The Hoher Kasten is a mountain located in the Appenzell Alps with a 360 degrees unlimited panoramic view over six countries. It is located on the border between the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and St. Gallen.
Lush mountainsides quickly descend into teardrop lakes of the most vibrant blues, gabled houses sprout from cobbled villages and drastic slopes mark the ridges of the Rhine Valley. From here, the rugged tor of the Appenzell Alps, it’s possible to see the breathtaking panoramic landscapes of 6 European countries.
To reach the top, take the scenic cable car from Brülisau. Watch as bucolic meadows adorned with traditional farmhouses and colourful flora become little more than a natural patchwork of distant greens as you ascend 1794 metres to reach the summit of iconic Hoher Kasten.
Top tip for families, exploring the Appenzell Alps has never been easier or more affordable. Children up to 15 years of age can travel free of charge on the Hoher Kasten cable car throughout 2019 as long as they are accompanied by at least one adult. And the offer is open to school groups too!
Beyond Hoher Kasten
From Hoher Kasten, the eastern gateway to the Alpsteins hiking area, it’s possible to embark on a diverse itinerary of hikes that span 400 kilometres of trails with no less than 6 cable cars and a delightful collection of mountain inns, perfect overnight options for even the most frugal of families Whilst planning your hike, make sure that you check the weather conditions and dress appropriately as it can snow even as early as September.
The best walking option for families is the family trail Hoher Kasten – Kamor – Forstseeli – Brülisau, which begins at the cable car and takes hikers along the mountain ridge Kamor before descending through a peaceful pine forest, where you can either continue to the idyllic Forstseeli Lake for a waterside picnic or to the mountain inn Ruhesitz where it’s possible to rent scooters to ride back into Brülisau for a slightly more energetic end to the trail.
The easiest route, accessible all year round, even with a buggy or a wheelchair, is the Europa-Rundweg Circular Trail. A 259-meter trail that waltzes around the entire summit of Hoher Kasten, the trail provides views of Europe’s incredible mountain scenery – including the Rhine Valley, Appenzellerland and Lake Constance. Along the route you’ll find immersive viewing platforms that reach out over the mountain peak, a revolving restaurant, benches and free-to-use telescopes with educational integrated peak identification systems, and there’s a surprising alpine garden filled with rare plants. On a clear day it’s possible to lookout to Germany, France, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy’s Monte di Zocca.
Another option is to hike to the dreamy Fählensee lake. This one is a little trickier but it’s still accessible for families during Autumn before the snow falls. Follow the Geological Trail directly from the summit of Hoher Kasten and hike along the edge of the lake to find a dairy farm, home to a herd of Appenzeller goats. Back on the opposite end of the lake you’ll find the quaint mountain inn Bollenwees nestled into a pastoral saddle in the mountain, complete with inspiring views of the lake and surrounding countryside. From there you can continue to hike back down into Brülisau through spectacular forests, cow pastures and stunning nature trails alive with distinctive flora and fauna.