Lac Lioson - Family Hike to Lioson Lake
When a mountain lake such as Lac Lioson (or Lioson lake), is on our planned hiking itinerary then normally it is a big win for everybody.
The kids were already excited at home, and their little backpacks were filled with all sorts of floating objects. I packed the swimming stuff but that may have been a little ambitious. 🙂
Especially as most of the time we only dip our toes in the ice-cold mountain lakes.
But Lac Lioson might just be different. I did hear that this family hike to Lioson lake is also the perfect mountain lake to swim in. So, let’s see.
Where is Lac Lioson – Lioson lake?
Lioson Lake is located in the Pic Chaussy Massif at 1,890 meters in the region of Les Mosses in the Canton of Vaud. Lioson lake or its local name, Lac Lioson, is also known as the "Pearl of the Alpine Lakes". Enjoy the amazing emerald colour with the reflections of the surrounding mountains.
How to get to Lac Lioson – Lioson Lake
From the bottom of the Valley floor in Aigle you make your way up the winding road to Ormont-Dessous, Les Mosses in the canton of Vaud.
When you arrive in Les Mosses you see quite a lot of parking places right by the road. If possible, by pass them and park at the “Parking Lioson d’en Bas” (see my map below).
I have seen that when it is busy they do not let you drive up to this parking and make you walk from the village. Depending on where you park this can add a good 1.5 km to your hike.
What to expect from the Family Hike to Lioson Lake
Lake Lioson is a jewel of nature to be discovered but the path to paradise is strenuous.
Whether you are hiking the direct way to Lac Lioson , or the longer and scenic route like we did, you need to be prepared for a steep uphill hike.
The good thing is, it is not a very long uphill hike. At the car park the hiking sign says for the direct route 30 minutes, for 1.2km, which is probably about right. The longer family hike to Lac Lioson via des petits lacs and le Saddle of Pic Chaussy will be a bit longer. Especially as you will for sure stop at Des Petits Lacs, maybe even have a drink there at the Buvette or just dip your feet in the lakes already. To the highest point from the car park you will be hiking uphill 2.2 km on this path.
At the beginning you have lovely views down the valley and whilst you are climbing, the narrow path guides you deeper into the mountains.
When you have reached Lake Lioson, no matter the path you have chosen, it will be worth all the effort. Find yourself a spot around the lake shore where you can relax, swim and just be.
You might be quite surprised but the lake is greatly appreciated by fishermen as it abounds in fish. It is regularly restocked, harbouring both char and rainbow trout.
And just in case you are snowshoeing up during the winter months, divers apparently make their way up here to experience the tranquility of being under the ice in a beautiful setting.
Hiking to Lioson Lake via Les Petits Lacs & le Cole de Pic Chaussy
Let’s start our family hike to Lac Lioson
Once we found a parking place luckily at the upper “Parking Lioson d’en Bas” we turned RIGHT at the hiking sign which indicates “petits lacs”.
The path started quickly to get steeper and steeper. But that’s ok, we made a few breaks which allowed us to enjoy the amazing views down the valley.
To make the kids walk a bit better we started to count the blue bugs on the large leaves. Lucas loved them and he quickly forgot that his little legs where actually pretty tired.
Arriving at the “Buvette des p’tits lacs”
Honestly, this was such a pleasant surprise to find this Buvette. Now as you know it is there you can organise your hike accordingly.
The second surprise was to find horses around the lake. Well as wild as it gets, as I am assuming they belong to the Buvette, but they were sharing the area with us, the hikers.
Curious of course they approached us when we had a little food break, but quickly went again when they realised nothing was for them.
And then there were the Yaks. Although the two small lakes had lost quite some water due to the summer heat, there was still enough so the Yaks could cool down whilst having a bath.
We could approach quite close, to the kid’s delight. Also, some had calves which were the cutest.
Lac Lioson via Pic Chaussy Saddle
After the pleasant encounter, and recharging our energy, we carried on, still uphill, direction Pic Chaussy saddle.
Attention there is another route that also brings you over the mountain to Lake Lioson but not via Pic Chaussy. That 2nd route is pretty straight from the Buvette steep up and down the other side, finishing at the lake.
But our path continues past the two lakes and zigzags on the left side of the mountains up to the saddle of Pic Chaussy.
At the top of the saddle, it is where you can make the decision to climb to the summit, or like we did, enjoy the view of Lioson Lake in front of you.
Arriving at Lac Lioson – Lioson Lake
Now, it is downhill all the way to the lake. Lioson Lake is in a large bowl, and on the steep mountain side on the right there were a large flock of sheep. We watched how two sheep dogs were guiding the flock further along this steep mountain whilst the shepherdess was at the very top controlling it all. Very impressive indeed.
And we finally reached the lake. Wow, the colour is stunning! What a paradise. You simply just want to jump in.
There is not too much shade around the lake and on the far-right side you can find a small beach.
You will be most probably be sharing the beach with the local cows. As the weather was super nice and hot when we visited, even the cows stood in the water to cool down.
At the far, right side of Lioson lake is probably the best place to let the kids play in the water and maybe even have a swim. You will also find a large rock next to the water. It was from here where people were pretty daring and jumped into the ice cold water.
Don’t be fooled by the warm surface water temperature. 🙂 Lucas got tempted by it and jumped right into Dave’s arms. He was in the water. The only thing I heard was a loud “Cooooold!” He was out as fast as he went in.
What to do at Lac Lioson
We had a picnic by the lake, but if you are not a fan of eating out of a basket 🙂 then there is a nice restaurant offering fresh fish from the lake and other delicious meals. And during the time you are waiting for your meals to arrive, the kids can go and visit the animals. Small rabbits, pigs, and chickens are enjoying the fresh air.
And when you finish your picnic or delicious meal at the restaurant you can have some fun on the lake with the Pedaloes.
The end of our Family Hike to Lioson Lake - Lac Lioson
We knew the way back down to our car was along the steep path. If you came up to Lioson Lake the direct way, then you will already know this path. It was new for us as we had opted for the longer hike along les petit lacs.
Tips & Suggestions
- If you are visiting during peak times, try to be early so you can park at the upper parking place. Or maybe late for sunset.
- Bring your swimsuit
- Talk to your family and persuade them to do the long way to Lioson Lake. It is such a nice hike and the visit to the Buvette is a nice little extra.
Hiking Map for Lac Lioson
How the map works: Click on “Learn More” to get to the full map layout with profile and interactive route indicator.
Location:: Lac Lioson, Les Mosses in Canton of Vaud
Length:: 5.4 km, hiking the long route via Pic Chaussy
Level:: easy to medium – hiked with kids age just 5.
Highest point:: 2080 m
Ascent 454m / Descent 454m
Good to know
- The parking at “Parking Lioson d’en Bas” is free of charge but it fills up quickly.
- Personally, I would not want to hike it with a pushchair because the road up to the lake is quite steep. And remember you need to walk it back down again.
- There is a restaurant at Lioson Lake
- You can go swimming in Lac Lioson, if you are brave 🙂
- By the restaurant you can rent some Pedaloes
- Cute little animals next to the restaurant
- There is not much shade around the lake.
You may also like these Family Hikes to a Mountain Lake in Switzerland
I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning a Family hike to Lioson Lake in Les Mosses region.
If I have left anything out or you have a question, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries also.