Recently, we lifted our heads and sniffed fresh mountain air again. Since we are not what you would call “hard core hikers,” we had settled for a simple walking tour in the Alpstein mountain range in Appenzell Canton. Once again, the beauty of these mountains and the lake they call Seealpsee just blew us away!
Reading time 01:21 minute.
We drive to Wasserauen, where we find hundreds of Sunday day trippers who likely had the same idea. The Alpstein region is known for having one of the densest networks of hiking trails in Switzerland. Most of the mountain lovers tend to simply make for the valley station of the Ebenalp Aerial Tramway that will loft them up to the legendary Aescher / Wildkirchli mountain inn, among other places. Could it be in fact the most photographed of Switzerland’s mountain inns?
The queue is too long for us and so we put one hiking boot before the other and hike up through the green beechwood forest and the steep Hüttentobel ravine all the way up to the Hütten alpine meadow. From here already a magnificent vista opens before us with Säntis, the highest peak in the Alpstein range, rising in front of us.
We hike on leisurely to the mountain lake with the peculiar sounding “Seealpsee” name. The way takes us past many small, abandoned looking alpine huts. After we have walked around – in good Appenzell dialect “rond-omm” – the lake, we arrive at the well patronized Seealpsee mountain inn. We revivify ourselves over coffee and cake, affected as always by the majestic mountain scenery all around us.
Heading back now, we negotiate the steep descent along the overhanging rock face of the ravine carved by the Schwendibach stream until we’re down in the valley again that leads to Wasserauen.
The round trip hike from Wasserauen takes about 2 1/4 hours – that is, only if you don’t count the photo opps and stopover at the mountain restaurant. Add however much time those will take up as a function of photographic agility or your hunger state…