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Emperor’s Crown Stage 3: Hiking from Gasteig to Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria

This is the trail description for Stage 3 of our Emperor’s Crown (Kaiserkrone) Trek in the Wilder Kaiser Mountains of Tirol, Austria. 

For a full overview of this multi-day hike, please read our Emperor’s Crown Hiking Guide

More stages:

Stage 1: Kufstein to Stripsenjochhaus 

Stage 2: Stripsenjochhaus to Gasteig

Stage 4: Gruttenhütte – Kufstein – more info about this stage in our Emperor’s Crown Hiking Guide.

Emperor's Crown Trail, Wilder Kaiser, Austria
  • Starting Point: Gasteig
  • Ending Point: Gruttenhütte
  • Distance: 12.8 km point-to-point
  • Time Needed: 6 hours 
  • Elevation Gain: 1459 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 597 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum Elevation: 760 meters
  • Maximum Elevation: 1619 meters
  • Route: Gasteig (746 m) – Bacheralm (977 m) – Ursulablick (1245 m) – Gscheuerkopf (1280 m) – Kaiser Niederalm – Granderalm (1269 m) – Grander Hochalm (1385 m) – Graspoint Hochalm (1348 m) – Obere Regalm (1326 m) – Gaudeamushütte (1267 m) – Gruttenhütte (1620 m)
  • Lunch Options: Obere Regalm is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and Holidays from 8:30 am – 5 pm on dry-weather days. If it’s raining, they will certainly be closed. Another option is Gaudeamushütte. We packed a sandwich during breakfast at Hotel Kramerhof for this stage.
  • Where to Stay: Gruttenhütte

Emperor’s Crown Map: Stage 3

Gasteig to Gruttenhütte Trail Description

Gasteig to Bacheralm (45 minutes)

Bacheralm, Kaiser Mountains, Austria

From Hotel Gut Kramerhof in Gasteig, locate the yellow trail signs next to the large field. 

Follow signs to Bacheralm and Niederkaiserkamm/Gscheuerkopf.

The road cuts across fenced-in meadows, where horses graze during the day. 

Continue following this forest road uphill. Hike over the stile and follow the waymarks up to the Bacheralm hut (only managed in winter).

Bacheralm – Ursulablick (50 minutes)

Soon after passing the Bacheralm hut, you’ll hop over another pasture gate. Follow the footpath and then the road, which cuts across the Metzgeralm alpine pasture. 

You’ll see the Metzgeralm hut below. Continue walking up the road, until you see a hiking path branch off to the right. There are clear, visible waymarks. 

This trail climbs steeply through beech forest until reaching the Niederkaiser ridge (“Niederkaiserkamm”). 

At the ridge, turn right and follow the Wilder-Kaiser-Steig (WKS) trail 823

The Niederkaiser ridge is heavily forested. There are a few openings and viewpoints along the WKS, but most of the time you’ll be hiking in the forest. 

Any narrow, or steep passages along the Niederkaiserkamm ridge trail are secured with fixed cables. 

Ursulablick, Niederkaiser Ridge, Kaiser Mountains, Austria

After joining the Wilder Kaiser Steig trail, it’s a mere 7-minute hike to the Ursulablick viewpoint.

Here, you can see the Kitzbühel Alps including the Kitzbüheler Horn and the Maukspitze peak. You’ll also see the town of St. Johann in Tirol. 

Ursulablick – Gscheuerkopf – Granderalm (1:30 hours) 

Gscheuerkopf descent, Wilder Kaiser Steig, Austria
Gscheuerkopf descent

A series of rolling ascents and descents bring you to the summit of Gscheuerkopf, marked by a tall orange ski touring pole. 

The descent from Gscheuerkopf is partially exposed but secured with cables. 

A soft forest path ushers you to the Einödalm alpine pasture. Follow the forest road uphill to Kaiser Niederalm alpine pasture. 

Einödalm to Kaiser Niederalm, Kaiser Mountians, Austria
Einödalm to Kaiser Niederalm

Continue hiking along a mostly level soft forest path and then follow the forest road leading alongside the Einödalm to the Kaiser Niederalm alpine pasture hut. 

At the Kaiser Niederalm hut, a hiking path continues uphill in the direction of Schleierwasserfall and Gamskogl. 

After a few minutes, you’ll plateau. Follow the descending path to Granderalm (10 minutes).

Granderalm to Obere Regalm (1 hour)

Granderalm, Kaiser Mountains, Austria

From the Granderalm hut (not managed), the path follows the pasture fence in the direction of Gaudeamushütte. 

For the next hour, continue heading west.

The trail cuts across multiple mountain pastures including Grander-Hochalm (1385 m) and Graspoint-Hochalm (1349 m). None of these alpine pasture huts serve food. 

Alpine pasture crossings, Emperor's Crown Trail: Gasteig to Gruttenhütte
Alpine pasture crossings

A delightful path leads to Obere Regalm, a managed hut below the south faces of the Regalmspitze peak. 

Obere Regalm is only open on good-weather days on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Obere Regalm to Gaudeamushütte (1:30 hours) 

Approaching Baumgartenköpfl, Wilder Kaiser, Austria
Approaching Baumgartenköpfl

From Obere Regalm, continue uphill, following signs to Baumgartenköpfl (45 minutes) and Gaudeamushütte (1:30 hours).

Baumgartenköpfl is a panoramic lookout point with views of the Wilder Kaiser to the north and the  Kitzbühel Alps and Hohe Tauern range to the south. 

From the trail juncture just below Baumgartenköpfl, you can already see Gruttenhütte straight ahead on a spur, projecting from the foot of Ellmauer Halt. 

Path 824 leads downhill and drops below the timberline. 

Obere Regalm to Gaudeamushütte, Emperor's Crown Trail, Wilder Kaiser, Austria

The views are wonderful as you approach the Gaudeamushütte mountain hut.

We badly wanted to take a break here, but had to continue our ascent, because of the weather. 

 Gaudeamushütte to Gruttenhütte (1:15 hours)

Klammlweg Trail to Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria
Klammlweg Trail

The final push to Gruttenhütte is probably the most demanding part of today’s stage. You’ll hike along the Klammlweg trail to Gruttenhütte. 

The trail ascends steadily through dwarf pine to the base of a short secured section (“Klamml”) with ladders, rungs and a fixed chain.

We were hiking in the rain, so unfortunately I don’t have any photos. It can be slippery, so please be extra cautious. 

After the short secured section, you’ll cross a talus slope and ascend switchbacks to a narrow cleft. Hike up this cleft, holding onto the fixed iron rungs, when needed. 

Some of the stones underfoot are very polished and slippery.

When you emerge from the cleft, the path is flat initially but soon ascends a bluff.

Trail to Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Within a few minutes, you’ll crest the spur and it’s a quick, flat walk to the hut. 

Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Gruttenhütte has a beautiful terrace with far-reaching views. We can’t wait to return someday to enjoy this hut on a sunny day. 

Stay in Gruttenhütte

Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Reservations: Online-Reservation via Alpsonline. After making your reservation online, you need to pay a deposit to secure your reservation.

Pricing: Gruttenhütte Overnight Pricing

Showers: Yes. The shower is operated by 1 EUR coins. It costs 1 EUR for a 20 second shower.

Drinking Water: Yes. The tap water is drinkable. 

Electronic Charging Stations: In rooms and in the dining room.

Payment: Cash only 

Food: Excellent

Half Board or à la carte: Both available. If you’re eating à la carte, communicate what you want for dinner before 5 pm. Half board dinner is served at 6:30 pm sharp. If you opted for half board, you’ll get the choice between a vegetarian and a meat main dish. 

Rooms: Private, shared, or Lager

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

Learn more about the European Alps:

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 and Kati

2 thoughts on “Emperor’s Crown Stage 3: Hiking from Gasteig to Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria”

  1. Hi, on day 3 I can’t find an accommodation. What do u recommend I do. The accommodation you suggested is full.

    Others r 2.6 miles away

    • Hi Nafisa,
      If Gruttenhütte is full, you can stay at Gaudeamushütte. This will make your stage 3 a bit shorter.
      All the best,


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