Alpstein – Ebenalp, Schäfler, Seealpsee – route description

The Appenzell region in eastern Switzerland is mainly known for cheese and idyllic landscape. Just happy cows and small villages scattered over the green hills here and there. However, in the middle of this gentle land protrude several ridges bristling with spikes: it is the Alpstein region, a small subgroup of the Alps, with its spectacular scenic trails. Let’s set off on a photo-tour of the northern part of this region.

We are going on a trip with Lai and Łukasz (Instagram: travel.n.think), whose favourite view of the mountains is through camera lenses. Tooled up with cameras, tripods and sturdy footwear, we show up at the car park in Wasserauen, where we get on the cable car to ascent to an altitude of 1,531 m a.s.l. The upper station is Ebenalp. We leave the cramped box with relief.

Our first goal is Schäfler: a peak located about 400m higher and less than 3km away. In addition to climbing the mountain, we are also interested in the restaurant at its top, because the breakfast we had was exceptionally modest. And passing by the Äscher Cliff Restaurant gives an edge to our appetite.

The trail is rather simple and pleasant – it’s worth having a map, because several crossroads are quite deceptive. Characteristically, the routes in the Alpstein often run on rocky shelves. They are once narrower, once wider. Most of the time we have a chasm on one side and a vertical wall on the other. 

The last ascent to Schäfler is a wide path that you could actually cycle on. The view from the top – wonderful. We are lucky today, because despite the late autumn (October 20) it is extremely sunny and warm, and the transparent air allows us to see the distant peaks of Austria and Liechtenstein.

The vision of upcoming and abundant brunch boosts our motivation in those last meters. The table is ready almost immediately, and we get the food right before our noses after a quarter of an hour. Pork chop with rösti (a dish made of coarsely grated potatoes, a local recipe and Swiss specialty) is the perfect idea for brunch in the mountains. Fat, filling and very tasty. Perfect, especially that the main and longest part of the trip is still ahead.


The stretch between Schäfler and Läden is a narrow path that is strongly exposed and secured with ropes. It gives a large surge of dopamine and endorphins to some, adrenaline and soft knees to others. No matter which group you belong to, the photos come out fantastic (only sometimes the camera shakes strangely in your hands)!

Alpstein, Schafler

The descent towards Seealpsee is a steep and rope-lined path. You can relax only at the height of the lake. And Seealpsee is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Swiss Alps, which photographers most eagerly capture in the late afternoon or early morning. Good conditions for us are over, however – we reach the car park after dawn.

Alpstein, Schafler, Ebenalp
Sealpsee, Wasserauen

Practical route information in the Alpstein

  • The whole route is 10km long and should take about 4 hours – it took us 6.5 hours because of the photos and sprawling in the restaurant ;-)
  • Elevation change: 450m up, 1900m down.
  • Parking is paid – CHF 5 per day
  • The ticket price for the Ebenalp is CHF 20 one way, Halb-Tax is honored
  • You can pay by card at the Schäfler restaurant
Mapa szlaku Alpstein

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