Around the Ellhorn

A few weeks ago my GF and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather and go hiking. Since we (or maybe just I) are lazy and slept in, we slowly realized that pretty much every idea we came up with would have us return pretty late.

Eventually we settled on a hike she used to do with her parents: around the Ellhorn on the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

We after some friendly squabbling over whether to go clockwise (steep descent, which I hate) or counter-clockwise (steep ascent, which she hates), I was overruled.

We drove to where the official route meets itself again and snagged one of the two parking spaces. From there the route ascends comfortably through the forest. Winding up the hill close enough to the edge of the woods to offer you glimpses of the meadows and the rockface on next hill.

As the dirt and gravel road exits the the forest and quickly turns into a path that’s more hinted at than actually visible you find yourself on a cute meadow that stretches it’s lush green up the steep flank of the hill opposite to you. You feel like this place should be far more remote than the still short walk you just did allows for.

We decided to take our lunch break here and take in the quiet.

Passing through the meadow you soon come to the Mozentobel – the steep valley that hosts your descent. As you arrive at the edge you’re immediately surrounded by different trees. As you zig-zag down you regularly face the sheer cliff that makes the Ellhorn stand out so well against the Rhine valley.

You then cross the Mozentobel, a short, open but rocky passage where you should definitely watch your footing. And probably pause for a moment to look around. After that the descent continues among the trees leading you down to the Rhine.

This next part is probably one of the nicest parts of the Rhine for many kilometers in either direction. The path, now set between think bushes and trees, follows the river downstream, with the occasional outcropping of rocks to watch the water, a few beaches along the water and an impressive view of the vertical rockface of the Ellhorn.

Eventually you’ll approach the end of the Ellhorn and are met again by paved roads along the Rhine. You follow that road for a short distance before turning towards your starting point. The final leg of the trip back frankly doesn’t hold up to the rest as you walk past a farm and a quarry. Except that you get to see the cliff for another 15 minutes.


We liked the hike and hope to go back and maybe do a little BBQ on the riverbank. But the next time I’ll put my foot down and insist on going counter clockwise. I (and my knees) hate steep descents and considering my GF slipped during the descent I’m calling a safety override.

On Wanderland/SchweizMobil the hike is labeled easy for skill and easy for condition. I think that is a fair assesment… with the caveat that the Mozentobel part and a few spots along the Rhine require discipline. Nothing crazy, just be mindful where you put your feet. It’s a hike after all and not a walk.

Some notes

  • I’d skip the part along the north face of the Ellhorn. Maybe head north another dirt road or two along the Rhine and then double back. That’s probably nicer.
  • Once your up on the meadows you can take a sidetrip to the Ellhorn and along the ridge.