Pragelpass to Silberen

Pragelpass (1550m) – Alp Älpli (1746m)- Silbernalp (1892m) – Silberen (2319m) – Butzenalp (1780m) – Pragelpass
5.5 h (walking time), 13.5 km, 900m ascent & descent

During my last hike, I saw another pass behind the Klöntalersee leading to a valley called Muoatatal which connects the Canton Glarus with the Canton Schwyz. I knew where I would hike next.

We drove up a narrow, winding road to the tranquil Klöntalersee and then continued up to the Pragelpass. The imposing Glärnish mountain peaks tower over the lake and it is at first difficult to imagine that there is a car road-going beyond this wild mountain area. This road leading to the pass is so narrow that two cars cannot cross each other. At 10am, the top parking is already full, to our surprise.

With a mental note that the farm next to the parking lot offers milkshakes, we started walking. One hour later we passed the alp Älpli and soon came to a fantastic viewpoint which we had all to ourselves. For about 15 minutes that is. Then three parties with kids joined. We suddenly were about 20 people with the noise level of a kindergarten. We walked on…

The first part of the hike is a gravel path, originally made for agricultural purposes. We walked past numerous cows, sheep and goats while enjoying fantastic views of rugged Glarnerland peaks.

After Silberenalp, the green pastureland ended soon and a distinctive karst terrain appeared. The large karst plateau of Silberen looks rather unfriendly yet strangely beautiful. The rocks are deformed and cracked by the sheer power of nature.

The hiking path is meticulously marked with white-red signs. The splitting rock surface is tricky to walk on. It would be terribly painful if we slip and get trapped in a crack. I felt reassured to have my first-aid kit at the bottom of my backpack,  just in case. 

Occasionally using hands to climb up, we finally get to the top of Silberen (2319m) and are rewarded with impressive panoramic views. From here, we see six lakes at a time: Zürichsee, Greifensee, Pfäffikersee, Sihlsee, Wägitalersee und Vierwaldstättersee. Absolutely magnificent!

On the way back this karst terrain continued for quite a while so that we had to watch our steps carefully.

Back at the farm we enjoyed a refreshing milkshake made by a friendly farm owner and bought some local cheese to bring along.  We drove down the narrow Muotathal towards Schwyz for the first time; it was another discovery in Switzerland!

It was a strenuous but marvellous hike.  The day ended with a swim in the lake of Zurich and a nice meal with Philippe’s cousin David, Joëlle and their two kids.

The route details

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