Seealpsee & Wildkirchli-Äscher – Appenzell Innerrhoden, Switzerland
Destination: Seealpsee (1141 m) & Wildkirchli-Äscher (1477 m) Starting point: Wasserauen (868 m) Elevation: est 1043 m Distance: est. 6.5 km Duration: est. 5:09:31 Moving time: 2:10:14
Today is the second time we attempted Wildkirchli-Äscher, dubbed Top 10 most beautiful places in the world. Funny thing is that my in laws do not know about this place until I told them what I read online. We HAVE to check it out!
We tried to hike up Wildkirchli-Äscher the first time last year but we couldn’t find a car park (can you believe it?) so we abandoned the plan and went to Appenzell town to eat ice cream. Few days ago, while we were cracking our heads where to go hike during Auffahrt (Ascension of Jesus) public holiday, I suggested to go Wildkirchli-Äscher because trust me, I was really curious about this place which are plastered all over the internet. Initially, we decided that it might be too crowded due to the public holiday but after some thoughts, we predicted that most people would be going to church on this day so off we head to Appenzell to hike to Seealpsee and from then to Wildkirchli-Äscher. We were wrong.
The drive to Wasserauen (foot of Ebenalp where Wildkirchli-Äscher is located) took us 1.30 hours. We arrived around 09:00ish. There were already some crowds but still plenty of parking space. There are 2 choices of route to Seealpsee. One route is along the street where cars are allowed. This route takes about 1 hour to Seealpsee but we took the second route which is longer, about 1hr 30min through the woods because walking on the street is no fun. The route we took were steep and slippery from the wet mud but it was manageable. The woods was beautiful with waterfalls and moss covered rocks. I particularly love being in the woods in this time of the year. However the downside of the routes heading to Seealpsee and Wildkirchli-Äscher is that there were too many people (to our liking). I have never see so many people in the mountains. This hike by far beat the record.
As we exit the jungle, we came to an open field surrounded with magnificent mountains on our left and right. It was quiet(er) as there weren’t many people. Just occasional groups passing by. This open field was a small one. Soon we left the field and heading closer to Seealpsee about 30 minutes walking. We stopped for a little snack on the higher ground where we have a good view of people passing by. By the time we finished our lunch, the crowd has increased by the numbers and getting loud. This isn’t something we particularly fancy because hiking is a therapy for us. A place where we seek for peace and calmness but we found none today. I must say that landscape is beautiful despite the noise that we didn’t like. I do understand why the route is crowded. The starting point is reachable by train – convenience, the route is easy and it is popular – read about it online numerous time.
As we head to Seealpsee, we decided to stop over at Berggasthaus Forelle to have some beers and the best fries we’ve had in a while. You should try this restaurant if you are visiting Seealpsee. Although we only had fries and beers, I was peeking at the meals ordered by next tables and they look good. After we were done resting and had our toilet breaks, we started to move towards Wildkirchli-Äscher. The crowd was unbelievable. I’ve been checking online posts about Seealpsee and Wildkirchli-Äscher and I am really surprised that nobody mentioned about the crowd. We passed many nice people who greeted us. We passed so many that we got tired of saying “Grüezi” 🙂 . We were trailing behind a group of loud hikers. We could hear their seriously loud voices 50 meters after we overtook them. Let’s have a little courtesy towards each other when we are in public, shall we?
Soon we reached Wildkirchli-Äscher. The restaurant looked full from the outside. People were resting and sitting on the field outside the restaurant. The Ebenalp is also a hot spot for paragliding. We saw many paragliders having the time of their life enjoying the peacefulness up in the sky. We sat down and had a small snack because we found a free bench (how lucky!). We headed to Ebenalp to take the cable car down to Wasserauen where we parked our car. The cable car runs every 15 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long.
Should it be in the Top 10 most beautiful/fascinating/interesting place to visit? I say No because there are many SAC cabin in the Swiss Alps that are even more beautiful. Although the trail was nice and beautiful, the crowd was overwhelming.
Advice: Don’t believe the Top 10 etc. list you read online. They are not always true.
Have you been to Wildkirchli? Does it always has huge crowd on normal days? Till next time!
x Frau Hallo