Serenity, wild beauty and proud peaks – the Ötztal Valley in Austria’s North Tyrol region is mountain paradise. While the valley itself extends for 40 miles (65 km), the Ötztal Trek runs high up through the mountain landscape, extending your hiking adventure to an impressive 141 miles (227 km). In this Collection, we bring you on the long–distance alpine hiking trail that should be on the to-do list of every experienced (!) mountain enthusiast.
You can expect a total of 49,213 feet (15,000 m) of altitude difference full of great natural spectacles. The route takes in notches, ridges, peaks and even glacier ice. We have divided the adventure into 22 stages and six routes for you:
Route 1 (stages 1 to 5) is the beginner's route, which requires good physical condition, but is easily manageable with a little mountaineering practice. Only stages 4 and 5 require high alpine experience. Alternatively, you can descend into the valley beforehand.
Route 2 (stages 6 to 9) is the classic for mountaineers, as it leads along old smugglers' paths around the Windachtal natural forest reserve east of Sölden. A detour over the Timmelsjoch even takes you temporarily into neighbouring South Tyrol.
Route 3 (stages 10 to 12) takes you on the trail of the legendary balloon pioneer Auguste Piccard and the world-famous glacier man Ötzi into the rear Ötztal Valley. Here, you will not only discover the impressive glacier world high above Vent, but also a small part of the South Tyrolean mountains for a short time.
Route 4 (stages 13 to 17) again requires high alpine experience, appropriate equipment such as ice axes and ropes, and knowledge of how to walk on a glacier with all safety precautions. This is because you get up close and personal with the spectacular glacier world around Vent in the Ötztal Valley.
Route 5 (stages 18 to 20) finally leads you onto the Mainzer Höhenweg and the Geigenkamm. It’s a section that requires absolute surefootedness and a reliable foundation of climbing skills.
Route 6 (stages 21 and 22) is divided into two stages characterised by wonderful distant views, whereby we recommend an overnight stay at the end so that you don't have to climb 7,654 feet (2,333 m) in altitude all at once during the descent. This last stage of the Ötztal Trek leads you back to the starting point.
In this Collection, you master stage after stage, marching from hut to hut. Provided you plan your adventure correctly and make reservations in good time, you can look forward to delicious hut specialities and a cosy bed every evening. If you only want to complete one route, you can simply descend to the valley at the respective end points, although sometimes also in between. Of course, you can also leave yourself more time for the individual stages.
You can also shorten sections with the cable cars and hiking buses. Thanks to the Ötztal Inside Summer Card, you can even use them for free. More information on the benefits of the Ötztal Inside Summer Card can be found at: oetztal.com/summercard.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: May 12, 2022
Stage 1 of the Ötztal Trek is also part of the first route. It is the beginner's route and takes you from the Ötztal train station up to the Dortmunder Hütte. You do need a certain level of fitness for this – but you don’t (yet) have to have any special alpine experience.
So today you start your adventure…
Stage 2 of the Ötztal Trek is a bit more relaxed, at least as far as the kilometers to be mastered are concerned. There are still a few meters of altitude on the program. But you can do it with ease, because there are some natural highlights on the way, and at the end a warm bed in the Schweinfurter…
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At the Schweinfurter Hütte, the wonderful Horlachtal meets the charming Zwieselbachtal. You can explore the latter today - a total of almost ten and a half kilometers in the direction of Winnebachseehütte.
You start right in front of your quarters and march into the Zwieselbachtal. Past the Zwieselbacher…
Stage 4 of the Ötztal Trek requires glacier experience and appropriate equipment for the first time. A mountain guide can also be helpful here. Because it goes high and once across a distance. If you don't dare, you can also hike back into the valley from the Winnebachseehütte.
From the Winnebachseeh…
High alpine experience is also required for stage 5 of the Ötztal Trek. Another long-distance crossing is pending. Of course, you should also bring the appropriate equipment and possibly even a mountain guide with you. This will definitely be an unforgettable adventure - in a positive sense.
Stage 6 marks the start of Route 2 of the Ötztal Trek. With its course along old smugglers' paths around the natural forest reserve Windachtal east of Sölden and over many proud peaks, it is a classic for mountaineers. You should therefore bring the appropriate experience and equipment with you. And…
Stage 7 requires just under five and a half kilometers and a good 300 meters in altitude from you. It also takes you into the sovereign territory of the Zuckerhütl, the highest mountain in the Stubai Alps. But let's start in front of the door of your night quarters. Along the Hüttenzusteig you march…
Stage 8 of the Ötztal Trek lets you relax your legs again in between. You leave the dizzying heights for now and hike a little further down the valley. But resting is not the order of the day either - it is quite a long and sometimes steep descent.
But before that, you have to master a short ascent to…
Today the last stage of Route 2 of the Ötztal Trek is on the agenda. It lets you master a good amount of altitude, but also rewards you with unique nature and impressive mountain peaks. Let's start at yesterday's stage destination, the Gasthof Hochfirst.
From here you hike up to the rest house on the…
Ready for Route 3 of the Ötztal Trek? It leads into the upper Ötztal and lets you hike in the footsteps of the balloon pioneer Auguste Piccard and the glacier man Ötzi. She also invites you to discover the wonderful glacier world near Vent. You will also make a detour to South Tyrol on the way. But first…
Around twelve kilometers through a unique mountain world await you on the eleventh stage of the Ötztal Trek. Woke up at yesterday's stage destination and well strengthened from breakfast, you don't have to wait much longer, but start straight away - with the ascent to the Ramoljoch. It goes over slabs…
Well rested and full of vigour, you get ready for stage 12 of the Ötztal Trek. Your companion today (besides a well-filled backpack and alpine equipment)? The glacier man Ötzi, also called "Mummy from Similaun". Today's destination is the Similaunhütte, which sits enthroned at over 3,000 meters above…
Route 4 of the Ötztal Trek starts high up at the dizzying 3,019 meters of the Similaunhütte. It gives you a deep insight into the glacier world around Vent in the Ötztal. You will also be accompanied here by Ötzi and correspondingly difficult passages. This section of the long-distance trail is by no…
Today it's back up to majestic heights! The Brandenburger Haus, the destination of the fourteenth stage of the Ötztal Trek, is enthroned at an impressive 3,277 meters above sea level. Carefully placed on a rock above the Kesselwandferner, there are unique views of the glacier.
Let's start at your night…
Today it is once again more downhill than uphill. After your night at such dizzying heights, you might even look forward to taking a deep breath a little further down.
From the Brandenburger Haus it goes through blocks back down to the Kesselwandferner. This time you cross the glacier in a northeasterly…
Today there are almost seven kilometers ahead of you. Technically it will not be too challenging on this stage. But you will enjoy spectacular views all the more along the way. Among other things, to the Großer Vernagtferner with the Hochvernagtspitze.
But let's start in front of the door of your yesterday…
Stage 17 forms the culmination of Route 4 of the Ötztal Trek. Starting at the Breslauer Hütte and past the foothills of the Rofenkar, the route initially goes downhill. After a while you will reach a beautiful mountain trail, which a little later leads to a wonderful panorama trail. It always leads you…
Route 5 marks the penultimate section of the Ötztal Trek. And here too - as you are now used to from the long-distance hiking trail - a lot of experience is required. This route is very demanding, some sections even require a certain level of climbing ability. But a few natural highlights await you and…
I hope you have recharged your batteries properly. Because today it won't be much less demanding than stage 18 yesterday. There are a few ridges and a small glacier to overcome. At the end, a self-catering hut awaits you, so you should make provisions for that. And so much should be said: This stage…
Route 5 is over that quickly. At least after today's stage. And it means it relatively well with you compared to the last two: on a route of almost seven and a half kilometers you hike through beautiful nature and past a few picturesque mountain lakes. Best of all: There is only one (longer) climb to…
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