on the trail // pizol & the five lakes

It’s been almost two months since we hiked the Five Lakes Classic around Pizol on a warm, August afternoon, but it was such a beautiful day out that it is still worth sharing. Along the 11 km path, we passed 5 lakes, one peak (Pizol at 2,844 m.a.s.l.), numerous sheep, and plenty of steep, rocky switchbacks winding up, down, and around. I’m not sure when we’ll be back to do it again as it was a lot of work for Martin to lug Reese, but next time we’ll leave earlier and pack a picnic to enjoy part-way through.

On this day, we arrived at the Pizolhütte around noon and stopped for some snacks before heading off on what we knew to be a 4-5 hour hike. As the last chairlift down the mountain from Furt was at 4.30pm, we figured we better get going to ensure we could keep up the necessary pace. The ascent up to the second lake, the Wildsee, is really the best and worst part of the path. It is a long way up the switchbacks, but by the time you make it to the top you’ll know if the rest of the hike will be a problem. We made it up more quickly than expected and were soon off to the next lake.

My favorite part of the hike was probably going from the Schottensee (lake 3) to the Schwarzsee (lake 4, and Martin’s favorite). The Schottensee looked perfect for a cooling swim and I just wanted to pitch a tent on the meadow beside the Schwarzsee and spend the rest of the afternoon there. Unfortunately, our late start meant that we didn’t have much time to stop for long.

After the Schwarzee, we made one final ascent up to the ridge before the final lake. A maze-like arrangement of hundreds of huge cairns (ducks, as I grew up calling them) make for a fun photo opportunity before the path widens down to the last lake, the shallow Baschalvasee. This lake looked best from above but seemed a bit more still and muddy at lakeside. At this point, Reese was the happiest hiker, free from the backpack for a few minutes for a new diaper and some snacks. My feet, numb from wearing my older, and apparently too small, hiking boots, just wanted to be free of shoes and we all wished for more time to rest and enjoy the scenery. Luckily, the rest of the hike passed pretty quickly in a blur of me complaining about my feet and hurrying downhill to the Furt mountain station. We were early, and even made it in time to soak our feet in the stream before heading down the mountain for home.

hiking details
Pizolhütte on Wangersee (2,227 m.a.s.l.) ⇒ Wildseelücke (2,493 m.a.s.l.) ⇒ Schottensee ⇒ Schwarzsee (2,368 m.a.s.l.) ⇒ Baschalvasee (2,174 m.a.s.l.) ⇒ Station Gaffia ⇒ chairlift Wade Gaffia ⇒ mountain station Furt ⇒ 4-5 hours, 11 km, medium difficulty, with 618m elevation change. Hiking poles are recommended (though we had forgotten ours).

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travel information
The Wangs Pizolbahn station is just over an hour drive from Zurich (or ca. 1.5-2 hours by train). While this hike isn’t suitable for a very small children (unless carried like Reese), there are other hikes and family-friendly activities including the Wasserwald (water forest) including water games, ball tracks, and a BBQ area. More about our hike, including fare information, can be found here.

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