Seealpsee is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Switzerland and can be found in the epic Alpstein Region of the Canton Appenzell. For sure you have seen the famous Instagram shot of the boat at the Seealpsee several times. Well it is now your turn to click away some memories at the Seelapsee, but for that you need to put your hiking boots on and experience the Alpstein whilst on a hike.
The lake can be reached by different hiking trails within the Alpstein. The most direct is from Wasserauen Train Station / carpark directly uphill to the Seealpsee.
This ease of accessibility, although quite steep, makes it one of the most popular attractions in the Alpstein and Appenzell region. Therefore, if you are planning to hike to Seealpsee within peak season, be prepared that you will be sharing this beauty with other tourists and locals.
How to get to Seealpsee – Alpstein Appenzell
You need to make your way to Wasserauen, because it is here where your hike to Seealpsee will start. Below you will find a map with the area and some important points indicated.
Wasserauen is easily accessible by train or car. Its location is in the north-east of Switzerland in the district of Schwende in the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden.
For us from Valais it is always a big trip across Switzerland, and this is why when we visit the Alpstein we make sure we sleep in one of the great Bergasthauses in the Alpstein. Like this we can get the most out of this beautiful hiking domain in Switzerland.
Three ways to Hike to Seealpsee in the Alpstein
Direct Hike to Seealpsee
As mentioned above, the quickest way to hike to Seealpsee is from Wasserauen car park or station. On the map below it is the hiking route No8. You basically just follow the tarred road all the way up until you reach The Berggasthause Seealpsee and the lake itself.
It is only 2.9 km which normally with kids should be manageable in one hour. BUT part of the path to the breathtaking Seealpsee is steep! And because of that it might take you a bit longer.
I do not want to discourage you, but I want you to be prepared that until you reach the altitude (1143m) where the Seealpsee is located, it is a climb. Wasserauen lies at an altitude of 871m
Yes, it is accessible with a pushchair, but personally I would not want to do this hike with a pushchair. Not only do you need all your strength to push uphill, I would be more worried to come back down again. My advice would be to put your child in a carrier and leave the pushchair in the car.
Our kids hiked to the Seealpsee when they were 4 years old. We made a lot of stops during the steep part and like this managed it perfectly.
Hike to Seealpsee via the Forest Hiking Trail
Just after leaving Wasserauen car par there is a hiking trail diverting to the left which leads you all the way to Seealpsee. This hiking trail gives you a different feeling of what the Alpstein in Appenzell is all about. On the map below it has no number but you can see the path going to the left just after Wasserauen all the way to Seealpsee.
This was our favourite way to reach Seealpsee because we passed a waterfall and got to explore the forest, caves and surrounding alpine huts a bit, rather than the straight gravel/tar road detailed in the direct route. Although this hiking route to Seealpsee is still a climb it does seem not to be so long.
Look for the sign to ‘Seealpsee’ on your left shortly before leaving Wasserauen.
A great possibility is to do both hiking trails as a loop. Choose one to hike to Seealpsee, and the other one to leave this magical place and the Alpstein.
Note: The forest route is definitely not pushchair friendly.
Hike to the Seealpsee via the Ebenalp – Aescher Wildkirchli
To include the Ebenalp and Aescher Wildkirchli on your hike to Seealpsee is for sure the most scenic and adventerous option because you will be ticking off some other great attractions within the Alpstein in Appenzell.
From Wasserauen, take the Ebenalp cable car which brings you up in ease to an altitude of 1460m. On the ride you will get a great view over part of the Alpstein massive.
At the top, take some time and enjoy the different views. The Ebenalp is known to be a windy place, therefore be prepared for it.
To visit the Ebenalp & Ascher Wildkirchli is also a popular option, but for sure not everybody that you will see at the top will also be hiking down to Seealpsee. This combination will give you a great hiking day at the Alpstein.
The hiking trail down to Seealpsee is number 8 on the Alpstein Appenzell hiking map.
Note: We have heard (have not hiked down yet) that if you are hiking down from the Ebenalp to Seealpsee just after the rain hit, this path can get slippery. Depending on the age of your kids or the overall hiking ability within your group make sure before leaving Wasserauen you already inform yourself on the condition of the path.
At the Seealpsee – Alpstein Appenzell
So, now you are at the place you have heard and seen so many times. The beautiful Seealpsee in the Alpstein in Appenzell.
If you hiked to Seealpsee choosing option one or three you have this beautiful approach before seeing the lake. The Säntis (in the clouds) and other Alpstein peaks are towering high up in to the sky.
Restaurants at Seealpsee
Two restaurants are catering at the Seealpsee, one is the Gasthause Forelle famous as its name says for the “Forellen” (Trout) and the other one is the Berggasthaus Seealpsee.
Rowing a Boat on the Seealpsee
At both of these restaurants you can rent rowing boats for a gentle 20 min on the lake.
Definitely a cool experience to just drift with the slight Alpstein wind on Seealpsee.
Hiking around the Seealpsee
A nice gentle path goes all around the lake and is a great way of getting the different views of the surrounding Alpstein mountains.
Milk products and animals at the Seealpsee
If you walk a bit further along the pasture there are several Alpine huts offering fresh milk, cheese and some even have animals around.
Picnic and BBQ at the Seealpsee
There are obviously many places to have your picnic at Seealpsee and there are even some informal fire stations. Just make sure to use an existing firepit if you like to grill your sausages at Seealpsee.
For the kids there is a beach, left of the Berggasthause Seealpsee when arriving and looking at the Säntis, (large mountain with aerial on top).
On this side you will find a small beach with shallow water for the kids to play in and I believe there is even a firepit.
Visit the Bruderklausenkapelle (chapel) at Seealpsee
Behind the Berggasthause Seealpsee is a path which leads you to this beautiful chapel hidden amongst the forest trees.
Nice to cool down in the shade on hot summer days or even just to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The path will then guide you to the beach I have mentioned above.
TOP TIP from Us
Stay the night at the Berggasthause Seealpsee!! You will thank me for it!
As I have mentioned before, this place is popular and can get quite crowed because it is easily accessible. BUT once the day tourists leave, Seealpsee and the Alpstein returns to a peaceful place. It is then when you can really feel so close with nature.
Watching the stars twinkle above the Alpstein was one of the experiences at Seealpsee we will always remember.
Wake up when the sun is poking over the Alpstein mountains. The peace and quietness remains until the 1st day-tourists arrive at Seealpsee.
Our Thoughts About the Seealpsee Hike
Oh, we definitely fell in love with the whole Alpstein region! And we can only recommend this place. Take your time when hiking to Seealpsee with kids. There is no rush, and the more time you take the easier the steep trail will be.
Yes, it is getting crowded during peak season, but it is still well worth the visit. If you do like we did and spend the night within the Alpstein at the Seealpsee it will be an experience the whole family will love and talk about for years to come. We visited twice and never encountered a lot of people. Once was late October and the other time was on a rainy day, but the weather cleared late afternoon and we could enjoy the Seealpsee nearly all to ourselves. Plus spending the night really was the icing on the cake.
There are still so many trails we have not hiked in the Alpstein which just means we have to come back again and again.
Hiking Map Seealpsee Hike in the Alpstein
How the map works: Click on “Learn More” to get to the full map layout with profile and interactive bike route indicator.
Location:: Start in Wasserauen Appenzell Innerrhoden / Alpstein
Length:: 6.3 km in a loop
Level:: easy to moderate hike some steep sections. T2
Ascent:: 344m / Descent:: 334m
Highest point:: 1211m at the lake / Via Ebenalp 1640m
Good to know
- There are two restaurants at Seealpsee. Check their opening times.
- You can hike option one with a push chair BUT I would not recommend it. Too steep.
- At the Seealpsee you can swim and row a boat
- As always, bring rain and wind protection jackets, the weather in the Alpstein can change quickly.
- You can spend the night at one of the Berggasthauses at the Seealpsee.
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Zermatt – Family Hike from Sunnegga to Zermatt
Valais – 12 Easy Hike with Kids in Valais
I hope that the information provided here when you are planning to Hike to Seealpsee in the Alpstein in Appenzell will prove itself useful.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below and share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well
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