Rappenstein is a peak located in the small country of Liechtenstein, about 1.75 miles north of the border with Switzerland and the large Falknis-Grauspitz
ridge. From the Rheintal, Rappenstein has quite a large appearance and strikes an impressive pose in a spiraling array of rock that towers almost 6000 vertical feet above the valley floor. The valley side, or west side, of the peak is thus very steep and craggy. The east side of the peak is comprised of lovely, mellow, grassy slopes that grace the peak in perfect Alpine style. Trails in the area are abundant, and the Rappenstein can be bagged during a pleasant outing involving as little as a 10 km/900 meter day, or during a strenuous peakbagging spree, with much more distance and elevation gain. It's your choice! Even by way of the easiest trail (described below), you can tag up to three bonus peaks on the trail en route to the Rappenstein: Heubüal (1936 meters), Kolme (1993 meters), and Goldlochspitz (2110 meters).
Rappenstein from the north.
There is one trail that leads to the summit, and it leaves from a junction located about 1/4 mile north of the summit. yet there are many ways to approach this trail junction. See "Getting There" section for more info.
The summit is topped with a large cross and provides very good views in every direction, especially south, where the north faces of the Naafkopf, Schwarzhorn
, and Falknis are clearly visible.
View from the Valley Floor.
Rappenstein can be approached by quite a few different locations. The simplest way of obtaining the summit (as well as the most feasible way up in winter) is by way of the "Ridge Trail" (note: this isn't actually called Ridge Trail, it's just the trail that follows the long ridge to the Rappenstein in a north-south direction). A good place to start from would be Kulm, which is located just at the top of the ridge at the old tunnel, a bit north and higher from the new tunnel. To get to Kulm from Vaduz area, take the road towards Triesenberg, Steg, and Malbun. Liechtenstein has excellent signage and getting lost is very hard to do. Take the windy road up the hill, though the town of Triesenberg, and up towards the ridge. Take a left on the signed Kulmstrasse and follow this narrow, one lane winding road up the mountain to a very VERY narrow tunnel (this was the old tunnel before the newer, nearly two lane tunnel was built. Find a place to park that isn't blocking the road. If you wander through the tunnel to the east entrance of it, you will see a sign for the Rappenstein pointing south. Take this path and it will deposit you onto the ridge and the main trail. Follow this trail south along the ridge for about 5 km to the Rappenstein. The trail is very clearly marked with painted rocks and wood posts (a red stripe in the middle of two white stripes). The Rappenstein will come into view as you crest Heubüal. Re trace your steps back from the summit. This will end up being about 10 km round trip with close to 1000 meters of elevation gain.
Trails from the west will provide a much more involved hike, with close to 2000 meters of gain in a rather long distance. Most of these will involve tedious road walking up the Lawenatal, a large, but very scenic forested valley to the southwest of the peak. Follow signs to the Rappenstein. Though this may seem like sub-par route descriptions, the trails in the area are so very well marked and signed that further explanation is not needed.
Though Liechtenstein trails are very well marked, a trail map of the country is still a good thing to have. One can be bought in any of the larger town in the Rheintal.
Rough camping is looked down upon in the back country of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There are spots in the forests where you could camp and get away with it, but this really isn't a backpacking destination. There are several developed campgrounds in the Rheintal, and these provide what you'd expect from such establishments.