With three variants – Alpine, Kompakt and Family, long-distance hiking on the KAT Walk in the Kitzbühel Alps offers a route for everyone. In the heart of the Tyrolean mountains in Austria, the region has impressive panoramas, traditional delicacies and fresh mountain air. From unique peaks, you look across green valleys and shimmering rivers to the Hohe Tauern mountain range and all the way to the Wilder Kaiser peaks. Each of the three hike variants leads across countless alpine pastures, Some are managed and serve gröstl, a traditional fried potato and meat dish, or strudel. Others have untouched nature and thousands of meadow flowers line the way.
The KAT Walk Alpine is made up of six stages and the other variants have five. All three variants start in Hopfgarten in the Brixen Valley and end in Ortisei in the beautiful Pillerseetal, a wonderful place to extend your adventure after finishing. As the daily stages overlap in places, you can see the respective variant name and stage in the Tour title.
On the Alpine variant, you spend six days high up into the impressive idyll of the Kitzbühel Alps, which help you to forget everyday life. You hike for 106 kilometres (66 miles) through alpine scenery with panoramic views from Hopfgarten to St. Ulrich in the Pillerseetal. On the way, you pass wonderful farms, Lodron Mountain, the Hahnenkamm and the Kitzbüheler Horn before arriving at the shores of the beautiful Pillersee. Surefootedness and plenty of stamina are needed for the varied terrain on this route. On some of the six stages, you climb and descend more than 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) in altitude. There are no climbing passages, but there is a small, rope-secured section at the Kitzbüheler Horn.
The 76-kilometres (47 miles) KAT Walk Kompakt has five varied stages, some of which can be shortened with a cable car or gondola if you choose. This variant is perfect for long-distance hiking newcomers and if you are looking for a slightly easier walk than the Alpine variant. You hike over breathtaking peaks like the Hohe Salve, past the crystal clear Salvensee lake, over the Gaisberg to Kirchberg and up the Hahnenkamm before arriving in Kitzbühel. Here, all three variants meet again and run along the same trail to Ortisei.
The Kompakt route is the perfect choice for families with children, as well as the KAT Walk Family. This third variant offers an eventful adventure for young and old. On five exciting stages, you cross the Kitzbühel Alps choosing each day how easy or difficult you would like the hike to be. If you are fit, have good stamina and are not afraid of hiking uphill, then choose the Stoabock route which is identical to the KAT Walk Kompakt. The more leisurely Oachkatzl route shortens the ascents with cable car rides. You’ll find links to the shortcuts in the respective Tour descriptions. Both stages have one thing in common – plenty of adventures en route such as playgrounds, mountain adventure worlds, puzzles and climbing parks. Of course, you can choose to hike the Stoabock route one day and the Oachkatzl route the next.
The all-round carefree package helps you to have a completely comfortable trip with everything organised for you, from overnight accommodation to maps and luggage transport. This way, you can start your long-distance hiking adventure on the KAT Walk with a clear head.
The starting point of the first alpine stage is at the Hopfgarten-Bergbahn train station, where the tourist information is also located. Before you start into the fantastic mountains of the Kitzbühel Alps, it is worth taking a detour to the village center with its impressive church. Then you leave Hopfgarten in a south-westerly direction, cross the Brixentaler Ache and follow a romantic stream.
With more than 1,000 meters of ascent and descent, the promising second stage of the alpine KAT Walk variant awaits you. Since there is no place to stop for refreshments as far as Windau, it is advisable to bring enough provisions with you. From Kelchsau it goes first on an asphalt road in three bends up to the edge of the forest.
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From Windau you hike into the valley at the beginning of the third alpine stage. After a good kilometer you cross the Windauer Ache and start the ascent up to the Hintenkarscharte. The wonderful hiking trail meanders alternately through forest and alpine pastures up to Scheibenschlag Niederalm. There you turn right onto a steeper cart path that brings you to the idyllic Scheibenschlag Hochalm.
On the fourth stage, more than 1,000 vertical meters up and downhill await you. But at the end of the day you have the option of taking the train down from the Hahnenkamm to Kitzbühel, which saves you around two hours of walking time. You start in Aschau, where the ascent begins on the eastern edge of the village. First it goes through lush meadows, later again and again uphill on short sections through the shady forest.
The compact and family variants have a promising start: the Salvenbahn takes you from Hopfgarten to the middle station at the Salvenalm. For the Oachkatzl (komoot.de/tour/362121100) among you, the following applies: Optionally, you can also take the cable car to the summit of the Hohe Salve. If you need some refreshment before the start of the first stage, you can stop off at the middle station in the cozy Berggasthaus Tenn.
The second stage of the Kompakt and Family variants starts in Brixen im Thale. From the center it goes to the banks of the Brixentaler Ache, which initially shows you the way. You follow the Brixenbachstraße to the south until after two and a half kilometers you turn onto a narrow hiking trail. The well-developed trail now leads through wonderful alpine pastures, gently ascending into the valley.