Kaunergrat circular hike in Austria – a dream for experienced mountaineers

Hiking Collection by Nadine

Over five stages and 43.5 miles (70 km), the Kaunergrat Circular takes you through the heart of the spectacular Kaunergrat Nature Park in Tyrol in western Austria. With striking rock formations and 11 peaks towering over 9,800 feet (3,000 m), this region is a dream for experienced mountaineers. This circular hike takes you along the impressive Kaunergrat mountain ridge, a northern spur of the Ötztal Alps. With almost 16,500 feet (5,000 m) to climb, this is a demanding long-distance hike.

The Kaunergrat circular hike leads into the middle of this wild mountain landscape. You hike over the Steinbockjoch, Verpiljoch and Madatschjoch peaks, walking from hut to hut, with towering high mountains as your backdrop. Your adventure begins from the Nature Park House at the "Gachener Blick" on Piller Höhe mountain. Before setting off, you can learn more about the nature park and its unique flora and fauna here. On your hike, you will explore the Kaunertal and Pitztal valleys. On a clear day, you can also see the glaciated peaks of the Kaunergrat and the Ötztal Alps.

The Kaunergrat circular is very diverse: you follow alpine paths, hike up alpine climbs, navigate glaciers and walk across the Kaunergrat ridge. The route mostly follows black-rated high alpine paths. Each stage ends at a hut or village where you can stay the night. Ascent and descent is also possible on every stage, making it easy to customise your adventure.

If you are taking on the entire circular at once, you should have a good level of fitness. You can expect to hike up to nine hours in one day. Sure-footedness and mountaineering equipment are also a must. This includes sturdy shoes, hiking poles, waterproof clothing, gloves, and a warm jacket. Come prepared and you will be rewarded with solitary paths through unspoilt nature as you visit clear mountain lakes, luscious wild meadows and rustic huts with warm Tyrolean hospitality. You can also choose between the three or seven day variant of the hike – all options go via the Kaunergrat hut.

The start and finish point at the Nature Park Office at Gachener Blick is easy to reach by train. You can take the nature park bus from Landeck and Pitztal stations. For more information (in German), visit: kaunergrat.at/de/naturpark/anreise/sanfte-an-und-abreise

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    09:28
    13.9 mi
    1.5 mph
    5,250 ft
    3,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Already stage 1 demands a lot from you: In total you overcome 1,600 vertical meters in the ascent on this day. From the nature park house it goes up to the Aifner-Alm, further to the Falkaunsalm, to the Gallruthalm and to the wild and romantic Verpeilhütte at 2,025 meters, where a cozy night camp awaits you.For your exertions you will be rewarded extensively with breathtaking views. On the Dr. Angerer Höhenweg offers you a wonderful view of the striking mountain silhouette of the Small and Large Dristkogel and the Gsallkopf. After about eight kilometers, if the visibility is good, the highlight will be waiting for you: the view of the Kaunertal Glacier, which is particularly known for its large ski area.Either the Falkaunsalm or the Gallrutt-Alm are ideal for a break on about half of the route. And don't worry: the tour remains so spectacular and promising - it is worth getting up from the comfortable deck chairs. After a long, exhausting day, you finally arrive at the rustic Verpeilhütte. A delicious menu and a cool drink round off a perfect day in the mountains.

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    Difficult
    03:47
    3.44 mi
    0.9 mph
    3,150 ft
    575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 2 is relatively short, but technically quite demanding. The tour section leads through high alpine terrain from the Verpeilhütte to the Madatschjoch and from there to the Kaunergrathütte.The stage begins with a steep ascent over alpine pasture and later rocky terrain and leads past the northwest wall of the Schwabenkopf and the peaks of the Moos and Madatschkopf. After two and a half hours you will reach the striking Verpilsturm and the three Madatsch towers. You hike past the Madatschferner and climb an insured climb through a steep channel up to the aperitif Madatschjoch at 3,030 meters.The descent to the Kaunergrat hut also requires the experienced, sure-footed and vertigo-free climber. The passage is insured almost continuously with ropes, steps and ladders. After an hour you will arrive at your well-deserved stage destination, the Kaunergrathütte, in impressive mountain scenery. From here you get a first look at the distinctive watzenspitze with its hanging glaciers.Stage 3: From the Kaunergrathütte to the Tiefentalalm - Kaunergrat tourStage 3 is rather moderate with 14.9 kilometers and 520 vertical meters in the ascent - but the descent with 1,390 vertical meters is tough. You hike along the Pitztaler Almenweg up to the Steinbockjoch, further to the Mittelberglesee, to Neururer Berg, to Arzler Alm and to Tiefentalalm. The tour is very entertaining despite the long way downhill. If you are lucky, you will see a few stately examples of the namesake in the region around the Steinbockjoch.The ascent to the Steinbockjoch is quite demanding. The path is partially exposed, narrow and secured with a rope. A head for heights is a must! The prospects on the way make up for all your efforts: you can see mountains like the Hohe Geige and the Pitztaler and Ötztaler glaciers. The Mittelberglesee with its mysterious turquoise water is worth a long rest.The Tiefentalalm, or alternatively the Neubergalm or accommodations in Piösmes, are ideal for an overnight stay. Only with an overnight stay on the Neubergalm you have to expect an hour more walking time. Whichever accommodation you choose, enjoy a hearty meal and a cool beer!

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  • Difficult
    06:06
    9.23 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,700 ft
    4,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 3 is rather moderate with 14.9 kilometers and 520 vertical meters in the ascent - but the descent with 1,390 vertical meters is tough. You hike along the Pitztaler Almenweg up to the Steinbockjoch, further to the Mittelberglesee, to Neururer Berg, to Arzler Alm and to Tiefentalalm. The tour is very entertaining despite the long way downhill. If you are lucky, you will see a few stately examples of the namesake in the region around the Steinbockjoch.The ascent to the Steinbockjoch is quite demanding. The path is partially exposed, narrow and secured with a rope. A head for heights is a must! The prospects on the way make up for all your efforts: you can see mountains like the Hohe Geige and the Pitztaler and Ötztaler glaciers. The Mittelberglesee with its mysterious turquoise water is worth a long rest.The Tiefentalalm, or alternatively the Neubergalm or accommodations in Piösmes, are ideal for an overnight stay. Only with an overnight stay on the Neubergalm you have to expect an hour more walking time. Whichever accommodation you choose, enjoy a hearty meal and a cool beer!

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    Difficult
    04:07
    6.35 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,100 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 4 can be a little more relaxed. Start the day with an extensive breakfast at the Tiefentalalm (or depending on where you stayed). The stage is characterized by a lovely alpine landscape and the contrast of the rugged peaks of the surrounding three-thousand meter peaks. Breathtaking views will always accompany you on this section.You start at the Tiefentalalm and go over the Neubergalm to the Mauchele Alm before you reach your destination, the Söllbergalm. An ideal resting place on this day stage opens up below the Stallkogel with a beautiful view of the Pitztal glacier world. Or you can stop at the waterfall on the Söllbergsteig. You can be sure of refreshment here.If you are still fit and want to climb one of the most beautiful peaks in the Pitztal, then the Stallkogel is the place to go. You can reach it via Mauchele Alm and Karbach in about two and a half hours. In total, you will overcome 750 additional vertical meters. You earned your beer on the hut anyway!

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    Difficult
    08:16
    12.0 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,650 ft
    4,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 5 is the last stage on the Kaunergrat circuit and is once again very demanding. You start after a delicious breakfast on the Söllbergalm and hike up a steep path to the south to two lonely lakes: the Brechsee and then to the Krummen See at 2,584 meters. The lakes are incredibly beautiful waypoints where it is worth taking a break - even if you haven't been around for long.Shortly afterwards you cross the Falkaunsjoch at 2,761 meters to the Kaunertal side of the mountain range. After a descent over the Rossboden you reach the Falkaunsalm. From there you go on the route of the first stage over the Aifner Alm back to the starting point of the hike, the Kaunergrat Nature Park House.After five days, you can look back on challenging, varied stages that you will remember for a long time. You start your return journey with new inspiration.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    44.9 mi
  • Duration
    31:44 h
  • Elevation
    15,825 ft

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