This is the trail description for Stage 1 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.
- Stage 2: Stripsenjochhaus – Gasteig
- Stage 3: Gasteig – Gruttenhütte
- Stage 4: Gruttenhütte – Kufstein – more info about this stage in our Emperor’s Crown Hiking Guide.
Hiking from Kufstein to Stripsenjochhaus, Wilder Kaiser, Austria
- Starting Point: Kufstein Kaiserlift
- Ending Point: Stripsenjochhaus
- Distance: 12.3 km point-to-point
- Time Needed: 5:30 hours
- Elevation Gain: 968 meters
- Elevation Loss: 647 meters
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
- Minimum Elevation: 832 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 1576 meters
- Route: Kufstein (499 m) – Kaiserlift mountain station (1272 m) – Brentenjochalm – Kaindlhütte (1293 m) – Anton-Karg-Haus (829 m) – Hans Berger Haus (936 m) – Stripsenjochhaus (1580 m)
- Lunch Options: Kaindlhütte, Obere Steinbergalm (closed Tuesdays), Anton-Karg Haus, or Hans Berger Haus
- Where to Stay: Stripsenjochhaus
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Emperor’s Crown Map: Stage 1
Emperor’s Crown Kufstein Trailhead
Traditionally, the Emperor’s Crown (Kaiserkrone) Trek begins in Hüttling, Going. However, we started in Kufstein instead, because it’s easier to reach by public transit.
To start this hike, first head to the Kaiserlift valley station in Kufstein. It’s a 2.1 km walk from the Kufstein train station to the Kaiserlift.
Exit the Kufstein train station (“Bahnhof”) and walk over the bridge into the Old Town (“Altstadt”) of Kufstein.
When you cross the Inn River, you’ll see the impressive Kufstein Fortress on your right. Continue walking up through the market square.
There are very few signs directing pedestrians to the Kaiserlift. We recommend using Google Maps, or Maps.me to navigate to the valley station. We took this route.
The Kaiserlift comprises two chairlifts. Each chairlift ride is about 12 minutes long. Purchase a return ticket (ascent & descent) to the Brentenjoch top station (Section I & II).
- Operating Times: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
- Last entry for ascent: 4:15 pm
- Last descent: 4:30 pm
- Purchase your ticket at the ticket machine, directly at the valley station. You can pay using credit cards, or cash.
- There’s also a ticket office, but it’s only open Mondays – Thursdays (8:30 am – 1:30 pm) and Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays (8:30 am – 4:30 pm).
- Your descending (return) ticket is valid all summer.
Parking: There’s a parking lot at the valley station (“Privatparkplatz Kaiserlift Kufstein”). Day tickets cost 3 EUR for cars and 8 EUR for buses (6 am – 9 pm).
If you’re parking your car here overnight, pay the total amount for the duration of your stay. So, insert 6 EUR for 2 days, or 9 EUR for 3 days, etc… into the parking machine.
Note: you can only pay using EUR coins.
There may be a limitation on how many EURs the parking machine will accept.
If your parking days exceed the amount of days (EURS) the machine accepts, you can print another ticket.
Kufstein to Stripsenjochhaus Trail Description
Kaiserlift Mountain Station – Kaindlhütte (1 hour)
There’s a gorgeous lookout point, Jahnhügel, at the Kaiserlift mountain station. The small hill affords expansive views of rolling green pastures and pockets of forest at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser Massif.
From the mountain station, follow signs to Kaindlhütte. The descending path leads to the Brentenjochalm alpine pasture hut. Their homemade cake is excellent.
At Brentenjocham, the path divides. Head right, following the Steinberg Almweg in the direction of Kaindlhütte.
Continue descending along the wide gravel road for about 15 minutes until you reach a trail intersection. Turn right to Kaindlhütte.
Soon after, you’ll arrive at a bridge (where there are no signs). Cross this bridge and ascend to a sloping mountain pasture.
The trail continues uphill across the pasture, between two buildings: Steinberghütte (not managed) and Bergwacht. When you reach the pasture fence, unhook it (and re-hook it), and follow the road to Kaindlhütte (10 minutes).
Kaindlhütte is a private mountain hut, situated on the Steinbergalm mountain pasture, at the foot of Scheffauer peak. The food here is excellent. They also have Wifi, if you need to update your weather app.
Kaindlhütte to Anton-Karg-Haus (2:30 hours)
From Kaindlhütte, pass the tiny chapel (“Kapelle Steinberg”) and continue left in the direction of the managed Obere Steinbergalm (20 minutes), Anton-Karg-Haus (2:15 hours), and Hans-Berger Haus (2:30 hours).
The Obere Steinbergalm is a managed alpine pasture hut, offering food & drinks. They are open daily, except on Tuesdays.
You’ll follow this gravel road across mountain pastures to the Bettlersteigsattel, where there’s a large info board and a pasture gate. This marks the beginning of the “Bettlersteig” trail (827).
For the next 1:50 hrs, you’ll descend 528 meters along the Bettlersteig to Anton-Karg-Haus.
The narrow trail drops below the forest line, tightly twisting towards the Talofenschlucht gorge. On good weather days, you’ll see the north face of the Hackenköpfe mountains. At times, the path is bolstered with wooden steps, fixed cables, and metal planks.
You’ll cross at least 7 tiny streams on your way to Anton-Karg-Haus, an Austrian Alpine Club hut located in the Kaisertal Valley.
Anton-Karg-Haus is situated next to the Kaiserbach stream in a place called Hinterbärenbad. They serve food and drinks throughout the day and accommodate overnight guests.
Hinterbärenbad means “Behind Bear’s Bath.” Allegedly, brown bears used to bathe, or look for food, in this very spot by the Kaiser steam.
In the 19th century, bears were hunted into extinction by the Alpine inhabitants who feared for their cattle.
The trail (801) continues uphill through a beautiful woodland trail for another 15 minutes to Hans Berger Haus, another mountain hut in the Kaisertal Valley.
Both huts have impressive views of the Kaiser mountains.
Hans Berger Haus to Stripsenjochhaus (1:40 – 2 hours)
The trail ascends steadily, mostly through forest to Stripsenjochhaus.
The elevation difference is 748 meters.
Though continuously uphill, this trail is easy-moderate.
Stripsenjochhaus to Stripsenkopf (30-40 minutes one-way)
At some point during your stay at Stripsenjochhaus, hike up to Stripsenkopf peak. The views of the northern face of the Wilder Kaiser massif are to die for.
Stay in Stripsenjochhaus (1580 m)
Stripsenjochhaus is an Austrian Alpine Club hut located at the scenic Stripsenjoch saddle, between the Stripsenkopf (1807 m) and Totenkirchl (2190 m) peaks. The hut overlooks Kaiserbachtal valley.
We loved everything about our stay: the location, the management, the organization, the attentiveness of the dining staff, the quality of the food, and the double bedrooms.
This is one of the best mountain huts in Austria (we’ve stayed in many).
Reservation: Online-Reservation via Alpsonline
Pricing: Price List
Showers: Yes. Showers are token operated. 1 token costs 3 EUR for a 4-minute warm shower.
Drinking Water: Yes. There’s a water fountain/sink downstairs in the hallway, outside of the dry room.
Electronic Charging Stations: In rooms and in the dining room.
Payment: Cash only.
Food: Excellent. The portions are very generous.
Half Board or à la carte: Both available. For the half board dinner, you can select any of the main dishes from the main menu. In addition, you’ll get a soup, salad, and dessert. You can order dinner until 7 pm.
Rooms: Double rooms, shared rooms, and Lager (dormitory).
Check-in: You can check-in, starting at 2 pm. When you check-in, you’ll be asked to choose what you want for breakfast. After paying, you’ll be given laminated food cards for dinner and breakfast.
Check-out: You have to leave your room by 9 am.
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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:
- 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.
- Trekking Pack: Osprey Kyte 36 – women / Osprey Kestrel 38 -men
- 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.
- Best Hotels in the Austrian Alps
- Best Hotels in Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg
- Wellness Hotel Theresa, Zillertal, Tirol
- Hotel Eder in Maria Alm, Salzburg
Learn more about the European Alps: