Hiking the Alpine Panorama Trail – Stage 5 Stein, SG to Amden

Stage 5 of the Alpine Panorama Trail (Route 3) is a 14 km long trail with 860 m ascent and 800 m descent that goes from Stein, SG to Amden. After a long uphill slog from Stein to Vorderen Höhe, this section really delivers on the panoramic alpine views (The Glarner Peaks). The hike from Vorderen Höhe to Amden was most enjoyable!

Detail Summary
Where:Stein, SG to Amden
Saint Gallen, Switzerland
Train/Bus:Zürich HB -> Stein, SG – 1 hrs 35 min
Amden -> Zürich HB – 1 hrs 13 min
What:Alpine Panorama Trail – Stage 5 Stein, SG to Amden
Yellow trail markers – Alpine Panorama Trail Route 3
Skill:Medium – About 4 hrs 45 min
Length 14 km, Ascent 860 m, Descent 800 m

Additional Info

Photo Stories for Other Stages
Stage 1 – Rorschach to Trogen
Stage 2 – Trogen to Appenzell
Stage 3 – Appenzell to Schwägalp
Stage 4 – Schwägalp to Stein, SG
Stage 5 – Stein, SG to Amden

Getting There

The Alpine Panorama Trail is best done with public transportation as each stage starts and ends at different points. The start of this trail is the Stein, SG, Dorf bus stop.

From the bus stop, the trail heads along the main road to the center of the village where there is a hotel, cafe, and small market. We had packed a picnic and didn’t need any supplies so we passed them all by without stopping, but it was a cute area.

The Trail

At the pretty painted house in the first picture, the trail leaves the village and begins the climb up to Vorderen Höhe. The first bit is on a road and is not particularly steep. When the trail leaves the road, there is a great view of the descent we took when ending the last stage.

When the trail enters the forest, it begins a steep climb following alongside the Dürrenbach stream. Starting in 1920, this stream was completely engineered for flood prevention by adding dams and steps. Following along the stream, this trail is a tough climb but fortunately, it is in the forest and shaded.

When the trail leaves the stream, there is a short section on a paved road, which turns into a dirt road as it continues the climb. The trail exits the forest and passes through some moorland. Here, we had a good opportunity to look back and enjoy the view.

As we got closer to the top, there were snow patches which were rather slushy and muddy, making hiking a little tricky. It was so nice to reach the top! The view was incredible!

In the winter, I hiked up to this point from Amden (Winter Hiking at Amden – Arvenbüel to Vorder Höhi), and took the short detour to the Chruz viewpoint for my lunch break. I decided it would be nice to do that again and so we took the 10 minute detour to head over to the benches there for our picnic. It was interesting to see this view in a different season.

After lunch, we returned to our trail, and began the hike down. The views were amazing! I just love it when the Alpine Panorama trail lives up to its name!

I can’t stop raving about the views on this hike! So pretty with the snow capped peaks!

As the trail continued, there was a bit more snow and we did need to be careful, but for the most part the trails were clear and easy to hike.

We considered stopping at the Alpwirtschaft Furgglen restaurant in picture one below, but we decided to just enjoy the view and continue on.

The next section of the hike took us through some low pine forests. There was still quite a bit of snow here. It was very different than earlier in the hike and it was interesting to see the way the forests changed. The snow capped peak in picture three below is the Speer. Last summer, I hiked to the summit of the Speer and I really recommend that hike – it was fantastic!

After leaving the pine forests, the view opened up and we could see the top of the Niederschlag chair lift. There is a restaurant there and we stopped for drinks and a dessert before hiking the rest of the way down.

The hike down from the top of the Niederschlag chair lift was rather steep but not at all difficult. It was so pretty with all the wildflowers blooming and the dandelions going to seed.

Very shortly, we reached Amden.

Getting Back

After we reached the main streets of the village, it was a short walk to the bus station.

This was a really nice hike. A bit strenuous, but very beautiful. Amden is very accessible from Zürich and a great base for hiking. I am sure I will be back to Amden not just to hike stage 6, but also to hike some of the other wonderful trails here as well.

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