Mettmenalp Lake Hike

This lovely high alpine reservoir in Mettmenalp is in Glarnerland, about an hour drive from Zurich. After a short windy drive up the mountain, you take a gondola up to a reservoir, where you’ll get a wonderful view of the Glarnerland mountains. The reservoir is small but beautiful. You can simply wander along the two dams or walk around the whole lake, which might take about 45 mins with small children. It gets rather lumpy and narrow in parts, so it’s not for strollers. But it’s short enough that even small children can make it all the way around without much trouble. The trail has several play stations for kids, with educational information about animals, etc. There are at least three fire pits, one right when you reach the lake, one at the far end of the lake next to the river that feeds into the lake, and a third on the west side of the lake on a little hill that looks over the lake. All three had wood and picnic tables when we visited. Near the upper gondola station, there’s a restaurant with traditional Swiss food. This outing is a sentimental favorite of mine. We had really nice days there and I’d be happy to go back anytime.

Location:   Glarnerland, Eastern Switzerland
Address: Kies, 8762 Glarus Süd
Car: 1hr15 from Zurich
Train: 2hr from Zurich
Trail: 2.2 km loop, about 1 hour
Condition: narrow dirt path, not great for strollers
Skill: easy
Open: May to October
Prices: return trip Adult CHF ,19 Child CHF 9, Junior card accepted, no Halbtax
Services: theme trail, restaurant, playground, three picnic areas with fire pits with wood
More info:

Getting There

By car: Using the map below, drive to Kies and park next to the cable car.

By transit: Take a train to Schwanden, then a post bus to Kies (Niederental). The cable car station is adjacent to the bus stop.


The Kies cable car takes you up to the Mettmenalp. It’s a short walk to the hotel and reservoir. The loop trail circles the Garichti lake, with three picnic areas with fire pits along the way.

Trail Impressions

View from Mettmenalp cable car, Braunwald on your left.

We first visited in May, there was still a lot of snow and we couldn’t hike the entire trail. So we just wandered along the dam, admiring the beautiful broken ice on the lake.

We went back in fall and did the trail all the way around the lake. The river on the far side of the lake has a small sculpture garden and fire pit (shown upper right above). You can also rough it a big and build a fire right next to the river, like we did.

Along the trail, there are various amusements for the kids, starting with a matching game with local animals.

This long jump showing you how far various animals can jump. My 5yr old could jump as far as a squirrel.

Trail in early spring and in fall.

There are a few grill pits around the lake, most with tables and wood. This Feuerstelle is at the very beginning of the trail, right next to the lake.

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