Hiking the Five Lakes Trail in Zermatt
I love Zermatt as it is a great base for some of the amazing hiking routes into the surrounding mountains overlooking the resort. One of the top and in somewhat ways, the easiest hiking route to do is known as the ‘Five Lakes Trail’ to the east and I heard that three of lakes has the Matterhorn mountain reflected on their water surfaces. Because of this I always wanted to do this and got the chance back in July 2016.
At the start of this amazing day, I have to admit I did the tourist route. I didn’t commence the hike from Zermatt itself so I took a train ride from Zermatt to Sunnegga to get to the heart of the five lakes trail. The train which goes up the steep mountain side is located on Wiestistrasse besides the river (only a few minutes walk from Zermatt’s main train station and tourist information centre). By doing it this way it does cost a bit but if people are either on short of time or want to burn their money and cheat a little, then this is for you. I had lack of time of course.
After the short ride up to Sunnegga I then took a short gondola ride up to Blauherd where the hiking trail begins. (If hikers want to, the route can also be started from Sunnegga and finish at Blauherd but will take longer as there is more uphill ascents. I decided on the reserve option as there is more downhill ascents on the trail).
From Blauherd, the first lake known as Stellisee is not far to go. I think I walked it in about twenty-five minutes. However the skies cleared up very quickly and I reached Stellisee with ease.
This is probably the most beautiful lake out of the five and is great to walk around. At the other end there is a couple of benches to sit on and take in the view of the Matterhorn as well as seeing its reflection on the water’s surface. Unfortunately I didn’t see the reflection as there was a little bit of cloud and the wind was picking up but I still had a great time chilling out next to the lake, eating fruit and gazed in its glory.
The walk to the second lake was the quickest as it’s mostly down hill. The tall mountain peaks overshadowed me and the clouds were quickly going away, drifting over to Italy where they belong. The hike was great but very dusty. Every time my foot took a step forward, I was kicking dust up in the air. Also on this part of the hike the trees have gone so I needed to apply a lot more sun tan lotion to my skin.
At the second lake the Grindjisee there is also a great opportunity to see the reflection of the Matterhorn but this did not happened however I got to see some flowers which I never seen in my life. This is also a great place to sit on a huge rock on the eastern side of the lake and take in the surrounding noises of nature and have some nibbles which I took for the trip. However walking around this lake requires some good footwear as it did rain a few days before I came up here and was very boggy.
The third lake I came across was the Grünsee and this lake on a good day can also have amazing views of the Matterhorn. However on the hike I did that day the clouds were about and the place seem dim and grim. I was fortunate enough to have plenty of space around me as this lake is quite open and lots of huge rocks to sit on and take in the views and have a snack (or if you are that bored, take in the fishes and see why all one hundred small fish are attacking one fish as we saw!)
The walk from the third to the fourth lake was quick and simple as it was the steepest downhill section to tackle. Luckily the paths weren’t too rocky or tricky so I was there in no time. However the lake which looks very clean and spectacular from above with its milky blue watery surface is in fact also used as a reservoir and the water it contains powers electricity in Zermatt down below. The lake is known as Moosjisee but I didn’t see any Moose around here, however there are great views of the surrounding mountains and is a great place to chill out.
The five lakes trail hike from the fourth to the fifth lake can be a toughie if anyone takes the wrong route. The easy route which is signposted (lookout for the yellow signs with 5-Seenweg written on them) is longer but a little bit more easier whilst walking on thick dusty road trails but I decided to take to the shorter but tougher route which took me uphill towards Leisee. At this moment of time it felt like the scene from the ‘sound of the music’ with the green grass surrounded up snow-peaked mountains and the sun rays shining on me.
The Leisee is located near the Sunnegga train station and is a great lake for children to play nearby (there is a huge play park here) and is an ideal lake to swim in (I been told but on this day I saw nobody tempting fate). Here there is also another great chance to see the Matterhorn reflection on the lake surface but not much luck today.
The best thing about doing the five lakes trail is at the finish. After walking about three hours going up and down dusty trails and of a short time a hike through a forested area, at Sunnegga there is a nice buffet restaurant to chill out at. I went for the traditional Swiss Rosit meals (Potato meal with fried egg) plus a large beer. Sitting outside the outdoor terrace it was a perfect location in the sunshine to eat a traditional Swiss meal and get light headed before taking the train back down.
Overall, this was a very nice easy hike to do and can be done with anyone. A lot of people say the route I done can be done in 2h30 but I took about 3h45 including breaks, photographic opportunities and toilet breaks (shouldn’t of said that as there is no official toilet stops en route). Then with the food top at the end I spent about five hours enjoying the beautiful Swiss alpine scenery. The five lakes trail is an ideal short-hike for anyone visiting the area and is not that hard. Just remember to take the right clothing in a bag if the weather does change and take plenty of water.