High above the Rhine Valley and the Appenzell region, over 300 plant species spread out in their colourful splendour, much to the delight of botany fans as well as day trippers and hikers. Experience the unique Alpine Garden at almost 1,800 metres above sea level.
The Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden Association cultivates and maintains the approximately 5,000 m² Alpine Garden with around 300 different plant species. It promotes the native Alpine plants and aims to raise visitors’ awareness of the Alpine habitat. In the Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden, you can discover how plants and animals face the challenges of Alpine conditions at 1,800 m above sea level along the Europa Rundweg Circular Trail and on the rock tour.
The Alpine Garden belongs to the Hoher Kasten-Kamor-Schwämme-Chienberg plant protection area. To protect biodiversity, the picking of plants is prohibited. Hoher Kasten is also home to a large variety of animals. From the elegant golden eagle to the shy snow hare and the rare Eurasian lynx, they are all endangered species and are at home here.
The Alpine Garden can be visited on your own at any time. The flowering plants are signposted. The section along the Europa Rundweg Circular Trail is wheelchair-accessible and easy to walk on. Good footwear is recommended for the other areas.
The new attraction on Hoher Kasten
With the construction of the Europa Rundweg Circular Trail, other botanically interesting areas were opened up and made accessible to people with reduced mobility and families with prams. With 15 experience stations, the voyage of discovery is even more impressive and a very special experience. Astonishing information about our Alpine nature is conveyed in a playful and informative way. Embark on a small expedition to the crossover artists of flora and fauna. The wonderful panorama accompanies you during the informative and entertaining tour.
Paths through the Alpine Garden
Along the Europa Rundweg Circular Trail
When plants make similar demands on the soil and the climate, so-called plant societies form. These are presented at the stations along the Europa Rundweg Circular Trail.
Hiking trail, sure-footedness and a head for heights an advantage, not wheelchair-accessible
Voyage of discovery on the rock tour
While the layout of the upper areas of the Alpine Garden are largely designed, the original vegetation can be admired on the rock tour. Here you can make your own discoveries.
Hiking trail, not wheelchair-accessible
Limiting factors on the ancient meadow
The extreme conditions on the Hoher Kasten have produced exceptional adjustment mechanisms. The stations on the ancient meadow – in the middle section of the Alpine Garden – bring these to life and explain processes that are otherwise hidden from the human eye.
The Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden Association offers visitors expert guided tours which, in addition to the special features of the individual plants (including survival strategies, healing effects), also show the habitats of the Alpine flora and fauna on the summit.
Free public tours Free tours take place from 10 June to 19 August 2020, every Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The meeting point is at the main exit on the ground floor of the mountain inn.
Guided tours for groups of up to 15 people Between May and September, the two group offers “Active” and “Leisurely” are available. The two tours can be booked separately or together. You can find more information here.
In 1994, a circular trail was opened on the Hoher Kasten, opening up two rock sections from the restaurant terrace – the rock tour and, with it, the Alpine Garden were created. From this point on, 180 plant species could be signposted. On 27 May 1995, the Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden Association was founded. A year later the expansion began, which was financed by the sponsoring association through membership fees and elaborate fundraising campaigns. The cultivation of suitable plants from seeds from the Alpstein, systematic rescue operations from avalanche deposits, and other activities made it possible to expand the plant population to around 300 different species. With the construction of the Europa Rundweg Circular Trail in 2015, further botanically interesting areas were opened up and the Alpine Garden around the Revolving Restaurant was newly designed.
The ongoing maintenance work (signage, selective weeding of foreign plants, mowing, replanting, etc.) is carried out by the Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden Association, which has more than 200 members. Members of the association maintain the approximately 5,000 m² Alpine Garden on a largely voluntary basis. The Hoher Kasten Drehrestaurant und Seilbahn AG offers financial support and free rides.
Become a member
As a member of the Hoher Kasten Alpine Garden Association, you will receive the Blütenpost (Blossom Mail), the association’s newsletter, in spring and autumn. The Annual General Meeting takes place on Hoher Kasten in June – a free cableway ride with an Alpine Garden tour is included. You can actively participate in the Alpine Garden activities during the weeding initiatives.
Further information and the registration form can be found under Downloads here.
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