The devil is outwitted by locals.
The Devil's bridge, which was built from wood back in the 13. century and replaced by a stone bridge in about 1585, provides access to the Schöllenen gorge today and carries traffic across the Gotthard pass from north to south and vice versa. The stone bridge has been replaced and extended several times over the years. The newest bridge dates back to 1956.
The legend of the Devil's Bridge
The narrow rock bar above Göschenen had always blocked access to the Gotthard and thus the transition to the South as it proved to be extremely difficult to build a bridge there.
The legend, which tells of the futile efforts of the people of Uri to build a mule track through the narrow Schöllenen Gorge and a stone bridge at the point where the young Reuss river pushes through vertical rock walls, shows how difficult the situation was. In his despair, the "Landammann" shouted: "Shall the Devil build a bridge". Then the Devil appeared and said, "I will build a bridge for you. But the first soul to go over it shall be mine".
The people of Uri agreed to the trade and after three days a bridge arched over the Reuss. On the other side the Devil sat and waited for his reward. Instead of a human, however, the people of Uri sent a billy goat over. "You may keep it" they shouted, "here you have the first soul that crosses the bridge!".
Full of anger the Devil tore the billy goat apart and found a huge stone to destroy the bridge again. However an elderly women passed by, recognized him and carved a cross into the stone. When the Devil saw this he missed his target and the stone landed in the valley below, not far from Göschenen where it has been lying ever since. For the construction of the motorway the "Devil's Stone", as it is called, was simply moved to a new location.
Schöllenen circuit – in the Devil's footsteps at your own pace
If you want to catch a spine-tingling glimpse of the Schöllenen Gorge, you should try the Schöllenen circular trail during the summer months. It is an easy walk, takes no more than 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. The vertical rock faces and rushing Reuss river offer a fascinating view. The Teufelsbrücke restaurant is located right next to the bridge of the same name. During summer, visitors can let the Gotthard myth work its magic on them as they drink and dine.
Please note: The circular trail is not accessible to pedestrians in winter (November to May).