The trail follows the Rhine along old fishing paths before crossing the Hardwald recreation area. Then comes a highlight of railway history: the Muttenz marshalling yard, one of the largest in Europe. The Bienenberg affords wonderful views across the Ergolztal valley.
From Basel railway station, the Rhine is reached via St. Alban Tor Park. The view back to Basel Cathedral is well worth it. On the opposite riverbank: the Roche Tower, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron and, at 178 metres, the tallest building in the country (as of 2020). Pass under the Schwarzwaldbrücke (Black Forest Bridge), the city’s most widely used Rhine crossing, to reach the Birsfelden power station via Birsköpfli. With a large meadow in its centre, Kraftwerkinsel (Power Station Island) is a popular recreation area. Together with the sites at Basel-Kleinhüningen and Auhafen the port area forms the Swiss Rhine ports. 10 to 12 per cent of all imported goods enter the country via one of these ports. The route now leaves the former fishing paths along the Rhine’s banks. Continue your walk through the Hardwald forest to the Basel-Muttenz marshalling yard, Switzerland’s largest of its kind – switches, rails, waggons as far as the eye can see. The imposing Wartenberg, a Muttenz landmark, rises to the southeast. On top of the mountain, the ruins of three medieval castles await you. The observation towers offer magnificent views across the Baselbiet region and to Alsace. The next castle ruins are not far away: A little off the path, Neu-Schauenburg sits atop a crag to the west of Frenkendorf. However, the castle site is not accessible to the public. The Bienenberg is quite different – it offers spectacular views over the Ergolz valley. Soon after, railway enthusiasts can explore the Adler Tunnel portal. The tunnel between Muttenz and Liestal serves to relieve the Hauenstein line. Trivia fact: It was built in 1995, using the world’s largest tunnel drilling machine – weighing some 1,800 tons, stretching 190 metres long and with a drill-head diameter of 12.5 meters. Those who like things a bit smaller and sweeter can enjoy the ponies, goats and mini-pigs at Weihermätteli animal park. It is home to 20 mostly native species. From the animal park, it’s only a short walk to Liestal railway station, where the first stage of the ViaGottardo ends.