Sarah

My 5 favourite hikes in the Karwendel Mountains – Northern Limestone Alps

Sarah

My 5 favourite hikes in the Karwendel Mountains – Northern Limestone Alps

Hiking Collection by Sarah

This unique limestone mountain range, with its rocky flanks, is an exceptionally beautiful area, the likes of which I have rarely experienced in other countries.

The Karwendel Mountains, the largest mountain range of the Northern Limestone Alps, won the title of Nature Park of the Year in 2020. With 125 peaks over 2,000 metres (6,561 feet), it's the largest protected area in the region of Tyrol and Austria’s biggest nature park. The Karwendel are home to diverse natural habitats such as wild rivers and primeval forests, as well as important plant and animal species like the wild orchid, centuries-old maple trees, and the golden eagle.

With this Collection, I would like to introduce you to five of my favourite hikes in the Karwendel. These walks enraptured me the first time I did them and have not let me go since.

Each hike can be walked in a day and includes an alpine hut where you can enjoy a hearty snack. If you fancy a sporting challenge, one of the Tours, from the Achensee to the Dalfaz Alm, is also suitable as a quick after-work round. Others are a little longer and ideal for an extended day trip. The area is very popular for multi-day Tours, with 25 mountain huts for overnight stays.

As a photographer, the region is an Eldorado to me. I always need much longer than the normal walking times because I am constantly taking photographs. The motifs here are simply spectacular. Climbing to a summit in the dark with my headlamp at sunrise or watching the blue hour at sunset is always a special experience for me.

This breathtaking landscape is always worth a visit: In spring, crocuses bloom and yellow troll flowers blanket fragrant alpine meadows, whilst autumn is a burst of colour and the winter landscape is wonderful too. I’m drawn back year after year. Every time, I discover something new and let the magnificent surroundings work their magic by pausing and slowing down.

Thanks to the train stations in Tegernsee and Jenbach and local bus connections, the starting points of the individual hikes are easily accessible by public transport. Travelling by car takes about two hours from Munich, which is also where I am based. From Innsbruck, it's a stone's throw by train or car with a journey time of less than an hour. From Vienna, it takes about six hours.

Have fun in the spectacular Karwendels amongst the rocky giants!

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    03:08
    4.60 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The tour starts in Maurach in Tyrol directly at the cable car valley station. You can reach Maurach by car or publicly by train to Lenggries and from there by bus.At the beginning of your tour you are spoiled for choice, either you take the cable car comfortably to the Erfurter Hütte - you can also spend the night there at 1,831 meters - or you want the full hiking experience with an additional, around two-hour ascent from the valley station .If you are traveling with children, it is advisable to start from the hut. That's why I designed my tour that way.In winter the cable car doesn’t run and so your snowshoe, ski or snowboard starts. Splitboard tour definitely down at the cable car station in Maurach. But be careful, the area is at risk of avalanches, please always check the avalanche situation beforehand.Not only the European long-distance hiking trail E4 leads past the Erfurter Hütte, but also the Tyrolean Eagle Walk. When you arrive at the hut, the path towards Rofanspitze, like many other paths, is clearly signposted. You leave the Mauritzalm to your right and first walk uphill a little, then down a depression again and then steadily uphill partly through mountain pines. On the left you can see the 2,039 meter high Geschöllkopf and after an hour and a half you will reach a small pass, where you can take a short break with a view of the Grubersee. Beware, there are a lot of jackdaws flying here and they like to peck after a snack.We continue along a narrow path towards the east, at the junction there is a right onto the Haidachstellwand and a slight incline on the left into the Gruberscharte, a very beautiful viewing point at 2,102 meters. Between two rock faces you can see the small, often greenish shimmering lake called Hirschlacke from afar.Finally, it goes over grassy areas past another signpost a little steeper up the north flank towards Rofanspitze. At 2,229 meters, the top is the third highest mountain in the Karwendel and there is a summit cross at the top. And with such a phenomenal all-round view, I'm personally just always completely happy.The way back is almost the same as the way there. You continue below the summit cross along a beautiful mountain ridge on a kind of ridge. Attention, the right goes steeply downhill, here you should be sure-footed and not necessarily stumble. To the left the path leads back to the path that you also walked up. If you continue straight ahead and at the end to the right down to the Schafsteigsattel, this is the transition to the Zireinersee.Back at the Erfurter Hütte, the terrace invites you to enjoy a beautiful view of the turquoise Achensee, before you return to the valley by gondola or on foot.The Rofankalksteingebirge is a very contrasting mountain range; rugged rock formations alternate with lush meadows. Climbing fans will get their money's worth here and the Hochiss at 2,299 meters is also a popular summit hike, which is also possible with children from the Erfurter Hütte.

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    Difficult
    05:36
    7.70 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,300 ft
    3,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Publicly, you can take bus no.4080 to Maurach from Jenbach train station. Change in Maurach to bus no. 9550 to Pertisau.
    If you are traveling by car, you can park in the hikers' car park in front of the St. Hubertus inn.
    Today's three and a half hour hike, in which you cover a full 1,000 meters in altitude from Pertisau, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful in the Karwendel, one of my absolute favorite tours.It not only attracts with a practical refreshment stop at the Bärenbadalm, but also with fantastic views from the Bärenkopf at 1,991 meters in the eastern foothills of the Karwendel.On the tour that I would like to recommend to you here, you stick to the yellow signpost towards Bärenkopf, starting from the St. Hubertus inn. After a wooden fence you follow the ski slope upwards. After about 15 minutes, the piste branches off to the right and you look again for a forest path and the signpost to the toboggan hut and to the Bärenkopf.From here you can come to rest in 18 stations and for around one and a half hours on the Dien-Mut-Weg, a so-called path of reflection. This is dedicated to Saint Notburga, who lived in the 13th century and is venerated in the pilgrimage church in Eben and Maurach.In the first third, it goes up through the forest, finally through a stone tunnel, until you reach a saddle to the Bärenbadalm at 1,457 meters over an open meadow on a well-signposted path. The Alm offers drinks and snacks, but unfortunately you cannot spend the night here. It is open from May to October.
    Here you will also meet the hikers who come up with the cable car from Pertisau, who usually continue down to the Alm and stop there or aim for the last stretch to the Bärenkopf.
    Just a few steps away from the Alm you already have a wonderful, first view of the green-bluish shimmering Achensee.From the Alm there are a few bends up a slope through mountain pines and forest until it clears and you continue on slightly narrowing paths. With the Karwendel always in view, you will soon come to a sign where you turn left to Bärenkopf and come to a short, rope-insured section.Shortly afterwards the rope continues on a rock wall on the left, but you can also walk freely. Then you go straight on an easy hiking trail steadily towards the summit.There is enough space for all hikers even in the high season and on weekends, because there are plenty of free areas around the summit cross to rest between the mountain pines.At the summit cross you have a panoramic view with the Achensee at your feet, the Rofan and Karwendel mountains and the Inn Valley. If you have a good view, you can even see as far as the main Alpine ridge with the Hohe Tauern, the Ötztal Alps and the Zillertal Alps.The way back is on the way there and either you take the cable car from the Bärenbadalm back to Pertisau or you walk down again.

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  • Difficult
    03:49
    3.73 mi
    1.0 mph
    2,375 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    At the starting point, Eben am Achensee, you can either come directly by car or by train and bus to Buchau.By the way, you can park with a purchased parking ticket in the parking lot on the south side of the family resort. Attention: The large parking lot at the thermal bath down by the lake can only be used as a guest of the thermal bath.Today's hike, on which you cover around 700 meters in altitude, which begins right behind the Buchau family resort in Eben, is suitable as a day or afternoon tour, depending on the pace.In any case, I would suggest you plan a snack break at the Dalfaz Alm, located at 1,693 meters above sea level, in the middle of the Rofan Mountains. From here you have a very nice view of the turquoise Achensee and can take a deep breath and escape the hectic everyday life.The first part of the hike takes you the 250 vertical meters in 45 minutes on a moderate forest path or optionally a hiking trail to the viewing platform of the Dalfaz waterfall. There are some wooden loungers here to rest and small paths lead you right up to the waterfall, which is a welcome refreshment in summer.
    The 60 meter high, imposing waterfall is to the left of a 150 meter high, imposing via ferrata of difficulty level D, which can be done by experienced via ferrata climbers from May to October.
    We continue partly through forest and over meadows through steep terrain almost always with the Achensee in the back to the Dalfazalm with sun terrace and great views of the surrounding peaks and the Achensee.The menu includes delicious Tyrolean delicacies from our own production. The family business not only houses pigs, sheep and dairy cows, but there are also rabbits, which are especially popular with children in a kind of 'petting zoo'. A total of 37 people could spend the night in double and multi-bed rooms on the Alm with prior reservation. (Please bring duvet covers or a sleeping bag) Please remember to have enough cash with you, as it is not possible to pay by card up here.With children under ten years of age, it is advisable to visit the Alm with the Rofan cable car from Maurach, as it is only a 45-minute walk to the Alm and the path is not that steep. In my experience, this means that the hike remains a fond memory and is not too strenuous for the little ones.A sunrise or sunset up here is a unique experience.The way back is like the way there and this is all the more beautiful because you have the Achensee in view the whole time and you have your own unique perspective again.

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    Difficult
    05:19
    8.50 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,650 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Your starting point for this hike is the parking lot at Gasthof Eng and the Almdorf Engalm. This can be reached with the mountaineering bus on the toll road as well as with your own car.From the parking lot you start today at the Großer Ahornboden and walk towards Almdorf, past ancient sycamore trees, the Rissbach and always with a view of various mighty peaks, such as the Falkenwand. The alpine huts look like something out of a picture book, red geraniums, tools on the wall and wooden benches and tables in front of them. In June globeflowers and gentians bloom everywhere, in autumn the maple trees look flaming orange, like in the Canadian Indian summer.It goes past the cheese dairy and the chapel behind it to the Engalm rest hut with the playground.About 20 meters further on at the end of the Riss valley you will already see the second signpost that shows you the direction to the Falkenhütte. A slight ascent leads you with a view of the mountain range with the Spritzkarspitze and the Laliderer walls to a small, light wooded area.

    Always on the left with the mountain range of the Falkengruppe in view, you cross two small streams and after about an hour and a half ascent you reach the Hohljoch with a gate from which you can see the new Falkenhütte, which opened in September 2020, below the 900-meter-high Laliderewalls.
    You can already see the path down, the Birkkarspitze appears in your field of vision and after another ascent to the Spielissjoch, you have reached your destination, the Falkenhütte.The hut is, among other things, a base for various multi-day tours in the Karwendel. There is also a nature adventure playground for children and sun loungers. Located in the middle of meadows, in the north the summit of Ladizköpfl, as well as the 2,094 meter high Mahnkopf and the 2,347 meter high stone falcon. The path continues to the west to the Karwendelhaus.Anyone who has traveled publicly does not have to go back to the Ahornboden, but can also walk through the Johannistal down to the Rißbachtal and take the bus there towards Lenggries.The alternative approach to the Falkenhütte is possible with a total of four hours from Hinterriß in front of the toll station, before you continue on the road to Großer Ahornboden. The path leads you through the Johannestal past a gorge and with an additional 45 minutes detour over the small Ahornboden up to the Falkenhütte.

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    Difficult
    05:17
    8.03 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,850 ft
    2,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today you can expect a varied and strenuous hike with easy climbing, including over a ridge to the spectacularly located Lamsenjochhütte. Numerous motifs make the hearts of photographers beat faster.Your starting point for this hike is the parking lot at Gasthof Eng and the Almdorf Engalm. This can be reached both with the mountaineering bus from Lenggries on the toll road and with your own car.I recommend you start early in the morning at the parking lot of the Großer Ahornboden. You can expect a level walk to the Almdorf (Engalm).At the end of the village you turn left and after about 500 meters you will see a sign that branches off to the left under a tree just before a bank to the Binsalm. A moderately rising hiking trail leads you there via the panorama path.You can also stay overnight at the Binsalm if you have made a reservation. There are even double rooms in the new extension.Immediately behind the Binsalm you follow a signposted alpine hiking trail in zigzag, partly through a loose population of mountain pines, to a saddle. On the left always the Sonnjoch in view, down in the valley the Gramaialm and on the right you finally branch off, up the Hahnenkampl. There is a short, rope-insured section on the ascent that you can easily master and after you have reached the beautiful summit cross with carved edelweiss at 2,080 meters, you can enjoy the view of the mountain range.We continue along lonely peaks in a wild mountain backdrop. Always in view: the massive mountain range with the Lamsenspitze.On the descent from the Hahnenkampl you have to be focused, because there are some exposed, but again rope insured, places and from time to time hikers come towards you. After about 1.5 hours you will reach a fork, from which it takes a good hour to the Lamsenjochhütte, which you can see from afar.With a view of the 2,508 m high Lamsenspitze there is a very tasty Tyrolean ham with pumpkin seed oil and salad for lunch. A chapel behind the hut serves as a beautiful motif in front of the Lamsenspitze, and you can often see climbers on the wall. The ascent to the Schafjöchl gives you a great view from above of the Lamsenjochhütte and the Lamsenspitze on the opposite side.Freshly strengthened, you descend directly over the Binsalm to the Großer Ahornboden. Shortly before the Gasthaus Eng you come out of the forest in small serpentines and you are right at the parking lot.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    32.6 mi
  • Duration
    23:08 h
  • Elevation
    12,500 ft
Sarah

My 5 favourite hikes in the Karwendel Mountains – Northern Limestone Alps