Although we travel all around the world and see the prettiest mountains, we try to go back to the mountains that have stolen our hearts at least once a year. Those that we have been coming to for years, that we grew up in and those that are actually not that far driving from where we live. We are talking about the Austrian Alps!
Last summer we spent a week in Bichlbach, a small town located in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, just past the German/Austrian border. We did some magnificent hiking there and over the upcoming months, as everyone is preparing their summer vacation, we’ll share our favorite mountain hikes with you.
Let me start by saying that there are plenty of hiking options in the Zugspitz Arena. When we got a map of the surroundings, it was almost dazzling to see the number of trails. So we picked a few according to our abilities and that seemed special enough . The one we did on our first day after Anto’s arrival (Martijn already did a mountaineering course the week before) was the trail to Coburger Hütte.
It’s wise to get an early start, especially when it promises to get a warm and sunny day. We drove up to Ehrwald and took a ride up with the Ehrwalder-Alm-Bahn. We always enjoy a gondola rides a lot and even though you can easily walk up as well (it’s another 400 meter altitude gain) we preferred, in this particular hike, to save our legs for the rest of the track. The first part of the walk is really easy, just follow directions towards Coburger Hütte. The Alm is gorgeous with cows and their ever clinging bells everywhere and tourists wandering and taking pictures.
After some easy climbing on a wide gravel trail, you will leave the Alm and get to a rocky area, here’s where you take the Ganghofersteig (towards Tajatörl) to the left. Soon you will reach the treeline and enter a massive boulder field. You will climb a bit further, this part is best done quite fast as the boulders are loose and the ares is prone to avalanches.
Then you walk a bit down again to the beautiful Brendlsee which is a perfect spot for a break. Surrounded by the massive Brendlkar this lake is just stunning. By then you will start a sturdy ascent to your highest point for the day: the Tajatörl mountain pass at 2.259 meters. It will certainly leave you breathless and once you’ve reached the prayer flags you should definetely take some more time to soak up the beautiful surroundings you have arrived to.
From here it’s just down really, although it’s a quite a steep descent and one slip can have bad consequences so be careful, it’s not your regular Sunday stroll. Soon enough you will see the Drachensee down below with its magnificent shades of green and blues. Eventually after descending for about an hour and a half you will reach the Coburger Hütte, a perfect place for another rest.
The Coburger Hütte is a perfect place for daytrips as many families and unexperienced hikers take the valley route to reach this hut. You will be taking this one down (unless you are extremely fit and prefer to hike the same way back). But … first take some time to relax and have a beer, or two. Meals here are typical mountain hut style: simple yet tasty.
After leaving the hut, there’s a steep half hour descend to the Seebensee and from there it’s an easy stroll back to the gondola station. Of course, you will again be surrounded by cows and their bells, what would a hike in Austria be without them?
Make sure you check ahead what the last descending time of the gondola is, we were there just in time to make it back down to the valley. Otherwise, we’d have had to walk a bit further down. Not a problem, but after a long day like this, riding the gondola down with stunning views of the Zugspitz Arena, was just the perfect end of the day.
This hike took us pretty much all day – about 6 -7 hours without breaks. We like to take breaks, take even more pictures and enjoy where we are, instead of running up and down just for the sake of it…
Always make sure you know the weather when setting off in the Alps (or any other mountain range) and be prepared for sudden changes. In the valley it was about 25 degrees Celcius, up at Tajatörle we wore all our layers… the mountains can be great but can also be treacherous. Treat them with respect!
If you are going to the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, make sure you do this walk. It’s not too difficult for experienced hikers yet it will still make your calves burn. And most important, it will take you to some pristine mountain areas, that you may not find anywhere else around that easily.
Want to read more about our hiking adventures? You may like these:
– Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park: do or don’t?
– Hiking the Routeburn Track in New Zealand
– Reykjadalur in summer and winter: a hidden hiking hot(s)pot in Iceland
If you liked our post, we’d be happy if you shared it with your friends using the buttons below. Happy hiking!