Hiking to the cliff restaurant – Äscher and Ebenalp

Somewhere behind the clouds a faint echo of a whistle signalised a train departure. It was around 600 metres below from a distant and invisible Wasserauen. The last sip of cold beer. A brief glance at the top of the vertical and sinister cliff which virtually surrounds a wooden chalet. Sitting is enjoyable but we need to go up. The peak is close.

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We took a train form Gossau in order to reach Wasserauen, which is a little town in the region called Appenzell, where our trail began.  The Äscher restaurant and the flat peak of Ebenalp were our aims. The weather as it is shown in the pictures didn’t spoil us. It was warm but also foggy and humid. We couldn’t admire the top of Säntis. However, we were lucky to see anything since it wasn’t raining!

There weren’t any chances for a warm-up or even getting to know the route and, at once, we were supposed to start climbing a steep 2-kilometre trail. Then the terrain is almost flat. After passing a narrow hilly and stony path, typical of Switzerland, we found ourselves among pastures where we could see cows and goats.

The next turning revealed Seealpsee, a picturesque lake that occupies almost the whole valley. In spite of clouds that split the landscape and hid the summits from our eyesight that place made an excellent impression.

Have you been there in a sunny summer day? This is what we envy you! 

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We went round the lake and then turned left to the top. Another steep ascent through narrow and winding path starts there. From time to time the trail is situated close to the vertical rock. Very few people take this route. The majority of tourists who kept passing us had taken a cable car to the top and obviously they weren’t prepared for the demanding descent. Trainers are definitely unreliable.

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Finally, in front of us, the vertical cliff rock emerged from the fog. We reached the crossroads so only 50 metres left to get to the restaurant/hut.

It was high time to take a break, eat something and quench our thirst. We sat outside the hut. The waitresses were rushing off their feet since around 40 customers were waiting for their orders. We could see nothing apart from a fence and a total white wall of clouds. Ebenalp towered above our heads and adding the wooden roof of the restaurant to that picture made it even grotesque.

Ascher - Wasserauen - Ebenalp
Rösti  - Ascher

Rösti is the example of potato pancakes made with parboiled coarsely grated potatoes. It is served with melting cheese, a sausage or an egg at the top. Those pan-shaped pancakes seem to be bigger than our Polish traditional ones. Rösti is a Swiss traditional dish. In the cliff restaurant, the large and appetizing portion of Rösti costs 20 CHF. Cold served bacon was tasty but not delightful.

The path to the top leads through a balcony hanging above the precipice and then through caves. In one of caverns a small shrine is situated and in another one there is a stockroom.

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The peak was conquered. The feeling of satisfaction – present. The views – absent. Only the sounds of a cable car and cowbells were noticeable. Well . . . that was the end of our satisfaction. We had to come back.

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The whole trip took 5 hours and 45 minutes including 1-hour break and a few stops for taking pictures. The distance to cover was 12.5 kilometres and an altitude of 850 metres.

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Zasłużone piwko w oczekiwaniu na pociąg.

I w pociągu.

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A photo posted by Asia and Maciek (@onedaystop) on

A photo posted by Asia and Maciek (@onedaystop) on

Valuable information

  • One can get to Wasserauen by train from Gossau – we strongly recommend it since the route through Appenzell is utterly charming and is loaded with landscapes. The train departs every 30 minutes at the weekend (the timetable available on SBB).
  • It is advisable to download an application called SwitzerlandMobility and the enlarged map in advance.
  • Ebenalp is accessible by cable car.
  • The chosen route is based on the description posted on
    MySwitzerland
  • In Wasserauen one can find a large parking lot so there is no problem to leave a car.
  • Shops are not common.
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