5 beautiful lakes, the mighty Matterhorn, snowy mountains and impressive glaciers – all await you on this lovely hike in Zermatt, also known as 5-Seenweg. One of the most famous trails in the Zermatt region, the 5 lakes hike is one of the best things to do if you are visiting Zermatt.
The 5 lakes trail is up there with the Gornergrat hike in how spectacular it is though I still prefer and recommend the Gornergrat hike if you had to choose. The 5 lakes hike is slightly less exciting.
Yet, the 5 lakes hike is unique in how long, yet how easy it is, suitable for even novices to hiking. Despite the ease, it’s very beautiful. The panoramic landscape views, the variety of the trail, the reflections of the Matterhorn in 3 of the lakes, the opportunity to swim in 2 of them, all make for a wonderful day out in the mountains.
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The 5 lakes in question here are Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leisee in the order in which you will hike to them. You can swim in Grünsee and Leisee and see the Matterhorn reflected in Stellisee, Grindjisee and Leisee.
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Zermatt 5 lakes hike (5-SEENWEG): Overview
Trail: Blauherd – Stellisee – Grindjisee – Grünsee – Moosjisee – Leisee – Sunnegga
Starting point: Blauherd cable car station
Ending point: Sunnegga cable car station
Direction: One way
Distance: ~9 km
Ascent: 165 m
Descent: 454 m
Time required: ~3 hours (budget more time if you plan to swim in the lakes)
Terrain: Variety of terrain including flat, gravel paths, narrow rocky routes and 1 section of switchbacks
Season: June to October
Difficulty level: Moderate
Have limited time in Switzerland? Here’s a 5-day Switzerland itinerary to take in the best of the country!
Zermatt 5 lakes hike: Map
Best time to hike the Zermatt 5 lakes trail
Late spring to early fall is when the trail is usually clear of snow and ice. Check the latest schedules of the cable cars here before you head out.
It’s also important to check the weather cams and avoid the hike if it’s too cloudy up at the mountains.
How to get to the 5 lakes hike starting point
The starting point of the 5 lakes hike is the Blauherd cable car station. To get there from Zermatt, head to the Sunnegga – Rothorn funicular station (Talstation Sunnegga), a few minutes’ walk from the Zermatt train station.
A short 5 minutes ride on the underground funicular from Zermatt brings you to Sunnegga. At Sunnegga follow the signs to the cable car to Blauherd. Take the 8 minutes cable car ride up to Blauherd.
On the cable car ride up from Sunnegga to Blauherd, you can see the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains up close. You can also see the lake Leisee below you which will be the last lake on this hike. The views are absolutely beautiful and will get you enthused for your hike!
A lot of folks start the hike from Sunnegga itself making it a circular trail and climb uphill to Blauherd, an additional 45 min to 1 hour.
Tickets & Prices
While a return ticket for the Zermatt – Blauherd travel will cost CHF 55, you can buy a combination ticket meant for this hike that costs CHF 45. This includes the funicular & cable car from Zermatt to Blauherd and the funicular back from Sunnegga to Zermatt.
Ask at the ticket counter for this ticket, or use the kiosks to buy this hiking ticket. Check the latest ticket prices here.
Zermatt 5 lakes hike: Details
Hike from Blauherd to Stellisee
As you step out from the cable car station, you are greeted by panoramic views of the Matterhorn, the surrounding mountains and distant glaciers. As cliched as it may sound, the air feels fresher and crisper up in the mountains!
There are several hiking trails in this region and you can see the yellow signboards put up for them. Follow the signs for 5-Seenweg.
It’s an easy broad path curving around the mountain. Down below you can see more trails in the distance – one of those is where you will be heading towards.
The landscapes along this trail are beautiful – this is my favourite section of this hike! The first lake Stellisee is also the best of the lot. The rest of them were a little disappointing to me, honestly, but I will chalk that up to really high expectations based on other Swiss mountain lakes I’ve visited!
This section of the hike is quite short, ~1.5 km. So if you’re so inclined and are short on time you can just visit the lake Stellisee and head back to Blauherd.
Stellisee comes into view pretty soon since its a downhill walk and makes for a breathtaking sight. Surrounded by rocky outcrops, the crystal clear waters of Stellisee look very inviting for a swim. Be warned though it will be very very cold! There were a few folks who were swimming when we visited but most came out of the water after a very short dip, shaking & shivering!
The best views of the Matterhorn and its reflections in the water can be seen from the far side of the lake. If it’s not windy, you can capture beautiful pictures of the Matterhorn reflected in the water.
There are lots of rocks on this side of the lake which you can relax on and enjoy the views. Spend time on this lake and don’t worry about running late since you’ll not spend that much time at the rest of the lakes!
Hike from Stellisee to Grindjisee
Follow the signs for 5-Seenweg/ 5-lakes hike to make your way from Stellisee to Grindjisee, an easy ~2 km. On the yellow signboards, there will also be signs for Grindjisee which will be for a shorter but steeper/ more challenging route.
We took the 5-Seenweg route and it was an easy, downhill walk. We could see Grindjisee far below in the valley. The views on this section of the hike were beautiful too.
Grindjisee is a very small lake surrounded by trees. You can see the top of the Matterhorn from this lake. The atmosphere here is more mellow and quiet. It is a great place to stop for a picnic.
Hike from Grindjisee to Grünsee
The route to the third lake Grünsee is through a few forested sections over a distance of ~2.5 km. You also cross a small stream along the way.
The views are lovely but not quite as spectacular on this section of the 5-lakes hike.
Grünsee is a small lake surrounded by a sandy shore so it’s the best place for a swim. When we visited there were lots of families laid out on the ‘beach’ enjoying the water. There is not so much in terms of views at this lake itself but the surrounding mountains are quite beautiful.
There is also a restaurant here at Grünsee so you can grab a meal here.
Hike from Grünsee to Moosjisee
The route to the fourth lake is ~2 km and is almost entirely through forests and a section of steep switchbacks that zigzag down the mountain. You will need to follow the signs to Moosjisee and veer off the gravel path to head to the switchbacks. It’s also handy to check google maps for this section since it can be easily missed.
You will be able to see Moosjisee and it’s unique aquamarine colour as you walk down the zigzag path. Make sure you keep your eyes on the path though since it’s quite steep and rocky.
At the end of the switchbacks is a small waterfall and a lovely bridge to cross it.
Moosjisee is a glacier-fed reservoir and is quite striking due to its distinctive colour. Exhausted by the last section of the hike we found lots of folks resting in the shade by this lake.
We joined them too since we were just as tired! It was lovely to stretch out on the grass and relax. Good thing we did too since the last section of the hike to Leisee was quite challenging.
Hike from Moosjisee to Leisee
From Moosjisee you have 2 options – you can continue on the 5-Seenweg path to Leisee which is longer at ~2 km but with a lesser incline or take the direct <1 km path to Leisee which is quite steep.
We took the shorter route and while huffing and puffing up I was wishing we had taken the longer one! But it wasn’t quite so bad – exercising, getting your heart rate up and all that. Plus the views were lovely!
The last lake Leisee is the perfect place for family fun – the water is lovely to swim in, there is a restaurant, a play area and lots of benches spread around the lake. Since it’s so easy to reach via the Sunnegga funicular, most people visit just for this lake.
From the lake, walk uphill or take the elevator up to the Sunnegga station and catch the funicular down to Zermatt.
Practical tips for the Zermatt 5 lakes hike
- Keep Google Maps handy. While the trail is quite well marked, it is good to check on the map too that you are on the right track. Especially important for the last 2 sections of the hike.
- Since most of the hike is on a gravel path it can get very dusty. Keep your distance from groups in front of you if you don’t want to breathe it in.
- Dress in layers and carry a cap & sunglasses. As with other mountains, it can get chilly fast so make sure you are prepared.
- Carry enough food and water. There are only 2 restaurants on this trail (1 at Grünsee and the other at Leisee) and no places to refill water from.
- Budget at least half a day for this hike. And plan for something relaxing for the remaining half! Even though the hike is not very challenging, walking in the sun all day will be tiring.
Where to stay in Zermatt for the 5 lakes hike
We have often visited Zermatt on day trips, though with a 3.5 hour travel time each way from Zurich or Lucerne it can get really tiring. This time we decided to stay over since we had 2 hikes we wanted to do in the Zermatt area – the Gornergrat Riffelsee hike and the 5 lakes hike.
We stayed at Overlook Lodge by CERVO, a cozy apartment. We enjoyed the place so much we almost didn’t want to leave it the next day! The views of the Matterhorn from our balcony were stunning and we were able to capture the sun rising over the mountain – a beautifully magical experience.
Find more places to stay in Zermatt here.
The 5 lakes hike in Zermatt is a wonderful way to explore the mountains and the majestic Matterhorn. It is one of the best (and among the cheaper!) things to do in Zermatt!
Have you been on this hike? What was your experience like? Are you planning a trip? Let me know in the comments below.
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More information for your trip to Switzerland:
BUCKET LIST DESTINATIONS: 25 best places to visit in Switzerland
HIDDEN GEMS: 10 hidden gems in Switzerland
TRAIN RIDES: The Golden Pass train line
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