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The Most Beautiful Hike in Switzerland: 5-Lake-Hike in Pizol - A Full Guide (2023)

Isn't it funny how we're always looking for new adventures in foreign countries? And somehow not appreciating what our origin country has to offer? During my latest visit to Switzerland, I changed that and made a wish of mine come true.

I've heard a lot about the 5-Lake-Hike in Pizol from friends, my grandmother, and touristic advertisements. For this reason, I added it to my bucket list a long time ago. Somehow it took me over 28 years to accomplish the hike, but I'm more than happy to share my experience of this hike on my blog.


This blog post contains a full guide about the 5-Lake-Hike such as how to get there, what to bring with you, and what to expect.


Table of Contents:

About the Hike

Although it's not the most challenging hike, good physical health is required. It takes around 4.5 hours to finish it with a total distance of 11.4 km.


There are many ascents and descents. In total, you walk around 550m high and 911m down.


The paths are rocky but no climbing skills are required. Wearing shoes with a good grip is recommended.


Best Time to Visit the 5-Lake-Hike in Pizol

The hike can only be done between July and October and is dependent on weather conditions. It was the main reason for one failed attempt doing the hike. Since the area of Pizol is around 2,000 m above sea level, there's snow until mid-summer. It's best to check here beforehand, otherwise, you'll end up like me; at the station and not able to do the hike.


How to Get There?

The 5-Lake-Hike is located in Pizol, an area in the Canton of Glarus, however, the starting point is in the Canton of St. Gallen.


No matter where you're located, your first point of travel will probably be the main station in Bad Ragaz. Next, catch the bus that transports you directly to the valley station, the Pizolbahnen. From there, take the cable cars to the top.


Recommended Clothing and Footwear

The trail can be rocky and by wearing trekking shoes or shoes with good profile you won't lose the grip. Since the hike is at a certain altitude, wearing and bringing multifunctional clothing with you, can be beneficial for your whole experience.


Yes, weather and temperature can be unpredictable. At one point of the hike, I was freezing and glad that I brought a jacket with me, and while doing the hike, I felt super hot.


Here's a graphic that should serve as an inspiration, for everyone, who's wondering what to wear during a hike:

Graphic of needed equipment for a hike

Food & Drinks

I highly recommend bringing your lunch, snacks, and drinks to the hike for two reasons. First, Switzerland is not the cheapest country and second, there are only a few dining options up in the mountains.

Here's what I recommend bringing with you:

  • Lots of water! Calculate 1.5 liters of water for each person.

  • A sandwich filled with proteins, fiber, and fats.

  • Snacks before and after lunch, for example, a protein bar that delivers fast energy and keeps you full.

  • Fruits (a juicy Swiss apple) and vegetables (e.g. carrots or cucumber)


The Route

You're now covered with all the necessary information and ready to do the 5-Lake-Hike in Pizol. The only thing you need now is a detailed description of the hike, that you can easily follow. It also gives you a better overview of what to expect.

Route 5-Lake-Hike in Pizol

Start

As I mentioned before, you're first stop is the valley station in Bad Ragaz. Please note that it is not recommended to start your hike after 11 a.m. and I strongly recommend being at the valley station at 9. a.m. This gives you enough time for breaks whenever needed.


At the Pizolbahnen station, you take the cable car first, which will bring you to Pardiel. At Laufböden you transfer to a chair lift where you arrive at Laufböden - the starting point of your hike.


💡 You could also start the other way around (from Wangs), but this mentioned path is easier, with fewer ascents.


Wangsersee (1)

It's time to start hiking! From Laufböden you need to follow the yellow signposts towards Pizolhütte. You automatically walk past the first lake, the Wangsersee. Have a quick stop here and enjoy the view.

Wangsersee

Pizolhütte (2)

When you're ready, you just continue walking towards Pizolhütte. The Pizolhütte is a restaurant and your last chance to buy any snacks for your hike. There's no restaurant, shop, or anything else during the hike!


If needed, you can take a break here as well, drink a coffee, a hot chocolate, or have your breakfast here.


Lunch Break at Wildsee (3)

From this point, it will be a little more challenging. As before, follow the signposts that lead you to a place called Wildseeluggen.


For approximately an hour you track an ascending serpentine path. You will climb 270 meters until you reach your destination. Your effort will be rewarded by one of the most beautiful lakes you've probably ever seen, Wildsee. The alpine lake is located high, at almost 2,500 meters above sea level.


The lake has a unique icy blue color and is milky. The appearance comes from the melted water of the Pizol glacier and makes Wildsee look astonishing. Combined with the breathtaking look of the Swiss Alps, a sight you won't soon forget.


It's also the perfect spot to have your lunch break here. Not hungry yet? No worries, you can have your lunch at the next stop.


Schottensee (4)

After you've enjoyed the view of Wildsee, you continue to the next lake. It goes down steeply and rocky. This descent requires surefootedness.


Schottensee is another great place to have your lunch (if you haven't had it yet) or another break. The lake is surrounded by mountains that are reflected in the lake. A fantastic sight.


Schottensee is, like Wildsee, a glacial lake and ice cold. However, thanks to its banks, this lake offers the unique opportunity to take a short swim in the ice-cold water.


Schwarzsee (5)

It's time to continue the hike and head toward the fourth lake called Schwarzsee. Schwarzsee lies in a mountain basin. Follow the well-marked path where you reach a hill where you have a good view of the lake. To reach the lake you have to climb back down the height you gained. The descent is quite steep and your knees certainly won't thank you for it.


Baschalvasee (6)

Your knees might hurt a little, but there's no salvation in sight. You have to hike further down to reach Lake Baschalva, located at an altitude of 2,174 meters. It's the last lake of this challenging but rewarding hike.


Honestly, this lake, unlike the others, is not a beauty. Still, the opportunity to give your knees a rest as they need to prepare for the final section of the hike.


Gaffia Station (7)

Unfortunately, the way down to your last destination remains steep. In total, you hike 300 meters down.


❗️Keep in mind that the cable car runs only until 4 p.m. If you miss it, you need to hike all the way down.


Once you've arrived at the station take the cable car, which takes you to the middle station. Here you have enough time for a rewarding break at a restaurant. It would be typically Swiss if you indulge in a dessert such as, for example, a Banana Split.


Once you've made it to the cable car you'll feel exhausted but proud (like we did). The hike takes around 4.5 hours, and you've approximately 24,000 steps in your legs. That is definitely a reason to be proud of.

Selfie of Shila Beloya and boyfriend

👉🏽 PS - Thank you so much for reading my blog post! If you'd like to read more about my adventures around the world and maybe learn more about sustainability it would mean the world to me, if you subscribe to my newsletter.


x Shila

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