Switzerland, Grisons, Vals: an intermediate hiking tour to Guraletsch Lake (2409 m), Ampervreila Lake (2377 m) and Selva Lake (2297 m).
The canton of Grisons offers some of the most beautiful hiking tours in Switzerland.
The village Vals is known for its thermal bath, built by the architect Peter Zumthor. But the region has much more to offer than the famous bath. If you leave the village Vals behind and drive until the end of the street to the Zerfreila water reservoir, you will find one of the most unique treks in the region. I am in love with mountain lakes as they give me a feeling of quiet and peace. This tour provides three beautiful lakes – serendipity!
Level of difficulty: medium
Length: 6,5 hours
Fitness level: medium
Altitude difference: 800 m
Equipment: normal hiking gear
Tour: round trip
How to get there
Drive on the highway no. 13 towards Chur. After having passed Chur, take the exit “Reichenau/Flims”. Follow the signs to “Ilanz” and then “Valsertal”. From Chur it takes approximately one hour to get to Vals. You can either park in Vals or Zerfreila, which is at the end of the road, 8 km and a 20 minute drive from Vals.
To keep things easy, I recommend to park the car in Vals and take a bus up to Zerfreila. The tour will lead you back into the Vals valley to your car.
As you will find a lot of fresh water on this hike, you do not have to carry too much of it. Make sure you take enough food – it is a long hike and the only food opportunity is at the end of the tour. You definitely want to wear proper hiking shoes and I would recommend to bring hiking poles.
The trail starts at the chapel next to the barrier lake, from which you have a great view to the prominent Zerfreilahorn (it looks a bit like the famous Matterhorn). From the chapel, follow the clearly marked trails to Guraletschsee. At the lake take a break and enjoy the view! Maybe take off your shoes and wade through the clear and cold water to refresh your tired feet!
To continue, cross the stream that flows from the lake and follow the signs leading to “Ampervreilasee” and “Selvasee”. You will ascend until you reach alpine meadows – the highest point of the trip (2466 m) – with more great views on the surrounding peaks. The trail then descends approximately 100 altitude meters until you reach Ampervreilasee.
From Guraletschsee to Ampervreilasee you will wander approximately 50 minutes.
Another 30 to 40 minutes of hiking northwards and you will arrive at Selva Lake.
From Selvasee continue northwards and you will reach the mountain hut Heinisch Staffel on 2038 m. Continue on toward the Peil Valley. When you pass the Selva Alp (mountain farm), don’t miss your chance to buy some local organic products, such as alpine chesse or butter, herbal tea, jams and sweets etc.
The walk from Selvasee to Peil valley takes about two hours. From there, take the bus back to Vals. Check out the bus timetable here: www.vals.ch.
Not to miss:
Spend some time in this region, as it is one of the most wonderful areas in Switzerland. Stay in Vals for one or two nights, discover the picturesque little alleys and visit the thermal bath! It is recommended to make a reservation beforehand and it costs a fortune (CHF 80 for adults) – at the same time it is an experience one should definitely not miss – and an ideal opportunity to treat yourself and your tired muscles after a long hike!