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Hike to Grindjisee

Zermatt, Switzerland



1.8 miles

Elevation Gain

150 ft

Route Type



Added by Chase Dekker

Grindjisee is one of the most stunning lakes in all of Switzerland. Lined by larch forests, it is impossible to take your eyes off this small lake, especially with the world famous Matterhorn rising above.

Nestled at the end of a long valley, the village of Zermatt is constantly dwarfed by the tooth-shaped Matterhorn. You can virtually hike anywhere around Zermatt and see the Matterhorn, but there are some places that offer better views than others. One of those places is a small lake called Grindjisee.

Grindjisee sits thousands of feet above Zermatt, in an area commonly referred to as Sunnegga. For the purpose of this write-up, we will take the newly renovated funicular up to Sunnegga from Zermatt, instead of hiking all the way up. The station is located along the east side of the river (Matter Vispa) that runs through the village and is generally a short walk from any lodging in town. The price to ride the funicular is about $16.00 for a one-way ride and $24.00 for a roundtrip ticket. These prices are slashed in half if you are carrying a Swiss Pass, which is always recommended if you'll be staying in Switzerland for a few days. The funicular ride lasts only a couple minutes and drops you off in Sunnegga, which sits at an elevation around 7,500 feet. As soon as you exit the station you are greeted with sweeping views of the Matterhorn and the valleys below. 

Trails in Switzerland are well marked and maintained, so finding the right path is as easy as finding what you're looking for on one of the yellow arrow signs and heading in the direction it's pointed. The times listed on the sign are recorded by the time it takes the senior residents to make that hike, so if you hike at a fairly good pace, expect to shave some time of those listed. To get to Grindjisee, find the signs that list the lake and head in that direction. This can get confusing because they market a hike called "5-Seenweg" (5 Lakes Hike) quite a bit and will try to set you on that path. The 5-Seenweg is a fairly strenuous hike and is not the quickest route to Grindjisee. Double check to make sure you clearly follow the signs for Grindjisee, which should also list the shortest time. 

To get there quickly, head down the hill away from the Matterhorn, towards a small lake and playground called Leisee. You will be able to see this almost immediately as it is only a quarter of a mile away. When you reach the lake, continue to follow signs for Grindjisee. Make sure you do not go on the trail to Moosjiesee as this will take you further downhill. The proper trail for Grindjisee will have you climbing slightly in elevation along the north side of the small valley. You will continue on this trail for around 0.7 miles before reaching the lake. Grindjisee is very small, but is the only lake in the entire region that provides trees and water in the foreground while taking photos of the Matterhorn. While at the lake, be sure to look for wildlife such as marmots, chamois, and ibex. You may also be accompanied by some of local farm animals such as goats or sheep, whose bells only add to the Swiss charm. 

The best time to be at the lake is between 1-4 hours after sunrise, when the sun is still hitting the east face of the Matterhorn. Around midday, the sun will be too high for good photos and as it begins to set, everything is backlit. 

After reaching Grindjisee, you have few options. You can either continue uphill to the well-known lake, Stellisee. This lake sits roughly 700 feet above Grindjisee and takes about 30-40 minutes to reach it. The hike back down to Sunnegga and the gondola is roughly 1 hour from Stellisee. If you do not feel like hiking more, head back on the same trail to Sunnegga. There are a couple choices for food at Sunnegga with an absolutely beautiful outdoor deck that has unobstructed views of the Matterhorn while you eat. From here, you can either take the funicular back down to Zermatt or hike down a fairly steep trail, loaded with switchbacks. If you choose to walk, give yourself at least 2 hours as the hike can be slow-going at times and the dense forest makes it hard to see once the sun begins to set. 

Do not miss out on this stunning lake when visiting Zermatt. Grindjisee may be small, but it packs a lot of scenery and beauty that cannot be overlooked!

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