Trift Bridge – Bridging the Glacial Chasm

4 Minutes

Hidden deep within the arms of the Urner Alps, lies the once illustrious Trift glacier. A symbol of nature’s strength challenged by mankind’s misbehavior, the retreating glacier stands as a reminder of the Earth’s resilience and beauty in the face of a crisis. The Trift glacier, once covering an area of more than 6.4 square miles, was tall enough for hikers to reach the Swiss Alpine Club’s Trift Hut on foot via the glacier tongue. However, as temperatures soared around the world, the chilling reality of climate change caused the glacier to melt at an alarmingly unusual rate. While on one hand this led to the formation of the spectacular Lake Triftsee, on the other hand it also meant that the glacier was no longer high enough for people to use it in order to access the hut. 


The Trift bridge was first built in 2004 to create ease of access for workers of a hydroelectric plant near the glacier. Understanding the aesthetic and thrilling appeal of the bridge, a second, stronger model was built in 2009 which was eventually opened to the public. It is 100m high and 170m long, making it the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Switzerland. Today, the Trift pedestrian suspension bridge hangs across the wide ravine, swaying to the movement of the feet that attempt to cross it everyday.

Inspired by the Nepalese high wire bridges, it is made of thick steel cables and sturdy wooden planks bolted together tightly. The beauty of its architecture lies in its simplicity, and the fact that it looks like it could give way with one stray wind but it doesn’t.

The sight of the bridge itself is enough to challenge one’s courage, and hence we caution you to proceed further with due notice.

photo by Kevin Mueller

The Journey

This thrilling adventure begins in the Gadmen valley where visitors are met with two choices. A breathtaking gondola ride or an equally beautiful but challenging hike. If you’re experienced at long hiking trails and are in a good physical shape. The hike is littered with a bit of rock scrambling, waterfall crossing and heart- dropping views. However, it takes around 2 hours to reach the top of where the gondola drops you off, and the bridge is another 1.5-2-hour hike from there. 

Gondola or Cable car to Trift Bridge

Many people prefer the gondola, not only because it saves time but also because of the bird’s-eye view it gives of the valley. The car allows a maximum of only 8 people, hence keeping it comfortable and intimate. It also occasionally stops mid-air for a few minutes, allowing the passengers to really look around and revel in the mastery of their surroundings. The blanket of white and blue, splattered with a dash of green depending on the season spans the vast terrain below, making one feel distant and yet the closest to nature they’ve ever been. As recent Trift Bridge traveler Benjamin Glatt said, “the best sites are where the cable car stops,” apart from the bridge itself and “unless you really just like to hike, it’s best to just take the cable car [instead].”

If you decide to take the gondola, we would strongly advise you to book online prior to your trip. This is because as mentioned, it only takes 8 people at once, hence you will be stuck waiting for a very long time if you don’t.

Also, it is imperative that you plan out the trek because the gondola booking requires visitors to enter a return time while booking. If you don’t make it back in time, you might have to wait again for a long time to catch the next ride back or make the two-hour trek down on foot.

The gondola service shuts at 5pm, so if you’re looking to use the gondola, it’s best to start and end early! 

Things to Remember

  • This is an advanced level trek, one must be in good physical and mental shape. 
  • Separate family friendly trails are also available and are less strenuous and challenging (perfect for young children – ages 14+). 
  • Dogs are allowed on the gondola as well as the bridge — do not hesitate to bring your furry friend along for the adventure.
  • June to October is the best season to visit because hot summer days may not be the best option because of the long hike. 
  • The full hike, from the gondola stop to the bridge and back takes approximately 4 hours to complete, plan your travel and book your gondola return wisely.
  • Do not forget to hydrate and listen to your body! 

Our Story with Trift

The Trift bridge holds a special significance in our hearts as its purpose matches our vision. Learn more about us here

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. We take no liability for the accuracy of the information and cannot be held liable for any third-party claims or losses of any damages.

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