Partnunsee: Hike to Alpine Lake

Partnunsee is a high alpine lake a bit north of Klosters and Davos. We picked this outing because it was late May when most mountain transport is closed. The hike to Partnunsee is accessed by car, making it a good choice for early hiking season. We went perhaps a tad too early as some of the trail was still covered in snow. But we still enjoyed it and I’m sure it would be wonderful in summer. The hike is not particularly difficult or long but it does go straight up and there was some huffing and puffing by my boys. There are a couple grill pits on the lake and room to run around a bit. It’s not at the top of my list, but if you’re in the area, it would make for a very nice day out.

Location:   Graubünden Switzerland
Address: Partnun 76, 7246 St. Antönien
Car: 1hr50 from Zurich
Train: 2hr10 from Zurich, then 3 km walk to trailhead
Trail: 2.5 km each way, about 1 hour each way
Condition: narrow dirt path, not good for strollers
Skill: moderate
Open: hiking best May through October
Prices: free
Services: restaurant, fire pits with wood
More info: www.praettigau.info

Getting There

By car: Drive to Partnun using the above map. From Zurich, drive south towards Klosters and Davos, turning left on Luzeinerstrasse just before reaching Küblis. Follow that road all the way up the high valley to Partnun. There is a parking area along the road just before reaching the tiny hamlet of Partnun. There is additional parking further up the road, but I think it is only for residents.

By transit: Take a train to Küblis, then a post bus to St. Antönien, Ruti. Unfortunately, the bus drops off 3 km from the trailhead I describe, so you’ll need to walk up the road to reach the trail.

Parking area at the trailhead.

On the Trail

Here is the trail map. We started hiking from the last parking area before driving up to Partnun.

From your car, continue hiking up the road, following trail signs to Partnunsee. Here’s what it looks like when you start the trail.

The trail leaves the road and follows a narrow footpath straight up the hill.

Most of the trail is wide and well-groomed as shown the left photo below. You can leave this main path and walk on narrow, rocky paths for short sections (shown in right photo below), simply for entertainment, which we did with our kids.

Although much of the trail is suitable for all-terrain strollers, I hesitate to recommend it for strollers as the trail gets quite lumpy as you get closer to the lake and the path around the lake itself is completely unsuitable for strollers. Also some sections of the trail were covered by snow when we were there so I couldn’t tell what was underneath. This hike is better done with a baby backpack. If you do take a stroller, you could take partway and continue on foot as you near the lake.

Whoops! Just before reaching the lake, the trail was covered in snow. It was still a bit early for hiking.

Another look at the trail by the lake, a little lumpy and covered in snow.

After about an hour (about 2.5km), we reached our destination, Partnunsee, and we had it all to ourselves.

It was a relatively warm day, but once we reached the lake, the wind picked up and it got cold fast. You can see us huddling on the ground trying to get away from the wind. We walked to the fire pit on the far side of the lake and built a fire. Fortunately, the fire pit was sheltered from the wind and there was even a little wood left by previous hikers. But don’t count on it. Since we were above the tree line, there wasn’t any stray wood for a fire or cooking sticks. So bring your own. There is a park bench next to the fire pit, which would have been very nice if it hadn’t been so cold.

One last look at the lake before making our way back home.

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