The 5 Lakes Hike of Zermatt
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.
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
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 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.
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.
2. How to Get to Starting Point
The official starting point of the hike is at Blauherd. To get to Blauherd you will first take an underground funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga and then a lift from Sunnegga to Blauherd.
However, it should be noted that 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 to “mountain lifts schedule” and then download the appropriate timetable on the right hand side of the page).
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.
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.
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
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.
4. The 5 Lakes Hike
Now that you have made it to Blauherd 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 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. The 5 lakes hike trail will take you along the following route (see below for map):
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:
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.
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.
As you continue on the gravel road and up to your third lake of the day, you will soon arrive at Grunsee.
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 then a lake but it does have an incredible green color.
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.
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 is that 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.
5. Where to Stay
If staying in the town of Zermatt check out some great hotel options on Booking.com using the search bar below, or check out some of my personal recommendations.
High Rated & Good Value Options
Value: Hotel Elite
Highly Rated: Hotel Bellerive
Luxury: Hotel Firefly
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!