Pitztal Holiday

Hiking and sightseeing
in Pitztal Tirol

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    1. Background / History

    Nauders is a village near the Reschenpass where three countries meet: Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Where normally the stork brings babies, in Nauders, newborns come from the “Sacred Tree”. This is just one of many ancient myths and legends that circulate in the village near the Reschenpass, that connects Austria and Italy. Nauders is located in a remote part of Tyrol where visitors will find a great mix of high alpine meadows and steep peaks.

    2. The hiking trail

    The trail starts with a relaxed ride up with the Mutzkopf chairlift. Directly at the mountain station take the hiking trail (no. 9) to the mountain Kleiner Mutzkopf and on to the Schwarzer See.

     

    20170519 D-5318-seerosen-schwarzer-see

    The Schwarzer See with the white water lillies
    © www.suedtirolerland.it

     

    Then follow road no. 6. You can also choose an alternative route, there are two options. East of the Schwarzer See, you can take a path that runs over the southern shore towards the Grüner See. A second road begins at the very end of the western shore of the lake.

    In the end, both paths come back together in the wood above the lake. You’re walking further through a beautiful pine forest to the Grüner See.

    The Grüner See, which really lives up to its name (green lake)
    © www.suedtirolerland.it

     

    If you then follow the path to the southeast, you enter the Groβmutz area with outstrechted meadowlands. If you choose to stay at road nr. 6, walk further in northeast direction, then you will reach the highest summit of the Großmutzkopf. Here, with a little luck, you can see the Reschen lake in Italy!

    The trail continues at road nr. 7 towards the meadows of Riatsch and Riatschhof. If you decide in Riatsch to walk back to Nauders via road 5a, below the meadows of Riatsch you will find signs that show the way. You arrive at a former ski trail that winds through the woods into the meadows into the valley. Then cross the street and walk across the bridge over the Stillebach creek. So you reach the hotel Gasthof Martha at the Alte Straße and you are back in Nauders.

     

     

    The total length of this trail (without chair lift) is 10.3 kilometers. The duration is 4 hours.

    In the trail, between the both lakes, there is a side-way that leads to the three countries landmark (borders of Italy, Switzerland and Austria). This is a 15 minutes walk.

    Signpost to the three countries landmark
    © www.suedtirolerland.it

     

    The boundary stone
    © www.suedtirolerland.it

    2.2 Starting point

    Starting point of the trail is the top mountain station of the double chairlift Mutzkopf in Nauders. There is a little parking lot at the valley station of the Mutzkopfbahn. There is a free parking lot at the valley station of the Bergkastelbahn (20 minutes walk to the Mutzkopfbahn).

    How to get to Nauders:

    By car: From Wenns, drive to Fließ, follow the B180 (Reschenstraβe) to Nauders. At the end of this road (in the center of Nauders), drive to the right over the Martinsbrücker Straße. The chairlift is at the left side of the road.

    By public transport: From Wenns, there is a bus connection to Nauders via Imst and Landeck, duration 2 hours.

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

    First you take the chairlift to the mountain Kleinmutzkopf. From there you walk through a nature reserve area to the idyllic Schwarzsee and then through a small wood with pine trees to the Grünsee. Then the trail rises up to the Großmutzkopf. At the top you have a boundless view to the Reschensee (lake) in Italy. Back into the valley via Riatsch to Nauders.

    2.4 Duration

    The total duration of this trail is 4 hours (cable car not included). When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take more time.

    3. Recommended maps for this region:

     

    4. Photos

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    5. Useful links

     

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    1. Background/History

    1.1 The Rofen farmhouses

    Already in the 13th century, the area around Rofen, in Austria, was colonized over the Niederjoch by the people from the Schnalstal valley (Senales valley), near Bozen, in Italy. According to tradition, in the autumn, shepherds were surprised in an early fall of heavy snow, so a return over the 3010 meters high mountains of the Niederjoch was no longer possible.

    Sheep drive into the Senales vallley
    © de.wikipedia.org

    Thus a first settlement was established at the place of the Rofen farmhouses (in German Rofenhöfe), by sheep-shepherds, who had to build simple huts for wintering. For the first time, in 1280, the existing evidence of these farmhouses in Rofen was documented.

    The Counts of Tyrol, headquartered in Merano, established the property boundaries firmly. From 1348 to 1803, the Rofen farmhouses had their own rights by a protection letter from Ludwig of Brandenburg, an opponent of Ulrich von Lenzburg, in that time Bishop of Chur. These rights included not only tax exemption, but also home jurisdiction in a special court that belonged to Bolzano.

    Nowadays, the legend is still told, that in the first half of the 15th century, the farmhouses in Rofen became a significant place in the history of Tyrol. The Tyrolean Duke Frederick IV here had found one of its sanctuaries, where he had to hide after he was banned by the Council of Konstanz from the King Sigismund. Historically correct is, that “Friedl with his empty pocket” fled over the Reschenpass to Merano as he reported itself in a letter to the pastor Johann in Tirol.

    Today the farms are primarily accommodation in the summer for mountaineers. This area also has international significance, because of the breeding of Haflinger horses. The farms are owned by the Klotz family. In 1848, one of their ancestors, Leander Klotz, succeeded to climb, as one of the first, the Wildspitze (the highest mountain of the Oetztal Alps).

    The Rofen farmhouses are situated at a height of 2009 meters above sealevel, about one kilometer west of and 114 meters higher than Vent in the Ötztaler Alps, in Tyrol, in Austria. As well as Vent itself, Rofen forms part of the municipality Sölden in the Ötztal. The Rofen farms are the highest permanently inhabited mountain farms in Austria.

    1.2 The Rofen valley

    The Rofen valley near the village of Vent is about 10 km long and is a side valley of the Venter Valley, (which is a side valley of the Ötztal valley). The creek in the Rofen valley originates at the Hintereisferner (glacier), from the mountain Weißkugel (3739 meters above sea level, on the national border to Italy).

    20170427 Rofen valley uit outdooractive (vent_landschaft_01_03)

    The Rofen valley
    © www.outdooractive.com

    During the Summer, parts of the Rofental valley are inhabited by sheep from the south of Tyrol (in Italy). These sheep are driven over the Ötztaler alp main ridge. In October 2011, the tradition of this transhumance, was taken up by the Austrian Commission for UNESCO in the National Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

    2. The hiking trail

    Get fascinated on this walk along the Rofner creek, among the blossoming Alpine meadows and the eternal ice of the surrounding glaciers.

    Along the Rofner creek and its spectacular gorge you will not only find messengers from long past times, as the hunters’ camp or the “hollow stone”, it will present itself to you again and again smaller works of art from the present who tell you their own stories.

    Along the countless meadows with Haflinger horses, you also can find some small pools, they reflect clear as a mirror in calm countryside. On this trail you can also prove your courage, while crossing the suspension bridge, which crosses the Rofner gorge.

    The suspension bridge
    © www.oetztal-online.at

     

    On the way back to Vent, you can take a break at the restaurant Berggasthaus Rofenhof.

    2.1 Summary about the trail.

    Follow the road to Rofenhöfe farms. The way back to Vent leads past the suspension bridge and through beautiful mountain pastures with a unique flora.

     

     

    2.2 Starting point

    The trail starts from the parking lot, at the beginning of Vent, parking fee € 4 per day (Coordinates: 46.863330 N 10.917000 E). But in the centre of Vent, there is a free parking lot near the valley station of the Stablein lift. (Section P8 is a free parking lot for hiking people, situated near the chapel).

    How to get there:

    By car: From Wenns, drive out of the Pitztal valley to Arzl, then follow the B171 to Oetz. Here, follow the B186 into the Oetztal valley, via Umhausen and Sölden. In Zwieselstein, follow the L240 to Vent (Venter Landesstraße). Duration 1.15 hours.

    By public transport: From Wenns, take the bus to Imst. Change to Zwieselstein. There is no bus connection between Zwieselstein and Vent.

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

     

     

     

    2.4 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes 40 minutes to reach the Rofen farms. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take around 1 hour.

    4. Photos

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    1. History of the Amberger hütte

    The Amberger hütte is situated at the end of the Sulztal, at a height of 2135 meters, almost surrounded by the Stubai Alps. The hut was built in 1888, rebuilt in 1936, 1974, 1999 and 2014. The hut is owned by the section Amberg of the DAV (Deutsche Alpen Verein, in english German Alpine Assiciaton).

    During the Summer, the hut is open from mid June until mid October. During the Winter, the winterroom is open from begin February until begin May, no key needed. Directly at the hut there is a sulfur lake (about 18 degrees warm). Transport of luggage is possible, but has to be paid.

    huette1

    Around the Amberger hütte
    © Ambergerhütte

    stube_1

    Guestroom
    © Ambergerhütte

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    6_huette

    The sulfar lake
    © Ambergerhütte

    2. The hiking trail

    The family friendly trail starts in Gries. First you walk about two kilometers from the hamlet Gries, along the Fischbach creek over the asphaltic road, then it becomes a gravel road.

    After crossing the Vögelasbrücke (bridge), the trail to the Nisslalm branches off. The trail to the Ambergerhütte leads into the narrower valley. At 1,900 meters, it is the temptation to resist having dinner already in the nice Sulztalalm.

    But the onward journey along the rushing Fischbach creek is worth it! The peculiar high valley is increasingly arid, the Amberger Hütte, at a hight of 2136 meters now is in sight. With the mountains Hinteren Daunkopf, Windacher Daunkogl and Schrankogel, it offers fantastic views of the Stubai Alps.

     

     

    The trail length is 6,1 kilometer, it takes one and a half hour. The way back to the starting point goes over the same trail.

    2.1 Starting point

    The trail starts at the end of Gries. There is a free parking lot for hikers to the Amberger Hütte. Walk back towards the bridge over the Starkenbach, the trail starts at the other side of the river.

    How to get there:

    By car: From Wenns, drive out of the Pitztal to Imst. Take the B171 to Telfs. At Ötztal Bahnhof take the B186 into the Ötztal valley. Follow this road untill Längenfeld. From there, take the L239 to Gries in the Sulztal. This road is 5,81 kilometers long, at the start are a few hairpins, the road climbs 400 meters. To protect the road against avalanches during the winter, there were built 3 tunnel galleries (with a length of 488, 150 and 95 meters). There is a free parking lot at the end of Gries. Total driving is about 50 minutes.

    By public transport: From Wenns, you can take the bus to Längenfeld, duration 1,5 hours. There is no bus to Gries.

    2.2 Turn-by-turn directions

    From Gries, you walk along the Fischbach creek, first over the asphaltic road, then it becomes a gravel road. You cross the Vögelasbrücke (bridge), here the trail to the Nisslalm branches off. Now the trail leads into the narrower valley. At a height of 1.900 meters, you pass the Sulztalalm.

     

    20170414 Sulztalm-laengenfeld2_e97557d25a (from Oetztal.at tourismus)

    The Sulztalalm
    © www.oetztal.at

     

    The peculiar high valley is increasingly arid, the Amberger Hütte, at a hight of 2136 meters now is in sight. With the mountains Hinteren Daunkopf, Windacher Daunkogl and Schrankogel, it offers fantastic views of the Stubai Alps.

    2.3 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes 1,5 hours to reach the Amberger Hütte. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take around 2 hours.

    3. Photos

     

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    1. Background

    This nature trail leads through the Kauner and Kaunerberger dry grasslands, which are home to many different animal and plant species. On the 45 accompanying information boards along the way, you learn a lot of more than 40 species of trees and shrubs, and their native flora. Also, more than 1100 species of butterflies, many nocturnal thereof, can be observed here!

    In its biodiversity and its conservation value, the dry grasslands are comparable to the sunny slopes in Fließ. As part of the care plan, since 2006, deforestation and overgrazing are carried out and encouraged to obtain valuable lean lawns. At the same time rare butterfly species such as the “Silver Green Bluebird” or “Variable Burnet” are protected.

    2. The hiking trail

    From the bus stop Kauns Dorfplatz (Kauns village square), you go first towards Kaunerberg. In the reverse the information boards begins. At the sign “Zum Wasserfall” Schlossbach ends this way. Back to Kauns along the signage. There also is a brochure from this trail.

    The trail is a 2,5 kilometers long round trip, duration 1,5 hours.

    2.2 Starting point

    The trail starts at the bus stop Kauns Dorfplatz (Kauns village square). There is a free parking lot.

    How to get there:

    By car: From Wenns center, drive via Piller, Fuchsmoos and Kaunerberg, duration 27 minutes.

    By public transports: There is no direct bus connection, you have to travel via Imst, Landeck and Prutz to Kauns.

     

    schmetterling

    Butterfly
    © www.kaunertal.com

     

    The dry grasslands of Kauns
    © www.kaunertal.com

    kauner62_vorauer

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

    Describe the route. Do it briefly; just to guide people to the destination. Assume they have a GPX or map. Give guidance with for example photos to prevent mistakes going the wrong way.

    2.4 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes x-y hours to reach the destination. For others it will take zz minutes more. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take around xx hours. Going down to the village yy goes much faster; around xx hours including zz minutes break for people not used to heights.

    3. Recommended maps for this region:

     

    4. Photos

     

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    5. Useful links

     

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    1. Background

    From the Kaunertal glacier road, you can reach the Seeles See in a walk of 15 – 30 minutes. From the clear lake you have an excellent view of the surrounding glaciated mountains of the Weißseespitze (a mountain top at a height of 3518 meters, at the boarder of Austria and Italy). There is probably no better place for an alpine picnic.

    seelissee_maxwasser

    Seeles See
    © www.kirchenwirt.com

     

    2. The hiking trail

    The trail starts at the valley station of the Ochsenalmbahn (near the Kaunertaler Glacier Road). In a walk of 15 – 30 minutes, you reach the Seeles See.

    You can take the same road back, but it is possible to walk over the Gepatsch alm to the Gepatschhaus. Give close attention, with a little luck you can observe the deer, which very much like moving here quite stormy and enjoy the warm days. Also the alp marmots can be seen here.

    2.1 The route

    2.2 Starting point

    There is a parking lot at the valley station of the Ochsenalmbahn (near the Kaunertal glacier road). Three hairpins further is a little parking lot beside the road (place for 10 cars), at this point the trail starts.

    How to get there by car or public transport:

    By car: From Wenns, drive through Piller and Kaunerberg to Kauns. From there, follow the Kaunertaler Gletscherstraβe, the Kaunertaler glacier road. For driving over this road, you have to pay tolls.

    By public transports: There is no direct bus connection. From Wenns, take the bus to Imst, Landeck and Prutz into the Kaunertal Valley. The bus stop is near the little parking lot, where the trail starts.

    Start of the toll road

     

    Start of the toll road
    © https://www.motofun.ch/paesse_ausland/kaunertal.html

     

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

    The trail starts at the valley station of the Ochsenalmbahn (near the Kaunertaler Glacier Road). In a walk of 15 – 30 minutes, you reach the Seeles See.

    2.4 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes x-y hours to reach the destination. For others it will take zz minutes more. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take around xx hours. Going down to the village yy goes much faster; around xx hours including zz minutes break for people not used to heights.

    4. Photos

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    1. Background/History

    The Rotmoosferner (ferner is the German word for glacier) is situated near Obergurgl, at the end of the Ötztal, in Tyrol in Austria. The glacier at the end of the Rotmoostal valley extends in a height of about 3400 to 2400 meters and covers an area of about 3 square kilometers.

    Like most glaciers in the Alps, the Rotmoosferner has been affected by the glacier melt since the middle of the 19th century. In 1858, the maximum extension of the glacier end moraine was measured at a height of approximately 2300 m. Since then, the glacier has retreated and lost massively and surfacely (interrupted by short advances between 1916 and 1922, as well as in the 1980s). Between 1850 and 2006, the length went back by about 2 km, and the ice thickness in the area of the tongue around 150 m. In 2005, the existing connection with the Rotmoos waterfall glacier was demolished.

    In its retreat, the glacier leaves moraine and gravel surfaces, on which gradually pioneer vegetation settles. One of the first plants to be found in this area is the feldspar, quarry stone crust and alpine lemming. After 20 years of ice-freeness, the first lawn plants such as the Poa Alpina (alpine meadow grass) occur. The first representatives of soil fauna are jumping tails, mites and enchyroses as well as butterflies and beetle larvae.

    Up to 28% of the Rotmoos glacier is covered by cryoconite, a powdery windblown dust with organic components. As a result, the albedo of the glacier is altered, the darker places are heated more strongly by the solar irradiation, melting more rapidly than the surroundings and leaving depressions in the ice, so-called cryokonite holes. In the cryokonite of the Rotmoosferners the Hypsibius klebelsbergi Mihelčič was found, which can survive times without oxygen as well as extremely low temperatures in cryobiose.

    There are fascinatingly different stones at the Rotmoos valley. The darker rocks often contain not only the shiny mica red garnets and dark hornblende, the bright rocks are marbles from the Schneeberger. Near the Schönwieshütte is a several thousand year old peat bog.

    2. The hiking trail

    There should be a certain degree of certainty. Also on this section you can observe marmots. The rest of the way is easy. On the Schönwieshütte you can then take a rest before it goes back to Obergurgl.

    In Obergurgl, you take the cable car Hohe Mut Bahn (in two steps, travel time not included), with a little luck you can see some alp marmots underneath you. The panoramic view from the Hohe Mut is overwhelming, with high mountains, framed by glaciers. From here, at a height of 2600 meters, walk over the flat ridge to the south. A beautiful trail will lead you on high moorland with a view at the Rotmoos glacier. Take the slightly ascending path towards the glacier. Then you descend the slope to the foot of the glacier. Take care of your steps in this part of the trail!

    At the stamping point, you can have a short break and make some pictures. After a walk through the Rotmoos valley, you can take a longer break at the Schönwieshütte. The rest of the trail is easy.

    Stamping point
    © www.komoot.de

     

    The Schönwieshütte
    © www.tripadvisor.at

     

    On the way back towards Obergurgl the trail leads through a 300 year-old pine forest, the GPS trail in this post ends at Vitalhotel Mühle in Untergurgl.

    obergurgler_zirbenwald_moor_04

    Pine trees in Obergurgl
    © www.naturpark-oetztal.at

     

     

     

     

     

    2.2 Starting point

    The trail starts at the (top) mountain station of the Hohe Mut Bahn. In 2017, this cable car is open from June 24 until September 17, daily from 9 am until 4 pm.

    Hohe Mut Bahn, top mountain station
    © www.obergurgl.com

     

    There is a free parking lot at the Festkogelbahn, at the beginning of Obergurgl.

    How to get there:

    By car: From Wenns, drive out of the Pitztal to Imst. Follow the B171, follow the signs to the B186 (Ötztal), from Zwieselstein follow the L15 to Obergurgl.

    By bus: From Wenns, to Obergurgl (bus change in Imst), duration 2 hours, 15 minutes.

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

    From the (top) mountain station of the Hohe Mut Bahn, you walk over the ridge until you reach the Rotmoos glacier. You walk back through the Rotmoos valley, you can take a break at the Schönwieshütte. Back to Obergurgl, you walk the Alpine Interactive Trail through the Obergurgler zirbenwald, this is a 300 year old pine forest. 

    2.4 Duration

    The length of the trail is 9,9 kilometers, without stops the duration is 5 hours (the Hohe Mut Bahn is not included). On the website www.outdooractive.com you can find some other trails that pass the Rotmoos glacier and/or the Schönwieshütte, also starting point Hohe Mut Bahn and end point in Obergurgl.

    4. Photos

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    1. The Steinseehütte

    The Steinseehütte is framed by the mighty Parzinn group, in the Oberinntal, in Tyrol. The hut is situated below the Steinsee, on a green terrace. Nowadays, it is owned by the section Landeck of the ÖAV, the Austrian Alpine Club.

    Steinseehütte
    © lechtaler-hoehenweg

    1.1 History

    The first very small Steinseehütte was built in 1924. It was visited by regional living climbers. A kitchen was built in a new room and after the Second World War, the hut was enlarged, by attaching a stone building to the existing wooden hut. This expansion was completed in 1954.

    The visits to the new hut increased continuously. Therefore, another enlargement was started in 1966 and finished in 1968. From 1980, the small winter room hut had become dilapidated. In a construction period of 2 ½ months, during the summer of 1983, another annex was created. In 1984, all internal work and facilities could be realized. In September 1999 the installation of a photovoltaic system was completed. Through this modern and environmentally friendly facility, the energy supply of gas could be converted to electricity.

    Also the water supply has been completely renovated. In June 2002, the sanitation was improved by the installation of a solids separator. In the autumn of 2007, the hut was provided with two hot water showers. In the years 2010 – 2011, the kitchen was renovated and a drying room was built. Also the photovoltaic system was expanded and renewed. The parking lot on the Alfuz Alm was enlarged. In 2012, the terrace was redesigned.

    2. The hiking trail

    The trail starts from the parking lot at the Alfuzalm, near Landeck. From there it goes in a relaxed walk in 2,15 hours up to the Steinseehütte. The total distance to the hut is almost 5 kilometers. The climb from the Alfuzalm to the hut rises almost 800 meters.

    From the hut, in an half hour walk, through green meadows, you can reach the Steinsee, a lake at a height of 2222 meters. Deep blue water, with a green frame and surmounted by wild jagged peaks.

    Steinsee
    © austria-forum.org

     

     

     

    2.1 Starting point

     

    The trail starts at the Alfuz alm, here is a parking lot (free of charge).

    Parking lot at the Alfuzalm
    © alpenvereinaktiv

     

    How to get there:

    By car: From Wenns, drive through Piller and Flieβ towards the railway station (Bahnhof) in Landeck. Follow the B171 towards Innsbrück, through Zams (do not take the Autobahn A12). Approximately 1 km before Zams it branches off from the highway B171, directly after the avalanche shelter on the left (signpost), under the motorway and before gravel sharply to the right (signpost). Now follow the left forest road about 4.3 km to the Alfuzalm.

    By bus: There is a bus connection between Wenns (centre), via Immst to Starkenbach.

    2.2 Turn-by-turn directions

    From the parking lot, descend about 100 meters towards the Alfuz Almhütte. Follow roadnr. 625, after 3 km to the junction Württemberger Haus. Bear to the right, there is a signpost to the road to the Steinseehutte.

    Take the right road to the Steinseehütte
    © alpenvereinaktiv

     

    2.4 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes 2.15 hours to reach the Steinseehütte. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photo’s etc. it will take 2.5 to 3 hours.

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    1. The Winnebachseehütte

    The Winnebachseehütte is located in the west Stubai Alps. The start of the trail is in the Ötztal, in Gries (near Längenfeld). A crystal clear mountain lake is nestled next to the hut.

    At a height of 2362 meters you can enjoy the views of the magnificent mountains and a majestic waterfall. The hut is finishing point of the famous long distance trails “Adler-weg” (Ealgle-walk), etappe 48 and The Ötztal Trek route 1, etappe 3. In a ten minutes walk, you find a litlle climbing park, with 25 routes, named “Kleinkanada”.

    In the summer, the hut is open from the end of June until mid October. During the winter, the hut is open from the end of February until the beginning of May. It is possible to transport your luggage by the ropeway.

    During the spring of 2015, the hut was completely rebuilt and renovated, by the DAV section Hof (DAV = Deutsche Alpen Verein, in English German Alpine Association). Also due to regularly requirements, the conversion and extension had become urgently necessary. Of course, the section tried to keep, as far as possible, the original and very popular character of the cottage.

    2. The trail

    In the summer, from the parking place, walk along the driveway, between the houses of Winnebach, follow the marked path (no. 141) in switchbacks up into the forest. First, you follow a somewhat broader way, then the trail follows over a narrow mountain road, northwest of the Winnebach creek, on the lateral slopes into the valley.

    After the tree line, a few meters down and along the Winnebach alp, further along the valley. Traverse underneath the climbing park “Kleinkanada”. In the end, the trail goes steep up to the now already visible hut.

    In the winter, you take the same trail on touring skis or snowshoes, don’t take the small rising path to the left but remain on the wider path. For use of the winterroom, no key is needed.

    2.1 Map

     

     

    2.2 Starting point

    From Gries, follow the road to Winnebach. In the second turn, there is a small parking area for the visitors of the hut. Attention: in spring snow chains are necessary. If you are using a GPS, the coördinates of the parking place are 47.072553N, 11.024842E. There is also a large parking place at the end of Gries, for the hikers to the Amberger Hütte (coördinates 47.069590N, 11.026656E).

    How to get there:

    By car: From Wenns, drive out of the Pitztal. In Imst, take the B171 to Roppen and Ötztal Bahnhof. Follow the B186 into the Ötztal. In Längenfeld, drive left to Gries, after the village is the parking lot.

    By public transport: From Wenns, there is a bus connection to Längenfeld (change in Imst). Duration 1 hour 30 minutes. There is no bus connection between Längenfeld and Gries.

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

    From the parking place, walk along the driveway, between the houses of Winnebach, follow the marked path (no. 141) in switchbacks up into the forest.

    2.4 Duration

    The trail is a round trail, the hut is on the highest point. The total distance is 7,3 kilometers, the duration is 4 hours. This is only an indication, it takes longer when you stop to take pictures or if you take a break at the hut.

    300px-Winnebachseehütte

    Winnebachseehütte
    © de.wikipedia.org

     

    kinder_mit_goass am winnebachsee

    Winnebachsee
    © Winnebachseehütte

     

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    Waterfall behind the Winnebachseehütte
    © Winnebachseehütte

     

    Trail to the hut in the winter
    © Winnebachseehütte

     

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    1. Background

    The Ötztal Nature Park consists mainly of alpine and high alpine terrain. Its landscape is dominated by the intense glaciation. Due to the large vertical height difference of almost 3,000 meters, almost all elevations of the Central Alps can be found in the Ötztal Nature Park, each with its characteristic plants, animals and habitats.

    The Natural Monument Obergurler Zirbenwald (at a height between 1950 and 2100 meters), is a closed nature sanctuary. It is situated in the Ötztal Nature park, it is covering an area of over 20 hectares. In addition to partially far over 300 year old pine trees, there is a raised bog, alpine rose fields and an impressive waterfall to explore. During a hike on the adventure road, 13 panels explain more about the flora and fauna in this region. And the incomparable odor of pine trees is omnipresent! Relax with a stop at the Hohe Mut Alm on the comfortable deck chair terrace at a height of 2670 meters and enjoy the vast views of the surrounding mountains with 21 three-thousanders. The Alm is also the starting point for a variety of hikes.

    Obergurgler Zirbenwald
    © www.naturpark-oetztal.at

     

    obergurgler_zirbenwald_moor_04

     

    Botanical highlights
    © www.naturpark-oetztal.at

     

     

    obergurgler_zirbenwald_03

     

    A forest fire in the 1880s almost destroyed this jewel. Only than, already old pines have survived. Because of fresh young growth, today there arises a two-stage forest. Since 1977, on the Austrian side of the central part of the Gurgler Kamm, from the Seelenkogel to Schwenzerspitze, is recognized by the UNESCO as a biosphere reserve and as a biogenetic reserve. However, since May 2014, this area no longer maintains this status, because this area would no longer meet the complex requirements of UNESCO.

    High alpine moorland
    © www.outdooractive.com

     

    hochmoor-im-zirbenwald

    2. The trail

    The hike is a round trip, with beautiful views, a lot of cultural, historical, geological and botanical highlights. The tour runs through the protected area of the Biosphärenreservat Gurgler Kamm. This biosphere reserve exemplifies sustainable development in environmental, economic and social terms. In this area, please respect the local instructions for the protection of nature.

    2.1 Map

     

    2.2 Starting point

    The trail starts at Hotel Alpenaussicht, Schlossweg 1,6456 Obergurgl, Austria. There is a free parking lot at the Festkogelbahn, at the beginning of Obergurgl.

    How to get there:

    By car: From the Autobahn A12 (Bregenz – Innsbrück), take the exit 123 (Haiming/Ötztal), follow the B186 to Obergurgl.

    By public transport: From Oetztal Bahnhof you can take the bus 4194 to Obergurgl, duration 1.30 hours.

     

    Hotel Alpenaussicht Obergurgl
    © www.alpenaussicht.at

     Hotel alpenaussicht 8bc47db987

    2.3 Turn-by-turn directions

    The trail starts at Hotel Alpenaussicht, Schlossweg 1,6456 Obergurgl, Austria.

    2.4 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes x-y hours to reach the destination. For others it will take zz minutes more. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take around xx hours. Going down to the village yy goes much faster; around xx hours including zz minutes break for people not used to heights.

    4. Photos

     

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    1. History of the Kaunerberger Wasserweg

    Although the south oriented slopes in the villages Kauns and Kaunerberg are fertile, the local population suffered over decades from crop failure because of water shortage as this area belongs to the few with the lowest amount of rainfall in Austria (rainfall less then 600 mm/year). This resulted in closing of farms accompanied by massive migration of locals in the first half of the 20th century.

    Building the channel from the Gallruttalm towards the Gallrutt tunnel (August 1950)

    Building the channel from the Gallruttalm towards the Gallrutt tunnel (August 1950).
    Source: Bildarchiv der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek

    After the Second World War it was decided to build a 12 kilometer long irrigation system fetching water from the “Gallrutt Gletscher” (Gallrutt glacier) and leading this water via a channel and two tunnels along the mountain slope towards the village Kaunerberg.  This water could then be used to irrigate the fields, orchards and gardens.

    The required capital was funded by the Marshall Plan (officially named the European Recovery Program – ERP), an initiative of the United States after the Second World War to help rebuild the Western Europe economy. The “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” is the only project within the Alps realized with funds from the Marshall Plan.

    Building the irrigation system took place from 1947 to 1954 and was at that time an engineering masterpiece. It created opportunities for the local people to generate an income after the war. Since then the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” assured the irrigation of the fields and orchards of the Kaunerberg and Kauns villages for over 50 years.

    The water flows through two tunnels in the rock, open and covered gullies (made from quarry stones) and basins downwards. Along the channel the water is mainly being distributed via sprinkler systems.

    This irrigation system is nowadays called the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” (Kaunerberger waterway). Other name still used is the “Kaunerberger Hangkanal” (Kaunerberger hanging channel). The map below shows the route of the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg”, including nearby mountain cabins and the beginning and the end of one of the tunnels; the “Gallrutt stollen” (Gallrutt tunnel).

     

     

    2. The Gallrutt tunnel

    The longest tunnel of the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” is the Gallrutt tunnel with a length of 995 meter, which was built in 1950 to overcome a mountain peak.

    The width of the Gallrutt tunnel is roughly 2 meter and the height about 1.8 meter. It is allowed (own responsibility) to walk through this tunnel when it is not closed, which mainly happens in spring when the snow is melting. The tunnel is also used to carry food and drinks to the Gallrutt alm, as there is no road going to this hut.

    Today, the slope channel is the most important part of the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” and is one of the main attractions of the Kaunergrat nature park.

    2. The hiking trail

    The hiking trail starts at at the Falkaunsalm, which can be reached by car. Nearby the Falkaunsalm a trail following the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” is picked up. This trail is followed till the entrance of the Gallrutt tunnel, which we pass (if not locked). From the other side of the tunnel we walk to the Gallruttalm. From there we walk back to the Falkaunsalm via the Dr. Angerer high level path.

     

     

     

    2.1 Starting point

    Drive by car from Wenns (Pitztall valey) via Piller to Kauns. From there drive into the Kaunertal valley towards the village Kaltenbrunn. From there drive upwards to the Falkauns alm.

     

    MAP

    Parking is possible nearby the trail towards the Gallrutt stollen or  little bit further at the Falkaunsalm.

    How to get there by public transport?

    PHOTO FALKAUNSALM

    2.2 The Kaunerberger Wasserweg trail

    The hiking trail starts at a path from the Falkaunsalm straight down to the woods below it. After some 200 meter descend a path is crossed which follows the “Kaunerberger Wasserweg” towards the Gallrutt tunnel.

    2.3 The Gallrutt tunnel

    It is possible to walk through the almost 1000 meter long Gallrutt tunnel if it is not locked, which may happen in spring during snow-melt or in dry summers if water is required for irrigation. To pass the tunnel pocket lamps are required and water-proof shoes are recommended. Instead of electric lights torches are really atmospheric, but you should bring them by yourself as the box at the tunnel very likely will not contain torches as can be seen in the photos below from summer 2014.

    The height is about 1.8 meter so that most people can walk upright or slightly ducked.  Be  aware that the height fluctuates now and then! Halfway the tunnel there is a small side tunnel providing a great view to the Kaunertal.

    Note:

    • There is no light in the tunnel; bring your own light or get them at the Naturparkhaus.
    • Wear solid footwear as the tunnel bottom is not completely smooth.
    • Claustrophobic persons should not pass the irrigation tunnel.
    • In dry periods when water is required for irrigation or in spring with a lot of melting water the tunnel is closed, do not try to enter it! Information with respect to closure of the tunnel can be requested from the Naturparkhaus.

     2.4 The Gallruttalm

    Die Gallruttalm (1.980 m) können Sie nur zu Fuß durch den Gallruthstollen oder über die Falkaunsalm erreichen.

    2.5 Back to the Falkaunsalm

    From there we walk back to the Falkaunsalm via the “Dr. Angerer Panoramaweg”.

     

    2.6 Turn-by-turn directions

    Describe how to get at the start of the trail. Include photos if required

    2.7 Duration

    For people used to heights it takes x-y hours to reach the destination. For others it will take zz minutes more. When enjoying the scenery more relaxed, taking photos etc. it will take around xx hours. Going down to the village yy goes much faster; around xx hours including zz minutes break for people not used to heights.

    3. Recommended maps for this region:

    Pitztal/Kaunertal – Mayr Verlag Ötztaler Alpen – Kompass Wanderkarte Blatt 43

    4. Photos

    5. Useful links

    6. Sources

    interaktiv.tiroleroberland.at