The 5 Lakes Hike of Zermatt

by Jan 16, 2020Blog, Switzerland, Switzerland Blog

The 5 Lakes Hike also known as the 5 Seenweg Hike, is one of the most popular trails that Zermatt has to offer. During this 6KM hike you will not only get to experience 5 unique lakes, but also views of the snowcapped mountains, incredible greenery, and the one and only Matterhorn. The hike should take around 3 hours depending on fitness level (and stopping for pictures) and it is suitable for people of all ages. So, get ready for what is sure to be a highlight of your time in Switzerland.

Five Lakes Trail Zermatt Matterhorn

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Before jumping into the actual hike, I wanted to lay out some important information that might be helpful for you to know before you head out onto the trail. From logistics to weather to the route itself, I hope this guide can help answer any questions you may have when preparing for your trip.

 

1) When To Hike The 5 Lakes Trail

Since the hike itself is at pretty high elevation (starting at 2,600 meters) it is covered with snow throughout the winter and some of spring as well. Once the snow is all cleared on the trail, it will “officially” be open for hiking. However, this may not happen until somewhere around the May time period.

To be certain send over an email to the Zermatt tourism office who will be happy to let you know if the trail is open / when it is scheduled to be open. Once it is clear of snow, it will stay that way through the rest of spring, summer and most of fall until conditions become unsafe again as snow begins to arrive.

Another thing to consider when deciding when to actually take part of the hike is what the weather will be like on that particular day. Since the main draw of the hike is to see the views and scenery (and Matterhorn!), you will want to go on a day where you can experience just that.

For this you should first look at meteoblue.com for the most reliable weather forecasts and second check the Zermatt webcams before you head up. I recommend you take a look at the weather in Switzerland guide that goes into more detail about both those tips.

5 Lakes Hike Start

Even if the weather is not perfect with blues skies and no chance of rain or clouds, that should not stop you from taking part of the hike (unless you have more clear days to choose from). When I visited the 5 lakes, there was a mix of sun, rain and clouds throughout the day.

At some points I had nice blue skies and views of the Matterhorn and at other times, it got very cloudy and began to drizzle. The weather is not perfect in the mountains and it can change at any minute.

 


» If you are wondering what to bring along when hitting the trail take a look at the comprehensive Hiking Packing List that I put together. It includes everything I bring along on day hikes, and it will have you better prepared when taking part of trails all over Switzerland. The list includes several different essentials such as:

1. Clothing Layers

2. Hiking Shoes

3. Water Bottles

4. Snacks & Fuel

5. Hat & Sunglasses

6. Sunscreen & Bug Spray

7. Backpack Rain Covers

8. GoPro and Accessories

9. Portable Chargers

10. And Backpacks to Carry It All

Hiking Packing List


 

2) The 5 Lakes Track Starting Point

While the 5 Lakes Trail is located in Zermatt, it does not start within the city itself (although you could do that and add several additional hours to your hike). Instead, you will want to make your way to the official starting point of the hike at Blauherd.

Getting to Blauherd is simple enough from the Zermatt city center. First you will want to take an underground funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga. This funicular is just a few minutes walk from town and is pinpointed on the map below.

Once you get off at Sunnegga you will then hop on the quick lift from Sunnegga to Blauherd. After getting off the chairlift, it will be time to officially start your hike on the 5 Lakes Trail.

Important Note: There are times where one or both of those transportation options might be closed. Please check the latest timetable on the Zermatt website (scroll down and click the “Mountain lifts schedule”, and then download the appropriate timetable just a bit down on the page).

Sunnegga Funicular

» If the Zermatt to Sunnegga funicular is closed, then taking part of the hike might be quite difficult as you then would need to hike from Zermatt town all the way up to Blauherd. That portion within itself will take around 3 hours. Odds are during the times of year when the Sunnegga funicular is closed, the 5 Lakes Trail may not be in the best of hiking conditions.

» If the Sunnegga funicular is open but the Blauherd chairlift is closed, all you would need to do is hike from Sunnegga to Blauherd – an additional 45 minutes or so uphill. I would highly recommend taking part of the trail even is the Blauherd lift is closed as the additional hiking time is not so significant.

The map below shows all the main points as you make your way up to Blauherd (as well as the hike from Sunnegga to Blauherd if the lift is closed).

 

 

3) How Much It Costs

While hiking the 5 Lakes Trail is absolutely free to take part, you will still need to pay for those funicular and lift tickets to get you to the starting point. The only way that your costs would be zero, is if you opt for the hike up and down from Zermatt. Below are the two options that you will come across when purchasing tickets depending on whether the Blauherd lift is open:

 

Combo Ticket: Zermatt – Blauherd; Sunnegga – Zermatt:
39 CHF (19.50 CHF with Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass)

If Blauherd lift is closed: Zermatt to Sunnegga round trip:
24 CHF (12 CHF with Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass)

 

» For more information about travel passes check out the Train Travel in Switzerland Guide.

Five Lakes Hike Zermatt Ticket

4) The Five Lakes Hike Map

The 5 Lakes Hike trail will take you throughout the beautiful mountain range surrounding Zermatt. Below you will find the route and zig zagging trail that you can expect to follow along the way:

 

Starting Point: Blauherd

Lake #1: Stellisee

Lake #2: Grindjisee

Lake #3: Grunsee

Lake #4: Moosjisee

Lake #5: Leisee

Ending Point: Sunnegga

 

 

Take a look at some Switzerland guide books to better prepare you for your trip:


 

5) The 5 Lakes Trail

Once you have officially made it to Blauherd (either by lift or hike from Sunnegga) it is time to start the 5 Lakes Hike route. Throughout the hike you will see yellow signs pointing you in the right direction. Since there are a lot of hiking trails around the area it is important to make sure to follow the 5 lakes sign directions as some trails will take you to other parts of the mountain.

Another thing I found helpful was to have Google Maps or the Maps.me app out to show you where you are relative to the full hike and the various lakes. The hike itself is a combo between gravel road and actual trail (probably around a 50/50 split if I had to guess). So while being on a gravel road does not feel as scenic, just look around you at all the incredible mountains and greenery.

 

A) Blauherd to Stellisee

To start the hike you will depart from Blauherd and make your way to Stellisee, which I would say was the nicest of the 5 lakes. Here you will get to see incredible views of the Alps with the Matterhorn standing tall right in the middle. It is also one of the larger lakes on the hike, so you can take some time walking the trail around it and getting views from all angles.

5 Lakes Hike Zermatt

B) Stellisee to Grindjisee

You will then continue on to Grindjisee. As you walk along the trail you will see numerous small waterfalls coming off the side of the mountain as well as herds of sheep hanging out near the trail. After a short time after you will arrive at Grindjisee, which feels more so like a big pond than a lake.

Five Lakes Hike WaterfallFive Lakes Trail Zermatt MatterhornFive Lakes Hike SheepFive Lakes Hike Grindjisee

C) Grindjisee to Grunsee

As you continue on the gravel road and up to your third lake of the day, you will soon arrive at Grunsee.

Five Lakes Hike Tree PathFive Lakes Hike GrunseeFive Lakes Hike MapFive Lakes Hike Rocky Road

D) Grunsee to Mossjisee

From Grunsee to Moosjisee you will head down a switchback trail (at the time I was on the hike, there was not great signage to get on the switchback, which is when Google Maps came in handy). Moosjisee is more like a reservoir than a lake but it does have an incredible green color.

Five Lakes Hike Switchback

The switchback trail begins on the left here down the hill, however there were no signs posted at the time

Five Lakes Hike Switchback TrailFive Lakes Hike RiverFive Lakes Hike Moosjisee 2

E) Moosjisee to Leisee

Once complete with Moosjisee, make your way to the last of the lakes – Leisee. Here you will probably come across a lot more people and children as there is a playground and small beach for people to enter the water. It is also just a short walk to Sunnegga so people who do not want to participate in the whole hike can still make their way to just Leisee.

Mattherhorn Leisee

After a day of exploring the Zermatt mountainside it is time to head back down into town. You can make your way back on the funicular from Sunnegga to Zermatt to end your day hiking the 5 lakes trail.

One last thing to note: depending on time of year there may be some small restaurants open along the route – one by Grunsee and another at Sunnegga. So if you want to stop for a meal before heading down that is something you may be able to do as well.

 

6) Where to Stay in Zermatt

Zermatt is a pretty small village and you can get from one side to another in less than 20 minutes. There are a couple areas to choose from when deciding where to stay. Either right in the main village itself, or you can cross the bridge and stay on the other side of the river, where you will be able to take in some great views of the Matterhorn. Below are some highly rated options to choose from:

1) Hotel Firefly

2) The Omnia

3) Hotel Perren Superior

4) Hotel Daniela

5) Alpenlodge

Looking for a value option? Check out Hotel Elite



Booking.com

 

If you have any questions or comments about the Five Lakes Hike of Zermatt feel free to write them in below. Check out some of the other Switzerland guides and itineraries I have up on the site for more helpful info. Safe travels out there!

If you want to enjoy some other hikes in Switzerland check out:

The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge

Murren to Gimmelwald Trail

The Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg Panorama Trail

The Bachalpsee Lake Hiking Guide

And be sure to add it all into your 10 Day Switzerland Itinerary!

 

5 Lakes Hike Zermatt

 

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12 Comments

  1. Liny Lin

    Hi may I know when will be the best season to hike here ?

    Reply
    • Charles

      Hi there Liny – I would say the best season to hike in Switzerland overall would be from late June until early October. Due to the snow on the mountains it does take some time for it to melt and the trails are closed until that happens. For this reason I would recommend not going too early (May for example) as you might find many trails still closed. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply
      • Trupti

        Hi Charles! This exhaustive article was so so helpful! Me and my husband just got back from the hike! It’s heaven? Thank you so much for writing this!☺️

        Reply
        • Charles

          Hi Trupti – glad you found it useful and happy to hear you had a great time out on the trail! Hope you enjoyed Switzerland!!

          Reply
  2. Jaishree

    Hi, does the hike have steep climbs or is it more on a plain. Asking it from the point of view of visiting with senior age group folks

    Reply
    • Charles

      Hi Jaishree – it is all nearly flat with some very small inclines / declines. The only real ascent is maybe towards the very end of the hike as you take the short trail from Leisee to Sunnegga

      Reply
  3. Jamie

    Thank you so much for your detailed review of this hike! It was great to run across the logistics of how to get to the hike. 🙂

    Reply
    • Charles

      No problem! Hope you enjoy it. Zermatt is an incredible place to hike.

      Reply
  4. shivangi bansal

    hi, can we take a guide along? also is it possible to complete the route through another way for people who cant see it all on foot.

    pls let me know asap

    Reply
    • Charles

      Hi Shivangi – I dont think this is a trail you necessarily need a guide but you can speak with the tourist office in town. Maybe they can help set something up.

      Reply
  5. Jodie

    Hi, your article is so helpful to the tourist.
    I will visit zermatt in late October ( Probably 18-21/10). As the Sunnega funicular will be closed, I am considering the trail: Riffelalp> Grünsee > Stellisee > Zermatt. Is this trail easy to reach in this period?
    The Google Map shows that it takes times ~ 4.5hr.

    Reply

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