Trek Notes - Austria

Austrian Tirol - Lechtal Alps

The Austrian Alps

General Information
The Austrian Alps are one of the great mountain playgrounds and training grounds of Europe, indeed of the world, and the Tirol is the epitome of the Austrian Alps. The River Inn flows from west to east through the Tirol; to the south of the Inn valley is the glaciated granite and gneiss terrain of the Stubai and Oetztal, while to the north, a little lower and less glaciated, but if anything even more rugged, are the Kalkalpen or Limestone Alps, including ranges such as the Karwendel, the Wetterstein and, in the west, the Lechtal Alps, which rise to 3036m/9958 feet at the Parseierspitze. The Kalpalpen are traversed by the E4 Transeuropean long distance trail (within Austria coinciding with national trail 601), and using this and other numbered and waymarked trails we have worked out a one week tour which explores the northern flanks of the Lechtal Alps, crossing from each valley to the next over high passes; most of the overnights are spent in comfortable accommodation in traditional hamlets and small villages in the valleys, but on one night we get something of the flavour of mountain hut touring by staying at a high level Austrian Alpine Club hut, where the Matrazenlager (dortoir) accommodation is only basic, though usually compensated by a lively evening atmosphere. As in other limestone areas the wildflower displays in early summer are splendid, with orchids and gentians among other attractions. With the highest point on our standard route being 2281m/7480 feet, you are unlikely to encounter problems with unseasonable snow, although we do describe alternative ways of reaching the next night's stop in case such rare adverse conditions do occur.


Travel Information
July to mid-September
On the afternoon of Day 1 (best between 4p.m and 7p.m) at the first hotel in Lermoos. Train reaches Lermoos from Munich Hauptbahnhof (central station) with a change en route either at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (journey time 2 hours) or at Kempten (journey time 3 hours). From Munich Airport add 1 hour and 1 more change of trains (either at Munich Hauptbahnhof or at Munich-Pasing). We can provide up-to-date train times for your date of travel, or alternatively you can visit German National Railways website timetable at At Lermoos it is about 10 minutes walk to our first hotel; alternatively the hotel has offered to collect you from the train station if you telephone them in advance with your arrival time. If you are travelling from Innsbruck to Lermoos you can choose between taking the train via Garmisch-Partenkirchen, or the more direct bus. If arriving in the Tirol by train from Zurich (Switzerland) the last part of the journey to Lermoos can be done by bus from Imst or Innsbruck; alternatively take an international train from Zurich to Kempten (Germany) and change trains there for Lermoos.
End of Tour
The tour ends at the small village of Madau on the morning of day 8. Departure by taxi or local bus from Madau to the larger village of Bach in Lechtal (journey time 20 mins); from here a regular bus will take you to the train station at Reutte (journey time about 1 hour). From Reutte to Munich as from Munich to Lermoos on arrival, but add 20 minutes for journey via Garmisch-Partenkirchen and subtract 20 minutes for journey via Kempten. Return to Innsbruck is by train (change at Garmisch-Partenkirchen) or by bus.

Level of Difficulty
We grade this tour as 'Moderate/Challenging'. This is an Alpine tour with some prolonged ascents and descents, rough surfaces and occasional steep gradients, but the days are not particularly long. See distances in daily itinerary below. Some of the forest trails can be slippery (slick) after rain. The grade of the tour is comparable to that of our 'Around Mont Blanc' and 'Wildstrubel Circuit' tours.
This walk is intended for those who keep themselves fit for mountain walking, and are experienced at following well marked mountain trails in the occasional mist and rain which may be encountered in the Tirolean Alps.
Day stages
11km to 17km/7 to 11 miles per day; ascents and descents up to 1200m/4000 feet per day.
The trail follows in the main well established paths, mostly numbered and waymarked by the Austrian and German Alpine Clubs. Much of the route on Days 2 and 3 follows the E4 trans-European long distance walking trail with its distinctive yellow 'E4' waymarks (equivalent to Austrian trail 601). Although the paths are well marked, basic knowledge of how to use a compass is essential in case of poor visibility on high ground.

Accommodation & Meals
On 6 of the 7 nights is on a half board basis (breakfast and evening meal). On night 4 (at Bschlabs/Boden) bed and breakfast only are included; but an evening meal can be obtained close by. Picnic lunches are not included in the tour cost but are available from your overnight accommodation. picnic materials can also be bought in some of the towns and villages along the route. We indicate in the route notes where there are suitable restaurants or cafes for lunch stops, or recommend you carry food if there are none convenient to the trail.
Night 1: A 3* hotel near the centre of the small town of Lermoos (population 1000) which is a popular ski resort in winter, although much quieter in summer. Our usual hotel has a sunny position with views of the Zugspitze peak (2962m/9715 feet). The hotel has its own restaurant where your evening meal is provided; breakfast is buffet-style. Half-board – for late arrivals evening meal can be kept if you phone ahead.
Night 2: A 4* hotel in a converted and extended Schloss (chateau) in a romantic position on the forested shore of the Fernsteinsee lake, with facilities for sub-aqua exploration (not however included on our tour). Half-board.
Night 3: The Anhalter Hut, a mountain hut owned and managed by the Austrian Alpine Club. The hut is located at 2038m/6685 feet among high alpine meadows overlooked by the sharp peaks of the Gabelspitz (2581m) and Heiterwand. The hut has a westerly outlook with fine views. Nearby is the tiny Kromsee lake or tarn. Most of the accommodation is in a multibedded dortoir or Matrazenlager typical of Austrian mountain huts, but there is a very limited number of private rooms with 2 and 4 beds (availability not guaranteed, but if you book early we'll see what we can do). Toilet and washing facilities are in any case shared. The evening atmosphere can be quite jolly and it is normal to rise and breakfast early. Half-board. Important note: there is no baggage transfer to or from the Anhalter Hut, so you will need to carry overnight things, including a sheet sleeping bag, for this night
Night 4: Normally a welcoming farm guesthouse in the picturesque village of Bschlabs (see upper picture on p.29 of our 2001 brochure). The guest house has been awarded a classification of 3 'Blumen' (flowers or stars) and all rooms are en suite. Evening meal available in a nearby restaurant. Alternatively a 3* pension with most rooms en suite and its own restaurant a bit higher up the Bschlabertal valley at the village of Boden. Bed and breakfast.
Night 5: In the small village of Gramais, tucked away in the remote Gramaisertal valley. A Gasthof/Pension with en suite rooms and its own restaurant. Half-board.
Night 6 and Night 7: A delightful Bergasthaus (mountain pension) in beautiful surroundings in the hamlet of Madau, which is only inhabited in summer. Some rooms with shower, but toilets are outside the rooms. Half-board.

following itinerary is included as a working guide only and may be subject to variation depending on the weather and other factors.
Day 1: Travel to Lermoos (994m). If you arrive early, you could take the cable car up to the Grubigstein (2028m) and possibly enjoy a drink while admiring the view across the valley to the Zugspitze. Overnight Lermoos.
Day 2: Lermoos to Fernsteinsee. 11km/5 hours walking time. Ascent 700m, descent 725m. Highest point Grubigalm 1700m. Trail marks 601, E4.
An introductory day, starting among the ski installations of Lermoos and crossing the forested shoulder of the Grubigstein mountain. You ascend across meadows and climb through forest to the Grubigalm, highest point of the day at 1700m. You then descend across the steep southern flank of the Grubigstein peak with views over the Blindsee lake and descend to meet the road near Fernpass (1212m). The E4 trail continues its descent through forest to Fernsteinsee (988m). In exceptionally bad weather you can catch the bus from Lermoos to Fernsteinsee. Overnight Fernsteinsee (988m).
Day 3: Fernsteinsee (988m) to Anhalter Hut. (2038m). 17km /8 hours walking time. Ascent 1270m, descent 210m. Highest point Hinterbergjoechle 2203m. Trail marks at first unnumbered, then 601/E4.
Probably the hardest day of the itinerary on this tour, so a prompt start is required. From Fernsteinsee you start by following the Nassereith valley for almost an hour before abruptly starting the steep ascent from Mugistal (970m) to Tegestal (1350m). The gradient then eases and you rejoin the 601/E4 trail to follow a fairly level valley bottom to Tarrenton Alm (1531m), where you can picnic before the hardest part of the day: the ascent to the Hinterbergjoechle pass (2203m). From here you traverse some rough ground (scree) to the Kromsattel pass (2137m), after which it is only another 1km/20 mins of easy going to the hut.
Overnight Anhalter hut (2038m).
In exceptionally bad weather/snow conditions it may not be feasible/safe to walk up from Hinter Tarrenton Alm to the Anhalter Hut. In this case you will have to return to Fernsteinsee or Nassereith to spend the night, then travel by road with the baggage to the following night's stop at Bschlabs/Boden. The route notes include suggestions regarding what to do in this eventuality, including ways to get to Bschlabs/Boden as cheaply as possible, but it must be accepted by customers that they will need to use their own initiative in such a situation. Any attendant costs must be borne by the customer.
Day 4: Anhalter Hut (2038m) to Bschlabs (1350m) or Boden (1356m). Anhalter Hut to Boden 6km/3.5 hours. Ascent 160m, descent 850m. Highest point 2198m (Steinjoechl). Anhalter hut to Bschlabs via Boden 11km/5.5 hours. Ascent 300m, descent 1050m. Anhalter Hut to Bschlabs via 616 trail 8km/3 hours. It is also possible to walk to Boden via Bschlabs; add 5km/2 hours.
A shorter day, with a number of possibilities for variations. Bschlabs and Boden are separate hamlets or small villages in the Bschlabertal valley. There are two ways from the hut down to Bschlabs, the normal good weather route being over the Steinjoechle pass (2198m) and down to Hahntenjoch (1894m), from where it is easy going down the Pfafflartal and Bschlabertal valleys via Boden to Bschlabs. Waymarking: 601/E4 to Boden, then un-numbered.. For those who want a little more of a challenge in good conditions it is possible to walk from the Steinjoechle along the ridge to the Falscher Kogl peak (2386m) and back before descending to Hahntenjoch. This will add 1 to 1.5 hours to the length of the day.
The bad weather route down from the Anhalter hut is shorter and more direct: a steady descent along numbered trail 616 to Bschlabs.
Overnight Bschlabs (1350m) or Boden (1356m).
Day 5: You have a choice of routes from Boden to Gramais (from Bschlabs add 5km/2 hours 150m ascent and descent).
Shorter route via Sattele: 6km (4 hours). Ascent 740m, descent 770m. Highest point 2097m (Sattele). Trail 623.
Longer route via Hanauer Hut: 12km (7 hours). Ascent 1140m, descent 1170m, highest point 2497m (Kogelsee Scharte).
If you are starting from Bschlabs and wish to shorten the day you may be able to get a lift to Boden in order to start the walk from there. Otherwise you will spend the first 5km/2 hours following the fairly strenuous trail along the west side of Bschlabertal before you join the 601/E4 path from Boden about 0.5km from that village. From this junction the normal (shorter) route up Sattletal, over the Sattele pass and down to Gramais is straightforward but rewarding.
If you start your day's walk from Boden you may be able to tackle the alternative and more challenging longer route to Gramais via the Hanauer Hut and the Kogelsee Scharte pass. This spectacular route is only for very fit and experienced walkers in clear and settled weather free of risk of thunder!
In emergency (bad weather or snow on the trail) it would be possible to travel by road with the baggage.
Overnight Gramais (1321m).
Day 6: Gramais to Madau. 14km (7 hours). Ascent 960m, descent 970m. Highest point 2281m (Alblit Jochl). Trail 626, then un-numbered, then 621m then 631. A long and fairly hard day through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the region. In emergency (bad weather or snow on the trail) it would be possible to travel by road with the baggage.
Overnight Madau (1310m).
Day 7: With no onward move today, possibilities include a walk up to the E5 European long distance trail to the Memminger Hut ( 2242m), a popular target for day walkers surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery. Another possibility is to take advantage of the delightful surroundings of Madau for a day of rest before the journey back to 'civilization'.
Overnight Madau.
Day 8: End of tour. Return by taxi or local bus to Bach in Lechtal, then regular bus to Reutte and onward by train.

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