The border between Austria and Germany is home to two exceptional mountain regions; the Bavarian Alps and the Tyrol, a mountainous area extending from Austria through to northern Italy. Isolated for long periods this region is home to the Wetterstein and Karwendel Mountain ranges with their pristine alpine landscapes and a well maintained network of walking trails. The hike from Garmisch in Bavaria to Innsbruck in Austria is demanding at times and requires a good level of experience in alpine terrain. Impressive gorges and balcony trails, Schachen Castle which can only be reached after several hours walking, the Olympic towns of Garmisch and Innsbruck and the Karwendel Massif National Park are a few of the highlights of this walking holiday. Staying in a combination of atmospheric mountain cabins and country hotels, this trip offers a perfect balance of comfort and alpine hiking.
CHALLENGING – GRADE 5
Anyone undertaking a challenging trip should be aware of the physical and mental demands involved. This trip is designed for experienced walkers who are seeking a challenge. No previous climbing experience is required to undertake this trip. An above average level of fitness is required as days can involve up to 7.5 hours of strenuous exercise in rugged terrain. You need to be sure footed and have a head for heights as there are some steep drops close to the paths. Weather conditions may be harsh at times (even in summer), and you will need to be comfortable walking in such conditions. We suggest up to one hour of strenuous exercise 3-4 times a week. The best exercise for trekking is long bushwalks/hill walks involving relatively steep ascents and descents.
On arrival in Garmisch make your way to the joining hotel. At the hotel you will be provided with your cable car tickets and route book (one of each per room). The rest of the day is free to explore the town. Overnight in hotel in Garmisch.
The walk begins with an interesting ascent through the impressive Höllental (or Hell Valley) gorge. The route takes you through a series of canyons and tunnels hewn from the rockface and follows the thundering river below. Out of the canyon you reach the mountain cabin Höllentalanger hütte which has an impressive location surrounded by stunning alpine scenery including a view to the highest mountain in Germany, Zugspitze (2962m). Here you can take a rest before the final ascent to the Kreuzberg following a high trail above the gorge. Descend to Garmisch by cable car. Overnight in hotel.
Route: 10.9km, 950m ascent (descent by cable car)
The day begins with a walk through another gorge to the foot of Wetterstein Massif. There is a steep climb to reach the “Kings Path” to Castle Schachen, King Ludwig II’s mountain cabin. The last stage to the mountain cabin where you stay tonight offers hikers incredible mountain views and is an absolute delight.
*Note – on this day there is no luggage transfer available. You will need to carry your overnight requirements in your day pack. The rest of your luggage will be transferred to Scharnitz.
Route: 9.5km, 1500m ascent
To view sunrise in these mountains is spectacular and we recommend you rise early to witness it! The route today begins with a traverse across rocky terrain with some ups and downs before a sustained descent into Leutasch valley. The way becomes more relaxed as you continue through to Scharnitz. It would be impossible to tire of the beautiful surroundings during the walk. At the end of the day a wild and idyllic gorge awaits you. Overnight hotel.
Route: 17.9km, 910m ascent, 1820m descent
The day begins with a vehicle transfer deep into Karwendel valley. The relaxed walk takes you to Halleranger alpine pasture which you will reach after about 2 hours. The day is designed for you to relax and soak up the scenery. Option to take a walk up to Sunntiger Spitze. Overnight comfortable mountain cabin. The walking times and ascent will be greater if you choose not to take the vehicle transfer at the start of the day.
*Note – on this day there is no luggage transfer available. You will need to carry your overnight requirements in your day pack.
Route(s): 5.6km or 19km, 550m or 850m ascent
A marvellous balcony path brings you across several ridges (passes) to the famous Nordkette of Innsbruck. A short but steep ascent requires sure-footedness and stamina. After that the walk becomes easier to the summit station of Hafelekar cable car, and your ride down to Innsbruck.
Route: 12.2km, 1150m ascent, 720m descent
Arrangements conclude after breakfast.
Very well organised. The briefing and guide notes were excellent and the route was great. The English in the guide book was "quaint", but would be very happy to edit and improve it.
N. Riedl, VIC. Australia
Per Person, Twin Share