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Conquer new shores!

Mountain lakes are omnipresent in Ötztal. The glacial melting even creates new mountain lakes in a row. All of them are great resting places before you conquer the summits. With increasing frequency, they are also the hiking destination itself as you can swim wonderfully in mountain lakes! Our author presents three high mountain swimming pools in Ötztal.

Glaciers form lakes

You have arrived amid nature, at one of the countless mountain lakes in Ötztal. Most mountain lakes were formed by glaciers, some are thousands of years old, others date from the "Little Ice Age" that started in the mid-19th century. Many disappear again and dry up. In any case, mountain lakes react very sensitively to climate change. Due to glacial recession, new lakes are formed every year, which are fed by clear little mountain brooks.

Längenfeld Plattachsee

Swimming as an evolutionary experience

There are around 90 mountain lakes spread over Ötztal, but only some of them have a name. Swimming in it - not just a short dip - borders on a spiritual, almost evolutionary experience, since we emerged from the water as single-celled organisms many eternities ago.


How did the lake get its name?

There are about 4000 lakes in the entire Alpine region, their names are quite similar. They are often named after famous personalities, such as Brizzisee above Samoarhütte, or the names derive from the geographic location of the lake - such as Gaislach, Neder, Hauer, Platteach, Grastal, Triebenkar, Fundus, Bachfallferner, Wartkogl, Spitzig and Wannenkarsee lakes. Schwarz (black), Grün (green), Weiß (white) or Rotsee (red) lake are the most popular names when describing the condition of the lakes. When it comes to shape, it's Herzl (heart), Rund (round), Perler (pearl), but also Wettersee (weather) lakes.

Gurgl Wandern Nedersee
Sölden Schwarzsee

The fish in it are called "black riders". It is very likely that this species of alpine char also gave the lake its name, according to the limnologist Robert Hehenwarter. The fish were stocked on behalf of Emperor Maximilian I and were considered a culinary treat as early as the Middle Ages. Hehenwarter: "Big head, nothing on the back. The 'cheek', so coveted by fish lovers, is bigger than those of the brook trout in the valley!” In summer the lake is almost always free of ice, in winter it is covered by a 2-3 m thick layer of ice. Lake Schwarzsee will probably never reach more than 9 to 10 degrees.


As a bathing lake, it is only suitable to a limited extent. It is excellent for swimming. A gangplank has recently been installed at Schwarzsee and several benches invite you to while away a couple of hours. The ascent can be made either directly from Rotkogelhütte, which can be reached in a one-hour hike from Giggijoch mountain station. Hikers on bikes have it even better: they can take Langeggbahn mountain lift directly to the hut, from where you reach the lake, which is surrounded by a fantastic mountain backdrop, in about 30 minutes.

Nedersee Gurgl

When children have to spontaneously draw a free-standing mountain, they involuntarily draw Nederkogl peak, because that's what a classic mountain looks like. The southern side of Sölden's 3160 m high landmark mountain also provides the water for Nedersee. It belongs to Gurgl's lake area, together with Soomsee (2565 m), Itlsee (2670 m) and Gurglersee lakes. Scenic Nedersee is easy to reach for hikers with good stamina.


From Lenzen Alm at 1915 m, it is only 500 altitude meters to the top, therefore it makes a perfect rest stop on velvety soft moss cushions. If you swim in a north-south direction, you head towards Wassertal glacier. You can leave this cozy lake site via Gurgl's lake area hiking trail, which leads slightly uphill to lake Soomsee. The path down to Gurgl is steep, well maintained and always perfectly signposted.

Vent Samoarsee

Lake Brizzi, also known as lake Samoar, is a real mountain jewel. The ascent from Vent leads through Niedertal to Martin Busch Hütte (Samoarhütte) at 2501 m. After a tasty portion of Samoar dumplings, you continue on the footpath towards Kreuzspitze (3455 m). Halfway there is the lake, picturesquely embedded in the glacier realm, surrounded by peaks such as Similaun, Mutmal, Fineil.


The lake is smooth as glass and calls for a rest and revitalizing refreshment. You don't have to go any further to Kreuzspitze, because simply staying here and contemplating the thoughts of the eponymous landscape painter Karl Brizzi is just as rewarding as it is varied. This is where what is probably the best-known of Brizzi's works was created, a panorama picture of Kreuzspitze summit.

Lord of the rings

As a shepherd boy from Gampe Alm, I spent many hours at mountain lakes. Throwing flat stones was the most popular sport among shepherds. Stones that are as flat and round as possible are thrown powerfully and energetically into the lake at the flattest possible angle, so that they jump over the water and draw a ring in the water each time they touch it. Whoever can create the most rings per stone is the winner. Nowadays I think of space capsules that could be thrown back into space if they entered the earth's atmosphere at the wrong angle. In any case, I recommend throwing flat stones as a sporty and at the same time meditative alternative to swimming in high mountain lakes. Imagination knows no bounds. Unlike the stones. Thrown into the water too steeply, they simply sink, no rings, nothing happens.

Protect yourself and nature

You should always enter waters that you don't know with particular caution, never with a head jump - there can be stones, objects and shallows hidden under the water surface. The water temperature of high mountain lakes rarely rises above 10-15 degrees Celsius, therefore slow adjustment of body temperature to the cold water is particularly important. Mountain lakes have very pure water of prime quality. To keep it that way: only use sunscreen after swimming in the lake and only before you sunbathe. And please don't make any noise - the wildlife and fish need the rest even more than you do!

Something special about Brizzisee lake

If you hike towards wild swimming at Brizzisee lake, you will see lots of South Tyrolean sheep on the high summer mountain pastures in Ötztal between mid-June and mid-September. In September you will probably meet the hiking theater "Friedl of the empty pocket", taking place between Vent and Martin-Busch-Hütte. By the way, performers and audience also appreciate the cold mountain water on warm days. Almost like a ritual, they cool off in the quiet eddy waters of the raging Niedertal brook.


Everything that the element of water in Ötztal has to offer in terms of adventure options can be found HERE .

Ernst Lorenzi Portraet

Author: Ernst Lorenzi

He grew up taking photos, but never grew up. He has traveled far and yet has his only roots in Sölden. As an organizer or initiator of events such as the Ötztaler Cycle Marathon, Red Bull Siberia Extreme, Hannibal or Red Bull Paper Wings, the team has created top-class events.