Karwendel Nature Park is committed to protecting the diversity of its natural habitats. As the largest nature park in Austria and the oldest protected area in Tyrol, the park has a very large proportion of primeval forests and wild rivers. It’s home to important European animal species such as chamois, golden eagles, three-toed woodpeckers and sandpipers, and the people responsible for the park work with the greatest care and total commitment. So it’s no wonder that the nature park has received the renowned national award “Nature Park of the Year 2020”.
In the wilderness of the Karwendel mountains
Walking the Karwendelhöhenweg high-altitude trail offers you the chance to enjoy the wonderful park to the full. What is unique about the trail is the ever-changing views of the remote Karwendel wilderness and, by way of contrast, the hustle and bustle of the Inntal valley. In six stages you cover around 60 kilometres with an elevation gain of 7,000 metres. The high-altitude trail can be walked in either direction – from east to west, or west to east – so you set off either from Scharnitz or Reith bei Seefeld, with Innsbruck always in the middle. If you’re particularly ambitious, you can also climb some peaks along the way such as the Stempeljochspitze. Overnight accommodation is provided in cosy, managed refuges.
Experience the unspoilt qualities of the Mountaineering Villages
The Mountaineering Villages in the Sellraintal valley south of Innsbruck are an ever popular attraction. Only about 30 villages in the Alps meet the strict criteria allowing them to bear the designation “Mountaineering Village”. In the Innsbruck region these include the villages of Sellrain, Gries im Sellrain and St. Sigmund im Sellrain, and they all impress with their originality and naturalness and are a welcome escape from the hurly-burly of mass tourism. Instead, the traditional inns here offer you the chance to enjoy true authenticity, a down-to-earth simplicity and a deep connection with the valley – effective, gentle tourism. You can also explore the flora and fauna in a very special way at a height where there would normally be nothing but alpine pastures.
From hut to hut in the Sellraintal valley
The best way to experience the unique character of the Sellraintal valley is on the demanding Sellrain Mountain Hut circuit which is full of highlights. This seven-day hike from hut to hut covers 80 kilometres with a challenging elevation gain of 5,700 metres. Alpine roses and gentians line the trails that lead past clear mountain streams and lakes. The seven stages, which demand both mountain experience and a great deal of stamina, take hikers to numerous mountain refuges where delicious Tyrolean cuisine and restorative silence can be savoured.
For families and mountain climbers: the Lüsenstal valley
In the Lüsenstal valley, a beautiful side valley of the Sellraintal valley, another special hiking highlight awaits true mountain lovers and families with young alpinists: the Lüsener Fernerkogel mountain. The first part of the hike up to the bridge at around 2,200 metres is a family-friendly hiking trail. From there, however, up to the 3,298 metre summit, the trail should only be attempted by experienced mountaineers. But there’s one highlight that everyone can enjoy during the hike: along the so-called “Mauer” (Wall) you can see sections of glacial polish indicating the glacier’s highest point in the 19th century.
All the region’s massifs in one trek
The Innsbruck Trek is the perfect option if you prefer a more leisurely pace but still want to experience all of the mountain ranges in the Innsbruck region and explore almost all the popular alpine highlights around Innsbruck. The first stage of the 7-day tour begins in the heart of Innsbruck's Old Town and ends in the lofty heights of the Karwendel Nature Park in the Karwendel mountains – the contrast between the vibrancy of the city and the peace and quiet of the mountains couldn’t be greater. The trail leads over the sun-drenched Mieming Plateau and along the Wetterstein massif, on into the impressive Stubai Alps and then the village of Kühtai at 2,020 metres. From there you head for the Mountaineering Villages of St. Sigmund and Gries in Sellrain and then to Axamer Lizum, the former Olympic ski station. A special highlight of this stage is a breathtaking view of the rugged beauty of the Kalkkögel, the North Tyrolean Dolomites as they’re often called. The last stage of the trek leads back to the alpine and urban flair of Innsbruck via the Zirbenweg trail on the Patscherkofel mountain, where you hike through centuries-old stone pine stands.
A unique feature of the Innsbruck Trek is the Carefree Package! The trek can be done individually without a guide but also with the assistance of well-trained mountain hiking guides from the Innsbruck Alpine School (ASI). The package includes luggage transport and accommodation in either 3 or 4 star hotels, making is easy to hike and explore the region. Full information at www.innsbruck-trek.com
Well prepared with the hiking guides to the region
Full information about the numerous hiking trails and mountain huts is contained in the three hiking guides for the Innsbruck region: “Kühtai – Sellraintal valley”, “Mieming Plateau and Inntal valley” and “Innsbruck & Surrounding Area”. You’ll find all the region’s hiking highlights in the brochures, which are available from all Tourist Information Offices and online as e-docs – so there’s nothing to stop you setting off on your own individual tour of discovery.
Explore the region by hiking bus and public transport
If you want to explore the numerous nearby hiking options from Innsbruck, we recommend you make use of the free mountain hiking programme which includes the hiking bus. Every day from May to October you can join a guided hike with certified mountain hiking guides to explore all sorts of areas and breathe in the refreshing mountain air. And if you’d rather go it alone but still take advantage of the convenience of public transport, you can take one of the many regional buses that run regularly to the surrounding villages. This is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective because public transport throughout the region is included in the Welcome Card, which guests can obtain free of charge from participating partner companies for stays of two nights or more. Timetable Information can be found at www.vvt.at
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