Zillertal

This trip is centered out of the Zillertal Valley which is near Innsbruck in the Southern Tyrol . A valley of great beauty surrounded by many mountains over 3300 meters and with the Italian border nearby.

There is spectacular scenery around every corner: vineyards, ancient castles and venerable abbeys overlooking the Danube, wooded hills rising out of lush farmland. Lakes dotted with sailboats and ringed by soaring mountains, alpine peaks and their icy world of glaciers reaching for the sky. The towns are as varied as the countryside around them: historic cities where architectural masterpieces from three or four centuries face one another across narrow lanes or sweeping squares, market towns that have barely changed since the Middle Ages, mountain villages with neat little houses and flowers overflowing from wooden balconies.

Enjoy life the leisurely way: at pastry shops, in coffee houses, in beer gardens, in wine taverns. Savor the superb Austrian food which makes every meal a pleasure in itself. And relax with the friendly Austrians who genuinely like foreign visitors. Shop for outstanding hand-crafted items or native dresses, jackets and hats.

Itinerary: A 5-day hiking tour with 5 overnight stays

The route: Strass-Fügen/Spieljoch-Fügenberg-Hochfügen-Hippach- Mayrhofen-Finkenberg-Tux
DAY 1
Starting from Strass railway station, the path takes you a few hundred metres along the main road into the valley before a hiking trail branches off towards the pilgrimage Church of Maria Brettfall. The pilgrimage church (which boasts a fantastic view over the lower Inntal) can be reached in just half an hour by following a steep winding path. From the church, a hiking trail leads to the road into the valley and to a barrier. The path is now no longer asphalted and passes through the Öxeltal. The first day’s destination, the chapel Kellerjoch, comes into view on the Kaunzalm. Walking time from Brettfall to Kaunzalm: approx. 3 hours. Head left from the huge Kaunzalm pasture up to the mountain station of the Spieljochbahn.

Now you have to decide between two different routes from the Spieljochbahn downhill;

  • the demanding and challenging alpine trail along the basin of the Öxeltal valley to the Kellerjochhütte – approx. 2 hours (Austrian Alpine Club 312, Path 8) or
  • following the Geolsalm and the Gartalm to the Kellerjochhütte. You have reached the day’s final destination when you arrive at the Kellerjochhütte (or Gamssteinhaus).

DAY 2 From the Kellerjochhütte, you should make your way across the Kuhmesser down to the Loassattel (Austrian Alpine Club 313, Path 10) (rest stop, 2 guesthouses) then continue toward your left into the valley to Hochfügen (Austrian Alpine Club 316, path 10) for approx. 2 hours. Pass by Hochfügen and follow the track into the valley until you come across the markings that will lead you to Sidanjoch and the Rastkogelhütte (approx. 3 hours).

DAY 3
2 different routes are available:

  • From the Rastkogelhütte, follow Path 318 to the summit of the Rastkogel (2,762 m). This takes approx. 2 ½ hours (not usually difficult, only the last 50 m to the summit can be challenging in bad weather). You don’t have to climb the summit, but it definitely offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the valley. Return to Hiking Path 318 after descending from the summit and head to the right at the foot of the hill to begin your descent to Lanersbach (approx. 2 ½ hours). Overnight stay in Lanersbach.
  • Follow path 302 A down to Gasthof Mösl, approx. 1 ½ hours. From here, it’s just a 1 km walk down the road until a trail branches off the right. Follow this trail to the bridge and then a few hundred meters until you come to the junction of Alpine Path 24a and the bridge over the Horbergbach stream. At this point, it’s just a short climb to cross the Horbergbahn cable car coming from Schwendau. Now turn to the left and follow Hiking Path 24 towards Penken, where you’ll be able to stay the night in the “Gschößwandhaus” guesthouse. Continue your hike, passing the Penkenhaus and Path 22 until you reach the station of the Finkenberg cable car railway. Follow Path 28 to the former magnesite works (bus stop for postal bus service) and to Lanersbach.

DAY 4
From Lanersbach, make your way along Alpine Path 28 to the Höllensteinhütte. Pass the Höllensteinhütte and head down Path 534 up to the Kreuzjoch (2,178 m) and down again to Elsalm, challenging trail on Path 534 to the Lachtalscharte (2,187 m) (hiking experience a must) leads you right up to the Gamshütte (1,921 m). Walking time from the Höllensteinhütte to the Gamshütte: 4 –5 hours. DAY 5 There are 4 different possibilities to descent from the Gamshütte:

  • Descent to Finkenberg, descending on the Hermann-Hecht path in 2 hours the arriving in Mayrhofen in one more hour.
  • Descent to Finkenberg/Innerberg to the bus stop of the postal bus service in 1 ½ hours
  • Descent to Ginzling following the somewhat steep Path 533a to the Gamsgrube snack bar. From here, you can walk towards the end of the valley to the Gasthof Karlsteg in approx. 2 hours (postal bus service bus stop). Or continue on to Mayrhofen or Finkenberg. Follow the avalanche protection gallery facing the Gasthof Karlsteg towards the end of the valley and the cross over the road after approx. 100 m and go over a stone bridge. Take Path 33 to Finkenberg or Path 32 to Mayrhofen
  • Path to Friesenberghaus – Berliner Höhenweg – see Berliner Höhenweg (extremely long and demanding, approx. 9 hours). This path is marked with a “Z” for “Zillertal” from Strass to the Rastkogelhütte.

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