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Discover Austria's largest national park – the Karwendel Trail

Filip Brocke

Discover Austria's largest national park – the Karwendel Trail

Hiking Collection by Nadine

4-9

days

3-6 h

/ day

41.7 mi

11,100 ft

11,725 ft

The Karwendel Höhenweg (high-altitude trail) showcases the breathtaking Karwendel mountains in six stages. You follow mostly black-rated mountain paths between 1,500 metres (4,920 feet) and 2,000 metres (6,560 feet), climbing 3,400 metres (11,150 feet) in total. Therefore, you need to be an experienced mountaineer to take on this 60-kilometre (37-mile) route. You can walk the path in both directions, from east to west or vice versa. At the end of each hike, you’ll find a hut offering delicious food and regional produce, where you can also stay overnight. These rustic, cozy inns will help motivate you to reach the end of a challenging hike. For those who are willing to take it on, the Karwendel Höhenweg is an all-round alpine mountain experience.

The Karwendel mountains are found in the northern Limestone Alps, the largest nature park in Austria. This mountainous world, which mostly covers Tyrolean soil, has vast and untouched wilderness. You will hike through tranquil high valleys and alpine pastures, cross mountain pine fields and the rubble cirques that are typical in the area. You will climb up rugged summits from which you can admire views over the densely populated Inn Valley. This contrast makes you all the more aware that you are moving away from everyday life on your multi-day hike.

The Karwendel Höhenweg requires fitness and mountaineering skills as some sections are quite difficult. For experienced mountain hikers, however, the six daily stages should be easy to complete. In case you find the route too tough, you can ascend or descend from all huts. You can also shorten the first and third stages by taking a cable car. Your effort will be rewarded, however. At the end of each stage, you can sit on the terrace of a mountain hut, enjoying a beer and elderberry spritzer and watching the sunset over the mountains. Make sure you reserve a hut in advance though, as spaces fill up fast during the high season between June and October.

If these stages don’t challenge you enough, you can collect more altitude metres on small summit excursions around the huts. The Reither Spitze and the Stempeljochspitze, among others, are worth the extra exploring.

It’s worth travelling to the start of this adventure by train as the stages don’t start and finish in the same place. Your adventure begins at the station in Reith in Tirol and ends at the station in Scharnitz. Both stations have regular connections to Munich and Innsbruck.

Important: These are high mountains so inform yourself about the weather and trail conditions before you set off. Heavy rain and thunderstorms can damage the paths and make them impassable. Sure-footedness, personal responsibility, caution and attention are the most important rules in alpine terrain. During the hike, hut keepers will be happy to provide you with information on the weather and current trail conditions. Take care and you can look forward to six wonderful days in beautiful surroundings!

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Bahnhof Reith bei Seefeld zur Nördlinger Hütte – Karwendel Höhenweg

    Difficult
    03:53
    4.11 mi
    1.1 mph
    3,625 ft
    25 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The first stage begins at the train station in Reith in Tirol with the varied ascent to the Nördlinger Hütte. In this section you will overcome 1,300 meters in altitude and around seven kilometers of distance. At the train station, follow the road north. A little later you come to the panorama path

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  • Difficult
    02:53
    3.88 mi
    1.3 mph
    925 ft
    2,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On the second stage there are 280 ascents and 720 vertical meters in descent, as well as 6.4 kilometers, which you can master in about four hours. The goal of your tour is the Solsteinhaus, which you can reach via the Ursprungattel and the Eppzirler Scharte. From the Nördlinger Hütte, the path leads

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  • Difficult
    08:13
    11.2 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,400 ft
    4,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    After a rustic breakfast at the Solsteinhaus, you start in the third and longest stage of your tour, which takes around eight hours. On your way to the Pfeishütte via the Gipfelstürmerweg and Goetheweg you will overcome 1,400 meters in altitude and 18.5 kilometers. From Solsteinhaus you start on trail

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  • Difficult
    04:27
    5.81 mi
    1.3 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The fourth stage is much more comfortable than the previous day with 500 meters of altitude, 9.1 kilometers and a walking time of four and a half hours. This stage takes you over the Stempeljoch and the wild and romantic Wilde-Bande-Steig to the Bettelwurfhütte, your today's destination.

    After a good

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  • Difficult
    02:18
    3.64 mi
    1.6 mph
    400 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Again a moderate stage is waiting for you. In total, you will overcome 130 vertical meters and 5.8 kilometers in about two and a half hours. The fifth stage leads along old mule tracks across the Lafatscher Joch to the Hallerangerhaus. In the morning you start from the Bettelwurfhütte on trail 222 back

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  • Difficult
    05:57
    13.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    125 ft
    2,825 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Your last stage via the Hinterautal to Scharnitz is coming up. It is only 30 meters uphill, but you cover 19.5 kilometers on your way into the valley and descend 840 meters, which adds up to five and a half hours of walking. From Hallerangerhaus, follow path 224 west. At this point, a detour to the Sunntiger

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    41.7 mi
  • Duration
    27:43 h
  • Elevation
    11,100 ft11,725 ft

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