One day in Switzerland: Seealpsee, Aescher, and Ebenalp in Appenzell!

I travel to Zurich, Switzerland a couple times for work a year. I try to make the most out of my time there by extending the trip through the weekend. If you love the mountains and lakes, you’re going to love Switzerland! The public transportation in Switzerland makes it extremely easy for a solo traveler to explore the country.

What is Ebenalp? Aescher? Seealpsee? Where is it?
Ebenalp is the Appenzell peak that the cable car from the ground takes you to. Another great view of the mountains can be seen here. We walked around this area and it was the highest point of our trip! Walking on the path downward leads us to the Aescher house.

Aescher is the iconic house in the cliff. It’s a guesthouse and a restaurant and there is both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating gives you a spectacular view of the mountains. If you continue hiking downward (over an hour), you’ll get to Seealpsee!

Seealpsee is a beautiful emerald-blue lake. There are amazing mountain views from the lake and tons of area around the lake to sit, eat, and relax. The lake is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers during the summer and roaming cows. Be careful of their sh*t, literally!

These sights listed above are in the Appenzell District. There is so much to see here – the 3 sights are what we decided on based on time and weather.

What are the views like?
In the summer, there are tons of greenery and wildflowers. The weather is perfect, not too hot, but not too cold. Depending on which part of the hike you are at, you can either see rolling green hills, an abundance of mountains still partially covered in snow, or an alpine lake. There’s barely ever a dull view.  When you’re hiking from lake to the top of the mountain or vice versa, you’ll be engulfed in greenery and trees. Although it was a slightly cloudy day, I had several “wow” moments. It doesn’t matter how many times I go to Switzerland, the views are undeniably stunning.

What path did we hike?
We took the cable car from Wasserauen to Ebenalp cable car station, walked up to Ebenalp peak for an amazing view of the alps and Seealpsee. Then, we walked back down passed the cable car station to Aescher house, then to Seealpsee. From Seealpsee, there are two paths that take you back to Wasserauen, one path is paved (easy) and the other is rocky and has more ups and downs. We took the rocky path, but in hindsight, would have preferred to take the nicely paved path.

How is the hike?
Depending on the route, it can be quite challenging. The most challenging part of the path above was from Aescher to Seealpsee because it’s from peak to basically the trough. Since we decided to take the rocky path from Seealpsee to Wasserauen, that put some pressure on our bodies as we already had the challenging hike before.

How far is it from Zurich?
By train, it is ~2.5 hrs one way

How do you get there?
I took the SBB train from Zurich HB to Gossau, where I transferred to another train that took me to Wasserauen. From Wasserauen, you can decide what hiking trail you’d like to take or if you want to take the cable car up to Ebenalp. We decided to take the cable car up and hike down. For our hiking path, see above.

How much is it?
From Zurich HB to Wasserauen (round trip), it’s 78 CHF. Whenever I buy a ticket for a day trip, I go to the counter as they help me find the cheapest price as there may be special trip passes. There was none in this instance. The cable car, one way, is 20 CHF and 31 CHF round trip.

What do you need to bring?
Sunscreen, water, snacks, good shoes (preferably hiking boots), and if you’re swimming in the lake, a bathing suit and towel.

100% recommend if the weather is decent. Even on a slightly cloudy day, it’s beautiful! One of the greenest hikes in Switzerland that I’ve been on!

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