Few weeks ago, my husband and I went on one of the most scenic hikes in Central Switzerland, on a 4-Lake Hike from Melchsee-Frutt to Engelberg.
The starting point of the 4-Lake Hike is Melchsee-Frutt, which is accessible via cable car or hiking trail from Stöckalp.
From Melchsee-Frutt the hiking trail runs along the Lake Melch (Melchsee) to the Tannen Lake (Tannensee) – the only artificial lake among all the four lakes. This part is with some light ascents and descents the easiest part of the trail. It is also very scenic as it offers some great views over both lakes and the surrounding mountains. If you’re lucky, as we were, you might even spot some marmots along the way.
Easier alternative to hiking this section from the cable car station to Lake Tannen is taking the shuttle “Fruttli Zug” from the mountain station of Melchsee-Frutt cable car to Lake Tannen.
From Lake Tannen the path descents to the Engstlen Lake (Engstlensee), to me the most beautiful lake of all four. This part is quite narrow, but is well secured and offers some great vistas one the way.
At the Engstelnalp you can take a break at one of the restaurants or continue your walk to the Engstelen lake, where the ascent to Jochpass starts. In comparison with the first leg of the hike, the ascent is rather steep, but it is well worth it as it offers some amazing vistas on the way. The higher you get, the better the views.
After you reach the Jochpass, you’re rewarded with the views over lakes you just passed on one side and the views over alpine meadows, the Lake Trüb and the majestic Mout Titlis on the other side. There is also a restaurant where you can take a break.
From Jochpass the path continues downwards to the final lake of the hike – Lake Trüb (Trübsee). This section of the trail is rather steep. What made it even more difficult when we hiked it at the end of the June, was the fact some rather long sections were still covered with snow. I was very grateful for having hiking poles and wearing my hiking boots.
Easier alternative to get up and down to the Jochpass would be taking the chair-lift.
If you still have enough energy you can extend your hike by walking all the way down to Engelberg village or just hop on a gondola down to the valley as we did.
When we arrived to Engelberg it was already past the lunch time. We were hungry and decided to have a lunch in the village. We strolled around until we found the restaurant we were searching for and had delicious meal there. Tired but happy for another great hiking experience, we then took the train back home to Lucerne.
We’ve done 4-Lake Hike once before. It was soon after my move to Switzerland, when we decided to give hiking a try. I wasn’t very fit back then and hiking a app. 14 km-long trail was a bit too much for me. I wasn’t able to complete the whole hike. We’d skipped the final ascent and descent of the trail by taking a chair lift to Jochpass. Since then, years passed. I’ve changed my life-style and started to live more active. This year, I finally felt to be ready to conquer the whole 4-lakes hike trail and I’ve managed to do it. In fact, I found it much easier than I expected what makes me proud and happy.
After hiking the 4-Lake trail two times, I can say it is one of the most beautiful and scenic hikes I’ve ever done. The landscape at this part of the Alps is just breathtaking. You can enjoy views over snow-capped mountains and deep blue mountain lakes all along the way. I also loved the fact the hiking trail doesn’t only ascents or descents, but varies, what, I think, makes it a bit easier to conquer.
INFO ABOUT THE TRAIL:
According to my Polar watch:
Melchsee-Frutt (1920 m) – Tannensee/Tannalp (1974 m) – Engstlensee/Engstlenalp (1834 m) – Jochpass (2207 m) – Trübsee (1796 m)
- Length: 13,35 km (ascent+descent)
- Time to complete the trail: app. 5 hours (without breaks 4 hours of walking)
There are places to stop and eat/drink along the way, but I highly suggest taking a bottle of water and some snacks with you as the ascents can be quite strenuous.
The hike can be done in both ways and should be snow-free from July to the end of October.
HOW TO GET TO MELCHSEE-FRUTT?
As start and finish of the 4-Lakes hike are two different places, I highly suggest using the public transport.
To get to Melchsee-Frutt by public transport take train to Sarnen. There change for bus (Postauto) to Stöckalp. At Stöckalp take the cable car to Melchsee-Frutt.
In case you would still like to travel to Melchsee-Frutt by car, take the A8 road and exit for Sarnen/Kerns. Follow the road to Kerns – Melchtal – Stöckalp. Free parking is available at Stöckalp.
- Transport: 17,1 CHF/person
– train & bus Luzern – Sarnen – Stöckalp 7,9 CHF/person (with SBB Halb-Tax card)
– train Engelberg – Luzern: 9,2 CHF (with SBB Halb-Tax card)
- Combined ticket for cable car rides: Stöckalp – Melchsee-Frutt & Trübsee – Engelberg: 16,8 CHF/person
- Lunch for two at the restaurant in Engelberg: 90 CHF
It traveling by public transport, check SBB page for special deals.