Limmernsee: Do this epic tunnel hike before tourists discover it

How to hike the Limmernsee hike (Switzerland). Do it before tourists discover this gem

Ever get the feeling that a place is so magnificent it’s going to become really popular with tourists? Well, I have that with the Limmernsee hike in Switzerland! A unique tunnel hike, views of the bluest lake and majestic vistas for the best photo spots (skip down); the Limmernsee hike has it all. 

And the best part? We had the place completely to ourselves! Along the way we only encountered a handful of other hikers and the car park only had a handful of Swiss cars. Are you ready to explore this Swiss gem before other tourists discover it? Below is all the practical information you need for your own Limmernsee adventure!

Tiny person in front of Limmernsee Lake

Table of Contents

Quick facts: Limmernsee hike (Switzerland)

  • Duration hike: 4 hours (round trip, without breaks)
  • Gondola departs from: Valley station Luftseilbahn Tierfehd (805m). Skip down for practical information about the gondola. 
  • Hike starts at: Gondola mountain station Kalktrittli (1860m)
  • Gondola ticket price: 15 CHF (return ticket)
  • Parking costs: Free
  • Name of the hike: The lake and hike have many different spellings: Limmernsee, Limmerensee, Limmer Lake

Overnight or day hike to Limmernsee?

The round trip hike to Limmernsee (also called: Limmerensee) can easily be done in a day. However, you can also stay at the Muttseehütte to add to your experience. Skip down for practical information about staying overnight at the Muttsee hut.

Walking time Limmernsee hike (without breaks)

How to hike the Limmernsee hike:
  • Part 1: Gondola mountain station Kalktrittli (1860 m) – Limmernsee shore (via the tunnel): 30 min
  • Part 2: Limmernsee shore (1857 m) – Muttseehütte (2501 m): 1h 45min / 2h 
  • Part 3: Muttseehütte – Gondola mountain station Kalktrittli: 1h 45min

Hiking map Limmernsee

Below is a hiking map I made for your Limmernsee hike. Also check out the Limmernsee hiking route on the official trail map.

Photo spot just below Muttseehütte near the cross.
Blue lake with dam.
Dam viewpoint and photo spot with views of the Limmern dam.

Part 1: Tunnel hike to Limmernsee (Limmerensee)

Once you’ve reached the mountain station Kalktrittli (1860 m) (which is sometimes spelled as Chalchtrittli), you have two options: 

  • Option 1: Take the right door leading to the tunnel. This tunnel hike will take you to the shore of the Limmernsee.
  • Option 2: Instead, take the left door to the ‘regular’ (outdoor) hiking trail. 

For us this was a no brainer, how cool is it to hike in a tunnel?! We chose option 1. If you decide on the tunnel as well, wear one of the safety vests provided. The tunnel is 2750 m long and completely flat, this part of the hike should only take about a half hour. Make sure you wear a sweater and hiking boots, as the tunnel is quite chilly and has many big puddles.

Starting point Limmernsee hike. Option 1 (left door) is regular route, option 2 (right door) is the tunnel hike.
Step 1: Put on one of the safety jackets provided. This way you are visible for the workers driving in the tunnel.
Entrance to the tunnel to the Limmernsee dam
Step 2: Take the right door (not the left). This is the entrance to the tunnel to the Limmernsee. There are also signs, so don't worry!
Person walking in dark tunnel
Step 3: Hike through the tunnel to the Limmernsee shore! It takes about 30 minutes.

Short detour Part 1: Limmern dam (Limmernsee Staudamm)

In the tunnel you can take a short detour to see the dam. You will see a sign ‘Zur Staumauer’ (meaning: to dam) with an arrow above a smaller tunnel on your right side about 50 – 100m before the end of the tunnel. This detour only adds an extra 2 – 5 minutes (one way) to the hike, so it’s worthwhile!

Person walking on Limmern dam
Person standing on Lake Limmern dam (Staumauer)
Entrance to get to the Linth-Limmern dam. Dark tunnel with sign above it saying "Staumauer"
How to get to the Lith-Limmern dam? Keep an eye out for the arrow on your right hand side. It's only a 5 minute detour to get to the dam from the tunnel.

Part 2: Limmernsee shore to the Muttsee hut

It’s a steep hike up from the shore of the lake to get to the Muttsee hut. Trust me, the view makes the puffing and panting is all worth it!

Person hiking along the shores of the Limmernsee lake
Viewpoint Limmernsee with cross

Sleeping at Muttseehütte (2501 m)

You can sleep at the Muttseehütte or keep walking to continue back to the gondola (1h 45min – 2h). We spontaneously decided to sleep here because massive clouds blocked the view of the Limmernsee. There were still beds available at the Muttsee hut and they even offered vegetarian food! Dinner is a filling three course meal that will replenish your energy levels after hiking. A reservation to stay at the Muttsee hut is advised and can be done online.

Photo of the outside of the Muttseehutte
Photo of the sleeping dorm of Muttseehutte. Beds with blue linnen.
Dining room of Muttseehutte

Prices at Muttseehütte

How expensive it is to stay at Muttseehütte? The prices below give an indication of the costs. For more details or the latest information please visit the price list on the Muttseehütte website.

  • Sleeping: 43 CHF (price 2023)
  • Dinner and breakfast: 40 CHF (price 2020) 
  • Renting sleeping liner: 5 CHF (price 2020) 
  • Coffee: 6 CHF (price 2020) 
  • Tea: 4 CHF (price 2020) 
  • Big beer: 6 CHF (price 2020) 

Photos at the Limmernsee Lake

Do you need a drone for epic Limmernsee photos?

No, you don’t need a drone for the Limmernsee hike! The steep landscape next to the lake allows you to take wonderful photos with a regular camera. All my photos were takes without a drone. 

Panorama view op Limmernsee lake, green grass and surrounding mountains.
Panorama photo of the Limmernsee lake and the Lith-Limmern dam from above.

Best time of day for photos at Limmernsee

The best time of day for photos of the lake is during the middle of the day when the sunlight hits the water. Then the lake looks it’s bluest. 

Part 3: Hiking from the Muttseehütte back to the gondola

After the Muttseehütte we walked back via the ‘regular’ route (instead of through the tunnel). Once you get back to the gondola station, you will need to go through three doors to get to the gondola. Press down hard (!!) on the door handles, the doors are not locked!! Don’t forget that the gondola does not operate between 12:00 – 13:30 on weekdays. Make sure to plan your ride down either before or after this time. 

Hiking route between Muttseehutte and the gondola station Kalktrittli

Which gondola to get to the start of the Limmernsee hike?

The valley station (German: Talstation) of Luftseilbahn Tierfehd (805 m) is just a parking lot with an unmanned ticket office and a toilet. It is poorly marked on Google, so here are the coordinates (46.8790114, 8.9816367). The mountain gondola station is called Kalktrittli (1860 m). From there the hiking trail to the Limmernsee starts. 

Operating hours Tierfehd gondola (valley station Limmernsee hike)

Important: Keep in mind that the Tierfehd gondola STOPS operating between 12:00 – 13:30 on weekdays! If you want to do the Limmernsee hike as a day hike, you will need to get the gondola up before noon to prevent rushing back to make the last gondola down (18:00). During the weekend the gondola DOES keep operating during lunch time. Gondola tickets are valid for a week, so you can spontaneously decide to stay overnight at the Muttseehütte like we did. 

Since 2019 the gondola has been updated and is fully automated. The gondola operates when you scan your ticket throughout the day (during operating hours). Information saying the gondola Tierfehd only operates once every hour or every two hours is outdated and not correct anymore!

Aerial photo taken from the gondola showing the gondola station an empty parking lot and the entrance road how to get to gondola station Tierfehd.

Check the weather to prevent disappointment

When we hiked up from Limmern Lake the clouds started rolling in. By the time we were at the viewpoint the lake was not visible at all! If you want to prevent this disappoint, check the weather before you set off! Use Meteo Swiss for an accurate weather prediction. You can use Bifertenstock as a reference peak.

Clouds covering Limmernsee
The clouds starting rolling in...
So many clouds that there is no view. Disappointed person
By the time we reached the top, we couldn't see the lake anymore!
Epic view of Limmernsee lake
We spontaneously stayed overnight at the Muttseehütte. The next morning the clouds were gone and we enjoyed this view!

Check our more hiking

What epic hikes are near the Limmernsee hike, Switzerland?

  • The Pizol 5 lakes hike can also be done in a day, or you can chose to wild camp so you’ll have the scenery all to yourself! It’s only a 1h 15min drive to the start of this hike!
  • It’s a 1h 40 min to get to Säntis.

More hiking in Switzerland