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The Zillertal Trail – three passes and a howling dog


The Zillertal Trail – three passes and a howling dog

Mountain Biking Collection by tristanbogaard



18:37 h

107 mi

15,525 ft

Welcome to the Zillertal Trail Collection: a new 170+ kilometer circular bikepacking route through the Italian and Austrian Alps.

Here you find the full, fine-tuned route (check out the ‘Do It Yourself’-section below) but you also get to follow our 2021 route-scouting journey with a 6-day itinerary in full detail.

The Zillertal Trail, which we think looks a lot like a howling dog with a big nose (just turn the map 90 degrees clockwise), guides those brave enough to ride it over three spectacular passes in the Zillertal Alps. It's a loop that starts and finishes in Brunico, right by the train station to allow for an easy connection in and out. You'll find that it stitches a lot of well- and lesser-known cycling sections together into a single route that can usually be completed in 4-5 days. The natural environment along this track is alpine at higher elevations, with colorful flowers, glacial lakes and perhaps even snow-capped peaks. The lower elevations are lush and green, with good infrastructure available to offer accommodation or a taste of local cuisine.

While the route profile might look relatively easy (despite the three big passes to cross), don't be deceived: it's the riding surfaces and short seasonal window that make this ride a particularly challenging one. You should be able to cross every pass between June and September, and you should probably bring a light setup on a hardtail mountain bike. The paths and tracks range from perfect asphalt to steep dirt trenches and stairs made out of thick slabs of rock, with everything else in between. Weather could significantly impact the quality of the ride, so you should keep an eye out for the report and count in an extra day, should things turn against your planning.

Our daily stage breakdown presented in this Collection was based mainly on us wanting to explore and document the route we had created. So they're to be taken as a mere example of what you can expect if you take things more slowly.

For the optimal 'take-it-all-in' experience, we recommend the following itinerary...

Day 1: Start in Brunico, climb over Pfunderer Joch pass and stay in the valley around Sankt Jakob or anywhere official you can find on the descent - it makes for a very long first day but accommodation is limited around the pass
Day 2: continue on to climb to Pfitscherjoch pass, sleeping at ‘Pfitscherjoch Haus’ (komoot.de/highlight/158505) – a shorter day to recover
Day 3: Start at Pfitscherjoch Haus and make your way down into Austria, with a potential grocery stop in Mayrhofen. Then continue towards the start of the Hundskehljoch valley, sleeping at ‘Bärenbad Alm’. (komoot.com/highlight/479514)
Day 4: Start at Bärenbad Alm and try to scale the entire Hundskehljoch pass (remember this will entail a 3km up and 3km down hike-a-bike-section). Aim to reach the valley on the other side for accommodation (we can recommend Baumannhof), potentially even Brunico.
Day 5: if you didn’t reach Brunico on Day 4, simply descend the valley and finish your ride!

Those being our recommendations, it's now time for you to enjoy this Alpine route that shows you the very best natural scenery of the Zillertal Alps! We wish you lots of fun while conquering the Zillertal Trail.

On The Map


Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

Zillertal Trail (official route)

110 mi

16,675 ft

16,700 ft

Last updated: July 9, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Day 1: Creating the Zillertal Trail

    19.0 mi
    7.7 mph
    2,125 ft
    700 ft

    Our first day out on the Zillertal Trail!


    I should immediately note that the daily routes are the recordings of our original scouting trip. They definitely include a few flaws and unwanted detours, so best copy the tracks and edit to your needs. Or, for the full, fine-tuned planned track, please check

    by tristanbogaard

  • 03:29
    10.3 mi
    2.9 mph
    3,925 ft
    1,850 ft

    Day 2 out on the Zillertal Trail! And we started it really early..


    The trail seems carved out of the rock wall and has bridges where a path could not be made. Once you exit the 'floating' section, you're back on solid ground and ready to head into the narrowest part of the valley. This is where the fun

    by tristanbogaard

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  • 04:32
    26.9 mi
    5.9 mph
    2,800 ft
    6,100 ft

    Day 3 out on the Zillertal Trail!


    Descending from Pfunderer Joch is not too challenging, bar the freezing cold stream crossing about 2km before hitting the valley’s main road. Lots of construction work was going on there when we passed by in 2021, but hopefully that's now been completed. Once you ride

    by tristanbogaard

  • 04:07
    20.5 mi
    5.0 mph
    5,350 ft
    1,550 ft

    Day 4 out on the Zillertal Trail!


    In Mayrhofen Belén decided to take a train all the way back to Brunico (the start and finish of the Zillertal Trail) because she didn't want to slow down the progress over the Hundskehljoch pass. Hence, we split up in Mayrhofen, from where I continued to go and scale

    by tristanbogaard

  • 02:37
    16.0 mi
    6.1 mph
    1,000 ft
    5,575 ft

    Day 5 out on the Zillertal Trail!


    I had saved the best for last... the final section up to Hundskehljoch. It is an absolute killer hike-a-bike-section, with zigzags, narrow singletrack and steep gradients. It comes with the occasional astounded hiker who can't even think of where I came from with my bike

    by tristanbogaard

  • 01:22
    14.7 mi
    10.8 mph
    325 ft
    725 ft

    Day 6, the final day out on the Zillertal Trail!


    Whereas you'd probably ride straight down to Brunico after descending the treacherous Hundskehljoch, we stayed with our friend David (@david_niederkofler, who also happens to be the only Warm Showers host in the entire valley....) and opted to finish the

    by tristanbogaard

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    107 mi
  • Duration
    18:37 h
  • Elevation
    15,525 ft

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