About the hike
Seealpsee is accessible by a 15 minute train trip from the gorgeous town of Appenzell, and then a 3 hour return hike. Alternatively, you can drive the whole way (how convenient)!
I am based in Saint Gallen so I took the train from St Gallen to Appenzell (around 1 hour) and then a further train from Appenzell to Wasserauen, and from here the adventure began.
The trains to Appenzell run around every half hour from Saint Gallen, and then the trains to Wasserauen were around every hour. This may change with the season so research on SBB prior to commencing the journey.
A relatively steep ascent (although asphalted) for the first 45 minutes, the track then plateaus and winds through beautiful forest and wooden houses until you reach the lake. And then, the view will uncover itself. A stunning lake with surrounding mountains will take your breath away.
If you wish to continue hiking, you can walk around the lake or along one of the many trails stemming from the lakeside. There are boats to paddle in and restaurants to sit back and relax in. All of these descriptions probably conjure up images of summer, but I think that Seealpsee is a great place to hike in all seasons (as I discovered).
My experience in Seealpsee was not one of rowboats and warm summer days, I went at the end of November when it was rather chilly. I thought I had checked the forecast and, although cold, it would be clear and the mountains visible. Oh, how I was wrong. It was in fact incredibly foggy and even snowing (my first European snow!).
However, even in this less-than-ideal weather, Seealpsee remained gorgeous. Despite being unable to see the mountains it is famous for, the eerie silence and perfect stillness was incredible. The light dusting of fresh snow on the trees was simply stunning and the silence was only broken by lonesome fish jumping out of the lake.
Although the visibility was too poor to continue further than the lake, the views heading up there were enough to satisfy. Rolling green hills dotted with Swiss houses would rapidly turn into huge sheer cliffs with spontaneous waterfalls. The mix of pine and deciduous trees means that the landscape remains beautiful at all times of the year but does drastically change with the seasons.
No guide is complete without some photographs! Unfortunately the fog meant that the scale of the mountains cannot be seen at all, but the eeriness made for some atmospheric shots.
The walk began on asphalt meandering through pines, the snow had only just begun to fall at this point
About 40 minutes in and the snow had well and truly commenced – it was a great first introduction to European snow!
Slowly but surely approaching the lake
It was hard to imagine what the lake must look like in summer with dozens of people swimming and enjoying the heat – a far cry from the misty surface I experienced at Seealpsee
The beautiful pine trees dusted with snow looked like something out of a fairytale
The gentle trails around the lake are perfect for strolling and soaking up the atmosphere
Do you have a favourite place to hike? Let me know in the comments below.