Key information: Otztal Alps
- This beautiful, glacier-decorated group is thickly clustered on and north of the Italian border
- Outstanding walks, from multi day to multi hour.
- Walkopedia rating87
- Natural interest15
- Human interest6
- Negative points0
- Total rating87
- Length: Your choice
- Maximum Altitude: Your Choice
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
This beautiful, glacier-decorated group is thickly clustered on and north of the Italian border in the west of Austria. Many of its summits are over 3,000m. Its topography is defined by four main north-south valleys, separated by long and high ridges which produce major peaks some way north of the high border ridge, and superb walking opportunities.
Each of these valleys harbours superb walking bases, including well-known Obergurgl, at nearly 2,000m, in the east.
The region is rich in marvellously-sited huts, so you can pick a walking joy almost at will in the middle and east of the range. These huts allow huge flexibility in devising multi-day walks. There are various ways you could cross the range west-east: we very much like the look of the route recommended by Cicerone, a 3 day crossing, some way back from the Italian border due to the size of the outlying ridges, from the upper Kaunertal to the Otztal in the front east via the Taschach Haus, Riffelsee and Braunsweiger Huts, crossing two high ridges and gaining exceptional views of high peaks (including the 3,772m Wildspritz) and glaciers galore.
The day walks mentioned below could also be extended into multi-dayers.
The less-visited Kaunertal to the west has lovely walking, including climbing 2,881m Schweikert and crossing the Kaunergrat ridge to the east.
The long central Pitztal has a multitude of opportunities, including the Mainzer Höhenweg, a magnificent ridge walk to the south-east which has some outstanding views as well as some exposed, cables sections. The Cottbuser Höhenweg is another fine high route with remarkable views and some exposure.
The Otzal in the east divides into three valleys at its top end, and these are popular with walkers for good reason. The western Ventertal has an array of varied and gorgeous walks, worthy of several days’ stay. Above Obergurgl in the central Gurglertal, you can walk to the Schönweis Hut and on into the Rotmoostal, described by the Cicerone as “utterly delightful”. You can also walk on up the gorgeous Guglertal, surrounded by 3,000m peaks, to the Langtalereck Hut. Even further up, the Hochwilde Haus gazes over the Gurgler glacier from its superb perch to the east, with further walking on the Schwärzenkamm ridge above it.
Its mountain huts are one of Austria’s glories, and there are plenty of them in this area, usually in superb or at the least very pretty and charming locations. Note, though, that you do need to book ahead. The contact details of huts in a number of the best areas are in the Cicerone books or can be found locally.
This can be demanding walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather. Come fully prepared.
Have a look at TripAdvisor – you should get good, current views on the area.
Walking in Austria – Kev Reynolds for Cicerone: more than 100 walks in the Austrian Alps, including 4 in this area. As usual, an inspiring book (indeed Walkopedia was alerted to some of these routes by the Cicerone), packed with valuable information, including good detail on the routes. As Austrian maps are good, it has less on each walk that some other Cicerones, but that is fine. Recommended.
Find relevant books on Amazon.
This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by recommending your best walks/making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!
For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Otztal Alps walk page.
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Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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