gorge Crestasee hike
Incredible views along the hike
Crestasee or Lake Cresta Switzerland
The emerald green Crestasee

There was a lot more activity here with people swimming, grilling and sunbathing. You need to buy a ticket here if you plan to swim/ spend some time. Since we were stopping only for ice cream, we did not buy a ticket but sat on the shore for a few minutes to relax and enjoy the view.

To get back, we walked from Crestasee to the Postauto bus stop in Trin Mulin called Trin, Felsbach-Crestasee – it was about a 20-25 min walk through some incredible scenery – high mountains, rushing waterfalls and green meadows.

Crestasee to Trin Mulin
Incredible scenery continues as we make our way to the bus stop
Crestasee to Trin Mulin - a waterfall along the hike
A small waterfall along the way

It was a bit confusing to get to the bus stop since not all of the route was marked but we followed the road and eventually found it. Use the map below for reference. You can buy the ticket on the bus. It took us about 15 minutes to reach Flims Waldhaus and get back in the car.

If you are taking public transportation, take the post bus from Trin, Felsbach-Crestasee to Chur, a 40-minute ride. From Chur, you can head to Zurich.

Crestasee to Trin Mulin bus stop
Crestasee to Trin Mulin bus stop (Google Map Data ©2020) – Click to expand map

Practical tips for the Caumasee – Conn – Crestasee hike

  • Get there early to avoid a crowded parking lot
  • Carry a water bottle – there are multiple water fountains all along the hike
  • Carry a hat or a cap as a lot of the hike is out in the open and the sun can get very warm

Other activities

  • At Crestasee you can enjoy a boat ride, stand-up paddling, and grilling at the fire pit
  • There are several more hiking trails in this region – see here for more details

Have you done the Caumasee – Crestasee hike or any other hike in the Flims region? Drop me a comment with your favourite part of the hike. Are you planning a trip to central Switzerland (or looking for a great less touristy place to visit in Switzerland?!)? Let me know if you have any questions. 

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13 Comments

  1. I have only seen the alps from the French side but they are absolutely stunning and these hikes look incredible! Thank you for bringing them to my attention

    Reply
  2. I have to admit, I was excited to see this before I even clicked on the post…and you did not dissapoint! Wooooowza! It is amazing that you can reach such stunning scenery with such a short hike!

    That lake is really gorgeous, but I have never heard of buying a ticket to swim in a lake or relax there for a picnic! Who does the money go to? It is such a strange concept!!

    Reply
  3. This looks gorgeous!! I 100% need to get my butt back to Switzerland to hike this route. I love the shots of the Caumasee lift and Lake Cresta

    Reply
  4. I am jealous of anyone who’s gotten to visit Switzerland! The turquoise lakes and rivers here look like they’re straight out of paintings. I’ve never heard of the Rhine Gorge before, but I’d be sure to visit this area as well as Berner Oberland on my first trip to the country. Hopefully soon!

    Reply
  5. Wow, your photos are awesome, I can’t imagine what it would be like in person. I love hiking, and would love to try out all the trails, hiking around water is my favorite.

    Reply
  6. Switzerland is the stuff that dreams are made of. We really are so enamoured with the place that we want to visit again and again. This hike sounds awesome and seems to showcase the best of the Swiss landscapes.

    Reply
  7. This looks like a fantastic hike for people of all abilities! and what an amazing view to be rewarded with, the green tint to the lake looks beautiful.

    It’s so great that there’s other activities to do there too, will definitely make a note of this hike!

    Reply
  8. I’ve never been to Switzerland, but as a keen lover of mountainscapes, I bet it would be the perfect destination for me 🙂 The area looks beautiful in your photos, thanks for sharing the less touristy places here!

    Reply
    • Wow, we were due to go to Switzerland this yeah before, well, you know and hope to visit as soon as we can. This area and hike looks absolutely beautiful and is definitely one I would like to do. I can’t believe it is a less touristy place when it is so stunning. The colour of the lake is just amazing!

      Reply
  9. I just love this scenery. The lake is just gorgeous. I hope that this place place has camping and star trails so that I can click everything during my visit.

    Reply
  10. It has been many years since we visited Switzerland. Your post makes us want to go back soon, perhaps even this summer (we still don’t know where to spend our summer holidays). The fact that we can reach Switzerland by car is definitely a good thing for us!

    Reply
  11. Switzerland is at the top of our bucket list. Building our boys’ endurance up on smaller hikes now while they are younger so they can handle some of these incredible hikes when we are finally able to go!

    Reply

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About me

Gruezi! My name is Smita, a part time traveller and a novice travel writer, currently living in Switzerland. So far I’ve been what you might call a serendipitous traveller! I got a chance to visit several amazing places more by chance than by design. I would love to put all my extensive travel planning to good use by sharing it with you and hope that these inspire you to visit all those famous, and not-so-famous locations! Read More

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