Saxer Lücke hike: How and where to wild camp

Saxer Lücke: best wild camping experience in Switzerland

Are you wondering where and how to wild camp at Saxer Lücke (iconic Swiss rock formation)? Curious whether wild camping at Saxer Lücke is legal or not? Below is an in-depth guide to answer all these questions.

Do you want to enjoy one of Switzerland’s best wild camping experiences? Most people do Saxer Lücke as a day hike. But better yet, camp overnight so you’ll have the scenery all to yourself! Below you’ll find practical, in-depth information so you’ll know exactly where and how to camp at Saxer Lücke. Get ready for adventure and amazing scenery!

  • Duration hike: 1h 20min one way (when starting from Staubern mountain hut)
  • Gondola departs from: Valley station Frümsen
  • Hike starts at: Gondola mountain station Staubern
  • Gondola ticket price: 36 CHF return / 18 CHF single 
  • Parking costs: Free
Tiny hiker standing on the iconic Saxer Lücke rock formation
You might recognise Saxer Lücke from Instagram, though it is still relatively undiscovered.

Table of Contents

How to get to the start of the Saxer Lücke hike

Option 1: Take the Frümsen gondola to Staubern to start the Saxer Lücke hike

I recommend this option as it is the most efficient. The gondola from valley station Frümsen to mountain station Staubern started operating in 2018, so older guidebooks or blogs won’t mention this route. This gondola is state of the art and is completely automated and operates between 07:00-22:00 in the summer. 

Photo of the gondola station Frümsen and car park where the Saxer Lücke hike starts.
How to get to the start of the Saxer Lücke hike? Take the gondola up from Frümsen. This is the gondola station with the (free) car park.
Mountain hut Staubern with sign to Saxer Lücke indicating 1h20min walking time

Option 2: Hike to the start of the Saxer Lücke hike from Brülisau

The cliff is so steep that there aren’t any hiking trails that lead to the top of the ridge from Frümsen. If you’d like to save money by not taking the gondola, you will need to hike up from Brülisau. It will take you about 3 – 4 hours (one way) to get to Saxer Lücke from Brülisau, depending on the route you take.

Option 3: Take the gondola from Brülisau to Hoher Kasten

This option adds 75 minutes (one way) of hiking time to option 1 mentioned above. Option 3 involves the following:

  • Take the gondola from Brülisau to Hoher Kasten.
  • Walk from Hoher Kasten to Saxer Lücke. On the way you pass Staubern mountain station. This trail is also clearly marked on the official trail map.

How to hike to Saxer Lücke

At the top of the Staubern gondola the path to Saxer Lücke is clearly marked. After about a 5 – 10 minute walk there is an intersection without a sign. Take the right path that leads down instead of the left one leading up. Other than that, the hiking trail is clearly visible till you get to the camping spot. There is some inclination in the path, but there are many flat bits too. All in all, the path is fairly easy. It took us 1,5 hours to get to the camping spot at Saxer Lücke. On the way back, it only took us only 50 minutes to walk back to the gondola from the camping spot. The trail is clearly marked on the official trail map.

The views: Appenzell Alps, lakes and city views

The contrasting views from the Saxer Lücke camp spot are just amazing. On the one side you overlook the valley with twinkeling city lights, while the other side is untouched, raw nature of the Appenzell Alps. In the distance you can hear the chiming of the rhythmic cow bells. Other than that you will only hear the wind and quietness. 

During your hike up you will be able to see the mountain hut at Schäfler and even the mountain station of Säntis. You will also see views of the gorgeous emerald coloured lakes Sämtisersee and Fählersee.

Hiker looking of the valley from Appenzell Alps (Alpstein).
Hiker overlooking the iconic rock formation Saxer Lücke from a distance. Just before arriving at wild camping spots.

How to wild camp at Saxer Lücke

Is wild camping allowed at Saxer Lücke (Appenzell Alps, Alpstein)?

The short answer: YES, wild camping at Saxer Lücke is permitted!

The slightly less short answer… Wild camping is generally allowed in Switzerland, but NOT in the following circumstances:

  • Swiss National Park (national park in the south east of Switzerland)
  • Nature reserves in general
  • Below the tree line
  • Hunting ban is areas (German: Jagdbanngebiete)

There are more examples where wild camping is not permitted in Switzerland. Unfortunately the rules are slightly different per canton or municipality. For more information you can check out the official interactive map. The shaded areas on this map do NOT permit wild camping, while unshaded areas are okay to camp at. You can type in the name “Saxer Lücke (or Saxer Lugge)” or other Swiss destinations to check out whether or no wild camping is permitted.

At Saxer Lücke wild camping is legal. It is above the tree line and not a protected area, so enjoy your wild camping experience!

Exactly where to wild camp at Saxer Lücke (with detailed photos)

There are 3 small hills where you can pitch a tent and have the views of the famous Saxer Lücke rock formations. The first camp site is big enough for 2 tents, though finding a flat area for the second tent is a bit of a challenge. The third spot is the smallest, but flattest. It is closest to Saxer Lücke. If all 3 of these platforms are full, it will be a challenge to find a suitable spot to pitch a tent. 

The view is very similar from the three platforms and the other campers (if any) won’t obstruct your view. There were 2 other sets of campers when we were there in August. We were the first to arrive and chose the third camping spot, closest to Saxer Lücke . 

Indicating exactly where to wild camp at Saxer Lücke rock formation: 3 camping spots clearly indicated including where to pitch a tent
Where and how to camp at Saxer Lücke? Here are the three exact camping spots at Saxer Lücke! The first hill is the biggest and can fit two tents. The other two spots are smaller.
The three camping spots and tents at Saxer Lücke shown on the hill so you know where to wild camp. Perspective as seen from Saxer Lücke.
The camping spots at Saxer Lücke seen from the other side. Our tent is the nearest on the photo (and also nearest to Saxer Lücke).

Our hiking and wild camping itinerary at Saxer Lücke

  • 16:00 Departure from valley gondola station Frümsen (Option 1 from above) + start walking 
  • 17:30 Arrival Saxer Lücke
  • 17:40 Pitching our tent at Saxer Lücke
  • 18:00 Dinner
  • 21:30 Bed time
  • 06:30 Wake up + breakfast
  • 08:30 Walk back to gondola
  • 09:20 Coffee at Staubern hut + gondola ride down back to Frümsen
Green tent and person sitting while wild camping at Saxer Lücke
View of Saxer Lücke from inside tent during wild camping (bivouac). Feet sticking out of tent. Instagram viewpoint

Practical tips before setting off on your Saxer Lücke (overnight) hike

How to pack for your Saxer Lücke wild camping experience

What to bring while wild camping at Saxer Lücke?

  • Small tent or bivouac. The ground is soft enough for your tent pegs, don’t bring a hammer.
  • Sleeping bag + mat
  • Enough water + food
  • Cooking gear
  • Wind proof clothing (it can get very windy up on the ridge!)

How to check the weather before hiking Saxer Lücke

Before setting off for an overnight adventure at Saxer Lücke, make sure to check the weather. Check it again shortly before departure as the weather in the mountains can change quickly. The camping spots at Saxer Lücke are extremely exposed, so camping up there during a storm is a very bad idea. 

MeteoSwiss gave us the most accurate weather prediction results. We used Säntis as a reference peak (it’s so close to Saxer Lücke you’ll see it during your hike). Mountain Forecast gave us slightly less accurate results. Here you can use Säntis or Hoher Kasten as a reference peak.

Leave no trace

The entire Saxer Lücke hiking trail and camping area are extremely clean: no garbage, toilet paper or cigarette butts. Please make sure to take all your trash back with you! This way other travellers can enjoy this place as well.

Drinking water on the Saxer Lücke hike

The trail to Saxer Lücke does not pass a river to fill your water bottle, so bring enough with you. The nearest mountain hut with a restaurant is at the Staubern, which is the gondola you came up with. Note that the water at this restaurant is rainwater, so bring enough drinking water from the valley or take a water filter with you. 

Interested in more hiking nearby Saxer Lücke?

  • Pizol 5 Lakes hike: It’s only 40 minutes by car from Frümsen (gondola valley station Saxer Lücke) to get to the gondola in Wangs to start the breathtaking Pizol 5 Lakes hike. Though it can easily be done as day hike, I recommend doing the Pizol 5 Lakes hike as an overnight hike to avoid the crowds. Discover exactly how and at which lake to camp during the Pizol 5 Lakes hike
  • Schäfler hike: It’s only 40 minutes by car from Frümsen (gondola valley station Saxer Lücke) to get to the cable car in Ebenalp to start the beautiful Schäfler ridge hike. 
  • Säntis hike: It’s only a 50 minute car ride from Frümsen (gondola valley station Saxer Lücke) to get to the cable car and start your hike up the 2502m glacier covered peak of Säntis. 
  • Limmernsee hike: The 1h 10min car ride to Tierfehd, is well worth it to do the unique Limmernsee hike. This hike is relatively unknown by tourists, so do it before the secret gets out!