Tamina River Gorge

We loved exploring this beautiful river gorge, tucked away in mountains above Bad Ragaz. After riding a bus up the valley, you pay a small fee to walk through narrowest part of the gorge, with rock walls rising 100m over your head and a roaring river below. The path leads to some hot springs (look, don’t touch), where about 7 million liters/day of 36C water bubbles up after spending 10 years 1000m underground. Impressive! Happily, the path is easy walking and safe for even the youngest visitors. To extend your outing, you can walk along the river back to town, about 3km. In town, you can also visit the thermal baths, fed by the hot springs, where you can swim and relax with mountain views. 

Note: From 18 July to 30 Sept 2017, they are doing a special 3D evening light show in the gorge. You have to reserve tickets in advance for a specific time. See lightragaz.com for details.

Location:   Eastern Switzerland
Address: Gorge entrance: 46°58’27.1″N 9°29’16.4″E 
Car: Parking: Bäderstrasse 2, 7310 Bad Ragaz
1hr10 from Zurich + 15 mins on bus to Pfäfers, Altes Bad
Train: Transit stop: Bad Ragaz Bahnhof, then Postauto to Pfäfers, Altes Bad
1hr40 from Zurich
, CHF 34 Adult return with Halbtax
   
Trail: 450m each way in gorge, 3km walk back to Bad Ragaz
Condition: paved path in gorge, no strollers in gorge (see note below),
gravel road along river back to town suitable for strollers
Skill: easy
Services: restaurant, picnic area, fire pits on trail
Cost 2017: Postauto to reach Taminaschlucht: CHF 5 per person. 
SBB Half-fare and Junior cards not accepted
Entrance to Taminaschlucht: CHF 5 per person (self-service, coins only).
No discount for children. 
Open: April thru October
More info: www.altes-bad-pfaefers.ch

Overview

The Taminaschlucht is a short narrow gorge leading to some hot springs. There is a small fee to walk through the gorge on an enclosed walkway, about 450m each way. 

This site plan shows a red building which contains the museum, restaurant and kiosk. There is outdoor seating for the kiosk and a picnic area on the right of the building. The entrance to the gorge is on the far right.

If you want to “hike”, you can walk back to town along the river, about 3km. The trail is on the road, but since only the bus uses this road once an hour. More about that below.

Getting There

The entrance of the Taminaschlucht can only be reached by bus or foot; both car and bike traffic are prohibited on the road leading to the gorge. FYI, if you try to find directions online, you won’t see the road leading to the gorge because you can’t drive on it.

So get yourself to Bad Ragaz, then take the Postauto bus to Altes Bad Pfäfers. From there, it is a short walk to the gorge entrance.

I recommend taking the Postauto bus to the gorge, then returning to Bad Ragaz by foot on the road that follows the river, about 3km. You can catch this bus either at the Bad Ragaz train station or at the edge of town at Bad Ragaz, Töbelbrücke bus stop where the river leaves the mountains. 

By car: Drive to Bad Ragaz and park near the Bad Ragaz, Töbelbrücke bus stop. There are metered spots a short walk from the bus stop at Bäderstrasse 2, 7310 Bad Ragaz. Walk to the bus stop and catch the Post Auto bus to Altes Bad Pfäfers. It runs very infrequently. Check the website for the current schedule. In 2017, it leaves the train station at 9:39, 10:39, 11:39, 13:39, etc.

Another option is to drive to the small village of Valens, about a 10 min drive from Bad Ragaz. There are lots of parking spots along Quaderstrasse. Follow the path down to Altes Bad Pfäfers, about 1.2 km. I haven’t walked on this path myself but I saw trails signs leading to Valens when we were there.

By public transport: Take a train to Bad Ragaz. Then take the Post Auto bus, direction Altes Bad Pfäfers. It runs very infrequently. Check the website for the current schedule. In 2017, it leaves the train station at 9:35, 10:35, 11:35, 13:35, etc.

If you hike back, you’ll either need to also walk through Bad Ragaz to the train station (about 1km) or catch the Postauto bus from Bad Ragaz, Töbelbrücke back to the train station (and pay again). 

Arrival at Altes Bad Pfäfers

The bus drops you off at the end of the road in front of the Altes Bad museum shown below.

Take the path next to the museum and walk up river.

The path goes slightly above the museum, then back down again. Keep walking until you reach the gorge entrance. Don’t take the trail up the mountain or end up in the town Valens. 

The entrance to the gorge is across this bridge.

Entrance to Gorge & Prices

Here is a self-service coin operated entrance gate. It costs CHF 5 per person, payable only in coins (CHF 1, 2 or 5). If necessary, you can make change at the kiosk back at the museum.

The entrance is a narrow turning gate, that only fits one person. There is no discount for children, but I suppose a small child could accompany an adult through the gate. 

Although the path inside the gorge could be navigated with a stroller (wide path, no stairs), it would be difficult/impossible to get the stroller through the gate. So best to leave the stroller at the entrance. The path is short, you’ll manage.

Tamina Gorge

OK, we finally made it to the gorge. Isn’t it pretty?

I love that the fence is very secure and doesn’t have big gaps where little kids can slip through. 

The tunnel is a bit dark, could be scary for very little kids. My son had fun making shadow animals on the walls.

There are some info boards in German and English explaining about the natural phenomenon and the history of this area. I recommend reading them, very interesting stuff. 

Near the end of the path, you’ll enter a tunnel that leads to the hot springs. It’s warm and muggy inside.

The tunnel ends at the hot springs, which are behind a window so you can’t touch them. They do have a fountain there, so you can feel the temperature of the water. If you want to bathe in this water, you’ll have to visit the thermal baths, Tamina Therme, back in Bad Ragaz.

When you’re done, simply turn back and return the way you came.

River path back to Bad Ragaz

This “trail” isn’t particularly special. We walked it because the gorge visit is rather short (30 mins) and we needed something to fill up more time. We enjoyed our walk but there are definitely prettier trails in Switzerland. 

That said, here’s what the trail looks like as you leave Altes Bad Pfäfers bus stop. You are walking on a wide road, so it has bit of an industrial feel. There is no traffic, except the bus about once an hour, so that isn’t a problem. And we saw lots of people, including families, walking up and down this path. So clearly it’s popular.

Most of the time, you are high above the river, so although the river and valley are pretty, you feel a little separated from it.

There are a few places where you can easily access the river. It would be a good place to have a picnic and throw some rocks.

There is one bus stop before you reach Altes Bad Pfäfers, called Schwattenfall. Here you’ll find a water fountain, a fire pit, picnic area, and wood. 

Back on the trail…

Some waterfalls.

Hope you liked this outing. Visit more river gorges in Switzerland >>>

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