As one of the seven Churfirsten, the Chäserrugg is popular as an excursion mountain for hiking, walking and skiing. Its area is part of the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of Switzerland, which are of national importance.
10 Highlights on the Chäserrugg in Toggenburg
- The Chäserrugg reaches an altitude of 2262 m above sea level.
- The deep view in the south of the mountain goes 1800 m down to the deep blue Lake Walen
- At Chäserrugg you have a view of about 500 mountain peaks in 6 countries
- 5 beautifully designed theme trails are suitable for the whole family
- In the skiing area Chäserrugg - Unterwasser/Alt St. Johann 50 km of ski slopes are prepared
- Local materials and natural building methods characterize the world-class architecture of Herzog & de Meuron
- Several barbecue areas, several children's playgrounds and mountain restaurants offer space for experiences
- Toggenburg Bergbahnen and Chäserrugg were awarded Landscape of the Year 2021 as pioneers for building culture and charm in mountain tourism
- Winter sports are just as suitable for families with children as for carvers, freeriders and freestylers
- 6 cable cars and chair lifts of the Toggenburg Bergbahnen connect the individual areas of the Chäserrugg. In winter, additional ski lifts are used.
The Chäserrugg is excellent for sporty active visitors as well as for families. Hikers will find benches to enjoy the panoramas and barbecue areas all over the mountain
The mountain is well accessible by cable cars and offers in winter a large winter sports area with 50 km of ski slopes. 80% of the slopes are red slopes and therefore designed for medium difficulty. For children you will find at least 7 practice areas with and without professional help. The ski resort is considered particularly family-friendly.
Sights at Chäserrugg
The sights at Chäserrugg include on the one hand the wonderful nature in Toggenburg. Not only the seven Churfirsten are a popular photo motif. On the other hand, the area is characterized by a unique architecture that fits into the nature.
Basel architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron founded the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron in 1978. From 2014 to 2015, they built the summit building on Chäserrugg with mountain station and restaurant at 2262 m a.s.l. The work was awarded the "Hare in Bronze" architecture prize in 2015. in 2018, it was joined by the "Prix Lignum".
Summit building on the Chäserrugg
The summit building at Chäserrugg fits perfectly into the landscape of the mountain. The architecture emphasizes the silhouette of the Churfirsten in a special way. For the construction, the architects used 2000 m³ of Swiss spruce and fir wood. The building can even withstand winds of 200 km/h. Functionality and aesthetics form a symbiosis here.
Inside, the wood is untreated. A freestanding fireplace has an important role in the bright, wide and spacious room. Similar to traditional farmhouses, fire and warmth play a central role. Lamps hang from the ceiling like jackdaws and the breathtaking view is integrated into the architecture as a matter of course
Installations of the Stöfeli Railway at Chäserrugg
The facilities of the Stöfeli Bahn were also redesigned in 2015 by the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. The uniqueness lies in the fact that the peculiarities of the mountain are cleverly incorporated into the installations
This makes the experience during the activities on the mountain particularly authentic. The architects have deliberately dispensed with advertising and any panels. The buildings blend in perfectly with the mountain
The Espel Pavilion at the valley station of the Stöfeli cable car was also planned by the two star architects.
High plateau Rosenboden flower trail
The high plateau offers a pleasant circular hiking trail. It starts at the summit building and leads across a barren high plateau to the Rosenböden and back. It can be used all year round. Winter-proof benches with the best panoramic views are placed everywhere.
The well-prepared trail is about 3 km long and can be walked in 1:10 hours. Only 60 meters of altitude are overcome over the entire length up and down.
The Klangweg Toggenburg is a very special adventure trail. Along the way you will find 26 sound installations on which you are allowed to play. You can make the water bounce with a sound or drum on the "Waldweld". At the "Brunnenstubete" you listen to the life veins of the earth
Start of the sound trail is the alp Sellamatt. The adventure trail leads in 2 stages via Iltios to Oberdorf. You can reach the trail very comfortably with the mountain railroads
Overview of all theme trails on Chäserrugg
At Chäserrugg you will find other interesting and entertaining theme trails. Here is an overview:
Theme trails on the Chäserrugg
|name||length (km)||meters in altitude (hm)||time (min)||difficulty||description||location|
|Flowers Trail||3||60||45-120||easy (T1)||Alpine Garden with Glass Panels||Chäserrugg Circular Trail|
|Klangweg1||2.5||40||60-90||easy (T1)||Toggenburg sound installations||Alp Sellamatt to Iltios|
|Klangweg2||3.5||120||180-210||easy (T1)||Toggenburger sound installations||Iltios to Oberdorf|
|Sagenweg||6.5 or 12||250||120-210||easy (T1)||12 wooden panels with pictures and texts||Alp Sellamatt circular trail possibly with cave|
|On the tracks of the Wildmannli||12||250||210||easy (T1)||karst cave at the foot of the Selun||Alp Sellamatt circular trail|
Mountain railroads on Chäserrugg
The most frequently used mountain railroads on Chäserrugg are the funicular railroad to Iltios and the cable railroad up to Chäserrugg. The combined cable cars between Alt St. Johann and Alp Sellamatt are also popular
The mountain railroad to Stöfeli runs on the day of the Alp service and can be used for groups on other days. The chairlift Ruestel operates exclusively in winter.
Offer at Swiss Activities
Toggenburg mountain railroads overview
Key data of the most important Toggenburg mountain railroads:
|Toggenburg Bergbahn||Train type||Journey time (min)||Height of valley station (m a.s.l.)||Height of mountain station (m a.s.l.)|
|ltios - Iltios||100-er funicular||5:30||911||1339|
|Iltios - Chäserrugg||80-cabin cable car||6:20||1339||2262|
|Alt St. Johann - Alp Sellamatt||combi 4-seater chair/4-seater gondola lift||9:10||900||1401|
|Espel - Stöfeli||gondola||5:20||1262||1680|
|Stöfeli - Chäserrugg||gondola||3:50||1680||2078|
Activities and experiences at Chäserrugg
The Chäserrugg offers various possibilities in summer and winter. Right at the mountain restaurant Iltios you will find a playground. Countless barbecue areas, further playgrounds and mountain restaurants provide the necessary extra for mountain adventures with the whole family.
The most popular activities at Chäserrugg include:
Hiking on the Chäserrugg Skiing area: skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing Sledding at the Stöfeli Winter hiking and snowshoeing
Hiking at Chäserrugg
Hiking is possible in all facets on the Chäserrugg. From the leisurely walk to the themed trails to strenuous mountain hikes, everything is possible
Some of the countless hiking trails are:
Kaiser Route over the 7 Churfirsten
The Kaiser Route is a challenge. Almost 30 km distance and 3600 meters of altitude must be overcome. This is only something for very experienced mountain hikers with excellent physical condition. Early in the morning you start in Starkenbach (890 m) to climb all 7 Churfirsten. At Chäserrugg you will reach the finish and receive the well-deserved "Kaiserroute Finisher Glass".
The goal and highlight of this hike is the viewpoint at the end of the valley. Here you get a view that goes 1600 m down to the Walensee. The tour is well suited for occasional mountain hikers. It is a pleasant 11 km long and gets by with less than 900 meters in altitude
Worthwhile "detour" via Hinterrugg
It is not quite easy to walk, this "detour", but it is worth it. On the way from Alp Sellamatt to Chäserrugg you don't go directly to Gluristal. You turn off at Unterruestel in the direction of Oberruestel and Hinterlücheren. The special thing about this detour is the view during the steep ascent to Hinterrugg. However, you can only walk this way after a longer dry period. Otherwise it becomes too slippery. The untouched Gluri valley is also beautiful.
Classic to Chäserrugg
This route is a popular choice and is therefore the classic among the hiking trails on Chäserrugg. The first part of the trail is taken by the funicular from Unterwasser to Iltios. You have already climbed 400 meters. You have saved energy for the stair-shaped rock formations that now lead upwards.
The hike in the early morning starts at the Alp Iltios and leads you in southeastern direction over the Espel. A highlight on the way is later an extensive scree field. This hike scores with the morning sun and particularly beautiful views.
Hinterrugg: from Churfirst to Churfirst
A short stretch from one Churfirsten to the other leads from the summit of Chäserrugg to Hinterrugg. The hike takes only 20 minutes, but should not be underestimated. It requires absolute surefootedness, especially since parts of the path are often slippery.
Comparison of the hikes on Chäserrugg
|name||length (km)||meters in altitude (hm)||time (hr)||difficulty||start||end|
|Kaiserroute||30||3600||12:00||Alpine Hiking (T4)||Starkenbach||Chäserrugg|
|Frümseltal||11||875||4:30||medium (T2)||Alp Sellamatt||Iltios|
|"Detour" over the Hinterrugg||6.5||916||3:30||medium (T2)||Alp Sellamatt||Chäserrugg|
|Morning route||7.5||912||3:30||medium (T2)||Iltios||Chäserrugg|
|From the summit to the summit||1.5||44||0:20||medium (T2)||Chäserrugg||Hinterrugg|
Skiing area Chäserrugg - Unterwasser/Alt St. Johann (Toggenburg)
The skiing area at Chäserrugg provides a total of 50 km of slopes for skiing and snowboarding. It stretches over altitudes from 900 m above sea level to 2262 m above sea level and connects the winter sports resorts of Alt St. Johann and Unterwasser
A total of 12 lifts transport the guests on a total distance of 13.4 km. The fun park is open for freestylers. The winter season starts at the end of November and usually lasts until mid-April.
Slopes in the skiing area Chäserrugg
|piste type||length (km)||difficulty|
|Skiing and Snowboarding||8||blue (easy)|
|skiing and snowboarding||40||red (medium)|
|skiing and snowboarding||2||black (difficult)|
|ski routes||2||for freeriders|
|sledding slope||6||suitable for families|
Night skiing takes place from the end of December until the end of February on Fridays from 18:30 to 21:30.
Skiing for children
On the Iltios and in Alt St. Johann there is the children's land of the ski school. The entire ski area is considered particularly family-friendly.
- Kinderland Iltios: can be used with child care and professional help or without ski school, Iltios, 50 m length, 10 m difference in height
- Children's area Alt St Johann:** can be used with child care and professional help or without ski school, Alt St Johann, 200 m long, 30 m difference in altitude
- Iltios Park: big jumps at the practice lift, practice lift top station and Iltios, 550 m length, 100 m height difference
- Ruestel Cross:** steep wall curves, wild waves and deep hollows, Ruestel to Sellamatt, 1.8 km length, 300 m difference in altitude Waldweg: ride through the snowy fairy tale forest, Stöfeli to Iltios, 2.7km length, 360 m height difference
- Schwendi Piste: over easy terrain to Espel, Iltios to Unterwasser, 3.6 km length, 440 m altitude difference
- Snowli Camp: Every Saturday and Sunday you have the possibility to take a 2-hour beginner course for your children (from 3 years). It takes place in the morning or in the afternoon. The level ranges from Snowgarden to Red Prince.
Cross-country skiing at Chäserrugg
For cross-country skiing you will find a beautiful trail over the length of 15 km. It runs from Sellamatt to Thurtalerstofel and back. The difference in altitude is 170 km
Attention, this cross-country trail is partly also used by skaters and winter hikers
Rental of winter sports equipment
In the sports stores on the Iltios and in Alt St. Johann you can rent what you need for your winter vacation. This way you save yourself the trouble of taking all the equipment with you. You can also buy missing winter clothes here
Inside the sports store on the Iltios you will find a test center of the Völkl brand. You can rent and test the latest models here.
Sledding at the Stöfeli
From the middle station of the Stöfeli cable car the toboggan run runs via Iltios and Espel to Unterwasser. This mountain route is rather racy and intended for experienced sledders. The total distance to Unterwasser is 5.9 km.
A quieter toboggan run starts at Ilios and leads over 3.6 km down to Unterwasser. It is also suitable for families and runs down to the valley station along the Schwendi slope.
You can rent sledges at the Sport Shop on the Iltios.
season: December to April
Winter hiking and snowshoeing at Chäserrugg
Clear air and a good view of the Alps: Why not take the Rosenboden circular trail in winter? The winter trails are always well prepared on Chäserrugg.
Panorama circular trail Rosenboden
The pleasantly flat circular trail at more than 2200 m above sea level offers snow-covered mountain ranges that seem to be very close. More than 500 peaks in 6 countries (Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein) are particularly visible in winter. The circular trail is also easily walkable by children
Churfirsten Panorama Trail
This panorama trail starts at 1400 m above sea level and offers a first-class view of the seven Churfirsten. The path runs from the alp Sellamatt - Zinggen - Thurtalerstofel - Iltios through traditional and authentic scattered settlements of the alp.
High trail Iltios
This pleasant hike leads through the snow-covered spruce forest with plenty of sunlight in the clearings. The short path at an altitude of 1400 m above sea level is easily walkable for the whole family.
The prepared trail for snowshoe hiking runs from the alp Sellamatt via Mittelstofel to Zinggen. You hike over open snow fields and through the snow-covered fir forest.
Comparison of the winter hikes at Chäserrugg
|name||length (km)||meters of altitude (hm)||time (hr)||difficulty||start||end|
|Panorama Rosenboden||3||60||0:45 - 2:00||easy (T1)||Chäserrugg||Chäserrugg|
|Churfirsten Panorama||12||250||2:00||easy (T1)||Alp Sellamatt||Iltios|
|High way Iltios||2.5||40||1:00||easy (T1)||Alp Sellamatt||Iltios|
|Snowshoeing||12||250||0:45 - 2:00||easy (WT1)||Alp Sellamatt||Zinggen|
Events at Chäserrugg
Throughout the year you will always find interesting events in which you can participate. Not all of them are repeated regularly. Here we give you a selection of events that take place at Chäserrugg.
- March: NostalSki race Toggenburg: With skis made of edged wood, wooden skis without edges, barrel staves or metal skis and snowboards up to the year 1989, nostalgic skiers in the appropriate clothing take part in the ski race. The nostalgic skiing has so far been started at different starting points, most recently at slope number 6 (Skischulrun Iltios).
- March: Espel Music: On some Saturdays in March, the country music trio Peter & Peter performs traditional music at the Espel Pavilion. Spring sun, music and Toggenburg tarte flambée, a good mix
- June: Alpaufzug: Accompanied by several farming families, the animals are escorted to the lush meadows Alp Sellamatt. This alp is the largest alp in eastern Switzerland. This day is an opportunity to experience traditional alpine culture up close.
- July: Starry Night at 2262 m above sea level: On the summit of Chäserrugg astronomers explain the world of stars. Before that you have the possibility to have a good dinner in the summit restaurant. The mountain railroads go up every 30 min until 19:30. Downhill trips are also made every 30 min between 23:00 - 01:00. There is a possibility to stay overnight in the mountain guesthouse at Stöfeli
- August: Federal celebration on the Chäserrugg: On this day, the mountain railroads run from 5:00 am (every 30 min), so you can enjoy the sunrise. Afterwards you can enjoy various activities on the mountain. You can combine breakfast, lunch or dinner with Toggenburg specialties. Return trip is possible until 23:30 with the mountain railroad.
- August: Alpine service at Stöfeli: Every year once a traditional alpine service takes place at 11:00 am at the mountain guesthouse Stöfeli. Alphorn players and the yodel club Thurtal provide the appropriate background music. From Unterwasser you first take the funicular up to Iltios. A 20-minute walk then takes you to the valley station of the 10-seater gondola lift, which takes you to Berghaus Stöfeli.
- September: Toggenburg Mountain Market on the Iltios: Bread, meat and cheese from the region are sold at various stalls. In the mountain restaurant there is a special mountain market menu to match. You can reach the market directly from Unterwasser by funicular or by chairlift from Alt St. Johann to Alp Sellamatt incl. a short hike up to Iltios
- September: Chäserrugg mountain run: On a length of 8.1 km a proud 1352 meters of altitude are overcome. A maximum of 200 starting places ensure that it will not be too crowded on the route Unterwasser - Iltios - Stöfeli - Chäserrugg. The race will run from 9:30 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m., with the award ceremony at 1 p.m
Mountain huts, ski bars and restaurants on Chäserrugg
You can experience traditional dishes from the Toggenburg on the Chäserrugg in modern and award-winning wooden architecture
Chäserrugg summit restaurant
Untreated wood was used in the summit restaurant, and old Toggenburg craftsmanship traditions were also incorporated here. The summit restaurant is not only a restaurant, it has also become a popular event location on the Chäserrugg. Whether sunrise with breakfast, brunch, full moon dinner, starry night on the Chäserrugg or readings in small groups: the offer is very varied.
In the restaurant, local specialties are made from mainly regional ingredients. But culinary novelties are also tried out. The restaurant is not only cozy and attractively furnished, it also offers a wonderful view through large glass windows out into nature and the surrounding mountains. More than 500 peaks are said to be visible from here. The summit restaurant is located at 2262 m above sea level.
In addition to the serviced parlor, there is a hall and an outdoor terrace around the building
Open: 08:45 - 17:00 (different opening hours for events)
Suitable for: Hikers and other active visitors, connoisseurs of modern architecture, children and persons with reduced mobility
Iltios Mountain Restaurant
The mountain restaurant Iltios stands on a plateau at 1339 meters above sea level. It is a popular place to stop for a break on the way to the summit of the Chäserrugg. Here is a junction of hiking trails and winter ski slopes
Traditional and down-to-earth dishes are offered in the restaurant and on the sun terrace. The view goes to the Alpstein and the Churfirsten.
At the restaurant there is a children's playground and the gathering place of the ski school with the children's land
Suitable for: all active visitors, children and people with reduced mobility
Stöfeli mountain inn
At the Stöfeli mountain inn you can enjoy a direct view of the Churfirsten. It is located at 1662 m above sea level and can be reached by cable car from Espel. The special thing here is that you can often observe whole groups of chamois in the rocks.
Here you will find peace and relaxation. For group excursions of several days, the mountain inn Stöfeli is wonderfully suitable thanks to its group rooms.
the mountain guesthouse Stöfeli is wonderfully suitable for a tobogganing fun
Climate and weather at Chäserrugg
At Chäserrugg the weather is mild and pleasant in summer. In the months of June to August average temperatures are reached that rise above 25°C. In winter, between December and February, there are days that reach temperatures below -10°C. The wind reaches speeds of over 28 km/h in winter. It usually comes from the south-southeast
Often you can escape from the fog that prevails in the valley. On the mountain, the sun shines and lets you look down on the sea of fog, from which the mountains stand out ghostly.
Please note that on the mountain, weather changes can always happen quickly. When hiking, be sure to wear mountain boots and windbreakers. In summer you have to expect strong sunshine.
Location and arrival to Chäserrugg
The Chäserrugg is located northeast of Lake Walen. It is the westernmost of the seven Churfirsten, which can be seen very strikingly from the A3 highway. They have become the landmark of the region.
From Zurich, you can reach the Toggenburg Bahnen in about 1.5 hours by car. You first drive on the A1 in the direction of St. Gallen and turn off at Wil onto route 16 to Wattwil and Vaduz. The valley stations of the cable cars are on the right side.
The best way to travel from the Lake Constance region is to take the A13 in the direction of Chur and turn off at Haag (Exit 7) onto Route 16, which will take you less than an hour.
From Chur you also take the A13 to Haag and turn onto Route 16. Toggenburg can also be reached from Chur in less than an hour by car
You will find plenty of free parking at the valley stations in Alt St. Johann (Ochsenwies 418) and in Unterwasser (Früeweidstrasse 8)
by public transport
From Zurich, it is best to take the express train of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) to Wil. In Wil and in Nesslau you change to the Postbus 790.
From St. Gallen you can take the train of the Schweizerische Südostbahn to Wattwil or Nesslau. There you change to the Post Auto line 790 and drive directly to Alt St. Johann, Dorf. From here you walk another 280 meters to the valley station of the Sellamattbahn. To the valley station of the mountain railroad Iltios/Chäserrugg you go two stops further to Unterwasser, stop Post. From here it is also another 280 meters to the valley station.
As you can see, the Chäserrugg, the mightiest of the seven Churfirsten, is easily accessible by cable car. Not only the view down is worthwhile, the Toggenburg is ideal for unforgettable mountain experiences all year round.