Devil's Bridge

Visit this historic bridge and you'll not only see an extremely beautiful piece of scenery and a spectacular construction, but you'll also enjoy the legendary tale of how it came to be. The Ruess River that flows through the Schöllenen Gorge was always a formidable challenge to cross. Many died trying to get from one side of the raging torrents to the other. No wonder, then, the bridge is called "Teufelsbrücke," or "Devil's Bridge."

A Devilish tale

The demonic name comes from more than just the danger of this crossing point; local folklore claims that the Devil himself created this bridge. The story goes like this: Around 800 years ago, in the St. Gotthard Pass of the Swiss Alps, the villagers from nearby Andermatt found crossing the river an impossible task. Reluctantly, they turned to an unlikely source of help: the Devil. He agreed to the task but with one condition; he would have the soul of the first to cross the bridge. When that bridge was finished, the villagers chased a goat over the bridge, meaning the Devil would have its soul and not one of theirs. Angered by this trickery, the Devil seized a 220-ton stone to smash the newly completed bridge. Before he could do so, however, he was stopped in his tracks by a holy man with a crucifix and fled, dropping the stone. You can now see the Devil's Stone near the town of Göschenen.

Bridge over troubled water

If you don't believe the local legend, then perhaps this alternative history will sound more credible. In 1230 a wooden bridge was indeed constructed, named the Devil's Bridge. Crossing that 13th century bridge was likely a scary experience as it shook several hundred feet over the water and got terrifyingly close to the water when the river was full. Since then, the wooden bridge has collapsed and two bridges have been built to take its place. The wooden bridge was heavily damaged in the Napoleonic Wars and later replaced in the 1820s. Much of the structure of that bridge survives today, strengthened by a more sturdy construction below it built in the 1950s. The bridge still remains a frightening experience to cross, due to the height in the Swiss mountains and the raging river below. Drive over this bridge to recreate the terrifying journeys of old, or enjoy a hike around the picturesque mountain area and admire the bridge and the Schöllenen Gorge in all its majesty.