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:

Hiking from Gasteig to Gruttenhütte, Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Emperor's Crown Trail, Wilder Kaiser, Austria
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • 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)
  • Distance: 12.8 km
  • Minimum Elevation: 760 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 1619 m
  • Total ascent: 1459 m
  • Total descent: 597 m
  • Time Needed: 6 hours 
  • 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.

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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 on the Alpsonline Platform. 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

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