Zermatt 5 lakes hike, Switzerland

Hiking, Switzerland19 comments

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.

Planning a trip to Switzerland? Click here for a detailed travel guide to Switzerland – including the best time to visit, itinerary options (for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days), visa, transportation in Switzerland (including Swiss Pass), accommodation options and more!

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.

Here are more ideas for your trip to Switzerland: 25 best places to visit in Switzerland!

The Materhorn reflected in Stellisee
The Materhorn reflected in Stellisee

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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

Zermatt 5 lakes hike MAP
Zermatt 5 lakes hike MAP – Click to expand (Google Map data ©2020)

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.

A clear cloudless day is perfect to enjoy the views on this hike
A clear cloudless day is perfect to enjoy the views on this hike
The Matterhorn on the 5 lakes hike
The Matterhorn on the 5 lakes hike

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. 

The cable car station at Blauherd
The cable car station at 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!

Beautiful views at Blauherd
Beautiful views at Blauherd

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.

Zermatt 5 lakes trail
The trail is broad and easy
 Zermatt 5 lakes hike

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!

Views along the hike to Stellisee
Views along the hike to Stellisee
Stellisee Zermatt

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!

Matterhorn reflected in the water at Stellisee -  Zermatt 5 lakes hike
Matterhorn reflected in the water at Stellisee
 Zermatt 5 lakes hike

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!

Spend time relaxing at this lake
Spend time relaxing at this lake

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.

The trail marker - Follow signs for 5-Seenweg
The trail marker – Follow signs for 5-Seenweg
Grindjisee visible in the distance in the valley below
Grindjisee visible in the distance in the valley below

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.

You can also see the fourth lake Moosjisee far below
You can also see the fourth lake Moosjisee far below

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.

Grindjisee
Grindjisee

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. 

The trail from Grindjisee to Grunsee
The trail from Grindjisee to Grunsee
The trail from Grindjisee to Grunsee

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.

Grünsee -  Zermatt 5 lakes hike
Grünsee

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.

Switchbacks on the route from Grunsee to Moosjisee
Switchbacks on the route from Grunsee to Moosjisee

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. 

Grunsee to Moosjisee

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.

Moosjisee -  Zermatt 5 lakes hike
Moosjisee

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!

Views of Moosjisee as we head away from it -  Zermatt 5 lakes hike
Views of Moosjisee looking back

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.

Leisee -  Zermatt 5 lakes hike
Leisee
Leisee - Zermatt 5 lakes hike

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.

Overlook Lodge by CERVO
Overlook Lodge by CERVO

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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19 Comments

  1. Wow, first of all you had me at Funicular. I dont know why but I absolutely love riding those things like a little kid! Then you get to ride a cable car to Blauherd just to start so what an epic way to start hiking the 5 lakes from Zermatt.
    As an avid backpacker and hiker, I LOVE hiking near bodies of water so this is definitely going on my bucket list to check out these amazing sights beneath the shadow of the Matterhorn. I agree that the views from Stellisee of the Matterhorn look amazing. But I do have to say that the colors of Moosjisee would have probably blown me away in person!

    Reply
  2. Switzerland looks so amazing! wow Im drooling over these photos! Just gorgeous! I hope I am lucky enough to visit some of these hike sights one day!

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  3. This sounds like the perfect way to spend a day in Switzerland. What is an underground funicular? I love that you can swim and take a cable car too.

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  4. Wow these photos are STUNNING. I really need to make my way to Switzerland. Your post sold me in traveling there sooner than later. Your hotel view was incredible and hope to stay there as well. Amazing detailed information here!

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  5. This looks absolutely stunning!! We’ve only visited Geneva, but I really want to see more of Switzerland. Moosjisee looks absolutely dreamy!

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  6. I am really inspired to start getting into better shape so I can go hiking in some of the beautiful places that you have showcased in your blog! I’ve never been an avid hiker, to say the least. But my husband certainly enjoys it, and this would be a perfect vacation idea for us.

    Reply
  7. I have actually heard of this hike before and it has been on my ‘must-see’ list for a while now! My husband and I are both outdoor travel lovers, spending as much time outdoors as possible. We live for opportunities to explore the great outdoors camping, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, etc. Therefore, a hike with views that are as breathtaking as this one is DEFINITELY something that we would love. Thank you for sharing all of your photos. They are unbelievably beautiful.

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  8. This is fantastic – as always, I love the stunning pictures you included. I did some hikes with my mother while in Switzerland and it was definitely amazing to see the beautiful clear lakes and the mountains again. Sometimes I can’t remember why I left!

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    • What a spectacular hike! I’ve done a few awesome lake hikes here in the US but none of them compare to this one. Added to my bucket list for sure!

      Reply
  9. I love you beautiful pictures on all your posts! This is an amazing experience and the last picture of the sun rising over mount Matterhorn is absolutely stunning. I can just imagine how it was in person.

    And I wonder, people swimming in Grünsee, did you try it, was it cold?

    Switzerland is so stunning, really and the experience you describe is really something one must do.

    Reply
  10. Your posts about these hikes are feasts for my eyes Smita!!

    It’s not often that I read that a place is the second best option at the start of a blog post…then see amaaazing scenery the whole way! The Gornergrat hike must be truly epic if you like it even more than these gorgeous lakes.

    p.s the colour of Moosjisee is total madness!

    p.p.s The Overlook lodge looks like a dream as well!

    Reply
  11. I never knew that Matterhorn was surrounded by all these gorgeous lakes! I love all your shots of the peak from various angles and with a wide variety of landscapes in the foreground. When you say to avoid the hike on cloudy days, is that just because the views won’t be as stunning, or does the chance of rain make the hike unsafe or something like that?

    Reply
  12. what a beautiful place to hike in and this is a great summary of the trail. I specifically love the amazing color of Moosjisee and the view from your apartment. it looks like a perfect vacation for hiking-lovers.

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  13. Switzerland always looks so stunning. I love hikes to lakes but I’ve never done one in that region, so I’ll have to pop this on my list of places to visit.

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  14. Absolutely beautiful! I really enjoyed seeing the Materhorn reflected in Stellisee. I am sure seeing that in person is beautiful. Thank you for sharing these 5 lakes to hike.

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  15. Wow, those colors. The turquoise color of some of the lakes and the orange on the Matterhorn are wonderful.
    Switzerland has such scenic sites. Amazing.

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  16. Stunning! I’ve not made it to Switzerland before, but I’ll share this post with my students planning to study in Switzerland (and hopefully get a visit in once borders open up)!

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  17. I would so love to go on this hike, these landscapes look absolutely stunning! Coming from the Netherlands, I’m always so excited to see real mountains when I travel 😉 The lake that definitely jumps out is the Moosjisee, wow, so beautiful! Lovely post, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  18. That sounded like a wonderful hike. The colour of the glacier fed lake was amazing. And your sunrise shot of the Matterhorn is just gorgeous.

    Reply

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About me

Gruezi! My name is Smita, a part time traveller and a novice travel writer, currently living in Switzerland. So far I’ve been what you might call a serendipitous traveller! I got a chance to visit several amazing places more by chance than by design. I would love to put all my extensive travel planning to good use by sharing it with you and hope that these inspire you to visit all those famous, and not-so-famous locations! Read More

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