Aug 17

The Best Alpine Lakes Accessed By Hiking Trails

Many of Ryder-Walker’s favorite alpine adventures lead to magical, high-altitude alpine lakes, nestled like sapphire gems below towering peaks and beside lush meadows dotted with vibrant wildflowers. Below are some popular lakeside stops on our itineraries in the European Alps and Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Oeschinensee (Oeschinen Lake) in the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland is considered by many alpine hikers to be the most beautiful lake in the Alps due to the stunning azure blue glacial water and prominent mountains that provide a visually stunning backdrop to the lake including: Blüemlisalp, Doldenhorn, Fründenhorn and others in the Blümlisalphorn massif. Ryder-Walker has three hikes that will take you to this picturesque lake near the quaint village of Kandersteg including the Berner Oberland Trek, Berner Oberland Traverse, and our Eiger Trail trek. The many trails around the lake offer hikes from short, easy strolls to longer, challenging hikes. Video copyright: Switzerland Tourism.

If you were to choose the picture-perfect lakeside post card photo, Hallstättersee, (Lake Hallstatt), in the small village of Hallstatt would most likely be first choice. Serene waters and towering mountains ringing the lake offer a picturesque landscape that attracts visitors from around the world. It’s no wonder Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most beautiful villages in Austria. It is also Ryder-Walker’s choice for days five and six of our popular Heart of Austria trek.

The Engadine region features pristine lakes, charming villages, and stunning mountain landscapes. On our Engadine Trek and Engadine Summit Series we visit Lägh dal Lunghin (Lake Lunghin) which sits at 8,153 feet making it one of the highest lakes in the Engadine region of Switzerland. Sitting below Piz Lunghin, a popular hiking summit, it is also known as “Lake of the Three Waters and The Roof of Europe,” because three major European watersheds converge at Lake Lunghin: Rhine Watershed – Rhine River water finds its way to the North Sea, Danube Watershed – the Inn River is a tributary of the Danube and Po Watershed – its streams and rivers eventually flow into the Adriatic Sea.

The crystal-clear turquoise waters of Lago di Braies bring hikers from all around the world to marvel at one of the Italian Dolomites most iconic and picturesque alpine lakes. Located in the Prags Valle (Valle de Braies) the lake is also known as Pragser Wildsee in German. If you join us on our Via Ladinia: Heart of the Italian Dolomites or Via Ladinia Pastorale you will be able to experience the beauty of the mountain peaks and forests reflecting on the serene surface of this captivating lake.

Ryder-Walker’s High Peaks of Bavaria and Tyrol takes you to Lake Eibsee, a stunning, turquoise, and emerald-colored alpine lake located at the foot of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. Autumn is one of our favorite times to hike this trek, as the surrounding peaks of the Zugspitze Mountain range, serene blue-green waters, and the array of orange and yellow hues from the trees reflecting on the lakes mirror-like surface offers an enchanting experience.

Hope Lake, is a true gem of southwestern Colorado, located near Telluride, in the San Juan Mountains. This pristine lake is perched at 11,880 ft and offers 360 degree of majestic mountain peaks along with stunning views of the Lizardhead Wilderness Area. The hike is offered on our Telluride Trek and if you are lucky enough to visit when the wildflowers are in full bloom the combination of the rugged mountain landscape and explosion of colors from the wildflowers makes for a truly unforgettable day on the trail.

Maroon Bells Lake is the pride of Colorado’s Snowmass Wilderness. Also known as Maroon Lake, it is in the White River National Forest near Aspen and sits at an astonishing 9580 ft. at the base of the Maroon Bells 14ers: Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak. Hikers and photographers alike are drawn to the beautiful reflections of the mountains on the lake, and it is a safe bet to say this high-altitude alpine lake in the fall is the most photographed mountain scene in Colorado. Autumn is also when we choose to offer out guided Rocky Mountain Highlife: Aspen to Telluride trek.

Whether in the heart of the European Alps or in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, hiking to an alpine lake promises to be a memorable adventure and one we are thrilled to be able to offer you. If you need help selecting a guided, self-guided or private guided trek, please reach out to our customer service team, who are ready to offer recommendations (

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