Limmernsee Switzerland: A Daring Adventure for Hikers

Limmernsee Switzerland awaits adventurous hikers seeking a breathtaking escape. This hidden gem, known for its epic beauty and tranquil surroundings, offers an unparalleled experience for nature enthusiasts. With its crystal-clear waters reflecting towering peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls, Limmernsee is indeed a paradise for explorers.

As you embark on a journey through this pristine landscape, be prepared to be captivated by the dramatic vistas at every turn. From gentle meandering paths along the lake’s edge to challenging ascents, Limmernsee offers trails for all skill levels, allowing you to lose yourself in the awe-inspiring scenery. As you breathe in the crisp alpine air, you’ll feel a sense of serenity that only nature can provide.

Limmernsee Switzerland

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice adventurer, Limmernsee promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of Switzerland’s natural wonders. So pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready to discover the epic beauty that awaits you at Limmernsee.

The Natural Beauty of Limmernsee

Limmernsee is a natural wonder that will leave you speechless. As you approach the lake, you’ll be greeted by a mesmerizing sight: the crystal-clear waters glistening under the sun, mirroring the surrounding snow-capped peaks. The pristine beauty of Limmernsee is enhanced by the lush greenery that lines its shores, creating a picture-perfect setting. The tranquility of the lake is further enhanced by the absence of motorized boats, allowing hikers to fully immerse themselves in the serenity of nature.

Limmernsee Switzerland

The beauty of Limmernsee is not limited to its surface. Below the water’s edge lies an underwater world waiting to be explored. Divers and snorkelers will be amazed by the visibility and the variety of aquatic life that thrives in the lake. From colorful fish to unique plant species, Limmernsee offers a glimpse into a world rarely seen by human eyes. Whether you choose to explore the lake’s surface or dive into its depths, you’ll be rewarded with a truly unforgettable experience.

Essential Pre-Departure Information

To begin, let’s talk about some key points. Our original plan was to camp at the summit, but the weather had different ideas with all its fog and rain. So, we changed our minds and decided to turn the adventure into a day hike instead (and trust me, it turned out to be a great decision, as you’ll soon find out). In my everyday life, I rely on AccuWeather to give me the lowdown on the weather. But for this particular journey, we needed a weather forecast, so we looked to the mighty Bifertenstock summit (standing tall at 3,419 meters) to guide us.

Just so you know, in Switzerland, camping in the wild is usually okay, but there are exceptions, as the Swiss Alpine Club reminds us:

  • The Swiss National Park in the southeast is a no-go for camping.
  • Nature reserves are off-limits.
  • Stay below the tree line if you want to pitch your tent.
  • No camping in the no-hunting zones (known as Jagdbanngebiete in German).

Now, there are more instances where wild camping is a big no-no in Switzerland. But keep in mind, the rules can be a tad different depending on which canton or municipality you’re in.

Starting Point of The Hike

The beginning of our hike doesn’t have the most convenient starting point. It’s nestled deep in the Linthal, right at the Luftseilbahn Tierfehd valley station, sitting at 805 meters above sea level. If you’re starting from the village of Linthal, there’s a nicely paved road that leads you to this spot. You’ll even find a hotel right by the departure station. But if you’re relying on public transport, you’ll have to hoof it from Linthal railway station since Tierfehd has no buses running to it (that’s about a 6-kilometer walk to reach the starting point).

Map of the Linthal Valley and the hike
The Linthal Valley Map

The cable car runs like clockwork, fully automated and do-it-yourself while it’s open, though it might initially puzzle you. Here’s the drill: you park your car in the free parking area, then go to the ticket machine to snag your ticket. With that little piece of paper, you can breeze through the turnstile and hop into one of the two cabins waiting at the starting point.

Now, let’s talk prices. For adults, it’s CHF 15 for a round trip, which is a pretty sweet deal in Switzerland. Kids get an even better deal at CHF 10. If you’re not keen on turning your knees and calves into a fiery workout, I’d highly recommend catching the cable car to the Chalchtrittli mountain station, standing at a cool 1,860 meters.

So yes, for just 15 Swiss Francs, you can skip a 1,000-meter uphill battle and save yourself several hours of trudging. To be completely honest, even before the rain came pouring down, my legs were done for when we reached Chalchtrittli. The thought of wrestling with a 4-hour hike (according to the official signs) to Tierfehd didn’t seem appealing at all. The gondola ride takes a mere 7.5 minutes.

One little heads up: the cable car station takes a lunch break between 12:00 and 13:30, so you’ll have to wait if you plan to head up during those hours. For the schedule, just click here.

The Limmernsee Hike

I’ve broken this hike down into three parts:

  1. Gondola – Limmernsee bank (via tunnel): 20 min. – 30 min.
  2. Limmernsee bank – Muttseehütte: 2h – 3h
  3. Muttseehütte – Gondola: 1h30 – 2h50
Limmernsee Switzerland

Now, let me share the tale of our escapades. Keep in mind you can tackle this walk in either direction, thanks to two official paths leading to Muttseehütte SAC. We kicked things off with the tunnel route, especially because the weather around 9:30 a.m. wasn’t all that inviting with its rain. But hey, we had our hearts set on exploring both paths to turn this hike into a full-circle adventure.

Limmernsee hiking map Switzerland
Limmernsee hiking map Switzerland. Image Credit:©

Gondola – Limmernsee Bank (Via Tunnel)

Our hike had an unusual start – not your typical trailhead. From the mountain station, there’s this marked path that takes you through a power station tunnel, about 3 kilometers long, to reach Limmeren Lake.

The familiar yellow hiking signs guided our way, but things got a little spooky when we reached a gate. And then, we were handed orange safety vests. I couldn’t help but wonder where I had led us this time.

We zipped up our raincoats because the tunnel was quite humid, and, as any hiker knows, sturdy hiking boots were a must, considering the numerous large puddles.

Limmernsee tunnel

The beginning of this hike, completely level, might seem a tad dull if you don’t remind yourself that you’re inside a mountain. Or if you don’t amuse yourself by imagining eerie noises and hunting for fellow humans – and you will stumble upon some workers. The feeling of being in a horror movie became quite real, especially when we heard an unsettling sound approaching. It turned out to be a worker’s car (and the mystery of how they got there remains unsolved, as there was no visible road).

The tunnel stretches out for 2,750 meters, giving us plenty of time to plan the rest of our hike, particularly the hunt for restroom facilities. Luckily, we found one at the end of the tunnel.

Once you emerge from the tunnel, there’s a little detour you can take to check out the dam. Just follow the sign that says “Zur Staumauer,” which literally means “to the dam.” We skipped this side trip because we were trying to find a restroom.

Around 30 minutes later, we finally stepped out of the tunnel right by the shores of Limmernsee. The view was already mind-blowing. Sitting down for a quick five-minute breather and taking in the scenery made me eager to conquer the mountain looming behind, promising an even more spectacular view of the lake below.

This lake owes its existence to the dam, which powers the hydroelectric station. Depending on the angle and, of course, the weather, it can wear a coat of grayish blue in the shade or glisten with jade green when the sun kisses its surface. It’s got a thousand faces, and we got a taste of them on this rainy day.

Limmernsee Bank  – Muttseehütte

We began our ascent from the lake’s edge towards the Muttsee hut. The hike wasn’t too tough, but the elevation change made it feel challenging at times. It was a steep climb right from the beginning.

We lost track of time, not knowing exactly where the hut was. A sign near a tunnel exit suggested it would take about 2 hours to reach. We followed the red and white trail markers on the rocks. Our guide was the lake, which we left behind as we climbed higher. I couldn’t resist looking back because the views got better.

We encountered a couple of brief, challenging sections where they put small chains to aid hikers. We were staying ahead of the rain, but ominous dark clouds in the distance raised concerns. Our aim was to make it to the Muttseehütte before the rain arrived.

Nevertheless, we got sidetracked for a bit as the mountain’s enchantment led us to spot animals like marmots and ibex. They weren’t exactly on the official trail, so always be on the lookout for wildlife around and the cliffs nearby.

Finally, we came upon the yellow signs, one pointing right to the Muttseehütte and the other left to the “official” viewpoint atop Muttenchopf (2,482 m). It’s just a ten-minute walk to the viewpoint, but it meant braving a strong and noisy wind, which was quite refreshing after our warm climb. Trust me, the view up there makes all the effort worthwhile!

In a matter of minutes, the light and the lake’s color can transform, creating a stunning fjord-like effect. Besides the sparkling Limmernsee, the surrounding landscape is filled with peaks and glaciers, and, in the distance, we could spot the Muttseehütte, standing proudly on a small plateau just a few hundred meters away.

Limmernsee Switzerland

Muttseehütte – Gondola

We finally arrived at the Muttseehütte, perched on Kistenpass and named after the nearby Muttsee lake. This cozy refuge belongs to the SAC Winterthur group and is a home base for the long-distance Via Glaralpina trail. The star attraction here is a brand-new dam. Standing at 1,054 meters long, it’s the lengthiest in Switzerland and, at approximately 2,500 meters above sea level, the highest in Europe.

If you plan to spend the night at the hut, you must make an online reservation. Their website has all the necessary info, including details on half-board options and prices.

As we inquired about Muttsee Lake, a light rain began to drizzle. So, we decided to take the trail to Chalchtrittli. This path promised breathtaking views along the mountainside and led us through various areas teeming with wildlife, rocky terrain, and lush flora. This route can be divided into three parts. The first and last sections are quite steep, with numerous twists and turns, while the middle part is mostly flat, taking you through scenic meadows.

trekking route

Our hike took an unexpected turn as a fierce rainstorm suddenly hit, drenching us in seconds and shrouding us in mist. The landscape became challenging to discern, making it tough to gauge how far we still had to trek to reach the mountain station. The silver lining was that our limited visibility of just 20 meters shielded us from the sheer drop-offs on the mountain’s edge. So, if you’re afraid of heights, you might want to consider taking the tunnel instead.

On sunny days, the incredible vistas of the surrounding mountains and the valley below are a real treat. I’ll definitely return to savor that.

The more technical and vertigo-inducing sections are all secured with chains, but after battling the storm and the initial kilometers, we had to be extra cautious. For the first time, we crossed paths with other hikers making their way to the Muttseehütte.

The mountain station seemed like it would never come into view as the fog concealed it. But at last, we spotted it, nestled below us, with the path winding down to the cable car.

Where to Eat and Spend the Night?

As our journey concluded, the weather had settled down beautifully when we reached the departure station around 4:30 p.m. With hunger gnawing at us, we sought a restaurant before finding a spot to spend the night.

Our path led us towards Glarus, the canton’s capital, and it proved to be a wise choice. The quaint town of Glarus (yes, the canton and its capital share the same name) could be explored in just ten minutes. It was a charming place with a strong Ticino or Italian influence.

In fact, I heard more Italian being spoken than Swiss-German, which was quite pleasant. We had a delightful dinner at an Italian restaurant called L’Angolo dei Sapori. The kitchen opened at 5:30 p.m., and their terrace allowed us to soak in some welcoming sunshine. The meal was truly delicious, and I highly recommend this place.

Afterward, we embarked on the hunt for a place to rest. Traveling in a converted van, we consulted the Park4night app, which helps you find places to stay without disturbing landowners.

The comments on the app indicated that the location was ideal, right by the road through the Glarner Alps and that the landowners were quite accommodating. We intended to inquire about parking for the night, but upon our arrival around 8 p.m., we found no one around, and the lights were off.

Essential hiking gear for exploring Limmernsee

Before embarking on your hiking adventure at Limmernsee, it’s important to ensure that you have the essential gear to make your journey safe and comfortable. Here are some items you should consider packing:

  • Hiking boots: Invest in a sturdy pair of hiking boots that provide ankle support and have a good grip on various terrains. This will protect your feet and provide stability during your hike.
  • Weather-appropriate clothing: The weather in the Swiss Alps can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to dress in layers. Opt for moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials to keep you comfortable throughout your hike.
  • Navigation tools: Carry a map, compass, or GPS device to help you navigate the trails. It’s also a good idea to download offline maps on your phone in case of limited connectivity.
  • Water and snacks: Stay hydrated by carrying an adequate amount of water with you. Pack lightweight and nutritious snacks to keep your energy levels up during the hike.
  • First aid kit: Be prepared for any minor injuries by carrying a basic first aid kit that includes band-aids, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes.

Remember to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before setting off, and always let someone know about your hiking plans for safety purposes.

Tips for a successful hike in Limmernsee

To make the most of your hiking experience at Limmernsee, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Start early: Begin your hike in the early morning to avoid crowds and take advantage of the cooler temperatures. This will also give you ample time to explore the trails and enjoy the scenery without feeling rushed.
  • Pack light: Only bring the essentials to minimize the weight on your back. This will make your hike more comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Take breaks: Pace yourself and take regular breaks to rest and soak in the beauty of Limmernsee. Use these moments to refuel, hydrate, and appreciate the surroundings.
  • Follow the trail markers: Stay on the designated trails and follow the markers to ensure you don’t get lost. Deviating from the marked paths can be dangerous and harmful to the delicate ecosystem.
  • Respect nature: Leave no trace behind and adhere to the principles of responsible hiking. Keep the trails clean, avoid disturbing wildlife, and stay on designated paths to minimize your impact on the environment.

Conclusion: Why Limmernsee should be on every hiker’s bucket list

Limmernsee is a hiker’s paradise that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Its epic beauty, surrounded by the majestic Swiss Alps, sets the stage for an incredible adventure. Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a challenge or a nature lover looking for a peaceful escape, Limmernsee has something to offer for everyone.

From the breathtaking vistas to the diverse flora and fauna, every moment spent exploring Limmernsee is a testament to the wonders of nature. The well-maintained hiking trails cater to all skill levels, ensuring that every hiker can find their own slice of paradise.

Make sure you check our guide for the best lakes in Switzerland.

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