On lonely hiking trails from hut to hut, high up, through wild nature in front of breathtaking panoramas - that's really possible, a little off the beaten track of the Alps. And because it's you, we'll tell you where: on the Pfunderer High Trail in the Zillertal Alps in South Tyrol. There is a good chance that you won't meet anyone all day except the mountain innkeeper – except of course cows, marmots, Alpine jackdaws and sometimes even ibex.
The Pfunderer Höhenweg leads you in five to six stages from Sterzing in the Eisack Valley over the most exciting embrasures and through the most pristine valleys of the Pfunderer Mountains to Bruneck. Here you can still experience the Alps just as lonely and pristine today as you would have hundreds of years ago. Accordingly, the mountain huts are scarce and you should always have enough water and provisions with you on the individual stages. For that reason, you shouldn't attempt this hike if you're not in good physical condition and be sure you have plenty of Alpine experience. But come prepared and you're in for a treat: the Pfunderer Höhenweg leads you on narrow paths over steep meadow slopes, up to rocky embrasures and through impressive block heaps. In short, a dream for every experienced mountain hiker.
Here we introduce you to the six-day variant. Between the third and fourth stage you will spend the night in the rustic Walter-Brenninger bivouac. Alternatively, you can combine days three and four to form a mega stage and shorten the hike to five stages. Whatever you decide, it's guaranteed to be unforgettable.
In the South Tyrolean village of Vipiteno, located in the middle of the narrow Eisacktal, your tour starts on the Pfunderer Höhenweg. Starting point is the station. Right next to it you will find a supermarket where you can stock up on food again, then we start.On the banks of the Pfitscher Bach you first wander into the neighboring village of Wiesen and here you will find the signs for the Pfunderer Höhenweg: a red dot with a white outline. About pastures and especially through romantic mountain forests it goes in turns steadily uphill. Shortly below Höllenkragengipfel you leave the tree line behind you and you can expect a fantastic view over the peaks of the Pfunderer mountains and down into the Eisacktal.After you have crossed the Hell Collar, it goes on meadow slopes to the Trenser yoke. A narrow trail takes you along the steep slopes to today's destination, the quaint Simile-Mahd-Alm.
After a leisurely night on the Simile-Mahd-Alm, the Pfunderer Höhenweg leads you further uphill right at the beginning. First through a sparse mountain forest, then over barren meadows and finally over rocky block terrain you climb the altitude by altimeters. But every step is rewarded: the higher you come, the more spectacular the view becomes.An absolute highlight of today's stage is the Wilde Lake, one of the highest and largest mountain lakes in the Zillertal Alps. Especially nice: Due to its secluded location you have the romantic view mostly for you alone.Arriving on the shores of the lake, you now have the choice: either you climb further left and climb the Wild Kreuzspitze, with 3,132 meters the highest peak of the Pfunderer mountains. From the Wildspitze the path leads you downhill to the Rauhtaljoch. Or you can take it a bit easier and walk above the lake directly to the Rauhtaljoch.From the yoke you have a fantastic view down into the wild and romantic Rauhtal. Finally, the Pfunderer Höhenweg takes you through the valley as far as the Brixner Hut, today's stage destination.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
First stage of the third stage: Climb over rocky terrain up to the Steinkarscharte. Be sure to pay attention to the trail markers, because off the trail, the terrain is sometimes slippery and the fine scree is under the feet. If you follow the markings, but you come safely to the point. There you will first be rewarded with a great view of the surrounding peaks.Afterwards it is only in serpentines and then on a well walkable path down into the valley. If you keep quiet, you have a good chance to discover ibexes and marmots. On descent, the landscape becomes a little sweeter. In the basin, you look out over wide meadows, cross several streams and small rivers and pass the ruins of an old, abandoned alpine pasture.Of course, the Pfunderer Höhenweg takes you uphill again from the valley. It goes up to the Dannelscharte. After crossing the pass, follow the path to the next intersection. Here you leave the Pfunderer Höhenweg and hike to the right until you reach the rustic Walter Brenninger bivouac a few minutes away.
With five kilometers of track and just under 700 meters in altitude ascent, the fourth stage is one of the shorter tours on the Pfunderer Höhenweg. But do not be fooled by the numbers: With the Gaisscharte, today you can expect the most adventurous and at the same time most spectacular pass crossing of the entire Höhenweg.First you walk from Walter-Brenninger-Bivouac back to the Pfunderer Höhenweg. At the fork in the road, turn right and climb narrow paths first over barren mountain meadows and then through block terrain up to the Gaisscharte. In short Kraxelei it goes on the last meters to the narrow rock breakthrough and on the other side expect you about 30 meters climbing. Iron ropes and wire ropes support you, but sure-footedness and a head for heights are absolutely essential here.You then continue on over scree slopes and rocky paths. Soon you will see the picturesque Eisbrugsee below. Directly above, at the very end of the valley, the Edelrauthütte, the goal of the fourth stage, is perched high up in the air. The narrow mountain trail runs gently downhill until you reach the modern hut.
The fifth stage starts very comfortably. After the hut breakfast, the Pfunderer Höhenweg leads you gently downhill on a well-accessible mountain path along the Eisbrugbach stream and past the Eisbrugsee lake - the first few hours pass by in a flash. Only after about four kilometers you leave the creek and climb a few meters to Kuhscharte - the view back to the valley is picturesque.From here it is indeed in a moderate slope, but on rocky, narrow paths on the mountainside uphill. On the way you will be accompanied by a magnificent panorama - and with a little luck you will discover chamois and ibexes in the untouched landscape.From the uncultivated Gampisalm it will be really steep again. In serpentines, the path winds up to the small and large Passensee. Here you follow the path to the Pfunderer Höhenweg to the right and ascend through a rough, wild and romantic mountain landscape to the Hochsägescharte. A bit out of breath, but happy, you will be rewarded here with a fantastic view - among other things, you will see under you the Tiefrastenhütte, your today's tour destination.From the ridge, you then just descend until you reach the hut. Courageous hikers also jump in the Tiefrastensee - which is, however, quite cool in the summer.
The sixth stage of the Pfunderer Höhenweg is also the last one - as a farewell you will once again be rewarded with grandiose views and five peaks. From the Tiefrastenhütte you first hike gently downhill and follow the Tiefrastenbach. At the first fork your ways separate and you climb over barren mountain meadows up to a summit ridge.On the narrower, sometimes wider ridge, the Pfunderer Höhenweg now runs from peak to peak: Zwölferspitz, Putzenhöhe, Bärentaler Spitze, Plattner Spitze and finally Sambock. Especially the last summit with its rocky ridge is a dream section for experienced hikers.After you've had enough of the last summit panorama, the long, but steady descent to the Rienztal follows. About 1.500 vertical meters separate you from the stage destination Bruneck. Take a break from your knees on the way down and take a break - the fantastic views give you a perfect reason in many places.The descent is first on paths over barren mountain meadows, then leads you over pastures to the tree line and then on trails and forest roads in turns down to Bruneck.If you sit here at the end of the tour in a café in the old town, the mighty mountain peaks of the Pfunderer mountains are omnipresent. It's hard to believe that you stood up there even in the morning and that the wind was blowing around your nose.