In the north-east of the triangularly shaped Sesvenna GroupVal d'Uina separates the subgroup around Piz Lischana from the ridge between Piz Lad an Piz S-Chalambert. It starts as a narrow valley at Sur-En, where the Uina Creek joins the Inn River and is bounded by mountains which tower up to 2000m above the valley floor. Even though the landscape apears to forbid it, two hamlets have been established on the two wider grounds in the valley, Unia Dadora and Uina Dadaint. The outer (dadora) hamlet has been mostly abandoned while in Uina Dadaint you will still find a large farm house, which caters to hikers and mountain bikers.
It is the place where the narrow vally suddenly closes down to form a canyon, Il Quar, one of the most impressive ones of the whole Alps and thanks to a precariously placed trail, also one of the most popular ones. While access hikes to this canyon are long you will find few hikers but since the canyon is part of the route crossing the Alps on bike, you'll find a lot of mountain bikers there. But don't worry - they are not allowed to ride their bikes - too dangerous and thus push their vehicles up or down the route. The video below explains why.
It also tells you something about the route itself, which does not run through the centre of the gorge but rather high through its eastern walls. It is a path, which was blasted into the rock between 1908 and 1910 to create a connection between the Swiss Scuol and then Austrian Schlinig / Slingia in Südtirol / Alto Adige. After WW I Südtirol had to be handed over to Italy, which is why the border between Switzerland and Italy runs across the route today. One of the main reasons to create the route was to establish a northern route to Pforzheimer Hütte, which, however, has been abandoned and replaced by nearby Sesvenna Hut.
As you will have seen from the video and the pictures on this page, the course of the route is truly amazing. From Uina Dadaint a trail quickly ascends to a lookout, where you can have a wonderful overview across the canyon in case you dare to climb up to it. From this place mountain bikers have to push their bikes, as now the narrow path through the east face of the gorge starts. It is roughly 1.50m wide and cut out of the limestone to form a gallery. There are several short tunnels in the central section. The creekbed finally steeply rises to join the trail right before you head out of the canyon onto Alp Sursass, a plateau like pasture north of the Swiss - Italian border (loaned to the Italian communities for cattle grazing, however).
The canyon can be hiked (or mtb pushed) from both sides of the border, with the access from Schlinig / Slingia shorter and with 700m less elevation gain. On the Swiss side there is the option of a long loop hike: Sur En - Uina Gorge - Lais da Rim - Chamana Lischana - Scuol - Sur En. It will take a very long day unless you spend the night at Chamana Lischana maybe with the climb of Piz Lischana on the second day.
In the upper part of the gorge
From the Vinschgau / Val Venosta side a similar loop can be done with Uina Gorge as a northern extension (hiked back and forth): Schlinig / Slingia - Sesvenna Hut - Unia Gorge (back and forth) - Lais da Rims - Alp Sesvenna - Fuorcla Sesvenna - Sesvenna Hut - Schlinig / Slingia. It is not as long as the Swiss loop but covers a lot of elevation gain. Plus there is no accommodation on the way.
Alp Sursass, where the routes from Sur En and Schlinig / Slingia join
As mentioned in the overview section, the gorge can be reached either from Scuol in Unterengadin or Schlinig / Sligia in upper Vinschgau / Val Venosta. Both access hikes are rather long.
Take motorway A3 east to Vaduz.
At exit Bad Ragaz take B28 to Davos and across Füelapass to Susch.
Here turn on B27 north until you reach Scuol.
Simply take motorway A12/E60 west towards Landeck.
There take B184 towards Reschenpass.
At Nauders you can turn onto B27 into Scoul, Unterengadin / Switzerland
Take the ring motorway north and leave for SS36 north.
It will take you by Monza and Lago di Como until you reach Chiavenna.
There turn onto SS37 east in direction of St. Moritz. The road turns into B27 on the Swiss side of the border and takes you on to Susch and further onwards to Scuol.
Take Motorway A22 (Brenner Motorway northward until you reach Bozen / Bolzano.
There turn onto SS38, Vinschgauer Staatsstrasse, which takes you to Schluderns / Sluderno.
Take SS40 to Mals / Malles and on to Schlinig / Slingia on SP2.
Marmot on Alp Sursass above Uina Gorge
Red Tape mainly concerns mountain bikers: it is not allowed to ride the canyon. This restriction is mainly in place for the bikers' safety but also for the safety of rescue services. Locals will tell you of a dutch rider who lost his balance several years ago and fell into the gorge. He was dead immediately and his body had to be rescued by helicopter. Which was very dangerous in the narrow canyon.
The border between Switzerland and Italy runs north of Uina Gorge, across Schlinig Pass / Passo di Slingia. If you intend to cross it, think of your identification documents.