Each of the large lakes on the floor of the Engadin valley and the countless smaller lakes dotted across the mountain slopes has its own character and charm. Differences in geology and vegetation ensure that each one has a different shade, too. No wonder several of these sparkling gems are named after precious stones.
The lakes of the Engadin sparkle like jewels – and may even share their names, too. Lejin Cristal (“Small crystal lake”), for example, is one of six small mountain lakes that hikers can discover on a circular walk up on Furtschellas. Not far away, the Lejin Malchit (“malachite”) and the enchanting Lejin Rhodonit (“rhodonite”) glint in the sunshine as they reflect the piercing blue Engadin sky. This “6 Lejins” walk takes a little more than 2 hours; each of the lakes has its own distinctive shade, with the grey peaks and pinnacles of the Corvatsch massif providing a dramatic contrast.
When the larch trees drop their golden needles around Lake Sils in autumn, the Maloja wind blows them across the surface of the water and gathers them into masses. Eventually, with the action of the waves, the needles form fluffy balls up to 20 cm across that bob gently in the water. The amusing sight inspired the confectioner Conrad Peer from Sils Maria to dream up the delicious “Sils ball” of chocolate some years ago. Every visitor should try at least one: pure melt-in-the-mouth pleasure!
The delicacy will also provide sufficient energy for a stroll along the shores of Lake Sils, whose natural treasures include the enchanting Chastè peninsula. The many wooden benches along the paths invite walkers to admire the panoramic views of almost unearthly beauty – and devote to them the time they deserve.
The large lakes of the Engadin are beautiful but cold, as the sunshine manages to warm up the water only at the surface. That makes them all the more refreshing for dipping weary feet in after a long walk. Temperatures are warmer in the many moorland lakes on the high plateaus: the dark and cloudy waters absorb the heat of the sunshine better. Big favourite among the wider public is the Lej da Staz, which can be reached along a walk from Pontresina over Alp Staz to St. Moritz: the trail is full of variety and takes about 5 hours. Along the way, hikers can discover the oldest and gnarliest Swiss stone pine in the region, which has already witnessed a good 1,400 Engadin summers.