The Parc Ela is situated in the canton GraubŁnden (Grisons in French) in the south-eastern corner of Switzerland. It is the largest nature park in Switzerland, covering 548 square kilometres almost one third of which is untouched landscape. At its centre lies the 3339m peak Piz Ela after which the Park is named. It is a cultural and linguistic melting pot. The Romans used the Julier Pass and the Septimer Pass and later the Albula Pass. The language of the Park inhabitants is Romansch, but German and Italian are also spoken. The three-way watershed at the Pass Lunghin also symbolises that the Parc Ela is a geographical and cultural crossing area: from here water flows into the Black Sea, the North Sea and the Mediterranean.
There is a profusion of flora and fauna; in the early season flower lovers will be amazed by banks of orchids in the lower parts of the Park and beautiful saxifrages higher up. The Parc Ela is protected from adverse weather by a range of high mountains to the south and in summer is generally dry but cool because of its altitude. A wonderful area for walkers, it has over 800km of tracks and paths, and scenery that varies from lush wetlands to austere mountain passes.
The SAC magazine, Les Alpes, 2009(6), 42-49, described a circular tour in the Parc Ela starting at Savognin and progressing clockwise to the Ela Hut, Alp Flix and Bivio, and continuing via the ski hut at Tga back to Savognin. The route outlined in this booklet goes much the same way but includes a longer and more interesting passage from Alp Flix to Bivio. Starting in Bivio rather than Savognin, allows two good day walks to be included before the five day walking tour making an excellent week in the Parc Ela.
This pocket-sized guide contains 10 sketch maps, 13 photographs, descriptions of 14 routes and comprehensive information about huts, mountain inns and hotels.
It is available from Amazon