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Bärenkopf Peak Hike: Best Lake Achensee Viewpoint, Tyrol, Austria

Bärenkopf (Bear’s Head) is a panoramic summit in the Karwendel Mountains of Tyrol, Austria.

Rising to the south of Lake Achensee, Bärenkopf (1991 m) affords a bird’s-eye view of the narrow, fjord-shaped strip of water that’s cradled between the Karwendel and Rofan mountains. In fact, Bärenkopf is the only place where you can see the whole lake.

Measuring 9-km-long and 1.3 km-wide, Lake Achensee is the largest lake in Tyrol and one of the most beautiful summer holiday destinations in Austria

This Bärenkopf loop hike starts atop Zwölferkopf mountain, easily accessible with the Karwendel-Bergbahn cableway. The cableway valley station is located in Pertisau, Achensee.  

From Zwölferkopf, it takes nearly 2 hours to hike to Bärenkopf peak. This is a great half-day excursion to do when visiting Lake Achensee, or on your way to, or from Innsbruck.

If you’re planning a road trip route through Germany and Austria and you want to visit this mountain lake, read our 10-Day Bavarian Alps and Tyrolean Alps itinerary.

Bärenkopf Summit, Lake Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Bärenkopf Hiking Map

Zwölferkopf to Bärenkopf Circuit Trail Description

Karwendel-Bergbahn Mountain Station to Bärenbadalm (15 minutes)

Karwendel-Bergbahn Mountain Station, Zwölferkopf, Lake Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Follow the sign to Bärenkopf (2 hours) and Bärenbadalm (30 minutes). Though the sign indicates 30 minutes to Bärenbadalm, it only takes 15 minutes. 

The wide gravel road leads to the managed Bärenbadalm (1447 m), located on a 113 hectare mountain pasture, grazed by 20 dairy cows and 15 calves in the Alp season. The hut was built 200 years ago. 

Bärenbadalm to Bärenkopf (1:30 minutes)

Bärenbadalm mountain pasture hut, Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

The red-white-red waymarked dirt path ascends a grassy slope and leads into the forest. 

As you ascend, views open up to Kaserjochspitze, Larchkarlkopf, Sonnjoch, Gamsjoch, Dristenkopf, Schaufelspitz, and many other Karwendel peaks. 

Above the timberline, the trail continues across a high-alpine landscape of open, dwarf pine meadows. 

Bärenkopf hiking trail, Karwendel Mountains, Austria

At the signed intersection, take the left trail to Bärenkopf. You’ll return to this point after hiking to the summit. 

The path wraps around the rugged south flank of Bärenkopf. After scrambling through a rocky crevice, follow the easy, cable-secured trail along a wide ledge. 

Bärenkopf hiking trail, scramble, Tyrol, Austria

The trail crests the wide grassy ridge of Bärenkopf. Follow the dirt trail to the highest point, marked with a summit cross (1991 m).

Bärenkopf Ridge, Tyrol, Austria

Atop Bärenkopf, you can see the Hohe Tauern, Zillertal Alps, and Oetztal Alps to the south. 

The best viewpoint of Lake Achensee is located a few meters north of the summit cross, at a lower elevation.

Bärenkopf peak, viewpoint of fjord-shaped Lake Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

From this pine-rimmed vantage point, the L-shaped Achensee stretches to the north between the Karwendel mountains and the Rofan buildings.

Bärenkopf is the only place where you can see the entire length of Lake Achensee. 

Bärenkopf to Weißenbachsattel (40 minutes)

Bärenkopf to Weissenbachsattel hiking trail, Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Return to the signed junction and follow the sign to Weissenbachsattel.

A very pleasant trail descends across meadows to reach the Weissenbach saddle (1693 m). 

Hiking to the Weissenbach saddle, Achensee, Austria

Weissenbachsattel – Bärenbadalm – Karwendel-Bergbahn Mountain Station (50 minutes)

At the saddle, turn right to Bärenbadalm.

The trail descends amid stands of larch and spruce. Narrow stretches of the path are secured with fixed cables. 

From the Bärenbadalm hut, follow the familiar gravel road to the Karwendel-Bergbahn mountain station. 

Where to Stay around Lake Achensee

We recommend staying in Pertisau, or Maurach. Achenkirch is also another option, but further away from the lakeshore. Most accommodations in Achensee are midrange to luxury.

If you’re looking for a budget stay, check out nearby Camping Inntal and Gästehaus Waldrand Garni in Wiesing.


Hotel Auszeit, Pertisau, Achensee, Austria
Hotel Auszeit

Pertisau is the main tourist center of Lake Achensee. The village is located on the southwestern bank of the lake along the border of Karwendel Nature Park. Pertisau is also the gateway to three alpine valleys that lead into the Karwendel Mountains: Gerntal, Tristenautal, and Falzthurntal. These valleys serve as trailheads, cycling paths, and grazing areas. 

Midrange | Seehotel St. Hubertus is a top-rated hotel with a private beach, on-site restaurant, and wellness area. 

Midrange | Hotel Bergland is a traditional Tyrolean hotel with an on-site restaurant. All rooms have balconies. Guests love the location, the friendly staff, and the food. 

Adults-only Luxury | The chic, 4-star Hotel Auszeit pampers guests with its relaxing spa facilities (4 modern saunas, relaxing room, outdoor pool, sun garden), beautiful rooms, scenic setting, and excellent breakfast. Read our Hotel Auszeit Hotel Review.

Adults-only Luxury | Seehotel Einwaller – adults only impresses with its stylish rooms, lake-facing wellness area, à la carte restaurant, and scenic lakeside location. In summer, guests can enjoy the hotel’s private pier, furnished with comfortable sunbeds and umbrellas. Expect an excellent breakfast. Read our Seehotel Einwaller Hotel Review.

Luxury | NOVA Moments Boutique Hotel is a 4-star hotel with 34 air-conditioned rooms and suites, all tastefully furnished in an elegant, alpine-modern style. The hotel is set in a quiet location, 900 meters away from the lakeshore. Hotel facilities include an outdoor natural pool (open in summer), infinity whirlpool (open all-year-round), sauna, steam-bath, wellness relaxation room, garage parking with electric car charging stations, and fitness room. 

Family-friendly Luxury | Hotel Wagnerhof is a half board (breakfast and dinner included) hotel with traditional Tyrolean-style rooms as well as plush, modern suites. Surrounded by meadows, this lovely accommodation boasts 3 swimming pools, a spa, and fitness center. 

More accommodations in Pertisau | Das Karwendel (luxury) or Travel Charme Fürstenhaus am Achensee (lakeside luxury)

Look for accommodation in Pertisau.


Maurach is located on the south side of Lake Achensee, 4.5 km away from Pertisau (8 minute drive). Home to the Rofanbahn cableway, Maurach is the main starting point for excursions in the Rofan mountains. 

Budget-Midrange | Hotel-Café-Restaurant Klingler is a family-run hotel in the heart of Maurach village with an on-site café, fitness center, and newly renovated rooms.  

Midrange | Hotel-Pension Huber-Hochland is a traditional half board hotel. Guests have access to a small wellness area, which includes an indoor pool, steam bath, Finnish sauna, and infrared cabin. 

Luxury | The 4-star Hotel St.Georg zum See is an alpine-chic hotel with spacious rooms, modern wellness facilities, and a gourmet half-board offering (rich breakfast buffet and 5-course dinner). 

More accommodations in Maurach | Arthur’s Hotel und Apartments am Achensee (midrange) or Frühstückshotel Margret (midrange)

Look for accommodation in Maurach.

Discover More of Achensee and Tyrol

Lake Achensee:


Austria Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Austria Travel Guide and Austria blog archive to plan a unique and memorable trip to Austria. 

When to Visit Austria 

Summer and early Fall are our favorite seasons in Austria. 

Getting around Austria

Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing hut-to-hut hikes. 

Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle. 

If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across Austria, we recommend renting a car. 

Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:

Car Rental 

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here

If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border. 

Hiking in Austria

Where to Hike in Austria

Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:

Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria 

Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. We’ve summarized our favorite multi-day hikes in Trekking Austria. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.

Hiking Essentials

What to See & Do in Austria

Austrian Hotels

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

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