We took it easy on our first day in Vals, exploring the surroundings of the beautiful Zervreilasee (Zervreila lake). After the long rainy and lazy spring, I didn’t want to exhaust myself on the first day of our trip. But the second day we decided to make a bigger effort and look for some nice views. Once we were sure that the snow wasn’t going to be an impediment, we headed again to Zervreila lake to start one of the prettiest routes in the valley: the drei Seen Wanderung, the trail of the three lakes of Vals.

When we started the ascension to the first lake, only a few clouds adorned the sky. I stopped for a few minutes to take a few more shots of the Zervreilahorn reflected on the lake before we headed to the little chapel of the previous day. But once we arrived there, instead of continuing the easy path along the Zervreilasee, we hiked up until we reached the first of the lakes: Guraletschsee, a little lake formed at the moraine at the front of the now disappeared Fanellagletcher. But before we reached the lake, I could see a little brown furry thing moving in one of the snow patches in the area: a marmot!! It was just a brief encounter, but I could get close enough to take some photos of this funny animal. After that, we continued our trail on the slopes of Guraletschhorn until we reached a beautiful green pasture full of alpine flowers. Here, we saw a lot more marmots, playing, casually walking on the green pastures, eating flowers… It was a really fun sight! After a few more photos of the marmots, we reached the second lake, the small and dark Ampervreilasee. On our way to the third lake, the clouds surrounded us and it started raining and hailing (luckily, we learnt our lesson in Zermatt last year and this time we were prepared for this changing mountain weather). Fortunately, it was a brief summer storm and the clouds started to open soon, giving the landscape a very dramatic look with the fluffy white clouds covering the valley below us. We continued then our hike and reached the third lake, the small and crystalline Selvasee.

After enjoying the returning sun in Selvasee for a few minutes, we started our descent to the Peil valley, where we passed a few Alpine farms and got to meet the more than 200 goats of Geissalp Peil while they were doing their daily travel from the alpine pastures to their farm. From there, we walked a few more kilometers following the river Peil (Peilbach) until we reached the town of Vals at the bottom of the valley.

As you’ll see in the photos, it was a long and beautiful hike, with many different sights and funny encounters with wild and farm animals along the way. And the best part, the ascension didn’t tire me as much as I imagined it would… And now that I know I can endure some long hikes, I’m more looking forward than ever to spend all summer weekends in the mountains again! 🙂

14 Comments

  1. You found the trifecta – the lake, chapel and mountain scene! Fantastic. And how cute is the marmot and those goats. Even the cows are pretty. Furthermore, you have found such a wonderful contrast in colours in the Peil Valley. – Reminds me of Norway except the mountains are pointy.

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a million, Amanda!!!!
      When my father came to visit us last winter, he said that Switzerland feels like a movie scenery… Everything is so so perfect that sometimes it doesn’t feel real! Hehehe Even high in the mountains, you find these little chapels, or a bench with the perfect views… The Swiss really know where to put or build things so they are part of the stunning scenery around 🙂
      And yes, Vals, its mountains and valleys and its wild habitats… I think this place is already in the top 3 of my favorite Swiss landscapes! Zermatt and Alpstein are very close in the ranking, hehehe. But this one has the advantage of being almost unknown!!! I love that!

      • Zermatt, Alpstein and Vals are now on my list of places to visit. Is Vals easy enough to get to?

        • mercedescatalan

          I would say Zermatt is the most difficult place to reach in your list!! From Zurich is almost 4 hours by train… hehehe Although the views are superb!
          To get to Vals you have to take train and bus (there’s no train station in Vals) or it’s a nice 2 hours ride by car from Zurich and most of the way is highway.
          These three places are my favorite in Switzerland… Specially Alpstein, I’ve been there already a few times and it always surprises me 🙂

          • I am going to research Alpstein as I am not familiar with it either.

          • mercedescatalan

            Impressive mountains, three beautiful alpine lakes, wildlife (last weekend I saw a herd of ibex and a young red deer) and some alpine käserei with some of the best cheeses in Switzerland… and, of course, a lot of km of hiking trails. I love Alpstein!! I’ve written already 4 posts about this region… it’s stunning 😊 if you like to hike, this is the perfect place!

          • And the transport to Alpstein? is it doable by a foreigner?

          • mercedescatalan

            Yes!! From Zurich central station it takes 2 hours and 2 trains directly to Wasserauen (it’s where you can take the cablecar to Ebenalp) or to Brülisau, two trains and one bus (here is the cablecar to Höhen Kasten). From these two places you can start a loooot of hikes in both valleys, and the views from both are stunning. There are some hotels in the villages of Wasserauen and Brülisau, and there are also some mountain huts or “hotels” in the mountains and lakes as well… Although for those you need to book with a lot of time, in summer they are fully booked!

            Here is the map of these hiking area, so you can have an idea of what you can find in Alpstein (apart from the megafamous Äscher restaurant, that appeared in the cover of a National Geographic book and now is the most visited place in the area, hehehe):

            https://www.appenzell.ch/fileadmin/template_appenzell/user_upload/06_Dokumente/Broschueren_Flyer/Panoramakarte_Sommer.pdf

  2. Que fotones más impresionantes!!!

    • mercedescatalan

      Mil gracias, Patito!!! A ver cuando vienes a ver estos sitios en persona! 🙂

  3. Muy bonito fin de semana. Solo ver esos paisajes que parecen sacados de un libro, te relajas y paseas con las marmotas. Me ha encantado enhorabuena por tu fotografía y descripción.
    Un beso muy fuerte para ambos

    • mercedescatalan

      Mil gracias, María!! Fue un fin de semana precioso! Aunque la subida a estos lagos no fue muy relajante… a ratos nos llovió y granizó! Jejeje! Pero mereció la pena solo por encontrarnos a las marmotillas y las vaquitas por el camino… alegran cualquier día de montaña! 🙂
      Un beso enorme!

  4. So beautiful! I’ve never seen a marmot so that was a special treat. I love the lighting on the cows. Great shots.

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Anne!!! Aren’t there marmots in the USA? I’ve only seen them twice, last year in Zermatt and this year in Vals… But this year they seem less preoccupy by our presence… probably because there are not so many hikers in that area! We saw a lot and it was really easy to photograph them! It’s always so fun when you find wild animals along the way 🙂
      And the cows… they are the protagonists of all my summer hikes here in Switzerland… As they spend the summer in the mountains, you hike with their bells as a soundtrack… I just love the sound! And they seem to like photos as well, hehehe. The best part is that if you see cows, there’s always a Käserei near to buy alpine cheese, hehehe 🙂

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