Berlin High Trail – Hut to Hut Hike in the Zillertal Alps, Tyrol, Austria

Berlin High Trail, Zillertal Alps Trek

The Berlin High Trail (Berliner Höhenweg, or Zillertaler Runde in German) is a multi-day hiking trail in Tyrol, Austria. This gorgeous alpine route showcases the finest alpine and glacier vistas of the Zillertal Alps. It’s an extraordinary adventure replete with challenging ascents and descents, rustic and grand mountain huts, and unforgettable glacier and lake views. This trail is best undertaken by experienced hikers, as there are some difficult passages along the route and some demanding descents.

The traditional Berlin High Trail is an 8-day trek. Upon the recommendation of the Zillertal Tourism Board, we started the trek at Schlegeisspeicher (Schlegeis Reservoir) instead of Finkenberg. Because of dangerous weather conditions, we had to descend early. So, we concluded the Berlin Höhenweg in Stilluptal Valley, instead of Mayrhofen. You can customize your Berliner Höhenweg trek to your own timeframe and needs, starting and ending wherever you want. 

Which Direction Should I Hike the Berlin High Trail

You can hike the Berlin High Trail in either direction.

Berlin High Trail 5 Day Hut to Hut Hiking Route

  • Day 1: (Mayrhofen) – Schlegeisspeicher – Friesenberghaus – Olpererhütte (5 hours, 9.8 km)
  • Day 2: Olpererhütte – Furtschaglhaus (5.5 hours, 13.2 km)
  • Day 3: Furtschaglhaus – Berliner Hütte (6.5 hours, 8.2 km)
  • Day 4: Berliner Hütte – Greizer Hütte (6.5 hours, 10.8 km)
  • Day 5: Greizer Hütte – Kasseler Hütte (6 hours, 10.1 km) / Greizer Hütte – Grüne Wand Hütte (5 hours, 8 km)
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Berlin High Trail - Hut to Hut Hike in Austria

Berlin High Trail Guide Overview

  • Where are the Zillertal Alps
  • Berlin High Trail Route Map
  • Tips for Hiking Hut to Hut in Austria: discounts, reservations, budget, insurance
  • Arrival Day in Mayrhofen: Transit, Where to Stay
  • Stages 1 – 5 Explained: stage overview, where to stay
  • Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List: sleeping bag liner, polarized sunglasses, etc…
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Berliner Höhenweg, Zillertal Alps, Austria - Trekking guide

Where are the Zillertal Alps

The Zillertal Alps are located in Tyrol, Austria, and South Tyrol, Italy. They are situated between the Tux Alps, Kitzbühel Alps, Venediger group, Rieserferner group, the Dolomites, and the Stubai Alps. The best base for exploring the Zillertal Alps is the town of Mayrhofen in Zillertal (Valley). 


Berlin High Trail Hiking Route Map

Berlin High Trail Stages
  • Places to stay before/after the trek
  • Berlin High Trail Stage 1
  • Berlin High Trail Stage 2
  • Berlin High Trail Stage 3
  • Berlin High Trail Stage 4
  • Berlin High Trail Stage 5
Olpererhütte - mountain refuge along the Berlin High Trail, Zillertal Alps, Austria

Tips for Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria

Responsible Travel in the Zillertal Alps Nature Park

The Zillertal Alps are a protected area. During your visit, adhere to these rules:

  • Respect the habitats of animals and plants. Picking, or removing flowers, plants, and rocks is not allowed.
  • Wild camping is illegal. 
  • Take all garbage back with you down to the valley. Leave no trace.
  • Stay on the designated hiking trail.
  • Do not make loud noises (e.g. playing music loudly).

Make Reservations for Mountain Huts

  • It’s important to make reservations for overnight stays at least 3-4 weeks in advance.
  • For most mountain huts, you can choose between sleeping in a shared-dormitory room (“lager”) or a private room.
  • You can make reservations for some huts online using an online reservation platform. For others, you can make reservations by email, or phone. If you’re calling internationally, we recommend calling via Skype. You’ll have to buy credit (on Skype) in order to make the call.

Here are the websites / online reservation forms (“Reservierung,” “Reservierungsanfrage” or “Buchung” in German) of the mountain huts mentioned in this guide:

Become a member of an Alpine Club

  • You’ll get a significant discount on your overnight stay if you present your alpine club membership card. There are tons of alpine clubs throughout Europe, so just confirm with the hut owner whether your alpine club is accepted.
  • We’re members of the Österreichischen Alpenverein (Austrian Alpine Club), and so we received discounts on all mountain huts operated by both the Austrian Alpine Club and the German Alpine Club along the Venediger High Alpine Trail.

Get Hiking Insurance

For peace of mind on the trail, make sure you have hiking travel insurance. When you have World Nomads insurance, you’ll get emergency medical insurance, emergency medical transportation, gear protection (in case of theft, loss, or damage) and trip protection (in case of cancellation). 

Learn more about hiking insurance here.

Buy a Zillertal Alps Hiking Map

Bring enough Cash and Budget for 60 EUR per person per day

Note: budget an additional 20 EUR per day if you don’t have an alpine club membership card.

  • Dormitory Mattress (Lager): 12 EUR with Alpine Club Membership. 20 – 23 EUR without Alpine Club Membership.
  • Private room (2-beds): 22+ EUR per person with Alpine Club Membership. 33+ EUR per person without Alpine Club Membership.
  • Breakfast Buffet: 12 – 14 EUR
  • Half Board (Dinner & Breakfast): 28 EUR – 34 EUR per person.
  • Beer & Wine: 4.50 EUR+

Pack a Sleeping Bag Liner and …

Read our complete hut to hut hiking packing list.

Bring Snacks

We recommend bringing several snacks with you (trail mix, energy bars, crackers, etc…). You have very limited lunch options (mountain huts on route) on this trek.

Day 1: Each lunch at Friesenberghaus mountain hut.

Day 2: Eat lunch at Zamsereck, or Fischerhütte.

Day 3: Bring a snack, or request a packaged lunch.

Day 4: Bring a snack, or request a packaged lunch.

Day 5: Bring a snack, or request a packaged lunch.

Grosser Möseler and Breitnock peaks, Zillertal Alps - Berlin High Trail trekking guide

Arrival Day in Mayrhofen, Tyrol

The town of Mayrhofen is the best place to stay before and after hiking the Berlin High Trail. You’ll have plenty of dining and accommodation options. Furthermore, there are a number of outdoor sports stores in town. So, if you need to buy gear before the trek, you’ll have loads of options.

Read Next: Things to do in Mayrhofen in Summer

How to get to Mayrhofen (Public Transit)

The easiest way to get to Mayrhofen is to take a train to Jenbach Bahnhof. From Jenbach, take the Zillertalbahn (Zillertal Train) to Mayrhofen in Zillertal.

Where to Stay in Mayrhofen

Budget | Landhotel Rauchenwalderhof is a cozy and traditional guesthouse in Mayrhofen with an attractive price point. Guests love the location, outdoor swimming pool, and hospitality. Breakfast is included.

Mid-Range | We highly recommend staying in the 4-star Alpenhotel Kramerwirt, a mere 4-minute walk from the Mayrhofen Bahnhof (train/bus station). Centrally located and delightfully traditional, this family-run hotel is a lovely place to stay in Mayrhofen.

We stayed in Kramerwirt’s spacious and divinely comfortable Superior Room. It’s rare that Kati and I will spend hours in our hotel room. But, we did here. As the afternoon sun streamed into our spacious room, we spent a few hours reading and napping. The bedding was luscious! The long balcony runs the length of the rooms, giving you plenty of room to relax outside as well. The room is also equipped with a “breakfast-style nook,” fridge, and safe.

Another highlight of our stay was Kramerwirt’s bountiful breakfast buffet. It’s endless and leaves you in want for nothing. You’ll be greeted with tables of sliced cheeses and meats, freshly baked bread, eggs and bacon, fruits and yogurts, and cakes and pastries.

Luxury | Alpin Lodge das Zillergrund is a stunning family-run hotel with a marvelous spa and wellness center and an on-site Tyrolean restaurant. Bedrooms are spacious, extremely comfortable, and immaculately clean. Your breakfast and dinner (half board) are included in the room rate. There’s no better place to relax and rejuventate after a demanding trek.

Look for accommodation in Mayrhofen.

Suspension Bridge Olpererhütte, Zillertal Alps

Berlin High Trail Stage 1

Getting to the Trailhead

From Mayrhofen, head back to the train station (Mayrhofen Bahnhof). Local buses depart just outside the train station. Take bus 4102 to Schlegeisspeicher reservoir (also written Schlegeis Stausee). There are about 7 buses that depart each day, starting at 7:55 a.m. (as of Summer 2019). We paid 9.20 EUR per person for a one-way ticket. The ride lasts about 50 minutes. 

When you arrive at Schlegeis Stausee, head to Dominikushütte mountain hut. The trail to Friesenberghaus begins here. 

Day 1: (Mayrhofen) – Schlegeis Stausee (1,785 m) – Friesenberghaus (2,500 m) – Olpererhütte (2,389 m)

  • Distance: 9.8 km total
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Altitude Difference: 820 meters ascending, 250 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 4.5 – 5 hours

Schlegeisspeicher, Hiking to Olperer mountain hut, Berlin High Trail, Austrian Alps

From the bus drop-off point, head to Dominkushütte (in the direction of the tunnel). Before reaching Dominikushütte, you’ll see a signed intersection indicating right towards Friesenberghaus (signed 2 hours) along Trail #532. The narrow trail ascends gently. You’ll cross a river via a wood plank and continue through the forest. Eventually, you’ll cross a marshy meadow over wooden planks. The views open up and you’ll see Schlegeis Stausee. The trail continues to ascend to Friesenberghaus. 

Atmospheric and cozy, Friesenberghaus is a perfect place for lunch. The hut staff is swift and friendly, and the food is very good.

After lunch, you’ll descend a few meters from the hut in the direction of Friesenbergsee lake. After a water crossing, you’ll start a steep 170 m ascent. It looks more daunting than it is – you’re not going all the way to the top.

The trail levels and you’ll hike along a breathtaking balcony trail to Olpererhütte (1 hour and 15 min). This stretch of the Berliner Höhenweg is remarkable, as you’ll have continuous views of the Schlegeis Stausee below cradled by 3000+ m peaks. Shortly before reaching the Olpererhütte, you’ll hike across that Instagram-famous suspension bridge.

Stay in Olpererhütte

  • Showers: 3 EUR for a 4 min shower
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Readily available in rooms
  • Payment: Credit cards and cash are accepted
  • Food: Good. They have an excellent wine list, which is rare to find in a mountain hut.
  • Half Board or à la carte: We recommend opting for à la carte. The half-board portions were really small.
  • Rooms: The hut offers shared rooms for 4 people and shared rooms for 8 people.

Olperer mountain hut / Olpererhütte, Berlin High Trail, Austria

The perfectly positioned Olpererhütte boasts the best view of Schlegeis Stausee, Schlegeiskees glacier, and Grosser Möseler (3,478 m), and Breitnock (3,215 m). Resident goats and chickens parade around the hut to the great amusement of all visitors. With large window panels, the interior dining room allows you to experience the beauty of the alps at any time of day.

Overall, this is a great hut. However, the hut management was very frazzled and disorganized during our stay. We had to wait 40 minutes to check-in because the hut “Chef” (boss) was out on a walk with her dog and no one else was allowed to check us in. That’s one of our biggest pet peeves with Austrian-run businesses. Managers and bosses don’t allocate enough tasks and responsibilities to their employees, making things slow and inefficient. 

Glacier views from Furtschaglhaus, Berliner Höhenweg, Zillertal, Austria

Berlin High Trail Stage 2

Day 2: Olpererhütte (2,389 m) – Neumarkter Runde – Schlegeis Stausee (1,785 m) – Furtschaglhaus (2,295 m)

  • Distance: 13.2 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Altitude Difference: 510 m ascending, 604 m descending 
  • Time Needed: 5.5 hours

On Day 2 of your Berlin High Trail, you can decide to hike down to Schlegeis Stausee directly (1.5 hours), or via the 3-hour Neumarkter Runde. We recommend taking the longer route because it’s a more interesting descent.

The Neumarkter Runde continues more or less along that balcony trail you hiked yesterday. The focal point is still the Stausee below. The trail crosses a meadow and ascends to a Virgin Mary statue. It then levels for a while before dropping down a stone staircase-like trail. You’re heading down to the river (1 hour 15 min from start).

Neumarkter Runde, Berlin High Trail, Zillertal Alps, Austria

Once you cross the river over a wooden plank, you’ll see a signed intersection indicating 1.5 hours to Schlegeis Stausee along Trail 535. The trail continuously descends, following the curvature of the river.

As the trail nears the lake, you’ll cross a parking lot and walk over a bridge. Continue to the lake. Here, you’ll have two options for lunch: Zamsereck or Fischerhütte. We can highly recommend the smoked trout (Forelle geräuchert) – freshly caught from the lake – at Fischerhütte. You can skip their Kaiserschmarrn.

From here, it’s 2.5 hours to Furtschaglhaus. You’ll continue walking the flat path (more like a road) around the lake. After crossing a concrete walkway, you’ll turn right and hike along the Schlegeisbach river. The trail to Furtschaglhaus will ultimately cut left, leaving the gravel road. The trail to the hut is steep, but not technical. When you arrive, you’re surrounded by a wall of rock and ice.

Furtschaglhaus, Berliner High Trail mountain hut, Zillertal, Austria

Stay in Furtschaglhaus

  • Showers: 3.50 EUR for a 3 min shower
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: There’s a charging station in the dining room
  • Payment: Cash only
  • Food: Okay
  • Half Board or à la carte: If the hut is at full capacity, we recommend opting for half board. Not only will you get priority (eat first), but you’ll also get to eat inside. We ordered from the à la carte menu and weren’t served until after they were done serving those receiving half board. Furthermore, waiting outside and then eating outside in the cold was really uncomfortable.
  • Rooms: Lager or shared-bedrooms available.

Facing glaciated mountains, Furtschaglhaus’ outdoor terrace is a wonderful place to unwind, drink a beer, and socialize with fellow hikers. When we visited, there were tons of mountaineers at the hut, ready to summit the surrounding peaks. The hut is excellently managed.

Berliner Hütte, Berlin High Trail trekking guide, Tyrol, Austria

Berlin High Trail Stage 3

Day 3: Furtschaglhaus (2,295 m) – Schönbichler Horn (3,134 m) – Berliner Hütte (2,044 m)

  • Distance: 8.2 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Altitude Difference: 900 meters ascending, 1,060 meters descending
  • Time Needed: 6.5 hours 

Ascent to Schönbichler Horn, Berlin High Trail Hiking Guide - Austrian Alps Trek

This is an epic day along the Berlin High Trail and hands down one of the most beautiful trails in the Alps. You’ll be completely engrossed visually and physically.

This stage begins with a steep ascent to Schönbichler Horn peak (2 hours) characterized by tight switchbacks and increasingly uneven terrain. The final stretch to the peak is secured with ropes.

The initial descent from the peak is well-secured with more ropes. It looks intimidating, but you’ll feel quite safe. Surrounded by glaciers, falling ridgelines and peaks in every direction, the views are sensational. White glacial ice bleeds into slate-colored rocks, which in turn bleed into grassy-green slopes.

Hiking the Berlin High Trail (Berliner Höhenweg) in Austria - Everything you need to know

Following the mountain ridge, you’ll continue to descend. The trail gets easier as you progress. Eventually, you’ll see Berliner Hütte and the Zemmegrund Valley. As you lose elevation, it looks like a river is spilling out of the Berliner mountain hut. As you follow another ridge above the Waxeggbach River, the trail gets increasingly uneven. The path ultimately divides. Left leads you to Waxeggalm and the Alpenrose mountain hut. Right leads you across the Waxeggbach River and to the Berliner hut. After the river crossing, it’s an easy 30-minute hike to the hut. You’ll walk across a gated bridge shortly before reaching the grandest refuge in the Alps.

Berliner Hütte, tips for hiking the Berlin High Trail in Austria

Stay in Berliner Hütte

  • Showers: 3 EUR for a 3 min shower
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: In rooms
  • Payment: Cash only
  • Food: Excellent
  • Half Board or à la carte: Both options are great. The salad buffet is wonderful. If you don’t opt for half board, you can still get a plate of salad for 5 EUR. We went with à la carte, so that we could order scrambled eggs for breakfast (instead of another bread heavy breakfast).
  • Rooms: Lager rooms and private rooms available.

The Berliner Hütte is an experience in and of itself. The wood-paneled dining room with its high ceilings and wooden chandeliers is both grand and rustic. It looks like the perfect setting for a salacious murder mystery, set in the turn of the 20th century.

Greizer Hut, Berlin High Trail Hiking Guide (Berliner Höhenweg) - Austrian Alps hut to hut hike

Berlin High Trail Stage 4

Day 4: Berliner Hütte – (2,044 m) – Schwarzsee (2,472 m) – Mörchenscharte (2,872 m) – Greizer Hütte (2,227 m)

  • Distance: 10.8 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Altitude Difference: 1,235 meters ascending, 1,110 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 6 – 6.5 hours

Schwarzsee, Berliner Höhenweg, Zillertal AlpsThe trail starts out really gently. You’ll ascend to Schwarzsee (Black Lake) along trail 502 in about 1.5 hours. This is another profoundly beautiful segment of the Berlin High Trail.

After passing the lake, the trail suddenly steepens. But unlike yesterday, there’s more variation in grade, so the ascent to Mörchenscharte isn’t as taxing as the one to Schönbichler Horn.

As you near Mörchenscharte ridge, you’ll hike across a field of boulders. The landscape is foreboding and sinister, especially when it’s overcast. They really ought to rename Mörchenscharte something more dramatic like “secret gate to Hell,” or “the Devil’s passage.” The final stretch to the Scharte (ridge) is very steep.

Ascent to Mörchenscharte, Berliner Höhenweg / Berlin High Trail hiking guide, Austria

When we reached Mörchenscharte, the fog-filled up the valley like water in a bathtub. As we descended from the ridge, it felt like we were dipping into a pool of nothingness. The initial descent is secured with ropes. But after, the switchbacks are very steep and slippery. This is the only place that felt a bit precarious along the Berliner Höhenweg. Be careful.

The trail does get easier. You’ll follow a number of switchbacks and hike down two additional secured sections before reaching the valley floor. It took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to hike from Mörchenscharte to the Mörchenklammbach river. Next, you’ll cross the width of the valley, including Mörchenklammbach river and Floitenbach river.

After the water crossings, it’s a 1-hour ascent to Greizer Hütte. You’ll likely smell the homemade cooking of the hut well before you arrive. We arrived soaking wet, having hiked for a few hours in rain. As soon as we stripped off our wet clothes, we settled into the cozy hut and ate up the entire menu, including their homemade Apfel Strudel.

at Greizer mountain hut, Berliner Höhenweg

Stay in Greizer Hütte

  • Showers: None
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: There are a few outlets throughout the hut
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Food: Excellent
  • Half Board or à la carte: Both options are great.
  • Rooms: Lager and private rooms available. The lager is very tight, so this would be a place to get your own room.

Surrounded by glaciers and tumbling water in every direction, Greizer mountain hut feels removed from the rest of the world. Adorned with red-heart-patterned curtains, the wooden interior is perfectly charming. And there a few proud goats roaming about outside. We loved everything about this moutain refuge.

Stilluptal Valley, Berlin High Trail

Berlin High Trail Stage 5

Day 5: Greizer Hütte (2,227 m) – Lapenscharte (2,701 m) – Kasseler Hütte (2,178 m)

  • Distance: 10.1 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult (depending on weather)
  • Altitude Difference: 650 meters ascending, 700 meters descending
  • Time Needed: 6 hours

This is the traditional Berlin High Trail stage. As mentioned in the intro, we decided to descend to Stilluptal Valley early, because of the horrible weather and forecast.

From Greizer Hütte, it’s a moderate ascent to Lapenscharte ridge (1.5 hours). The initial descent from the ridge isn’t overly difficult. But, you’ll cross a slope of boulders, which can be tricky to navigate at times. After descending from the Lapenscharte for about an hour, you’ll reach a signed intersection. You can go left to Grüne Wand Hütte (1.5 hours), a mountain hut in Stilluptal Valley, or continue right and straight to Kassler Hütte (3 hours).

Greizer Hut Chickens, Zillertal Alps - Berliner Höhenweg Hiking Guide

Alternative Day 5: Greizer Hütte (2,227 m) – Lapenscharte (2,701 m) – Grünen Wand Hütte (1,438 m) / Stilliptal Valley

  • Distance: 7-8 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult (depending on weather)
  • Altitude Difference: 563 meters ascending,1328 meters descending
  • Time Needed: 5 hours

Grüne Wand mountain hut dinner, Stilluptal, Austria

We descended to Grünen Wand Hütte in the pouring rain. IT WAS MISERABLE. On a sunny day, this descent is long and steep, but not difficult. In the rain, the rocks (forming the pathway) are impossibly slippery, so you have to avoid them at all costs. We were exhausted when we finally made it to the valley.

If you decide to exit the Berlin High Trail at Stilluptal Valley, you have a few options. You can:

  1. Spend the night at Grüner Wand Hütte.
  2. Eat lunch at Grüner Wand Hütte and continue walking down the Stilluptal Valley to Gasthof Wasserfall (guesthouse and restaurant). From the Gasthof Wasserfall, you can hop on a bus to Mayrhofen.
  3. Eat lunch at Grüner Wand Hütte and take a taxi from the hut directly to Mayrhofen (10 EUR per person).

We stayed at Grüner Wand Hütte. It wasn’t a problem that we didn’t have a reservation. In fact, we were the only overnight guests. The food was phenomenal!! And, we were really happy to have a private room after so many nights in lagers. If we didn’t have a train booked for the next day (and if it wasn’t pouring), we probably would have just continued to Mayrhofen.

Grüne Wand private room, Zillertal Alps, Austria

Stay in Grüner Wand Hütte

  • Showers: Free
  • Drinking Water: Tap Water
  • Electronic Charging Stations: In Rooms
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Food: Excellent
  • Half Board or à la carte: It’s 28 EUR per person for a double room or 25 EUR per person for a “lager” room. Your room rate includes breakfast.
  • Rooms: Lager, or Private Rooms
Goats at Olperer Hütte, Zillertal Alps, Austria - Berlin High Trail Packing List

Hiking in the Alps - Resources

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Berliner Höhenweg - Hut to Hut Hike in Austria
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