Schäfler day hike (Switzerland)

Wondering how to hike to the iconic Schäfler ridge in Appenzell, Switzerland? Below is a hiking guide filled with practical information so you can set off on an adventurous, fun day trip. Enjoy!

Purple flowers in front of Schafler ridge

Table of Contents

Quick facts Schäfler day hike

  • Duration: 2 hours return
  • Gondola departs from: valley station Wasserauen
  • Hike starts at: Gondola mountain station Ebenalp
  • Gondola ticket price: 31 CHF return
  • Parking costs: 3 CHF per day 

Getting to the start of the Schäfler hike

Which gondola to the start of the Schäfler hike?

The cable car to the start of the Schäfler hike leaves from Wassenrauen and takes you up to the mountain station Ebenalp. There are two cables cars, so you might need to wait a few minutes. 

The Schäfler hiking trail. Can you see Berggasthaus Schäfler in the distance?

Do you have take the cable car up to get to Schäfler?

No, you don’t need to take up the cable car to Schälfer though it is more efficient time wise. If you’d like to save money you can take trail number 5 and walk up to the gondola station Ebenalp. This will take you about 45 minutes. You will pass the famous Wildkirchli.

The hiking trail to Schäfler

Signs at the top of the gondola station say the hike to the Schäfler viewpoint is 1h20min. However, we completed the hike in about an hour and we aren’t particularly quick hikers. The trail is clearly marked and fairly easy going. Have look at the official trail map

Cows on the Schafler hiking trial
Can you see the Bodensee in the distance?

The Schäfler ridge viewpoint + Berggasthaus Schäfler

The viewpoint of the Schäfler is right next to the refuge and restaurant (Berggasthaus Schäfler). You can take photos at different lookouts. Make sure you wear good footwear if you’d like to go to the higher viewpoint. The grass can be muddy and slippery and there is no fence. 

Viewpoint right next to Berggasthaus Schäfler with a view of the ridge
Viewpoint #1: This is a viewpoint right next to Berggasthaus Schäfler. Do you see the hill on the right? That's the other viewpoint.
Be careful when climbing to viewpoint #2
Viewpoint #2. Can you spot the mountain gondola station of Säntis in the distance?

Instagram vs. reality at Schäfler viewpoint: behind the scenes

The viewpoint is more built up than most photos allude to. There is a restaurant and refuge (Berggasthaus Schäfler) right next to the characteristic look out. The water here is rainwater, so bring enough drinking water from the valley or take a water filter with you. 

Schafler ridge viewpoint
Schäfler ridge from viewpoint #2: Instagram....
Picknick benches of Berggasthaus Schafler with the ridge in the background
... vs. reality. This is how close Berggasthaus Schäfler is to the ridge.
Berggasthaus Schäfler as seen from viewpoint #2. This gives you an idea how close the the viewpoint is to the restaurant/refuge.

No camping permitted along the Schäfler hiking trail

We passed a sign stating that overnight camping is not permitted. The famous viewpoint is right next to the restaurant, so I personally think the adventurous feel is wild camping would be gone anyway. 

Sign saying forbidden to camp along the Schafler hike
The area around the Schäfler hike is private farmland, camping is forbidden.
Hiking ridge trail from Ebenalp gondola to Schafler ridge
Looking back towards the gondola along the Schäfler hiking trail. Can you see the gondola mountain station Ebenalp on the left? The hiking trail goes along the tree covered ridge. The building on the right is a private farm.

An extra detour to Wildkirchli

Consider a 45min (return) detour to see the characteristic Wildkirchli before heading down with the gondola. Beware: it is very touristic. 

Wildkirchli is near Schäfler, so you can do a detour to visit.

More hiking in Switzerland

Check out more epic (day) hikes in Switzerland! Saxer Lücke is right on the other side of the valley, don’t miss it!