Horseshoes are supposed to bring good luck. If that’s the case, then the U-shaped Montafon Hut-to-Hut Hiking Trail must also be lucky. Looping to the south, this long-distance alpine hike takes you through the Montafon Valley along three different mountain ranges. You’ll wander through the green Verwall, before climbing the Silvretta’s rugged rocks, marveling at its glaciers, and finally conquering the Rätikon’s limestone peaks. Expect to hear marmots whistle as you hike at high altitudes. If you’re lucky, you may even catch sight of an ibex.
This round trip is not a classic high-altitude trail. You will repeatedly descend into the valley and climb back up again, collecting a lot of altitude difference. On some stages, you’ll climb more than 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) and hike up to 20 kilometres (12.4 miles). So, you need to be in good shape to take on this adventure. You’ll hike 150 kilometres (93 miles) in total.
As you’ll often hike at alpine heights, you should have experience in the mountains, be sure-footed and not suffer from vertigo. The trail is usually open from July until September, although there may still be snow even in the height of summer. During the open season, you can stay at one of the huts along the route. Make sure you book in advance though, as spaces fill up fast. Some stages require you to bring your own packed lunch.
There are opportunities to shorten the route if you don't want to walk the whole distance at once. You could, for example, begin at stage 7 which ends in Gargellen in the valley. If you start here, you can either walk towards Rätikon, or hike to the east to walk stages 7 to 1 backwards, finishing in Schruns. The whole route can actually be walked anti-clockwise. If you would like to begin higher up, you can start from Bielerhöhe and ascend to the Wiesbadener or Saarbrücker Hut. Many of the other mountain huts also offer alternative ascents from the valley.
You can get to the starting point in Schruns easily by train. The last stage ends at the Golm cable car’s middle station. From here, you can either take the gondola or the bus down into the valley. You can also descend to one of the valley train stations Tschagguns, Kaltenbrunnen or Vandans. If you only want to walk one part of the hike, you can take the bus from Schruns to Gargellen or to Bielerhöhe.
On the first stage you slowly get used to the surroundings for the next few days. The path from Schruns to the Kristberg leads you slowly from the inhabited valley into the mountains. You can comfortably take the train to the starting point in Schruns. You can find information on the connection at oebb.at.Over the sunny slope of Bartholomäberg you climb from Schruns partly through forest to Rellseck. From there it is less strenuous uphill and downhill along the slope to the east. The picturesque Fritzensee with mountain panorama in the background invites you to take a break. Finally you reach the Kristberg, on which a mountain railway goes. From there, the last time you descend into the valley is for the next few days.There are several accommodation options in Silbertal. You can also sleep on the Kristberg, but the beds there are often quickly occupied. You can stop off on the way in Bartholomäberg, in the Alpengasthaus Rellseck and on the Kristberg.
On this day it is only uphill - and the whole 1,400 vertical meters. So take your time and enjoy the beautiful Verwall on the way. The last one and a half kilometers sweeten a few picturesque mountain lakes.You quickly gain height between trees in the south of Silbertal. You will soon reach the Inner Chapel Alp above the tree line. Now it gets rockier and you walk across the Schwarzsee and the Herzsee to the Wormser hut.The Alpe Innerkapell is perfect for a break just behind half the way. Warm beds and meals await you at the Wormser hut. It lies exactly on the back of the Kreuzjoch, a bit below the summit. That's why you have a wonderful view from here in several directions.If you only want to start your hut tour with stage 2, you can reach Silbertal by bus from Schruns train station. You can find the timetables here: montafonerbahn.at.
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Well-rested you start this 20 kilometer stage. In addition there is a descent of 1,000 meters in altitude, but all of them also want to run up again. But the way is good to go and as a reward you penetrate further and further into the lonely mountain world.At the beginning of the stage, you climb over your back to the top of the Kreuzjoch. After the subsequent descent there is a long up and down. If you are fit and want to take a summit with you, you can descend southwards after the Kreuzjoch and go up to the Zamangspitze. From there it goes south and then left again on the way.After about 16 kilometers, you could save yourself the last descent and the associated counter climb by keeping left at the fork and going over the Valschavieljöchle to the Neue Heilbronner Hütte. However, you will then miss the beautiful path over the Gaschurn Winterjöchle with its lakes.On this day, you should pack enough to drink and eat. Only at the stage goal can you get third-party supplies again.
At this stage the crossing from Verwall to Silvretta is on the way. The beautiful Vallülaweg begins behind the Kops reservoir and leads you into the new mountain range.First you descend to the Verbella Alpe and then further down to the Kops reservoir. Now after a steep climb on an exciting path you cross a rocky high mountain landscape with several lakes. And one last water would like to be visited on this stage: At the end you descend to the elongated Silvretta reservoir.At Kopssee you have the opportunity to bypass the Vallülaweg if you prefer to regain strength that day. A bus runs from the Kops Gh Zeinisjoch stop to the Silvretta reservoir.At Bielerhöhe you have the choice between several accommodation options. You can get something to eat on the Verbella Alpe - which, however, is already in the first quarter of the stage - and in the Alpengasthof Zeinisjoch in the north of the Kops reservoir. You can also stay here if you want to divide this stage.
In the morning, the beautiful Bieltal is on the program, which you follow from the lake along a stream. At the end of the valley, you climb onto the bike saddle. Here you can enjoy the view of the glaciers of the Silvretta. From there it is more leisurely to the Wiesbaden hut.You could also skip this stage and run south or left on the banks of the Silvretta Reservoir. There you can start directly in stage 6 in the Klostertal. But that would be a shame, because then you missed the Bieltal.You can't stop on the way that day. You only get a warm meal in the evening in the Wiesbaden hut. You can reach the starting point of this stage from the valley from Schruns with bus line 85. It only runs in summer (montafonerbahn.at).
You climb through two high valleys on stage 6 to below the main ridge of the Silvretta. There you get very close to the rocky three-thousand meter peaks.From the Wiesbaden hut you walk down through the Ochsental valley to the Silvretta reservoir. After a short walk along its southern bank, it goes uphill again through the Klostertal, which takes you up a steep climb towards the Litzner Sattel. From there it is not far to the Saarbrücker Hütte, which is on the other side of the following valley.On this day you should have enough food and drink with you to get to the Saarbrücker Hütte. At the end of the monastery valley you will pass a hut, but it is not managed.
Stage 7 is one of the shortest on the Montafon hut tour. On this day you descend into a valley on the Swiss side of the Silvretta. Where there used to be a glacier, mountaineers can now walk along a rocky path without special equipment.From the Saarbrücker Hütte you climb the lake gap and cross the border there. It goes down on the other side towards Schottensee. The detour to the neighboring country is only short, because this is followed directly by the ascent to the Plattenjoch, which brings you back to Austria. From there, the path descends to the Tübinger Hütte.This stage promises a comparatively cozy day. So you can take your time at breakfast and strengthen yourself properly, because there is no way to stop on the way.
On your last day in the Silvretta you descend into the valley to Gargellen. With the village you make a short detour into civilization and you can top up your provisions in the supermarket.With the Mittelbergjöchli and the Vergaldner Jöchli you have to overcome an ascent at the beginning of the route. Then it goes downhill steadily. You slowly leave the stony alpine heights. It is getting greener around you until you reach the first trees. Then you are already very close to your goal today.The Vergaldaalpe is perfectly located. When you get there, you have already done more than half of the day's route and thus earned a stop. In Gargellen there are many inns and hotels to stay.
After you have slept in the valley the last night, stage 9 is of course waiting for a long climb again. This will take you to the next mountain group, the Rätikon.First you leave Gargellen to the northwest. From the beginning, things go uphill. So you cross the Ronggbach and the Röbibach. In between you will pass the rustic Rongg Alpe. Then you pass two huts, the lower and the upper Röbialpe. Now you climb up to the Sarotlajoch. From there it goes a short distance through Switzerland. The landscape is getting rockier. Behind the Plasseggen pass you will pass a stone customs house. The next way to get to Switzerland is to be left at the pit pass and follow the path to the Tilisuna hut.Unfortunately, the huts are still in the first third of the stage and are too early on the way to have lunch here. Only at the stage goal, the Tilisuna hut, is there something to eat again.If you only want to hike the following stages through the Rätikon, you can take the bus from Schruns station to Gargellen. More information and the timetable for line 87 can be found here: montafonerbahn.at.
The comparatively short stage 10 takes you right into the Rätikon. The path on the Bilkengrat is wonderful. From here you have a great view of the Gauertal with the Three Towers and the Black Scharte at the end of the valley.It starts with the climb towards the Schwarzhorn. It got its name because it stands out with its black volcanic rock from the bright limestone mountains all around. At the saddle below the summit you descend on the other side and follow the path down over the Bilkengrat towards Gauertal.Since this stage is not so long, you can treat yourself to some rest. If you don't feel like it, choose the climb from the Tilisuna hut to the 2,818 meter high Sulzfluh, from there you can descend over the Rachen towards the Lindauer hut. But there is still a lot to see at the Lindauer Hütte. A botanical alpine garden is right next door.
Guess what comes to stage 10 after the descent into the Gauertal? Of course the renewed ascent. This leads you to the impressive rock gap at the Schweizer Tor and to the beautiful view at Lünersee.You reach the Swiss gate via the Öfapass. There is also a small customs house here on the border with Switzerland. Under the steep peaks of the Rätikon you then run up to the Verajoch. Then the descent to the turquoise Lünersee follows. However, you only stay on its bank for a short time and soon climb to the left to the Totalphütte.On the way you get something to eat on the Alpe Lünersee, which is located on the lake shore. You spend the night at the Totalphütte, which lies under the Schesaplana - the highest mountain in the Rätikon - in a rocky desert. If you want to save yourself this last climb, you can also sleep in the Douglass hut on the north shore of Lake Lünersee. A gondola also goes down here to the Brandnertal.
On this stage you can once again enjoy the view of the Lünersee from several perspectives. The route is not too far, so you can take your time.After breakfast it goes back down to the Lünersee. For this you choose the direct path to the bank on the left. Then you walk left past the Douglass hut and over the dam to the other side of the lake, where the ascent to the Lünerkrinne begins. From there it is relatively easy to the Heinrich Hueter hut.The only way to stop is at the Douglass hut. But the way is not that far, so a little something should be enough for on the go. At the Heinrich Hueter Hütte, hikers are well cared for again.
The Montafon Hüttenrunde not only ends with a long descent, but also a few small counter climbs. For the last stretch into the valley you can - if you want - be lazy and take the lift or a bus.In the morning you descend into the Rellstal to climb up to Alpe Platzis on the other side. A little further uphill you reach the top station of the Golmer Bahn. There the descent to Latschau begins.There are several guest houses on this stage. The first is in the Rellstal. There is a dining room at the Golmer mountain station. Around half of the descent from there is the Haus Matschwitz ready for a stop.The stage can be shortened in the Rellstal. Either you take the hiking bus or you walk from here through the valley to Vandans. It takes a good hour and a half. There is a train station in Vandans. Did you make it to Latschau and still have strength in your legs? Then you descend the rest of the way to one of the train stations Tschagguns, Kaltenbrunnen or Vandans. For this you need another hour. Or you can take the cable car or bus down to the valley. You can find current information on the buses at montafonerbahn.at.