The Hoher Kasten, a mountain located in the Canton of Appenzell, offers everything your heart desires: 360 degrees unlimited panoramic view, unspoiled nature, culinary delicacies and a varied selection of hiking opportunities.
What better way to start a family trip than with a cable car excursion? The Hoher Kasten cableway leads from the small village of Brülisau, nearby the town of Appenzell to the 1,794-meter high summit of Hoher Kasten. The journey takes you past idyllic hilly landscapes, typical Appenzell farmhouses and a fascinating mountain scenery.
Once at the top, the first highlight already awaits you: In the tunnel of the summit station, colourful images seemingly dance to mystical sounds across the walls of the tunnel. With a little luck, a fire-breathing dragon or animals like goats will appear.
Accessible for everyone and for children even free of charge
From the lower station and up to the summit, the Hoher Kasten is barrier-free and thus accessible to everyone. Children up to 15 years of age travel free of charge with the cable car throughout 2023, as long as they are accompanied by at least one adult. And the offer is available to school groups too!
Recharging batteries by enjoying the view and the nature
The Europa Rundweg circular trail, which circles the striking silhouette of Hoher Kasten, offers exceptional views in all directions. From here, you can see over 300 mountain peaks, including the Säntis, the endless green meadows of Appenzell and the Rhine River which flows into the Lake of Constance. Resting benches, free telescopes and various panoramic platforms awaits you along the trail. The circular trail is easily accessible for families with buggies and people with mobility issues.
Along the circular trail, in a unique alpine garden, over 300 species of plants unfold their colourful splendour. In spring, when the plants awake from their hibernation, they are particularly beautiful. With 15 information boards alongside the trail, adults and children can investigate into the Alpine Nature and its native plants.
Revolving restaurant and culinary delights
Another highlight at the summit is the only revolving restaurant in the eastern part of Switzerland. Within an hour, six countries and some of their famous mountain peaks pass by. In the revolving restaurant you, not only, will be spoiled by the breath-taking 360-degree view, but also with regional and seasonal delicacies. Friendly hosts and all-around a great atmosphere will conclude your experience at Hoher Kasten.
Starting point to a hiker’s paradise
The Alpstein region has the densest network of hiking trails in Switzerland and is therefore a true hiker’s paradise. Whether a leisurely valley walk, a strenuous mountain hike or a spectacular panoramic trail, the Hoher Kasten area has it all and is the ideal starting point to explore further into the Alpstein region. On the mountain summit, you have a bird’s eye view over the region and can see how the hiking trails wind along the mountain ranges.
Family hike to Lake Forstseeli
If you opt for a valley hike, the family-friendly hiking trail leads you from Hoher Kasten via the mountain Kamor to Lake Forstseeli and back via Resspass and Ruhesitz, with the mountain inn of the same name, to Brülisau. From green meadows, to pine forests and moorlands, the vegetation changes steadily along the trail. You should definitely plan a stop at the dreamy lake Forstseeli, where a fireplace awaits you. Here you can enjoy a waterside picnic and relax while listening to the birds chirping.
Relaxing moments and adventurous descent
Another option is to hike to the shimmering lake Sämtisersee. The green-blue lake nestled between steep rocky flanks can already be seen from the summit. After a short, steep stretch from the Hoher Kasten to the Kastensattel, the route continues towards the Inn at Staubern and down to the Sämtisersee. From there you can either take the route via the Plattenbödeli inn or via the Ruhesitz inn back to Brülisau. The route via the Ruhesitz inn is doubtlessly more adventurous since the last part can be covered at your leisure with scooters.
A journey through earth’s geological history
Furthermore, Switzerland’s first geological hiking trail starts on the Hoher Kasten. This hike is more challenging and it is essential to wear mountain boots with non-slip soles and not to suffer from vertigo. The mountain hiking trail runs along the gentle but partly exposed ridge from Hoher Kasten through to the Staubern inn and further on to the Bollenwees mountain inn. Along the way, the panorama trail offers interesting insights into the geological development of the Alpstein region as well as first-class views in all directions. Particularly impressive is the view of the imposing rock formations of the Kreuzberge and the two mountain lakes, Fälensee and Sämtisersee.