The "Big Five": Säntis, Schwägalp, cheese, cows and mountain air

Explore the Swiss cheese landscape with cheezy . Our Tour de Suisse cheese box leads through the Appenzell region in November A hiking report by Jürg Studer:

At the foot of the Säntis and always with a view of the imposing mountain, you can take one of the many short circular hikes, which are also perfect for those in a hurry to reach the pass.

Start the hike at Schwägalp
The Postbus or private car takes you to Schwägalp, the pass between Nesslau-Neu St. Johann in Toggenburg in the canton of St. Gallen and Urnäsch in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. It takes less than an hour to complete a magnificent circuit, over 1000 meters lower than the Säntis, which is less than two kilometers away. The majestic mountain is permanently visible. The hike along the Grand Tour is therefore ideal for a short break on the way through - in summer and winter - or as a warm-up circuit for further discoveries.

Visit to the Schwägalp alpine cheese dairy
The Säntis, accessible by cable car, is one of the highlights. Lots of nature, the restaurants and the show dairy are the other highlight. Cheesemaker Albin Grätzer and his 14-strong team receive 1.1 million liters of milk from the surrounding alpine farms every year from mid/end May to the end of September. In addition to new creations such as pepper or chilli cheese and specialties such as Schwingetkäse, Schwägalpkäse (included in the Tour de Suisse Box) is made mild with a maturing time of four months, while the spicy and extra-spicy cheeses are matured for over six months. You can watch the cheese and yoghurt production from the gallery and, of course, buy the products in the shop - they are even delivered as far away as the USA. The cheesemaker, who looks after the Mutschli and Leiber in the cheese cellar in winter, tells you that goat's cheese is always whiter than cheese made from cow's milk, as goats use carotene differently.

cheese box
cheese voucher
cheese gift box
order cheese package
Have cheese delivered
order cheese online

Towards the top of the pass
If you start from the Schwägalp parking lot, you will reach the top of the pass on a wide footpath, through loose groups of trees, across an alpine meadow and through a section of forest. In summer, the wooden footbridge leading into the moor is attractive as you can observe a variety of plants. You return to Schwägalp via a stone staircase that leads through a small wood and along the edge of the forest, past alpine farm buildings.

Admire the animal and natural world
The described circular tour on the northern edge of the Alps is just one of the many possibilities in the "Nature Adventure Park", which has been created in this landscape of national importance. The northern limestone Alps with flysch and molasse foothills are designated in the corresponding federal inventory. In the hunting ban area, hikers can particularly enjoy observing wildlife, both large animals such as the Alpine ibex, red deer and chamois as well as wild animals such as Alpine marmots and mountain hares and very small animals such as the grass frog, mountain lizard and insects. In addition to the Man & Environment theme trail, other themes such as moorland, forest and alpine farming could be added. All four themed trails, including the Geology Stone Park, can be completed in half a day according to the information boards.

cheese box
cheese voucher
cheese gift box

A diverse hiking region
It is not easy to reconcile the needs of tourists, Alpine farmers and nature conservationists, especially as the army also maintains a large firing range (firing notices at The numerous webcams available on the web - there are pictures of both the valley and mountain stations of the Säntisbahn - make it easier to plan hikes and show when the sun is rising and setting, and soon indicate the current snow conditions.

The most important facts in brief
3.84 km, 1:04 h, 142 m up and 142 m down. A short circular tour on the Schwägalp at the pass crossing - attractive now in both fall and winter.

The following QR code takes you to the hiking route:



Simple, convenient and always surprising. Swiss cheese enjoyment at home.