Rising High – A two-day hike in the Alpstein

With the impressing Mount Säntis dominating the scene the Alpstein is one of Switzerlands most iconic mountain ranges and has become popular with the instagrammers the past few years. I finally found the time to explore the area for myself with a beautiful two-day hike featuring a cosy guesthouse on a mountain top, hiking along steep ridges and swimming in icy cold lakes.

Day 1: Wasserauen – Äscher – Schäfler

We started the day rather late, arriving in Wasserauen around noon, only to realize that seemingly everyone had the same idea as us. Parking the car took a while, and when we got to the cable car we were mighty glad, that we decided to hike all the way up. The queue was superlong 🙂

So past the queue we walked and into the the forest and rather straightforwardly the trail climbed gradually up towards Äscher. We walked past some grazing cows and alpine meadows and after a good two hours reached the famous guesthouse Äscher, a wooden house built on a steep ledge that has become a popular tourist photo spot. The place was not surprisingly very crowded and after drinking some refreshing apple cider we decided to continue on upwards. We did take a little detour walking some 10 minutes towards Ebenalp to pass the famous mountain chappel Wildkirchli and the trail through the caves and tunnels. We did head back down to Äscher afterwards and continued our trail to Schäfler from there.

Stunning restaurant Äscher tucked into the rock.
Met this fluffy fellow on the way up.

The trail passed just below the climbing site where we spotted some action on the rock, before our trail gradually started to steepen and finally reached the summit of Schäfler, and the guesthouse up there.

Walls meant for climbing.

The guesthouse has a dorm, but also some cosy little two- and four-bed-rooms. Food is superyummy including some Swiss classics such as Rösti and Chässpätzli We spent the evening exploring the surrounding mountain ridges, climbing onto some of them for photo shoots and generally enjoying the beautiful scenery and the sunset.

Guesthouse Schäfler with great views of the Alpstein mountain range.
Gotta love these cosy little rooms with views.

Day 2: Schäfler – Mesmer – Seealpsee – Wasserauen

Sunrise was only viewed through the window of our room, since we were too tired to actually climb out of the cosy beds. A nice breakfast and three cups of coffee later we were finally good to go and set off on the tiny trail along the ridge, that took us to the base of Säntis. The trail itself was fun winding itesl along the ridge and the rock formations it took us through were simply spectacular. We took so many foto stops we probably took twice as long as one usually would on this route.

Mount Säntis – and a whole mess of rock and snow and a tiny trail leading through it.
So many picture-worthy rock formations in the Alpstein.

Unfortunately the trail up to the summit of Säntis was still snowed in, so we only hiked to Mesmer, another cute little restaurant. After a quick lunch we started the big descent that took us rather steeply down into the valley and to the mountain lake Seealpsee. Here we took our time to rest and swim (it was freezing!) and afterwards to fuel up with some fries before the final leg of the trip back down to Wasserauen.

Back down in the valley, with the Säntis in the background.


Starting point: Wasserauen (public transport and carparking available)
Route: Day 1: Wasserauen – Äscher – Schäfler // Day 2: Schäfler – Mesmer – Seealpsee – Wasserauen.
Total Distance: 17km
Highest point: Schäfler 1925m
Lowest point: Wasserauen 868m
Sleep: Berggasthaus Schäfler
Eat: Berggasthaus Schäfler, Berggasthaus Äscher; Berggasthaus Mesmer, Restaurant Seealpsee




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