Martinsmadhütte SAC – Glarus Süd, Switzerland

Destination: Martinsmadhütte SAC (2002 m) – Starting point: Nideren (1480 m)- Elevation: est 522 m

This year we are in for a bad streak of hiking season. The weather has been volatile and annoyingly rainy especially on Sundays. The last time we were in the (sorta) mountain was at Wildkirchli-Äscher. We have been out and about cycling and discovering new places around our area so we were not exactly bound indoor much. However whenever I look at our Instagram, hiking pictures are screaming at my face and I am raged with jealousy! I want to go hiking again. At least before summer ends because it looks like it is going to happen soon. I am looking at pictures from last year to see where we have been around the same time of the year and Martinsmadhütte was one of them.


Martinsmadhütte sits on the Tectonic Arena Sardona UNESCO natural heritage. I didn’t know about the UNESCO status until I went there. I’ve only heard about UNESCO Heritage Site which title is bestowed on my home town, Penang but I am truly intrigued by what it means for the Natural Heritage title. You can read it here, here, and here (German).

The hiking trail up to Martinsmadhütte is not my favourite. I am staying loyal to Leglerhütte. There are parts along the Martinsmadhütte trail that I really love though. The unforgettable experience would be the cable car up to Niederenalp from Tschinglenbahn in Elm. The little cable car which could only fit 4 person at a time takes you over the impressive mountains formation and high above a gorge. The details on the nature below the cable car is marvelous. How could tree grows in the cracks of rocks? How colourful rocks can be? Hiking trails can be seen from the cable car and water gussing strongly in the gorge underneath. There was commentary in German (or was it Swiss German?) in the cable car about the area which I did not understand, unfortunately. I remember that Herr Hallo translated for me that part of the mountains area we saw from the cable car were covered with (sea) water many thousand years ago. How has the earth changed over time is fascinating!

Martinsmadhütte-3 Spot the geological treasure rock window that is 17m tall and 19m wide.


Spot the geological treasure rock window that is 17m tall and 19m wide. Martinsmadhütte-2


We were at the cable car station in Elm at around 08:00. Summer can be exceedingly warm in the mountains so it’s always best to start early. We had to wait for a bit for the cable as it operates every 30 minutes. We were one of the first in the queue but more people joined us shortly. The cable car was really pleasant and we were off on a positive start. From the upper cable station Nideren Bergstation, we made our ways towards a little cabin village called Niederenalp. Some of the cabins are open for rental. It’s an excellent lodging if you are off the Sardona for a few days hike in the area and do not wish to camp in the mountains.

On the way to Martinsmathütte, we walked many bridges over rivers and gorges. I couldn’t tell if every river we passed comes from the same source. I would personally categorized the trail as difficult. A lot segment of the narrow trail is full of slippery rocks. I find that dangerous. Even the best hiking boots can’t save you if you slip in fall in the ravine. However, there are metal chains hooked to the rock which you could grab to balance yourself. I clinged to the chain like my life depended on it and went home with sore muscles on my arms. It’s impossible to even use my camera at this point. Life or camera? I choose life, oddly.

After we completed the narrow steep ascent, we finally get to relax a little when we enter a vast empty (almost) flat field. A little rest for our legs. There are a few waterfall along the way. The largest is just below Martinsmadhütte. On this field, we walked along the river towards to foot of the little mountain below Martinsmadhütte. I called it little mountain because it felt like we were doing rock climbing. It’s harder than the first part, before the field. Many parents tied a climbing rope around their children’s waist as safety measure.

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Cabins for rent.


Cabins for rent. One of the many little bridges.


One of the many little bridges. Rocky and slipper trail.

Rocky road.

Rocky and slipper trail. Along the river

Along the river & waterfall.

Tough cookie - the way up.

Tough cookie – the way up.

Sheeps relaxing in the open field.

Sheeps relaxing in the open field.

I am truly relieved to see Martinsmadhütte. At that point, I was really tired of hiking. Moments like this make me think why do we torture our body so hard? My bladder wanted to burst as well. I have not mastered the art of going toilet in the nature behind a tree or a huge rock. I am concerned to be caught with my pants down, really. I always hold it in until there is a non-nature toilet. So far, I’ve been lucky that I don’t have No. 2 emergency. 🙂

Martinsmadhütte more or less sits on a waterfall. You can spot the hut in the picture below. From the hut, the waterfall is completely hidden from our sights. The melted ice water flows from the mountains pass the huts. The water can be so forceful that it craves the rocks with its stream. The formation of rocks from this phenomena is intriguing. The edges are contoured and smooth. We spent a short time at the hut for toilet breaks and a short lunch before we head back down. We hung out at the river for a period of time before we made our way down to Niederenalp. At Niederen Bergstation, we had to wait for a long time as the queue were long and the cable car could only fit 4 person at a time. Some people tries their luck and tries to fit more than the permitted amount of passenger but there is a camera which the operator in the lower station could see. He would warned them off through the speaker. Quite hilarious. For me, safety first.

When we were at our car, I did say I want to come back to the Tectonic Arena Sardona again. I’ve completely forgotten about it until I started to write about this. Definitely will try to make a trip back to this beautiful UNESCO site.

Hope you enjoy the post. If you have comments, suggestions etc., do write in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.

Love, Frau Hallo


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Biggest waterfall I've seen up close.

Biggest waterfall I’ve seen up close.

Water shaping rocks.

Water shaping rocks.

The view from Martinsmadhütte.

The view from Martinsmadhütte.


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