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Karwendel High Trail, Tirol, Austria

Karwendel High Trail Hiking Guide

The Karwendel High Trail (Karwendel Höhenweg in German) is a 6-stage hut-to-hut hiking trail in the Karwendel Mountains in Tirol, Austria. This high alpine route encompasses thrilling peak summits, impressive balcony trails, riverside walking, and countless ascents and descents. This hike will satiate your alpine-wanderlust and your thirst for strenuous hiking days. Each stage ends in a cozy mountain refuge, where you can unwind, relax, and eat delicious Tirolean food.

Measuring 60 kilometers and 7000 meters of total elevation gain and loss, this rigorous 6-day-hike requires stamina and good conditioning. It’s essential to have high-cut hiking boots and hiking poles for this route.

Karwendel High Trail: East to West

  • Day 1: Scharnitz – Hallerangerhaus (19.3 km, 5:30 hours)
  • Day 2: Hallerangerhaus – Speckkarspitze – Bettelwurfhütte (8.3 km, 6:30 hours)
  • Day 3: Bettelwurfhütte – Stempeljochspitze – Pfeishütte (10.4 km, 6 hours)
  • Day 4: Pfeishütte – Solsteinhaus (16.5 km, 9 hours)
  • Day 5: Solsteinhaus – Nördlinger Hütte (6.7 km, 4 hours)
  • Day 6: Nördlinger Hütte – Reith bei Seefeld (6.5 km, 3:30 hours)

When can you hike the Karwendel High Trail in Austria?

July, August, or September. 

Responsible Travel in Naturpark Karwendel 

While hiking in the Karwendel Mountains, keep in mind that you’re visiting a protected area. Please adhere to the following rules:

  • Camping is strictly forbidden.
  • Stay on marked trails only.
  • Do not disturb wildlife.
  • Do not pick plants or flowers.
  • Do not make loud noises on the trail (or play music).
  • Keep a safe distance from grazing animals.

Our Karwendel High Trail Trek was compensated in part by Naturpark Karwendel.

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Karwendel High Trail, Tirol, Austria - 6 Day Hut to Hut Hiking Trail

Karwendel High Trail Hiking Guide Overview

  • Karwendel High Trail Difficulty 
  • Karwendel Hiking Gear
  • Karwendel High Trail Route Map
  • Arrival Day in Seefeld: Transit, Where to Stay
  • How to Get to the Trailhead 
  • Stages 1 – 6  Explained: stage overview, where to stay
Planning a trip to Austria? Read these guides next:
More Austria Hiking Routes

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Mandlscharte, Karwendel High Trail, Karwendel Mountains, Tirol, Austria

Karwendel High Trail Difficulty

How difficult is the Karwendel High Trail?

Each stage varies in difficulty.

Stage 1: Scharnitz – Hallerangerhaus: EASY. The entire route follows a wide gravel track.

Stage 2: Hallerangerhaus – Bettelwurfhütte: MODERATE. You can make this stage more challenging by adding the summit hike to Speckkarspitze Peak. The descent from the peak to Lafatscher Joch initially follows a very narrow and exposed ridgeline. You have to be extremely surefooted and not at all afraid of heights to tackle this ridge route.

Stage 3: Bettelwurfhütte – Pfeishütte: MODERATE. You can make Stage 3 longer and more interesting by adding the hike to Stempeljochspitze Peak. We highly recommend ascending to Stempeljochspitze from Stempeljoch on fair weather days. It’s not difficult, but highly rewarding.

Stage 4: Pfeishütte – Solsteinhaus: DIFFICULT. This is the most challenging Karwendel High Trail stage, because of its length (8 – 10 hours) and numerous ascending and descending passages. The descent from Frau Hitt Saddle is particularly challenging because of the unstable terrain (steep and slippery scree slope).

Stage 5: Solsteinhaus – Nördlinger Hütte: MODERATELY DIFFICULT. There are some very narrow segments along stage 5, where the trail has been washed out. This stage requires surefootedness and confidence along tight/narrow footpaths.

Stage 6: Nördlinger Hütte – Reith bei Seefeld: EASY – MODERATE 

Karwendel High Trail: Packing List

Karwendel High Trail Hiking Gear

What to pack for the Karwendel High Trail

Read our full Hut to Hut Hiking Packing List for a comprehensive list of things to pack for this hike. 

 

Photography Gear for Hiking the Karwendel High Trail

 
Sunrise, Inntal Valley, View from the Karwendel Mountains

Karwendel High Trail Map

Karwendel High Trail Stages
  • Places to stay before/after the trek
  • Karwendel Stage 1
  • Karwendel Stage 2
  • Karwendel Stage 3
  • Karwendel Stage 4
  • Karwendel Stage 5
  • Karwendel Stage 6
Wellness Hotel Schönruh Seefeld in Tirol

Arrival Day in Seefeld, Tirol

How to get to Seefeld in Tirol

  • From Austria. You can take a direct train from Innsbruck, Austria, to Seefeld in Tirol. Transit Time: 37 minutes.
  • From Germany. You can take a direct train from Munich, Germany, to Seefeld in Tirol. Transit Time: 2 hours 11 minutes.

Book your train ticket to Seefeld in Tirol.

 

Where to Stay in Seefeld in Tirol

We stayed at Wellnesshotel Schönruh, a traditional, adults-only, 4-star hotel in Seefeld, before and after our Karwendel High Trail trek. Here’s what we loved about this hotel:

  • Shuttle pick-up. If you communicate your time of arrival, they’ll pick you up form the train/bus station. While it’s only a 7-minute walk to the hotel, if you have luggage (like we did), it’s really nice to have a pick-up.
  • 3/4 Pension. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the room rate. Hut to hut hiking is strenuous, and the last thing we want to do is figure out where to eat before and/or after the hike. By having all our meals in the hotel, it makes our overall experience more relaxing.
  • Sauna & Wellness Area. There are 2 steam saunas, 2 dry saunas, 2 relaxation rooms, an indoor pool, an indoor whirlpool, and an outdoor natural swimming pond. Some rooms even have en-suite saunas.
  • Adults only. Peace and quiet..need I say more…
  • Food. Excellent. Dinner includes a starter, an appetizer, a salad buffet, a main dish, and dessert. The quality and presentation of the food are excellent. We especially loved the mango prosecco starter and the duck breast entrée,
  • Service. We were really impressed by the competence and attentiveness of the staff. Everything was smooth.
  • Luggage Storage. Because we stayed here before and after the trek, they stored our luggage for us.

Wellnesshotel Schönruh caters to an older audience (60s and 70s). If you’re looking for a more youthful and modern place to stay, also check out their other hotel Alpenlove Spa Hotel.

Look for accommodation in Seefeld in Tirol.

 
Karwendel Nature Park Hinterautal, Tirol, Austria

Karwendel High Trail: Stage 1

Scharnitz - Hallerangerhaus

How to Get to the Trailhead

Take a train or a bus from Seefeld to Scharnitz.

Stage 1: Scharnitz (964 m) – Gleirschhöhe (1069 m) – Kastenalm  (1220 m) – Hallerangerhaus (1768 m)

  • Distance: 19.3 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation: 831 m ascending 
  • Time Needed: 5:30 – 6:00 hours
  • Lunch Option: Kastenalm (Cash Only)

Stage 1 of the Karwendel High Trail follows the Isar River through Hinterautal Valley. You’ll hike along a wide gravel track, which doubles as the Isarradweg cycling route, the entire day.

From the Scharnitz train station, head south into the village. After crossing a bridge over the Isar, turn left onto Hinterautalstrasse (street), between the Pfarrkirche Mariahilf (church) and the Goldener Adler hotel.

Continue along the Isarpromenade through a residential area. After crossing a bridge, you’ll see a parking lot and the entrance to Naturpark Karwendel, marked by a large wooden signboard. From here, you can access three different valleys: Karwendeltal, Hinterautal, and Gleirschtal.

Stay in Hinterautal, following signs to Hallerangerhaus.

The trail runs parallel to the Isar river. We recommend staying on the northern-side (left-side) of the river, even though there’s an opportunity to walk on the opposite side. We crossed the river at Schraffelbrücke bridge, passing Scharnitzer Alm, and then ultimately crossed back at Gleirschhöhe. While it was more peaceful on the right-side, it was a bit confusing getting back to the main hiking trail, after crossing the Gleirschbach stream.

From Gleirschhöhe, continue along the wide gravel track for 10 kilometers to Kastenalm. Along the route, you’ll see the impressive Gleirsch-Halltal-Kette mountain chain tower above the crystal-clear, gurgling Isar. As you progress, wooden benches beckon you to rest and enjoy the view.

Eventually, you’ll reach an intersection, where the trail steers right towards Hallerangerhaus. We recommend continuing straight to Kastenalm for a bite to eat.

Kastenalm is an alpine pasture hut at the foot of Hoher Gleirsch and Rigelkarspitze. This is a self-service hut. You can order drinks, cheese and/or meat platters, and cake here. The platters are served with bread and pickles. Here’s the menu:

  • Große Platte (Käse, Speck, Kaminwurzen) – Large platter with cheese, bacon, and sausage
  • Gemischte Platte (Käse, Speck) – Mixed platter with cheese and bacon
  • Speck Platte – Bacon platter
  • Käse Platte – Cheese platter
  • Kaminwurzen – sausage

From Kastenalm, backtrack to the last intersection and ascend 560 meters (5 km) to Hallerangerhaus. As you approach the Kohleralm alpine pasture, the views of Speckkarspitze are extraordinary. Cows graze here in summer. Make sure to keep a safe distance. Avoid startling and disturbing them.

 

Stay in Hallerangerhaus

  • Reservation: AlpsOnline Reservation
  • Showers: 2 EUR for a 4-minute shower. Token operated.
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: In the main dining area, where you check-in
  • Payment: Cash, or Credit Card
  • Food: Okay
  • Half Board or à la carte: Both available
  • Rooms: Dormitory, and private rooms

Hallerangerhaus is a lovely hut, overlooking the Hallerangeralm and facing the mighty Mount Lafatscher. Throughout the night, we could still hear the cowbells chiming from the pastures below. The hut staff was attentive and kind.

 
Speckkarspitze, Karwendel, Tirol

Karwendel High Trail: Stage 2

Hallerangerhaus - Bettelwurfhütte

Stage 2: Hallerangerhaus (1768 m) – Durchschlag – Speckkarspitze (2621 m) – Lafatscher Joch (2081 m) – Bettelwurfhütte (2077 m)

  • Distance: 8.3 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult, if you hike to Speckkarspitze (optional). Only add this variation, on days with great visibility and stable weather. 
  • Elevation: 1000 meters ascending, 689 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 6:30 hours (with breaks)
  • Lunch Option: None. You can order a lunch packet at Hallerangerhaus.

Stage 2 of the Karwendel High Trail is 2:30 hours (5.8 km) if you hike directly from Hallerangerhaus to Bettelwurfhütte. To make this stage more interesting, we recommend hiking to the Speckkarspitze peak.

Hallerangerhaus to Speckkarspitze (2:15 – 3 hours)

Follow signs to Lafatscher Joch (1 hour) and Speckkarspitze (3 hours). Initially. the path is quite gentle, spoiling you with views of Grosser Lafatscher. But, soon you start ascending a steep rock-laden gully.

After about 35-40 minutes, the trail cuts to the right, leaving the scree slope. You’ll follow a gentle balcony trail and continue ascending until you reach a signed intersection, where you’ll turn left in the direction of the peak (2 hours).

If the weather conditions aren’t stable, do not hike to the summit. Simply continue straight to Lafatscher Joch, the mountain saddle between Grosser Lafatscher and Speckkarspitze.

The ascent is quite straightforward. You’ll hike up along loopy switchbacks, gaining elevation gradually. The glaciated peaks of the Zillertal and Stubai Alps shimmer along the horizon.

The last 30-minutes to the summit is partially secured with cables and requires some scrambling.

From the summit of Speckkarspitze, you’ll see Innsbruck and the Inntal Valley, flanked by the Tux Alps and the Stubai Alps. On the other side, you’ll see the Karwendel mountain range, sprawling out in layers.

Speckkarspitze Ridge to Lafatscher Joch (1:40 hours)

The ascent to the peak is manageable, but the descent from the peak to Lafatscher Joch (mountain pass) is far more difficult, as you have to navigate a narrow ridgeline. If the ridge descent is out of your comfort zone, simply descend the way you came up, and follow the main route to Lafatscher Joch.

Following the red-painted waymarks, descend along the ridge. There are some extremely narrow passages. Be very careful. After about 40-minutes of ridge hiking, the trail eases up and continues along scree switchbacks to the Lafatscher saddle.

Lafatscher Joch to Bettelwurfhütte (1:40 hours)

From Lafatscher saddle, continue east (left). You’ll follow a balcony trail with very minimal grade variation. The trail cuts across karst stone, scree, and dirt terrain, high above beautiful Halltal Valley and the Alpengasthaus St. Magdalena. You’ll encounter a few sections with iron rungs and pegs, for assistance.

You’ll see the red-roofed Bettelwurfhütte clinging to the mountain-side, long before you arrive.

 

Stay in Bettelwurfhütte

  • Reservation: Online Reservation
  • Showers: None
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to trink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Hallway and in the dining room
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Food: Good
  • Half Board or à la carte: Both available. You can decide what to order by 4 pm.
  • Rooms: Private and Dormitory

Built in 1894, the historic balcony-like Bettelwurfhütte is a welcoming mountain refuge overlooking Absam and Hall in Tirol. On a sunny day, the outdoor terrace invites you to eat, drink, and be merry. Frequented by Klettersteig (via ferrata) climbers, this hut has an acutely local vibe. At night, the Inntal valley twinkles like starlight.

 
Pfeishütte, Karwendel High Trail, Austria

Karwendel High Trail: Stage 3

Bettelwurfhütte - Pfeishütte

Stage 3: Bettelwurfhütte (2077 m) – Lafatscher Joch (2081 m) – Wilde Band Steig – Stempeljoch (2215 m) – Kleine Stempeljochspitze (2529 m) – Pfeishütte (1922 m)

  • Distance: 10.4 km
  • Difficulty: Moderately difficult. The only difficult part about this stage is ascending to the Stempeljoch saddle. 
  • Elevation: 708 meters ascending, 871 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 6 hours with Stempeljochspitze
  • Lunch Option: We ate lunch at Pfeishütte as soon as we arrived. Their Knödel (dumplings) are outstanding!

Bettelwurfhütte to Stempeljoch (3 hours)

Stage 3 of the Karwendel High Trail returns to Lafatscher Joch saddle by the same route. Your hike will likely be accompanied by the sound of falling scree, courtesy of hundreds of galloping chamois. Keep your eyes out for the adorable, fluffy babies. Kati was able to capture great photos of the chamois with her SONY Cyber-shot DSC-HX 400V.

From the saddle, continue west, following signs to Stempeljoch (signed 1:15 hours) and Pfeishütte (signed 2 hours).

You’ll hike along the Wilde Band Steig, which is a level track, lined with dwarf pine. The trail is overall easy (in dry conditions), though narrow at times. There’s one short passage, secured with steel pegs and rungs, that requires some concentration. Face the mountain as you descend, using the steel fixtures to safely step down.

As you continue along the trail the jagged Lattenspitzen peaks steal all your attention.

Ultimately, the Wilde Band Steig delivers you to a scree slope. You’ll ascend 30 minutes up this steep slope, along switchbacks to Stempeljoch. The trail is someone bolstered by wooden beams, steps, and rubber “tires.” It’s a calf burner!

When you reach the Stempel saddle, you can continue directly to Pfeishütte (45 minutes), or detour to Kleine Stempeljochspitze peak (1 hour). This peak is fairly easy to ascend, so definitely bag it.

Stempeljoch to Kleine Stempeljochspitze (1 hour to summit / 2 hours out-and-back)

From the saddle, follow the trail heading right, and ascend along the dirt path up the grassy slope. As you gain elevation, the Lattenspitzen spires look like a colossal pillar coral. You’ll ascend switchbacks along this earthy track almost the whole time. The final 230 meters to the cross-crowned summit is rocky.

Kleine Stempeljochspitze delivers panoramic views of Samertal valley, Innsbruck, and countless Karwendel peaks.

Stempeljoch to Pfeishütte (40 minutes)

To reach your final destination, you’ll descend along a gently descending trail. It’s stunning!

 

Stay in Pfeishütte

  • Online Reservation: AlpsOnline
  • Showers: 1 EUR for 1 Min. The shower was room temperature.
  • Drinking Water: Only in the washroom, or outside. Look for the “Trinkwasser” sign.
  • Electronic Charging Stations: When you enter the hut (main entrance), there’s a charging station at the end of the hallway.
  • Payment: Credit Cards, or Cash
  • Food: Excellent. Drinks are self-service.
  • Half Board or à la carte: When you check-in, the hut manager will present the daily menu. You can choose between 3 main dishes. You can also opt for a 1-course, 2-course, or 3-course dinner.
  • Rooms: Dormitory and Private rooms available.

This memorable Karwendel mountain hut is an absolute delight to stay in. The interior is charming and full of character. The location is spectacular. And, the staff is amiable.

 
Goetheweg, Innsbruck, Karwendel High Trail

Karwendel High Trail: Stage 4

Pfeishütte - Solsteinhaus

Stage 4: Pfeishütte (1922 m) – Mandlscharte (2314 m) – Mühlkarscharte (2243 m) – Gleirschjöchl – Hafelekar Aerialway Station (2269 m) – Seegrube Aerialway Station (1966 m) – Frau Hitt Sattel (2224 m) – Solsteinhaus (1806 m)

  • Distance: 16.5 km
  • Difficulty: Challenging. This is an extremely long stage, with countless ascents and descents. Technically, the most challenging section is the descent from Frau Hitt Saddle. 
  • Elevation:  1187 meters ascending, 1303 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 8:30 -10 hours. It took us 9 hours.
  • Lunch Option: Restaurant Seegrube | Tripadvisor Reviews
  • Tip: Take the cableway from Hafelekar to Seegrube. You won’t miss anything, and it’ll save your legs a good 370 meters of grueling downhill.
  • How to break up this stage: This is an immensely rewarding stage, but it’s taxing. You can break up this hike, by descending to Innsbruck via the Hafelekar and Seegrube cableways. Stay the night in Innsbruck, and then return to Seegrube to continue the hike the next day.
  • Stage 4 Alternative: If it’s raining, or you want to opt for an easier route, you can hike from Pfeishütte through Samertal Valley (Trail 221) and Grosskristental Valley (Trail 16, 213) to Solsteinhaus. That’s the safest and fastest route. Along the way, you can eat at Möslalm.

Pfeishütte to Hafelekar Bergstation (2:30 hours)

From Pfeishütte, follow signs to Goetheweg, Mandlscharte (1 hour), and Hafelekar Bergstation (2:30 hours). After about 20-minutes, the trail divides. Take the right trail, known as Goetheweg and continue ascending to Mandlscharte (notch). Here, you’ll see Zugspitze (Germany’s Highest Mountain) and the Wetterstein Mountain Range.

From the notch, the trail descends steeply, but quickly levels out, horizontally crossing rock-laden slopes for some time. There are some steel cables along the route.

Eventually, you’ll hike over Mühlkarscharte (2243 m), and you’ll see the Inntal Valley below. The trail follows a sensational balcony path high above the valley.

When you get to Gleirschjöchl, Hafelekar is signed 40 minutes.

Hafelekar Bergstation to Seegrube (1 hour)

From Hafelekar, the trail plummets along tight, steep switchbacks, down a grassy slope. It’s tedious, but at least the views of Innsbruck are epic. We highly recommend opting for the cableway instead.

Seegrube to Frau Hitt Sattel (1:30 hours)

From Seegrube, continue west. You’ll follow a level path across grassy slopes for a long time.

When the trail divides, follow the sign to “Solsteinhaus über Gipfelstürmerweg” not “Frau Hitt Sattle Schmidhubersteig,” taking the lower track.

When the trail divides again, take the upper track to Frau Hitt Sattel (45 minutes) and Solsteinhaus (4:30 hours).

Careful here. Lots of sheep graze along this slope, so it’s easy to continue straight along a sheep track. Soon after the last intersection, the trail heads up the mountain, making a 90-degree turn. There’s a waymark on an inconspicuous rock, that directs you onto the right path. We missed it because we were following the sheep.

Now, the hiking really begins. You’ll zig-zag up the steep slope until you reach the Frau Hitt Saddle.

Frau Hitt Sattel to Solsteinhaus (3:30 hours)

Initially, your descent is secured with cables and rungs. Face the mountain, as you make your way down.

Then, the nightmare begins. In my opinion, this section is the hardest part of the whole Karwendel Höhenweg. The trail steeply descends a semi-scree slope. It’s slippery and tricky, and you have to be really vigilant. Eventually, the slope is entirely scree and you can gleefully descend, sticking your heals into the rocks, smiling as the hikers coming up (poor bastards).

Trail 215 levels out significantly and you’ll continue descending in the direction of Kleinkristental valley.

When the trail divides, head left along Gipfelstürmerweg trail, following signs to Solsteinhaus (3 hours).

The hard part is over, but you still have to tackle a series of ascents and descents and a few secured passages.

You’ll hike across some scenic high alpine pastures, before descending through the Knappenwald forest. When you reach the valley floor (Grosskristental), it’s one final ascent to Solsteinhaus. Luckily, it’s not as painful as it would seem. Shortly before arriving at the hut, you’ll pass the Erlalm alpine pasture. The hut is directly behind it.

 

Stay in Solsteinhaus

  • Reservation: Booking Request Form
  • Showers: 3 EUR for 3 minutes (90 seconds of hot water, 50-second “soap break,” followed by 90 seconds of hot water). Token operated.
  • Drinking Water: Tap water is safe to drink
  • Electronic Charging Stations: Ask the staff. You’ll hand over your device to the staff and they’ll give you a laminated slip, which you’ll need to retrieve your device.
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Food: Excellent
  • Half Board or à la carte: Half-board recommended. Wonderful salad buffet included.
  • Rooms: Private and dormitory available.

This is an absolutely phenomenal Tirolean mountain hut. The food is outstanding. The management is excellent. And, we’d love to return someday.

 
Nördlinger Hütte kaiserschmarrn, Karwendel Mountains

Karwendel High Trail: Stage 5

Solsteinhaus - Nördlinger Hütte

Stage 5: Solsteinhaus (1806 m) – Eppzirler Scharte (2102 m) – Breiter Sattel (1794 m) – Ursprungsattel (2087 m) Nördlinger Hütte (2239 m)

  • Distance: 6.7 km
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult. In a few areas, the trail is washed out and very narrow. 
  • Elevation: 800 meters ascending, 350 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 3:30 – 4:00 hours
  • Lunch Option: Eat lunch at Nördlinger Hütte

Karwendel High Trail Stage 5 (east to west) is supposed to be glorious. Unfortunately, we had poor weather conditions (fog and rain) throughout the day, so we didn’t see very much.

From Solsteinhaus, it’s 1 hour (200-meter ascent) to Eppzirler Scharte. Initially, you’ll follow a level trail north-east. After crossing the Ehnbach stream, the trail continues across talus slopes, bringing you to a signed trail intersection, bolted to the mountain. Head right to Eppzirler Scharte (20 minutes) and climb up the steep talus slope of Höllkar, flanked by impressive vertical spires.

From Eppzirler Scharte, the trail initially descends along a few switchbacks in the direction of Eppzirler alm, before crossing the scree slopes of Kuhljoch.

When the trail divides, stay to the left, following trail 74 to Breiter Sattel.

When you reach Breiter Sattel, the trail sign indicated 2:30 hours to Nördlingerhütte over Ursprungsattel. The trail horizontally crosses grassy slopes and then makes a rigorous ascent to Ursprungsattel, secured with cables and wooden steps.

From Ursprungsattel, it’s 1 km (~ 160 meters ascending ) to Nördlingerhütte.

 

Stay in Nördlingerhütte

  • Online Reservation: AlpsOnline
  • Showers: None
  • Drinking Water: Buy Bottled Water. You can’t drink the tap.
  • Electronic Charging Stations: By the stairwell (upstairs).
  • Payment: Cash Only
  • Food: Excellent
  • Half Board or à la carte: Choose between 3 entrées. You can opt for a 1-course or 2-course meal.
  • Rooms: Private and Dormitory

We loved this hut. Even though we didn’t see anything, we were happy to spend hours here, eating and reading. At night, the hut manager gives a briefing on the weather forecast and answers all trail-related questions.

 
Karwendel Mountains, Chamois

Karwendel High Trail: Stage 6

Nördlinger Hütte - Reith bei Seefeld

Stage 6: Nördlinger Hütte (2239 m) – Reith bei Seefeld (1130 m)

  • Distance: 6.5 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation: 30 meters ascending, 1150 meters descending
  • Time Needed: 3 hours

Alternative Stage 6: Nördlinger Hütte (2239 m) – Kuntersteig Trail – Härmelekopfbahn Mountain Station (2034 m) – Härmelekopfbahn Cableway – Rosshütte Funicular Mountain Station (1751 m) – Rosshütte-Seefeld Funicular – Seefeld in Tirol (1180 m)

  • Distance: 1.7 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation: 50 meters ascending, 250 meters descending 
  • Time Needed: 45 minutes – 1 hour

We opted for the alternative route down to Seefeld via a cableway and a funicular, because the weather conditions were still poor. To reach the Härmelekopfbahn Mountain Station, follow the Kuntersteig trail. The cableway should start running at 9:15 am, but please confirm that with the staff at Nördlingerhütte. When we arrived, it wasn’t operating, and we waited 45 minutes in the rain. Also, we needed exact change to pay for the descending ticket (16 EUR per person) to Seefeld in Tirol. You’ll get 2 EUR back when you return the reusable ticket at the ticket counter.

 

Stay in Seefeld

If you finish the trek in Reith by Seefeld, you can take a train back to Seefeld in Tirol. Otherwise, you can descend to Seefeld directly with the cableway and funicular (explained above), or hike down to Seefeld directly.

Look for accommodation in Seefeld in Tirol.

 
Karwendel High Trail, Hiking Tirol, Austria
@moonhoneytravelers
  • Sunrise in the Karwendel Mountains.

The weather forecast predicted early afternoon thunderstorms, so we woke up extra early and started hiking at 5:30 am. Seeing the sunrise as we crested the Mandlscharte was like entering heaven.

After a long and difficult 9-hour stage, we arrived at @solsteinhaus in rain. Luckily, the thunder never came.

The highlight of this incredible day was meeting @clarazijlstra and @jaqi_sta - two brilliant and talented women who radiate passion and warmth! Hope to see you both again! 💛💛💛
  • Italian Dolomites Tip:

Skip Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) and Lago di Sorapiss and hike to Lago di Coldai instead for a crowd-free alpine lake experience.
  • The 6-stage Karwendel High Trail was one of the highlights of our summer. This hut-to-hut hiking trail traverses part of the Karwendel Mountain Range in Tirol, Austria.

Tips for hiking the Karwendel Höhenweg:

- Make reservations for huts 3-5 months in advance.

- Hike the trail east to west. It’s more common to hike in the other direction, but we think the trail unfolds more beautifully if you hike east to west.

- Hike to Speckkarspitze peak on Day 2 and Kleine Stempeljochspitze peak on Day 3.

- Bring climbing gloves for securely and comfortably grasping steel cables.

We’ll be publishing a Karwendel High Trail Trekking guide next week. Let us know if you have any questions about the route.
  • Kati and I decided to hop over the border to explore the Pala Group for a few days and we’re so grateful and overjoyed to be here.

This magnificent range has something for everyone: easy valley walks to alpine pastures, grueling peak climbs, via ferratas, and so much more. The Alta Via 2 traverses the range as well, which is making us miss our dear friends @susielambie and @jored7 who we met while hiking the AV1 last year.
  • On top of Slovenia. 

@feelslovenia @triglav.national.park
  • Eagle Walk Stage 22, Lechtal Alps, Austria.

The trail starts out gently, descending loamy terrain across grassy slopes.

After several water crossings, the grueling ascent to Grießlscharte commences. 

The hike up Langkar cirque is relentless and unforgiving! It feels like it’ll never end.

Luckily, the final stretch is semi-vertical and secured with cables, delivering you hastily to the Scharte.

As soon as we reached the ridge, we howled at the wind, feeling strong AF.

This trek was unforgettable! We hope more international hikers will discover the beauty and remoteness of the Lechtal Alps.