Following snow-covered trails – winter hiking in Vorarlberg
© Andreas Haller | Montafon Tourismus GmbH, Schruns
Hiking during winter is a very special experience as nature is shrouded in an icy silence. Fresh air, shimmering snow, and white mountain peaks are found in abundance on the winter hiking trails in Voralberg, Austria’s westernmost state. A well-developed network of signposted and groomed winter hiking trails span across the entire region.
In this Collection, you find six different Tours ranging from a leisurely stroll to a demanding circular hike. The wide paths offer enough space for the whole family and you don't have to worry about refreshments – there’s at least one food pitstop on every hike. The starting points are accessible by cable car or by car directly.
If you are looking for a relaxed Tour for the whole family, then the hike on the wide Schafberg plateau in Montafon is ideal. In the Kleinwalsertal valley, you can immerse yourself in untouched high-alpine winter landscapes in the Ifen ski area at the Gottesacker plateau. In Bregenz Forest, you can look forward to magnificent views whilst the hike to Niedere Höhe peak includes two architectural highlights. A fascinating skyspace, a lightroom designed by artist James Turrell, surrounded by fairytale winter scenery, awaits you in Lech. And, if you still want to enjoy summits even in the cold season, then take a look at the Tour to the Muttjöchle summit in Voralberg’s alpine region. To escape the fog in the valley in Übersaxen in the Bodensee-Vorarlberg region, you can hike up to the panoramic Übersaxner Gulmalpe peak.
Enjoy the peace and quiet, strengthen your immune system, and hike through the wonderful winter wonderland of Vorarlberg. No matter whether you prefer snowshoes or warm winter boots, you’ll find an exciting selection of hikes in this Collection.
This easy tour is suitable for the whole family and starts with the ascent from Gargellen up to the Schafberg plateau. Already in the gondola you can enjoy wonderful views of the winter wonderland below the Gargellner Heads.From the mountain station of the Schafbergbahn at 2,130 meters you first hike towards the Valzifenz lift. Along the well-groomed hiking trail you will find blue boards and pink snow poles that show you the way. At the height of the Valzifenz lift you follow a left curve and then march towards the Kristallbahn.This section is flat and offers a wonderful winter panorama. The mighty Madrisa (2,770 meters) as well as the Ritzenspitze and the Valiseraspitze on the other side of the valley are striking. Out of the valley you can see the wide rock massif of the Rütihorn. Before you reach the valley station of the Kristallbahn, the winter hiking trail slopes gently to the right in a small loop that leads you back to the starting point on the same path.You can warm up and strengthen yourself in the cozy Schafberg Hüsli mountain restaurant at the mountain station. You shouldn't miss the homemade strudel and cakes.
This wonderful winter hike takes you through an untouched mountain landscape at over 2,000 meters above the Ifen ski area. There is the option of shortening the tour, which is almost five kilometers long, halfway through the route.The Ifenbahn takes you from the Auenhütte at the Ifen valley station up to the Gottesacker plateau. Even the driveway impresses with changing views of the snow-covered mountains. Once at the top you walk towards the summit and turn left after a few minutes' walk. A wide, easily accessible path leads through the glittering snow dunes of the Gottesacker karst landscape. Up here all you can hear is the crunch of the snow under your shoes.After a good two kilometers there is the option to turn right and shorten the tour. Otherwise you follow the winter hiking trail slightly downhill to then return to the starting point at the mountain station. There you can expect a particularly nice end with a stop at the Tafel & Zunder mountain restaurant: When the sun is shining, you can take a seat on the large terrace or warm up with a hot drink in the modern dining room.
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From Bezau you take the cable car up to the Baumgarten mountain station, the starting point of this winter hike. The architecture of the station and the adjoining mountain restaurant, which you can stop off at after your tour, is modern and straightforward.To warm up, the first ascent is imminent at the beginning of your tour: With a wonderful view of the mountains of Vorarlberg and the Swiss Alps, you hike from Baumgarten next to the ski slope up to the Hintere Niedere Höhe. There the winter hiking trail branches off to the left and leads you past snow-covered fir trees and bushes. High above the Bregenz Forest, you hike over the Vordere Niedere down to the wooden Theodul Chapel, which is located on a slope with a great view. The windowless, puristic interior offers a nice place to rest.Just a few steps away is the mountain inn Niedere, the perfect place to warm up with a hot drink. From the terrace you can enjoy a fantastic view of Lake Constance when the view is clear. Then it goes back on the same route to the starting point at the mountain station.The path from the Niedere Höhe junction is only groomed when there is sufficient snow. You can get information about this from the Bezau cable car at +43 (0) 5514-2254.
This short winter hike starts in Oberlech, which you can reach from Lech by mountain railway, public bus or car, and takes you to the impressive Skyspace. From the mountain station you walk north past the Hotel Goldener Berg. It's easy uphill through the wonderfully snow-covered landscape - the snow crunches under your feet. After a ten-minute walk you will reach Hotel Mohnenfluh and then continue uphill past the Schlössle.Soon you will be able to see the accessible art installation Skyspace on a small hilltop. A visit to James Turrell's light room is an absolute highlight on a winter holiday: depending on the position of the sun and the time of day, the shadows and light conditions in the Skyspace change. This gives space and time a new meaning.Then it goes back on the same path to the Lech-Oberlech mountain railway and with the gondola into the valley or you follow the road in Oberlech at the Schlössle to the left. After a few minutes you will reach the Schlössle Oberlech bus stop. With the blue local bus Lech you can easily get back to the center of Lech. Before or after your hike, you can stop off in one of the cozy restaurants in Lech.
The Sonnenkopfbahn takes you up into the snow-covered mountains of Vorarlberg: From the mountain station, the marked winter hiking trail leads you past the Muttjöchle mountain restaurant, where you can stop before or after your tour. You walk steadily uphill towards the summit of the Muttjöchle, the view of the snow-covered peaks all around improves with every meter of altitude. Along the way you will find benches that invite you to take a short rest.Once at the top, an imposing 360-degree panorama of the Vorarlberg mountains opens up. At the summit cross you can enter yourself in the summit book and on the way back it is worth stopping at the Muttjöchle mountain restaurant - enjoy cheese spaetzle or strudel. After six kilometers you are back at the starting point at the Sonnenkopfbahn mountain station.
When there is still thick fog down in the valley on the Rhine plain, Übersaxen is usually already enjoying the warm winter sun - the perfect place for a winter hike.From the village center you initially walk on Kirchstraße to the outskirts. There you dive into a fairy-tale snow-covered forest area and follow the path to St. Anna Chapel. After a short rest at the small chapel, turn left onto Gulmweg. The path climbs steadily and serves as a driveway for the upper houses.Further up, there is a rolled winter hiking trail that leads you up over the sunny slopes of the Gartisalpe. You can enjoy wide views of the snow-covered landscape at the mouth of the Walgau into the Rhine Valley. Shortly before you reach your destination on the Übersaxner Gulmalpe, your gaze wanders over the glittering slopes of the Laternsertal below the Hohe Freschen. After a breather on the unmanaged Übersaxner Gulmalpe, you hike back to the village on the same path. There you can finally stop at the Gasthaus Krone.