Pitztal Holiday

Hiking and sightseeing
in and around Pitztal Tyrol

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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.

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    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

     

    ACTION: UPLOAD PHOTOS

    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

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    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. Introduction

    This hike of 7.5 kilometres takes us along a part of the Kaunerberger Wasserweg in the Kaunertal. It starts at the Falkaunsalm, where the car can be parked. From the Falkaunsalm we walk downwards to the initially hidden irrigation channel. We walk along side it till the Gallrutt tunnel, which we enter. After some 1000 meters we are again in the open air and walk up till the Gallrutt alm. From there we walk back to the Falkaunsalm.

    2. 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).

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    4.1 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

    4.2 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.

    4.3 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.

    4.4 The Gallruttalm

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

    4.5 Back to the Falkaunsalm

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

     

    4.6 Turn-by-turn directions

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

    4.7 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.

    5. Recommended maps for this region:

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

    6. Photos

     

    7. Useful links

    8. Sources

    interaktiv.tiroleroberland.at