On the trail of the history of the earth

The viewing platform between Appenzellerland and the St. Gallen Rhine Valley is striking, as is the ridge towards Kreuzberge. Since 1964 the aerial cableway has been operating from Brülisau directly to the summit at 1791 m above sea level (bus from the Weissbad station of the Appenzeller Bahn to the valley station). The revolving restaurant with sun terrace has been located on the advanced summit for several years.

Informative panoramic panels and free telescopes with integrated summit markings explain the further surroundings of the Hoher Kasten on the viewing terrace. A walk to the summit leads through the Alpine Garden, where guided tours are also offered. More than 300 different plants of the Alpstein are listed. A wheelchair-accessible panoramic circular path with attractive viewing points was built a few years ago.

And it is here on the Hoher Kasten that the four-hour geological hiking trail to Bollenwees begins. At first you zigzag towards the north-east in the direction of the Kastensattel. Then the path turns in the opposite direction and goes in a steady up and down along the ridge, then back along the flank and past the Heierli Nadel to the Stauberen inn, which is about halfway along the trail.

During this educational tour, 20 orientation boards invite you to get to know the exciting history of the origins of this mountain range. Also on display are fossils, weathering forms, underground draining lakes, folds and fractures. Numerous geological phenomena are explained with easy-to-understand graphics and texts. To understand the sequence of events over millions of years of the earth's history, the geological timeline is always helpful. Particularly impressive is the famous Sax-Schwende-Bruch, where the displacement of the eastern massif by a few hundred metres is clearly visible.

From the Stauberenkanzel, the solar gondola lift takes you down into the Rhine valley (to Frümsen), but the geological trail continues to Saxerlücke, with impressive views of the Chrüzbergen. From here, after a 45-minute steep descent, you reach the mountain inn Bollenwees on the eastern shore of the Fählensee.

The pure hiking time to Bollenwees is three and a half hours, in total it takes almost six hours back to Brülisau.

Realised by Roland Baumgartner

Pictures: Roland Baumgartner


From Appenzell by train to Weissbad, bus to Brülisau, Hoher Kasten cable car; back from Brülisau.

Another tip:
Solar-powered small cable car from the Rhine Valley (Frümsen) to Staubern and ridge walk to Hoher Kasten, or vice versa.