Hiking the Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 24 Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo
Stage 24 of the Trans Swiss trail is 7 km long with 20 m ascent and 950 m descent and goes from Passo del San Gottardo (top of the Gotthard Pass) to Airolo. After having to abandon our plan to hike this stage on the same day we did stage 23, I thought I wouldn’t be able to get over the Gotthard Pass before winter. Luckily, my husband had a day off work last week and the weather was perfect for hiking. Only snag? The bus to Gotthard Passhöhe and the start of the hike had stopped running for the season. We decided that despite the extra expense (about 60 CHF), it was worth it to take a taxi from Andermatt to Gotthard Passhöhe. I’m really glad we did. Not only did we get some pictures of what we missed at the end of stage 23 due to poor visibility, we also could not have asked for a better, more beautiful day to hike this stage.
|Where:|| Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo|
Canton Ticino, Switzerland
|Train/Bus:|| Zürich HB -> Passo del San Gottardo (Gotthard Passhöhe) – 2 hr 33 min|
Airolo -> Zürich HB – 1 hr 57 min
Note: Bus service to Gotthard Passhöhe is seasonal. Bus service was still available on October 8th when we hiked Stage 23 but when we came back on October 19 to do the hike, service had ended for the season. Taxi service (we used Taxi Christian Fry) from Andermatt to the pass was available (Andermatt train station to Passhohe cost about 60 CHF).
|What:|| Trans Swiss Trail – Stage 24 – Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo|
Red and white trail markers – Trans Swiss Trail Route 2
Note: Snowfields possible into summer months on high-level sections. The Andermatt website includes a snow report.
|Skill:|| Medium – About 2 hrs |
Length 7 km, Ascent 20 m, Descent 950 m
|Stage 1 – Porrentruy to St-Ursanne|
Stage 2 – St-Ursanne to Soubey
Stage 3 – Soubey to Saignelégier
Stage 4 – Saignelégier to St-Imier
Stage 5 – St-Imier to Chézard-St-Martin
Stage 6 – Chézard-St-Martin to Neuchâtel
Stage 7 – Neuchâtel to Murten
Stage 8 – Murten to Laupen
Stage 9 – Laupen to Bern
Stage 10 – Bern to Worb
Stage 11 – Worb to Lützelflüh
Stage 12 – Lützelflüh to Langnau i.E.
Stage 13 – Langnau i.E. to Eggiwil
Stage 14 – Eggiwil to Schangnau
Stage 15 – Schangnau to Sörenberg
Stage 16 – Sörenberg to Giswil
Stage 17 – Giswil to Flüeli-Ranft
Stage18 – Flüeli-Ranft to Stans
Stage 19 – Stans to Seelisberg
Stage 20 – Seelisberg to Erstfeld
Stage 21 – Erstfeld to Wassen
Stage 22 – Wassen to Andermatt
Stage 23 – Andermatt to Passo del San Gottardo
Stage 24 – Passo del San Gottardo to Airolo
Stage 25 – Airolo to Osco
Stage 26 – Osco to Anzonico
Stage 27 – Anzonico to Biasca
Stage 28 – Biasca to Bellinzona
The Trans Swiss Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. Stage 24 picks up right where stage 23 left off, at the bus stop at Gotthard Passhöhe. Note: Bus service to Gotthard Passhöhe is seasonal. We did this hike on October 19 and bus service had ended for the season so we took a taxi from Andermatt (we used Taxi Christian Fry, cost about 60 CHF) to the start of this hike.
We spent about an hour wandering around the top and re-hiking a bit of the last section before taking a lunch break on the rocks in the first picture above. Wen we were here for stage 23 the just a week and half earlier the restaurants were all open and very busy. Now, they were all closed and boarded up for the winter. After our picnic lunch, we were on our way.
Shortly after leaving the Gotthard Passhöhe hotel and restaurant area behind, the trail begins the descent. With 950 m descent over 7 km, this stage is very steep. We were very glad to have our hiking poles.
As we picked our way down the trail, we got magnificent views of the twisty squiggly Gotthard Pass road. We had been told that this road is always busy with the most expensive sports cars, but this late in the year on a weekday, it was mostly empty.
It was slow hiking coming down this part as it was so steep. I took a few more pictures of the road and looking back up the valley before we exited the narrowest part of the pass.
When it opened up, the view was stunning with gorgeous Autumn colors on the mountains and the town of Airolo below.
The blue skies and golden Autumn leaves were a magical combination.
This was a fairly short stage.
Very soon we were down in the valley with lovely views in just about every direction.
When we reached Airolo, we walked to the train station and the end of our hike.
This was a fantastic section and I highly recommend it. Really wonderful and unique views throughout. It is certainly a hike I would do again. On to the next stage!
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