Grosser Ahornboden is a wide grassy plain in the secluded Hinterrisstal (“Upper Riss Valley”), tucked away in Karwendel Nature Park in Tirol, Austria.
This upper part of the Risstal Valley is called Grosser Ahornboden, “Great Maple Floor,” because it’s studded with 2,300 sycamore maple trees, some 600 years old.
The beauty of this hidden valley is heightened by the sheer rock faces of the Karwendel Mountains, rising above it on all sides.
Another attraction of Hinterrisstal is the Eng Almdorf, which is a small alpine pasture village situated at the very end of the valley, just beyond Grosser Ahornboden. This part of Hinterrisstal is often called Eng Valley.
Grosser Ahornboden is a worthy day trip from Lake Achensee, Innsbruck, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, and even Munich.
However, we highly recommend staying at least two nights at Die Eng – Alpengasthof und Naturhotel to explore the many Karwendel hiking trails which start at the hotel’s doorstep.
If you’re curious of how to integrate a visit to Grosser Ahornboden into a road trip, take a look at our 10-day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps itinerary, starting at the Munich International Airport.
Visiting Grosser Ahornboden, Karwendel Nature Park
- Location: Hinterrisstal, Tirol, Austria | Google Maps
- When to Visit: Mid-June – mid/late October, depending on snow/weather conditions.
- Where to Eat: Eng Alm Rasthütte
- Where to Stay: Die Eng – Alpengasthof und Naturhotel (midrange)
- Recommended Hiking Map: Kompass hiking map Naturpark Karwendel 1:35000
- Toll: 4.50 EUR/car
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Grosser Ahornboden Map
Where is Grosser Ahornboden
Grosser Ahornboden is located in Tirol, Austria. However, it’s only accessible by car/bus from Bavaria, Germany.
Drivers must pay a 4.50 EUR toll to drive the “toll road Eng-Hinterriss” to the Eng Alpine Pasture and Grosser Ahornboden. You’ll pay 7 EUR if you spend one or more nights in the Eng.
There’s a large free car park at Alpengasthof Eng.
When to Visit Grosser Ahornboden
Grosser Ahornboden is only accessible from early May until late October, depending on snow conditions. The toll road Hinterriss-Eng announces the exact opening and closing dates on their website.
In summer, die Eng is an active alpine pasture, where they still produce cheese on-site. During the summer hiking season, all the nearby mountain refuges are open.
In Autumn, Grosser Ahornboden is a very popular destination for photographing fall foliage.
Related: Autumn in Austria: Top Destinations
Grosser Ahornboden Hiking Trails
- Trailhead: Eng Almdorf
- Distance: 13.8 km circuit
- Time Needed: 6:30 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1324 meters
- Difficulty: Difficult. You need stamina, a head for heights, and good trail intuition.
Gamsjoch (2452 m) is a three-headed mountain in the Eastern Karwendel Mountains.
The western summit of Gamsjoch (2438 m) is a popular peak hike, because of its sweeping views of Hinterautal-Vomper-Kette, which is the largest mountain chain in the Karwendel Mountains.
This day hike begins at the Eng Alpine Pasture at the end of Risstal Valley.
Hikers have the option to ascend to Gamsjoch via Hohljoch saddle (the easier, but longer option), or via the unmarked Gumpenkar stream bed/cirque (unmarked and painfully steep, but shorter option).
Learn More: Gamsjoch Trail Guide
Binsalm Alpine Pasture
- Trailhead: Eng Almdorf
- Distance: 5.8 km circuit
- Time Needed: 2:15 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 440 meters
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
This short circuit trail to the Binsalm alpine pasture hut is an easy hike, suitable for the whole family. Starting at Alpengasthof Eng, follow signs to “Panoramaweg” and “Drijaggenalm.”
The path narrows and ascends, with views of Lalidererwände and Birkkarspitze. Once you reach the unmanaged Drijaggenalm, the highest point of the tour, continue to Binsalm.
Binsalm is an active alpine pasture, managed from mid-May until the end of October. Grab a bite to eat here, before completing the circuit to Eng Almdorf (30 minutes).
Falkenhütte Mountain Hut
- Trailhead: Eng Almdorf
- Distance: 13.5 km out-and-back
- Time Needed: 5 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 890 meters
- Difficulty: Moderate
Falkenhütte is a mountain hut situated at the foot of the Lalidererwände at an elevation of 1848 meters.
Like the other hikes, the trail to Falkenhütte begins at Engalm alpine pasture.
Following the Via Alpina, the path steadily ascends through forest to Hohljoch saddle (1794 m).
From here, the path continues straigh ahead, now downhill along the Lalidererwände walls. You’ll make a final counter-ascent to Spielissjoch saddle (1773 m) and onwards to Falkenhütte (1848 m).
Where to Stay
Die Eng – Alpengasthof & Naturhotel
Midrange | After hiking to Gamsjoch, we spent the night at the Alpengasthof and Naturhotel die Eng. The hotel is located directly at the trailhead, between Grosser Ahornboden and the Eng Alpine Pasture.
It’s the best possible base for hiking in this region. You could stay here for a week and not run out of hiking options.
This mountains hotel has comfortable, modern rooms – many of which were recently refurbished. The hotel also has on-site restaurant and a relaxing spa area (modernized in 2022) that will revive your legs after the hike.
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Austria Trip Planning Essentials
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:
- 2 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Vienna
- 1 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Salzburg or Munich
- 10-Day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps Road Trip – starting in Munich
We recommend using the Discovercars.com 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.
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:
- Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Filzmoos, Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Schladming, Styria Hiking Guide
- Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vienna Mountains Hiking Guide
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.
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
What to See & Do in Austria
- Visit a gorge like the Liechtenstein Gorge in Salzburg.
- Bathe in the thermal pools of an Austrian Therme like Aqua Dome in Tirol
- Stay in a thermal spa hotel like Rogner Bad Blumau in Styria, EurothermenResort Bad Ischl in Upper Austria, or the Aqua Dome Hotel in Tirol.
- Hike to a mountain lake like Lake Tappenkarsee in Salzburg or Lake Drachensee in Tirol.
- Go Wine Tasting in South Styria.
- Marvel at the culture, music, and architecture of Vienna.
- Eat heartwarming mountain food in an Almhütte at Grosser Ahornboden in Tirol or Ursprungalm in Styria.
- Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Hohe Tauern National Park.
- Visit the castles, monasteries, and wine taverns of the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.