Key information: Zillertal Hohenweg
- One of Austria’s finest walks, a marvellous horseshoe around the Zillertal region.
- Walkopedia rating88
- Natural interest16
- Human interest5
- Negative points0
- Total rating88
- Length: 9 days
- Up to 80km
- Maximum Altitude: 3,000m+
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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.
One of Austria’s great walks, also known as the Zillertaler Runde Tour or Rucksack Route and (in part) the Berliner Höhenweg.
A marvellous 8+ day (up to 80km) horseshoe around the high Zillertal region, climbing for two days up the slopes of the main eastern ridge to the high border mountains, where it traverses westward for four days below the high peaks, crossing three high passes, including the Schoenbichler Scharte at over 3,000m, before slowly descending the flanks of the main western ridge for three days. You can extend it to include some peaks or even klettersteigs (via ferratas).
The first stage takes the Ahornbahn Cable car from Mayrhofen to the high lands at its upper station. It is then a steady 3km ascent to the Karl von Edel Hut (up to 2hrs). You can here climb the 2,973m Ahorn Spitze and spend the night in the hut; or, if you are fit, and very early, tackle the long (14km, 8-10hr) stage 2 to the Kasseler Hut. This is demanding and exposed walking, on the mid slopes of the Stilluppgrund valley, with fixed cable sections and boulder fields to cross, but views galore to reward you. From the Kasseler Hut there are two stunning peaks to climb, both day walks.
Stage 3 takes you across rough ground at the head of the valley before crossing the 2,701m Lapen Scharte to the Greizer Hut -7.5km/7hrs. Magnificent scenery. From here you can make a day climb up the Grosser Loeffler.
Stage 4 is an 8km (approaching 8hrs) trek to the Berliner Hut. The main route crosses the dramatic (and exposed) Moerchen Scharte (2,872m), followed by a long, view-rich descent to the hut. A lovely walk. There are also thrilling high-level routes, crossing the Floitenkees glacier or taking in the high, stunning Schwarzenstein Hut. From the hut you can climb the 3,253m Berliner Spitze.
The thrilling Stage 5 climbs to cross the high bowl of the upper Zemmgrund valley, below the border ridge with Italy. Then tops the high and exposed Schönbichler Scharte (3,081m, the highest point on the route – take great care in poor weather), before dropping to the Furtschagl Haus (2,293m), 7-8.5hrs. You can make a day climb of 3,480m Grosser Moseler from this hut – a tough and exposed climb but rewarded by some of the region’s finest views.
Stage 6 is again superb, dropping to the depths of the Zamsergrund before climbing to the Friesenberg Haus (2,477m). 5-6hrs for most people. There are a couple of day climbs you can make from this hut. You can stop at the earlier Orpeler Hut, and make a day climb of Orpeler (3,476m).
Stage 7 is long (14km/11hrs or so) and demanding (with lots of ups and downs), but gorgeous, traverse along the northern sides of the Zamergrund valley to the, Gams Hut (1,928m).
The final stage is a 2.5hr, 1,200m, descent to the roadhead(s), from which you can take a bus back to Magrhofen.
This is a hut-to-hut walk, so heavy loads don’t need to be carried. It is a demanding walk, with exposed (cabled) sections, long climbs from huts to passes and a total ascent said to be around 6,700m.
You can shorten it by walking in or out to the various roadheads in the range – for instance, the Berliner Höhenweg. Walking up to the valley to the Berliner Hut and then on round westward to descend by the Zamsergrund, arguably the very best of the route in 4 days or so (The Berliner Höhenweg is officially walked west-to-east.).
This can be tough walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather. Come fully prepared,
Have a look at TripAdvisor – you should get good, current views on the area.
Trekking in the Zillertal Alps – Allan Hartley for Cicerone is the book for the Hohenweg and the South Tyrol Tour. As usual, inspiring books (indeed, Walkopedia was alerted to some of these walks by them), packed with valuable information, including good detail on the routes. Recommended. Find relevant books on Amazon.
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For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Zillertal Alps walk page.
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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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