The 5 Lakes Walk (5-Seenweg) in Zermatt, Switzerland takes you to five alpine lakes around the base of the Matterhorn. It’s a fun hike that will take you through some of Switzerland’s most beautiful scenery, with great views of the Matterhorn at almost every point along the trail. It’s not a difficult hike, but there are a couple steep uphill and downhill sections. Be sure to wear hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. A good pair of trekking poles may help too.
The trail is 9.3 km long and will probably take you about 2.5 to 3.5 hours to complete, depending on how many stops you take. It starts at the Blauherd gondola station above Zermatt. Getting to Blauherd from Zermatt requires taking a funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga, then taking a gondola from Sunnegga to Blauherd.
The trail brings you back to Sunnegga, where you can take the funicular back to Zermatt.
Here’s a map of the hike:
You can buy tickets for the funicular and gondola at the funicular station in Zermatt. You need a one-way fare all the way to Blauherd, and a return ticket from Sunnegga to Zermatt. If you tell the ticket agent that you want to do the 5-Seenweg (5 Lakes Walk), they should be able to set you up with the tickets you need. When we did the hike in August of 2017, the cost per person was 39 Swiss Francs for the whole trip.
The funicular station to Sunnegga is located near the center of Zermatt:
Funiculars are pretty common in Europe. They’re a type of train that are pulled up steep mountains by a long cable:
The Zermatt to Sunnegga funicular travels in a tunnel the entire way up. It only takes about 5 minutes. Once you get to Sunnegga, transfer to the gondola and take it up to Blauherd.
The gondola takes about 10 minutes and the view is spectacular!
Starting the Hike
Once you get to Blauherd, you’ll get more great views of the Matterhorn. For the best views, start early. The Matterhorn and surrounding peaks usually become shrouded in clouds by noon. We got to Blauherd at 10:00 am, but by 11:00 am a small cloud formed around the tip of the Matterhorn and slowly got bigger as the day went on.
You might see some sheep grazing on the grass around the station. They’re friendly and love to get a scratch or two behind the horns.
Once you’re finished taking in the views from Blauherd, you can find the start of the trail on the west side of the lodge above the gondola station.
When you’re on the trail, the route is marked with yellow signs pointing the way.
Follow the arrows for “5-Seenweg”. The trail intersects with a few other trails in the area, so it can get a little confusing in some places. The funicular station in Zermatt has free trail maps, and it’s not a bad idea to bring one along. We used ours more than once.
The trail also has signs to show you which lake you’re at:
Lake Stellisee: The First Lake
Lake Stellisee is the first lake on the trail. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Blauherd. This lake offers great views of the Matterhorn, and when the water is calm you can see the reflection of the peak on the surface. When we got there, people were fly fishing. If you look in the water you can see why – it’s full of large rainbow trout.
Lake Grindjisee: The Second Lake
Lake Grindjisee is another great spot for views of the Matterhorn, and when the wind is calm you can see its reflection on the surface. It’s also a good place to stop for a quick break. The back side of the lake has a large rock that gets shade beneath it by mid-day. We arrived around 12:00 pm, and by that time the top of the Matterhorn had already started getting cloudy but it was still really beautiful.
Lake Grünsee: The Third Lake
Lake Grünsee is a popular place to hang out and relax. From here you can get a clear view of the Weisshorn, a high mountain peak on the other side of the Matter Valley. The lake has a sandy beach and the water is deep enough to swim. When we got there, several groups of hikers were playing in the water and sun tanning on the beach.
About six minutes past this lake is a restaurant called the Berghaus Grünsee:
We decided to take a break and admire the view from the patio with a glass of wine and a gelato:
Lake Moosjisee: The Fourth Lake
Lake Moosjisee looks strikingly different from the others. White sediment from glacial runoff mixes with the green algae in the water and turns the lake a beautiful opaque turquoise color. It’s not a natural lake, but a man made reservoir that stores water for hydroelectricity and snow making in the winter. For safety reasons, swimming is not allowed at this lake.
Lake Leisee: The Fifth Lake
Lake Leisee is the last lake on the hike. It lies just below Sunnegga station. There’s a children’s park here that kids will enjoy. There was a band playing music when we arrived, and lots of families were having picnics and playing in the water. If you’re tired at this point, don’t worry – it’s just a 5 minute walk back up to Sunnegga. If you’re really tired, you could always take the Leisee Shuttle funicular back up there for free.