Steep climb – on foot or with the funicular
The longest arm of the Rhine arises high above the Leventina – the only one on the south side of the Alps whose waters flow northwards. Standing at the source itself is the Cadlimo hut, and next to it a small bathing lake. Many larger mountain lakes in the picturesque Piora lake region shine in different shades of blue. If you’re not put off by the climb, you’ll find a refreshingly cold lake awaiting you and the promise of total peace and quiet.
Water is not the only superlative on the hike to the Cadlimo hut. If you don’t feel up to the sweaty hike from Airolo to Quinto, you can travel part the way with one of the steepest funiculars in Europe. With a gradient of 87.8% in places, the funicular from Piotta rises almost 800 metres.
From Lago Ritóm to the Cadlimo hut
The hike begins at the top station of the Piora funicular, passes along the Ritóm Lake and past the white beach of the Lago di Tom, located in the north. Having passed the ink-blue Lago Scuro on your right you then begin the climb to the Capanna Cadlimo. After the three-hour hike, the deckchairs on the shore of the mountain lake next to the hut are most welcome. If you need to cool down, see if you dare jump into the cold water or balance on the slackline that the hut keeper has stretched across the small lake. After a short pause, hikers with a lot of stamina set off back the same day. Those who prefer to take it easy can spend the night in one of the dormitories (the hut sleeps 85) and then hike back the next day or set off on another tour, of which there are countless variations.
Four Sources trail
There are various mountain tours that start from Capanna Cadlimo, the most famous being the Four Sources trail. Lasting several days, the trail passes through the Gotthard massif, and past the sources of the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone. The Cadlimo hut is located on a rewarding less-travelled alternative route.