The Göscheneralpsee Hike – Canton Uri, Switzerland

The hike around Göscheneralpsee is a beautiful walk around the alpine lake (a reservoir, actually) in the Swiss canton of Uri. The location is close to several other points of interest, such as Andermatt, The Gotthardpass and the Sustenpass. However, this is not a point of passage like the locations mentioned above since the road ends at the lake.

Still, it is easy to include it in an itinerary for anyone passing nearby. Well worth the detour, if you ask me. The lake, like most Swiss alpine lakes, is beautiful, and a magnificent alpine landscape surrounds it.

The Göscheneralpsee Hike and a view of the blue waters of the lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains in the Swiss alps

Panoramic view of the lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Early Autumn.

Although not particularly short, the hike isn’t overly demanding, and it offers several spectacular vantage points and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Still, if you are not a hiker, you could pass by and enjoy the scenery and the view of the lake’s deep blue waters from the Dam. Even from there, you get a good view of the glaciers beyond the far side of the lake.

A stone-paved trail on the Göscheneralpsee- hike, with sunrise in the background

The stone-paved first part of the trail.

How to get to Göscheneralpsee and Overview of the Hike

  • Getting there and Parking: You will first have to drive to the small town of Göschener, whether coming from the A2 Highway, Luzern, or Andermatt. Once there, the drive to Göscheneralpsee is on a narrow, winding road with a few blind corners. Drive carefully and honk as needed. You can park at the end of the road, 0 km later or so, where you will find a camping area and an ample parking lot.
  • Start of The Hike: directly from the parking area. If you plan to hike the trail counterclockwise, you will need to turn right on the first signed trail before reaching the dam. Otherwise, you will need to cross the dam and follow the trail on the other side.
  • Photography & Scenery value: Alpine landscape, glaciers and a stunning dammed surrounded by mountains.
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Tip: there are several other trails in the area, so if you feel like it, you could add a detour to your itinerary, like the Bergeseehutte, for a coffee or a break.
Aerial photo of a glacial valley takin on the Göscheneralpsee hike

Done shot of the glacial valley on the far side of the lake.

The Göscheneraplsee Trail

Distance Elevation Gain Hike Time
11.9 Km 590 m.  4:30 / 5:00 Hrs

The best time to go will be from late spring to late autumn. I was there in early autumn, and there was a fair number of hikers around the lake. When I returned to my car, the parking lot was full. I suspect this location may be crowded during summer weekends, so I recommend a weekday if you can – this will be true, especially in summer.

Also, this is a circular hike. I did it counterclockwise, but I would recommend doing it clockwise. This is, of course, a personal preference, but I would say the counterclockwise hike offers better views for most of the hike, both of the lake and the glaciers on the far side.

Still, I hiked this trail early in the morning in early autumn, and for that time of the day, the light was better on the side I chose. That is the main reason why I went for that option. So the hike I am reporting on in this post goes counterclockwise around the lake.

Sunrise on a trail in the Swiss alp and view over the valley underneath

The winding trail on the side of the mountain

Göscheneralpsee viewed from the trail, an alpine lake surrounded by mountains

View of the lake from the opposite side.

The Göscheneralpsee Hike – Hiking to the other side of the Lake

As you leave the parking area, you will see a narrow trail and the white-red-white sign Göscheneralpsee pointing up to the side of the mountain. Follow that trail up. The trail here is nicely maintained and partially paved in stone. As you hike up, It will gradually widen, and there’s the first panoramic point not even 10 minutes into the hike.

There’s a sign pointing to that vantage point and a boardwalk, so that can’t be missed. Indeed it is a great spot that offers fantastic views of the lake. So good, I almost wanted to turn back and call it a day :)! Both the panorama point and the boardwalk are pretty scenic and worth a photo stop.

Boardwalk over marshland close Göscheneralpsee in the Swiss alps

The boardwalk that leads to the first panoramic point when hiking the trail counterclockwise.

Boardwalk on the Swiss alps

Another section of the same beautiful boardwalk.

View of the Göscheneralpsee from a panoramic point.

View from the first panoramic point.

Back to the main trail, you’ll soon pass by another scenic spot, a marshy area where the surrounding mountains reflect nicely. I stopped to take a few photos here too. This time I thought I would never finish the hike if I kept stopping that much for photos!

a Marsh in the alps surrounded by snow capped mountains

The Marshy area in the first part of the trail

Trail on the side of the mountain with view oof the turqoise waters of Göscheneralpsee

The trail as it descends to the other side of the lake

On the other side of Göscheneralpsee

I kept hiking nonetheless, continuing to the side of the mountain. The trail here follows the lake along its longer side, all the way to its other tip. Once you get there, the trail will slowly descend to the bottom of a glacial valley. This is where the trail turns to the other side of the lake and where more trails continue in different directions. One heads to the Chelenalp hut, while another takes a detour up the side of the mountain.

I explored this area a bit, especially around the river, as there are some nicely shaped rocks, which are rather tricky to photograph since they are pretty deep in the river. A nice sight nonetheless. Also, there are quite good views of the glacier on the other side of the glacial valley. I took a short break here; I drank some coffee, had a chocolate snack and took some drone photos before continuing to the other side of the lake.

Vertical panorama of one of the rivers feeding the lake

The river at the far side of the lake – vertical Panorama.

Aerial photo of the turquoise waters of an alpine lake surrounded by mountains

The Beautiful turquoise waters of the lake – drone shot.

The Turqoise water of Göscheneralpsee on a hike around the lake surrounded by snow covered mountains

View of the lake from the trail.

Alpine river feeding into Göscheneralpsee

The river feeding the lake.

Alpine river with a glacier in the background.

The other side of the river, with a view of the glacier.

Glacier in the swiss alps

Detail of the glacier and source of the river that feeds into Göscheneralpsee. Zoom shot taken with the Mavic 3.

The Göscheneralpsee Hike – Getting back to the Dam

Here the trail climbs up a boulders field, and there are a couple of narrow passages on potentially slippery rocks, especially if wet. The passage is easy enough, and there are chains to help with the balance, but one must always practice caution in similar routes.

Next, the trail steers into the next glacial valley that offers excellent views over the surrounding mountains. There’s a bridged river to cross, which is also a nice area to explore. From here, the trail continues along the other side of the lake. Not much of an elevation difference here, as the trail will only descend to the dam near the end of the hike. Once you reach the dam, it’s a short walk away from the parking lot. Still, the view of the lake and the mountains surrounding it are pretty great even from there.

In conclusion, I was surprised to see how many scenic points this trail offers. There are several different good vantage points around the lake and views of the glaciers higher up on the surrounding mountains. I’d totally recommend this hike if you are looking for scenic alpine panoramas that are not to difficult to get too.

 Göscheneralpsee from the side opposite to the dam

Göscheneralpsee from the side opposite the dam.

 Göscheneralpseefrom the trail

Panorama of Göscheneralpsee from the hiking trail with the lake surrounded by mountains

Panoramic Image from the trail

View of a glacier in autoum in the swiss alps

The other glacial valley on the side opposite the dam.

 Göscheneralpsee hike with a view on the lake

Rocky peaks in the swiss alps lit by the afternoon sun

Detail of the peaks surrounding the lake. The barely visible “tiny” building is the Bergseehutte.

Göscheneralpsee viewed from the trail, an alpine lake surrounded by mountains

View of the lake toward the end of the hike.

Göscheneralpsee viewed from the Dam

Göscheneralpse, view from the Dam

Map of the Göscheneralpsee Hike

Here is the map of the Göscheneralpsee hike. If you need a GPS track, you can download the .GPX file from the Komoot activity.

Where to stay

It is possible to stay around the lake only from late spring to early autumn.

  • There are a few huts around the lake: The Bergeseehutte, Chelenalp and the Dammahütte. However, the last two are on a T4 alpine route, only for expert hikers/mountaineers.
  • The Berggasthaus Dammagletscher, a guesthouse by the dam, also offers accommodation.
  • Camping: several camping sports are available on the road to the lake; all have basic facilities.

Additional Resources

Have you been to this lake or on this hike? Let us know your experience and tips in the comments!