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Seealpsee in Appenzell, Switzerland: 3 Beautiful Hiking Trails

Seealpsee is a mountain lake in the Appenzellerland region. Wedged between the spectacular chains of the Alpstein massif, this picturesque lake is one of the most beloved summer destinations in Switzerland

Seealpsee is only accessible by foot. To hike to Seealpsee, first head to Wasserauen (by car, or by train), located near the town of Appenzell.

From Wasserauen, you can hike to Seealpsee along the forest road, or the mountain trail (1:15 hours one-way). 

Seealpsee is located at a crossroads of many Appenzell hiking trails. So, it’s easy to extend your Seealpsee hike to Berggasthaus Aescher, Ebenalp plateau, Marwees Ridge, and Meglisalp mountain pasture. We’ve explained these options below. 

Swimming is allowed in Seealpsee. In summer, the lake is lined with bathers and families seeking to escape the hot days of July and August. Huts and mountain inns abound around the lake as well. So, a cold drink and a warm meal are always within reach. 

Seealpsee is surrounded by mountain pastures, grazed in summer. That means that free-roaming cows wander around the lake. Adhere to the “Alps code of conduct” and do not disturb the animals in any way (no touching, no yelling, no chasing, etc…). Dogs must be leashed at all times. 

Berggasthaus Seealpsee mountain inn, Appenzell, Switzerland
  • Elevation: 1143 meters 
  • Surface Area: 13.6 hectares (34 acres)
  • Seealpsee Trailhead: Wasserauen | Google Maps
  • When to Visit Seealpsee: (May) June – October 
  • Where to Eat at Seealpsee: Berggasthaus Seealpsee, Gasthaus Forelle, and Seealpkäserei
  • Swimming: Allowed
  • Dogs: Allowed, but must be leashed and well-behaved around cattle and other animals. 
  • Drones: Forbidden
  • Where to Stay in Appenzell Village: Alte Metzg – Hostel (budget), Blattenheimat (midrange), Hotel B&B Stossplatz (midrange), or Hotel Appenzell (luxury)
  • Recommended Trail MapK+F 09, Appenzell, Säntis, St. Gallen 1:40.000

Seealpsee Hiking Map

Red trail: Wasserauen – Seealpsee – Aescher – Ebenalp – Cable Car to Wasserauen

Orange trail: Wasserauen – Klein-Hütten – Seealpsee – Wasserauen

yellow trail: Wasserauen – Klein-Hütten – Marwees – Meglisalp – Seealpsee – Wasserauen

How to Get to Lake Seealpsee in Switzerland 

Head to Wasserauen in Appenzell Innerrhoden

Wasserauen, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Switzerland

Wasserauen is a small settlement in Schwendetal Valley in Appenzell Innerrhoden.

In Wasserauen, you’ll find a large paid car park, a train station, the Ebenalp cable car valley station, and Hotel Alpenrose. 


There is a very large paid car park at Wasserauen. 

You can pay for parking using various mobile parking apps, or with CHF coins (exact change only). 

From Appenzell village, it’s only a 10-minute drive to Wasserauen. From St. Gallen, it’s a  32-minute drive. And from Zürich, it’s a 1-hour 20-minute drive.


Wasserauen is the southern end station of the Gossau–Wasserauen line (S23 Linie) of the Appenzell Railways, which connects the villages of Gossau Sg, Herisau, Waldstatt, Zürchersmühle, Urnäsch, Jakobsbad, Gonten, Gontenbad, Appenzell village, Steinegg, Schwende, and Wasserauen. 

3 Seealpsee Hikes: Easy, Moderate, and Difficult

Lake Seealpsee, Alpstein, Switzerland

We’ve summarized three hiking trails that lead to Lake Seealpsee in the Appenzell Alps. 

These hikes are ranked by difficulty, with trail 1 being the easiest and trail 3 being the most challenging. The third hike is our absolute favorite and fairly unknown.

1. Wasserauen to Seealpsee Circuit Hike 

Seealpsee hiking trail, Appenzell, Switzerland

There are two trails that connect Wasseraun to Seealpsee: the forest access road and the mountain trail via the Klein-Hütten mountain pasture .

The latter is the more scenic approach to Lake Seealpsee. Therefore, we recommend ascending to Seealpsee via the mountain trail and descending via the road. 

To locate the trailhead of the mountain trail, find the paragliding landing area next to the car park. There’s a large shipping container at the paragliding landing area. 

Pass through the turnstile and cross the meadow. The trail soon merges with the path from Hotel Alpenrose. Turn left to Seealpsee. 

Ascend the forest trail, bolstered with timber and metal steps, through the beech forest. After about 20 minutes, the trail leads across a wide-open mountain pasture, animated by grazing cattle. Follow the gravel steps to the Klein-Hütten trail junction (1179 m). 

Turn right to Seealpsee (35 minutes). With views of Marwees, Schäfler, and Ebenalp, the Seealpsee-bound trail eases across the meadow, passing by various huts and dairies. 

At the next junction, bear right. You’ll soon see Mount Säntis. The gravel path smoothly descends across an enchanting alpine pasture, studded with huts, to the eastern shore of Lake Seealpsee. 

Follow the level trail around the lake to the Seealpkäserei (dairy), Berggasthaus Seealpsee, and Gasthaus Forelle. 

Berggasthaus Seealpsee, Seealpsee circuit hike, Appenzell, Switzerland

After passing Berggasthaus Seealpsee, the wide gravel track leads northeast away from the lake. Continue following the road all the way down to Wasserauen. 

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Wasserauen

Distance |  7.3 km circuit

Time Needed |  2:45 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 372 meters

Difficulty | Easy-Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 871 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1211 meters

2. Wasserauen – Seealpsee – Aescher – Ebenalp Hike 

Klein Hütten mountain pasture, Appenzell, Switzerland

Follow the exact same trail directions as described in the Wasserauen to Seealpsee Circuit Hike. However, instead of descending to Wasseraun via the road, continue the ascent up to Berggasthaus Aescher. 

After passing Berggasthaus Seealpsee, follow the road in the direction of Wasseraun for 550 meters (10 minutes). At the Chobel junction, veer left to the Aesher hut. 

The trail scales the forested mountainside. Sections of the rugged path are reinforced with metal steps and secured with fixed cables. 

There are some slippery areas, because the rocks underfoot are polished due to so much foot traffic over the years. These slippery areas are always secured. 

When you emerge from the forest, you’ll see the vertical rock face of Ebenalp. Merge with the trail at the base of the cliff and turn right to Berggasthaus Äscher (1884 m). 

Berggasthaus Aescher Mountain Restaurant and Guesthouse, Appenzell, Switzerland

This famous cliffside hut was built in 1884 and is one of the oldest mountain huts in Switzerland. 

After  a memorable lunch at the Aescher hut, follow the boardwalk ledge path to the Wildkirchli caves (10 minutes) and Ebenalp (25 minutes). 

After passing the Altarhöhle Wildkirchli chapel cave, the path continues to the entrance of the Eremitenhöhle Wildkirchli prehistoric cave. 

Hike through the sparingly-illuminated cave (3 minutes). Upon exiting the cave, continue hiking up the well-graded path to the Ebenalp pasture and the Ebenalp cable car mountain station (1590 m). 

Ride the Ebenalp cable car down to Wasseraun.

Note: You can do this hike in reverse, if you’d prefer to hike downhill most of the way rather than uphill. 

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Wasserauen

Distance | 7.4 km point-to-point (circuit with cableway descent)

Time Needed | 3:45 hours

Elevation Gain | 1021 meters

Elevation Loss | 306 meters

Difficulty | Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 872 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1587 meters

3. Wasserauen – Marwees – Seealpsee Hike 

Marwees - Seealpsee Hike, Appenzell, Switzerland

The Marwees – Meglisalp – Seealpsee hike is a challenging day hike with many rewards. This is a great option for experienced and fit hikers, who savor peaceful trails.

Like the Seealpsee circuit hike and the Seealpsee to Aescher hike, the Marwees ridge trail starts in Wasserauen. 

However, when you reach the Klein-Hütten trail junction, you’ll turn left to the Bogartenlücke Saddle

From the Bogartenlücke Saddle, the hike continues to the Marwees eastern summit. 

The narrow ridge trail unfolds marvelously with views of Alp Sigel, Hoher Kasten, Schäfler Ridge, Widderalpstöck (2058 m), Hundstein (2157 m), and even Altmann (2435 m). 

The path eventually descends to the Widderalpsattel mountain saddle and then curves around a basin to Bötzelsattel saddle. 

From here, it’s an enjoyable 35-minute descent to the Meglisalp mountain pasture, home to a large Meglisalp mountain inn, a diary, and a chapel. Services, enhanced by alphorn music, are conducted outside the chapel on Sundays.

Meglisalp - Seealpsee Hike, Appenzell, Switzerland

Descend to Seealpsee, hike around the lake to Berggasthause Seealpsee, and then complete the final stretch to Wasseraun. 

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Wasserauen

Distance | 14.5 km circuit

Time Needed | 6:45 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 1225 meters

Difficulty | Difficult

Minimum Elevation | 871 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1990 meters

Learn More: Marwees Ridge Trail

Seealpsee Frequently Asked Questions

Seealpsee Late Afternoon, Alpstein, Switzerland

Can You Swim in Lake Seealpsee?

Yes, you can swim in Seealpsee in Appenzell. 

Where Can You Eat around Seealpsee?

For warm meals, head to Berggasthaus Seealpsee or Gasthaus Forelle. These two mountain inns are located on the northern-end of the lake. 

If you’d like to purchase local dairy products (cheese, butter, alpine milk), check out the Seealpkäserei dairy located on the Seealp mountain pasture at the western-end of the lake. They produce up to seven different cheeses, depending on the season. Try the award-winning Seealpchäs if it’s available.

Can You Rent Boats at Seealpsee?

You can rent a rowboat at the Gasthaus Forelle restaurant. The price is CHF 5 for 30 minutes.

Where to Stay near Seealpsee

Appenzell Village

Appenzell Hauptgasse Main Street, Switzerland

The lovely town of Appenzell is the capital of the Swiss Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Appenzell is a picturesque town with colorful gabled buildings that house delicious bakeries, restaurants, hotels, apartments, and museums.

Accommodations are always clean and comfortable, but modest. There are no 5-star hotels in this area of Switzerland. 

We recommend staying in, or near the village center of Appenzell, because of the dining options and cultural activities (museums and art galleries). After long hikes in the Alpstein, it’s ever so nice to end your day in the heart of Appenzellerland. 

Appenzell is also a great base for those traveling without a car. With train connections to Wasserauen and Weissbad (bus transfer to Brüllisau), it’s effortless to get around to various trailheads. 

Budget | Alte Metzg – Hostel offers 3 spotless rooms with communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities. This intimate hostel is walking distance to the Appenzell village center and train station. On-site parking is available, but must be reserved in advance (fees apply). They also run the neighboring midrange Alte Metzg Boutique Pension with private single, double, and family rooms.  

Midrange | Blattenheimat – im traditionellen Appenzeller Haus (2 nights minimum stay) is a traditional, gabled house with 2-3 bedroom apartments and free private parking, very close to the Hauptgasse (pedestrain main street of Appenzell). Guests have access to a washing machine and dryer in the basement. 

Midrange | Located very close to the Appenzell train station, Hotel B&B Stossplatz is a darling bed and breakfast with free private parking, free bikes, and a shared lounge. Rooms either have shared, or private bathrooms.

Luxury | Hotel Appenzell is located on the historic Landgemeinde Square in the center of Appenzell village. Boasting an excellent restaurant with an outdoor terrace as well as a confiserie (patisserie), this traditional Appenzell hotel is a great option for your stay. Breakfast and parking are included in the rate. 

Luxury | Adler Hotel is centrally located at the start of the pedestrian Hauptgasse (main street), across from the Parish Church of St. Mauritius and the Metzibrücke Bridge. This traditional hotel with two restaurants is a great place to stay if you’re traveling without a car. No parking available on-site. 

Look for accommodation in Appenzell.

Weissbad Village

Weissbad is a quiet village in Schwendetal Valley between Appenzell and Wasserauen.

Situated on the Gossau–Wasserauen train line of the Appenzell Railways, Weissbad is a great base for exploring the region. It takes a mere 6 minutes to reach Appenzell village by train. It takes only 10 minutes to ride the train to Wasserauen (Ebenalp cable car valley station, Seealpsee trailhead, Marwees trailhead, etc…). And, it’s only an 8-minute bus ride to Brüllisau (Hoher Kasten cable car, Saxer Lücke and Fählensee trailhead). 

Midrange | Weissbad Lodge, not to be confused with the nearby sister property of Hotel Hof Weissbad (luxury), is a comfortable accommodation with spacious, modern rooms and free on-site parking. The lodge is located on the bank of the Sitter River, just a block away from the Weissbad train station and bus stop. The only negative is the self-service breakfast.

Luxury | Hotel Hof Weissbad accommodates luxury-minded travelers with its two restaurants and bar, two swimming pools, fitness center, spa and wellness area. Breakfast and parking are included in the room rate. The price is rather steep.

Look for accommodation in Weissbad.

Schwende Village

Schwende lies in Schwendetal Valley, just south of Weissbad. 

This village is also located along the Gossau–Wasserauen train line, with direct connections to Wasserauen, Weissbad, and Appenzell. 

Midrange | The family-run Hotel Frohe Aussicht, which means “happy outlook,” is a hillside hotel and restaurant surrounded by beautiful countryside. It’s a short uphill walk from the Schwende train station to the hotel. Guests love the views and the restaurant!!!

Keep Reading about Appenzell

Travel Guides:

Hiking Guides:

Trekking Guides:

Self-Guided Hut-to-Hut Hiking Tours:

Alps Trip Planning Essentials

When to Visit the Alps

We recommend visiting the Alps in summer (June – mid September), fall (mid September – late October) or winter (late December – March).

Read Alps in Summer to learn everything you need to know about visiting the Alps between June and mid/late September.

Alps Road Trips

Most destinations in the Alps are accessible by transit. If you’re visiting during peak seasons, we recommend traveling with trains and buses.

If you’re visiting during shoulder seasons (late May, early June, late September, October), a car is often essential in getting around.

When we go on hut-to-hut hikes, we always travel with transit. When we want to do a lot of day hikes, we find it easier to travel with a car.

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here

Alps Road Trip Itineraries

Alps Hiking Guides

Hiking in the Alps is our passion.

To learn about when to hike, where to hike, and hiking safety, read: Hiking in the Alps: Essential Tips. For trail inspiration, check out Best Hikes in the Alps.

For region specific trail inspiration, read:

Alps Hiking Essentials

Lake Seealpsee hiking guide, Appenzell, Switzerland

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati

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