How To Hike The Five Lakes Trail In Zermatt, Switzerland

Five Lakes Trail Zermatt

The Five Lakes Trail Zermatt (also known as the 5-Seenweg) is one of the most beautiful day hikes that you can do in all of Switzerland! This hike offers a bit of everything – stunning blue lakes, charming mountain lodges, alpine rivers, refreshing pine forests, and up-close views of the famous Matterhorn mountain.

During our 3 day Zermatt trip, Joel and I dedicated an entire day to hiking the Five Lakes Trail and exploring various fun activities in this area.

In this guide, we cover all you need to know about hiking the 5 Lakes Trail including location, pricing, and tips on how to ride the mountaincart and kickbike down to Zermatt after.

TIP: Before traveling to Switzerland we highly recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass which offers unlimited travel by train, bus & boat in more than 41 cities along with 50% discount at many of the mountain destinations. This pass will save you a lot of money in the long run. Get the pass here!

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How To Reach The Five Lakes Trail?

To reach the starting point of the Five Lakes Trail, you will need to take a funnicular (cable car) from downtown Zermatt up the mountain. On the map, you can find the railway station listed as ‘Sunnegga Blauherd Rothhorn Funnicular And Cable Car Station’.

Funnicular station in downtown Zermatt.

It cost us 18 CHF (swiss franc) per person to ride the funnicular one way or you can get round trip tickets for 26 CHF. We bought a one-way ticket up since we wanted to rent a mountain cart and a kickbike at various locations on the way down.

After purchasing your ticket, you will need need to walk through an underground tunnel to reach the cable car. The funnicular ride itself only takes a few minutes so it’s a very short trip up.

Where Does The Five Lakes Trail Start?

You can start the Five Lakes Trail at either Sunnegga or Blauherd mountain stations.

The funnicular will take you up to the Sunnegga station. If you plan to start the hike at Blauherd, after exiting the cable car you will need to hop on a gondola and take it one station up. The gondolas run frequently so it’s an easy transfer.

Most people start the hike in Blauherd because from here the trail goes mostly downhill. This way you’re enjoying the hike without doing much of the hard work.   

Blauherd gondola station.

On our visit, we did things a bit backward. We started the hike in Sunnegga and hiked it uphill to Blauherd (which is not a common option). We took this route so that after the hike we could ride the mountaincart back down.

The mountaincart is a fun activity but you can only rent the mountain carts in Blauherd. This was our deciding factor why we hiked the trail uphill instead of taking the easy route down.

Mountain cart adventure in Zermatt.

If you’re interested in renting the mountaincart, be sure to start the Five Lakes hike early in the morning to give yourself plenty of time to complete it. The mountain cart rentals close at 3 pm and we barely made it in time.

Whether you choose to start the 5 Lakes hike from Sunnegga or Blauherd, the trailheads are located just outside the transit stations.

Google Map Location: 5-Seen-Wanderung

Pssst! I use the Sony a7c camera for my travel photos. This is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera available on the market – perfect for traveling, hiking, and outdoor trips – while still maintaining the same incredible image quality as Sony’s full-frame cameras! 

How Long Is The 5 Lakes Hike In Zermatt?

The Five Lakes Trail is about 6-7 miles long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete, depending on which direction you decide to hike it. During our visit, we followed the route from the AllTrails hiking app (going counterclockwise and starting from Sunnegga station, not Blauherd).

Map of the Five Lakes Walk from AllTrails:

There are multiple trails in this area which can get very confusing at times. There are yellow signs marking which way to go, but it was much easier to follow our phone map instead.

Thankfully we had cell reception the entire time so we were able to check the route on Google Maps and AllTrails whenever we stopped at a junction.

The five lakes that you can visit along this route are:

  • Leisee
  • Moosjisee (Mosjesee)  
  • Grünsee
  • Grindjisee
  • Stellisee
Grünsee – one of the five lakes that you can visit along this trail.

The Five Lakes Trail is a long day hike, but the trek is not very technical and is doable for most fitness and age levels.

If you’re not up for doing the entire 6 miles, you can also ride the funnicular & gondola to Blauherd and hike 10 minutes to lake Stellisee. This is a popular option for those who are short on time and just want to enjoy a few of the main highlights in Zermatt.

Our Experience Hiking The 5 Lakes Trail

We hiked the 5 Lakes Trail counterclockwise starting in Sunnegga and ending in Blauherd. Here is a detailed breakdown of what you can expect to experience along this route.  

Sunnegga To Leisee

Lake Leisee

After exiting the Sunnegga funicular station, head left to start the hike. Within a short walk, you will reach Lake Leisee. This is the first lake along the 5 Lakes Trail which is located right outside the railway station.

Once you reach Leisee Lake, you can walk around the shoreline for picture-perfect reflections of the Matterhorn in the lake water. There are also giant, wooden lounge chairs scattered around the lake where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning alpine views.

Leisee To Mosjesee

Beautiful scenery along the Five Lakes Trail in Zermatt.

The next section from Leisee to Mosjesee is all downhill. There will be several trails that intersect in this area so I recommend referencing a hiking app to stay on track.

You’ll spot the second lake from afar – Mosjesee has a turquoise color that looks almost unreal! Mosjesee Lake reminds me of the beautiful alpine lakes from Banff, Canada with its milky blue color.

Mosjesee Lake

Once you reach the lake, you will see a sign that shows where the best photo spot is located – a very helpful tip for photographers! You can find a sign like this at each of the five lakes.

The Moosjisee Lake is located at 2140 meters in elevation and has a small dam to control the glacier runoff that flows into it from the mountains. This lake earns its bright blue color from silt particles that can be found in glacier water.

PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: To capture the landscapes in Switzerland we used our Sony a7c camera and the Sony 16-35 mm F4 wide lens. This lens is great for wide panoramas, lakes and nature landscapes.

Mosjesee To Grünsee

Mountain Lodge Ze Seewjinu along the Five Lakes Trail.

After Lake Mosjesee, you will start an uphill climb in a pine forest along steep switchbacks. Soon after you will reach Mountain Lodge Ze Seewjinu which offers rooms and a restaurant with views of the Matterhorn. If you’re hungry, you can stop here for food and drinks before continuing on.

After the lodge, the 5 Lakes Trail will connect with a wide path that you can take to the next lake. The third lake along this route is the Grünsee situated in the midst of beautiful alpine scenery.

Grünsee Lake

Grünsee is a small lake located at 2300 meters in elevation. This lake has a light green tone to it, much different than the milky turquoise color of Lake Mosjesee.

Grünsee Lake has barbecue areas set up on the shoreline and allows swimming (although this alpine water is icy cold even in the summer months!).

Grünsee To Grindjisee

Grindjisee Lake

From Grünsee you will continue the hike on a gravel road with a steady, steep incline. The fourth lake is located to the left of the main path and is a bit hidden behind overgrown trees and shrubs.

Once you reach Grindjisee, we recommend walking around the shoreline to the opposite side of the lake for the best views of the Matterhorn reflected in the water. There are some trees and shade along the lake shore making it a great place to take a short break.

Grindjisee To Stellisee

Stellisee Lake

After Grindjisee we started the steep uphill section to Stellisee which is the last lake of this trek. Our legs were burning the entire way up and we started questioning our decision to hike this trail counterclockwise. Nevertheless, we were already committed and nearly reached the end of the hike.  

Once we arrived at Stellisee Lake, we were a bit behind schedule so we didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time at the final lake. Stellisee is often touted as one of the most beautiful lakes in Zermatt and many people come here as a destination of its own without doing the entire Five Lakes hike.

Blauherd cable car station.

After Stellisee, we walked over to Blauherd cable car station just in time before the mountain cart rentals closed for the day. All in all, it took us about 3 hours to complete the entire 5 Lakes Hike.

Riding Mountaincart From Blauherd To Sunnegga

Mountaincart rental from Blauherd.

Once you finish up the hike, you have the choice to take the gondola & funnicular back to downtown Zermatt or opt for a more adventurous way down the mountain. We decided to try the latter option!

At Blauherd you can rent a mountaincart that you can ride down to Sunnegga. This activity is about 15 minutes long and so much fun! The mountaincart is pulled down the hill by gravity going at a fast speed. The cart has brakes to slow down and a wheel for steering.

You will also be provided with a helmet for safety reasons. There are nets set up around sharp corners so you don’t go flying off the mountain if you can’t make the turn!

Views of Matterhorn along the way.

As soon as you start picking up the speed, the cart will bounce around which can feel a bit uncomfortable. The ride ends at the Sunnegga station where you can turn in your rental.

The mountaincart operates only in the summer season from June 16 to October 9. The rentals end at 3:00 pm so plan accordingly and get there before closing hours (we barely made it in time).

The mountain cart rentals cost:

  • 15 CHF for adults – per ride
  • 7.50 CHF for kids – per ride
  • 60 CHF for a family (2 adults and 2 kids, 8 CHF for additional kids) – for two rides

Riding Kickbike From Sunnegga To Zermatt

Renting kickibikes is a thrilling way to get back to Zermatt.

After finishing up the mountain cart ride, we decided to rent kickbikes from Sunnegga and ride them all the way down to Zermatt. This activity is much longer and takes about 40-60 minutes to complete. The ride starts off on a dirt mountain road but ends on a paved, flat pathway.

The kickbike is an interesting mix of a mountain bike and a scooter. These specific bikes have a giant off-roading tire in the front and a smaller tire in the back. We rented similar bikes at Grindelwald First a few days later but these Zermatt ones were easier to manage and much safer.

The beautiful mountain scenery on the way down.

The rentals come with a helmet and the kickbikes have brakes for slowing down. The bike does not have a seat or pedals but the steep roads will ensure you can pick up enough speed. 

Along the way down you’ll pass a few restaurants including Restaurant Ried, and Othmar’s. We were the last people to rent the kickbikes for the day and had to return the bikes by 5:20 pm so we didn’t have enough time to stop at any of the restaurants.

The ride ends at the same funnicular station that you take up. You can return the kickbikes to the employees and exit through the tunnel.

The rentals operate in the summer season from May 26 to October 16 until 4:00 pm.

Once you finish up the ride, you can take an elevator down and return the bikes.

The kickbike rentals cost:

  • 18 CHF for adults – per ride
  • 9 CHF for kids – per ride
  • 45 CHF for a family (2 adults and 2 kids, 6 CHF for additional kids)
Looking for more fun things to do in Zermatt? Check out this paragliding tour where you’ll get to fly over Zermatt and enjoy the stunning mountain views from a bird’s point of view - an unforgettable experience of a lifetime! Book the Zermatt paragliding tour here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions about hiking the Five Lakes Trail in Zermatt.

Best Time To Hike The Five Lakes Trail?

The 5 Lakes Trail is open in the summer months from May to October. This trail closes in the winter due to cold weather conditions and snow.

It’s best to do The five Lakes hike on a clear, sunny day. The sun can make the lake colors pop and look extra saturated by reflecting off the surface.

We hiked this trail in September and got lucky with the weather on our visit. It was warm and sunny yet not too hot at the summit.

Is 5 Lakes Trail Free?

It is free to hike the 5 Lakes Trail, but it does cost 18 CHF to take the funnicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga where the hike starts. A round trip ticket costs 26 CHF to and from Sunnegga.

If you wish to start the hike in Blauherd, it costs 33 CHF to take the funnicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga and then hop on a gondola from Sunnegga to Blauherd. For a round-trip ticket, it costs 53 CHF.

For up-to-date pricing see the Matterhorn Paradise website here.

How Long Does It Take To Hike The 5 Lakes Trail?

We ended up spending an entire day on this activity so plan accordingly. While the 5 Lakes Trail itself only took about 3 hours, add in extra time to purchase the tickets, take the funnicular up to the top, do the hike and get down from the mountain. 

We also rented mountaincarts and kickbikes which added a few extra hours to our visit.

After hiking the Five Lakes Trail, we recommend visiting the Gorner Gorge (Gornerschlucht) which is another wonderful attraction in Zermatt.

What To Bring

The weather in Switzerland can change drastically without much notice, especially in the shoulder season. On our Switzerland trip in September we experienced a variety of weather from sunny and warm to rainy and cold.

Here are a few things that we recommend bringing for outdoor adventures in Switzerland:

  • Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket. I always bring an insulated puff jacket in my backpack in case it starts raining or the temperatures start dropping. With a windproof and moisture-repelling shell, the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket will keep you warm by trapping your body heat and blocking the cold.
  • Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes. A good pair of hiking shoes can make all the difference in outdoor adventures! I recommend getting a pair that are tough and have lots of traction so you don’t slip and fall, especially when your feet start getting tired. The Danner 2650 shoes are lightweight, durable, and made with Vibram 460 outsoles for traction on wet surfaces.
  • Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles. Trekking poles can come in handy when battling steep, uphill trails. The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles are light, easy to use, and are made with an ergonomic design that offers stability and comfort on longer day hikes.
  • REI Co-op Nalgene Water Bottle. Bring plenty of water as there are limited amenities, water, and food once you head into the trail. I love my reusable REI Co-op Nalgene bottle which is leakproof and so easy to clean.
  • Anker Portable phone charger. I always bring a battery pack when going on longer day hikes. A portable phone charger can come in handy in case your phone runs out of battery and you need to use it to look up directions, pull up the AllTrails hiking app, or Google Translate.
  • Gregory NanoDay Pack. I have a small lightweight day pack that fits all my essentials, water, and camera gear. The Gregory Nano pack comes with a padded mesh back, several adjustable straps, and plenty of pockets where you can put small things like hand sanitizer, a headlamp, sunglasses, and a small medical kit.
  • Sunscreen. This hike is located at a high altitude with limited shade so it’s very easy to get sunburned. We reapplied sunscreen multiple times throughout the day to stay sunburn free.

Views of downtown Zermatt from the path down.

Where To Stay In Zermatt

Zermatt is a car-free city meaning visitors are not allowed to drive their cars into the downtown area. We had to park our rental car in Täsch and take a 15-minute train from Täsch to Zermatt. It takes a bit of time and effort to reach Zermatt so most people end up spending a night or two within the city to make it worth it.

Zermatt is a small town, but it has a lot of great hotels to choose from for various budgets, group sizes, and needs.

Here are some of the best hotels in Zermatt:

Backstage Boutique SPA Hotel

Photo by Backstage Boutique SPA Hotel

This boutique hotel offers visitors a luxurious place to stay at the heart of Zermatt not far from Gornergrat and Sunnegga railway stations. The Backstage Boutique SPA Hotel has a four-star rating along with a Michelin-star-rated restaurant that is open during the winter months.

The rooms at Backstage Boutique Spa Hotel come furnished with elegant and unique pieces. Guest rooms also feature fireplaces and private balconies, and some accommodations come with a bathtub overlooking the Swiss Alps. Other amenities include a hot tub, sauna, steam bath, and massage room.

Hotel Butterfly, BW Signature Collection

Photo by Hotel Butterfly

Hotel Butterfly is an affordable yet stylish hotel just feet from the Gornergrat train station. From the rooms, you can see epic views of the Matterhorn and the city.

In the mornings, guests can enjoy Continental and buffet breakfast options before heading out to explore the town. The hotel also has a restaurant on the premises with a 4-course dinner menu.

After a full day of activities guests can relax and rejuvenate at the wellness area that features a Finnish sauna, an infrared cabin, and a steam bath.

Residence Patricia

Photo by Residence Patricia

During our time in Zermatt, we stayed at Residence Patricia that’s part of the Alpen Resort Hotel. This hotel offers studio and apartment-style accommodations that come with a kitchenette for convenience. We were able to buy groceries in town and make our own meals to save money and time.

The rooms at Residence Patricia come with balconies and direct views of Matterhorn Mountain. If you’re seeking a budget-friendly place, it doesn’t get better than this!

We hope this post has helped you prepare for a great adventure to hike the 5 Lakes Trail in Zermatt! Here are a few other popular travel posts that you may enjoy:

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