Exploring The Mountains Surrounding Innsbruck
Image Source: Innsbruck Tourismus
Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian Tirol, offers an incredible holiday base for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Known as a young and vibrant city, the population consists of 130,000 residents, plus 30,000 students. From its fascinating historic city centre comprising elaborate buildings, museums and churches, to its modern streets housing shops, cafés, bars and the sleek Nordkettenbahn Cable Car(designed by star architect Zaha Hadid), there’s always something exciting going on.
Wherever you are in Innsbruck you can see the majestic mountain range that surrounds the city. This is what makes Innsbruck such a magical destination for outdoor enthusiasts who love to explore the dense forests, grand peaks and the diverse range of flora and fauna.
Hiking is the ideal way to appreciate the magnificent features of Innsbruck’s valley. The fast modern cable cars and chair lifts quickly whisk you from city to nature and a vast array of walking and climbing adventures await hikers of all ability levels... where will your heart (and your walking boots) take you?
Here are three great days you can spend exploring the mountains surrounding Innsbruck:
From vast meadows and mountain pines, to rocky high-altitude ridges, the Götheweg trail is ideal for keen hikers who fancy an energetic day. Take the Nordkettenbahnen cable car from the city centre up to the trail head at the summit of Hafelekar. The path leads walkers along the range in an easterly direction towards the northern face of the Nordkette, and onwards to the Pfeishütte alpine hut. From here, hikers can venture from Pfeishütte to Rumer Alm mountain hut (via Kreuzjöchl) and then on to Enzianhütte mountain hut before descending to the village of Rum.
Alternatively, trekkers can follow the scree slopes up to the saddle of Stempeljoch and continue towards Issjöchl, past the decommissioned salt-mining mansions in Herrenhäuser. On reaching the Isstal car park, take the bus down the Halltal towards Innsbruck. Both routes take approximately five hours, and reach heights of 2,267 metres. Hike the Götheweg trail between mid June and October for the best weather.
Jump into the Patscherkofelbahn cable car from the village of Igls and rise to the start of this spectacular hike above Innsbruck. Reaching heights of more than 2,000 metres, walk 7.4 km through one of the largest stone pine forests in Europe, which forms part of the famous Eagle Walk (a 413 km route stretching across Tirol, from east to west, like the wings of an eagle). Extending from the summit of Patscherkofelbahn to Tulfeinalm, the path follows the tree line and meanders through ancient stone pines.
Throughout the journey, make the most of the incredible panoramic views over the Inntal Valley and the Karwendel mountain range behind (home to the biggest nature park in Austria). On reaching Tulfeinalm, board the Glungezerbahn chair lift and relax as it takes you back down the mountain to the village of Tufles, before boarding the bus back to Innsbruck. Time the trek so it takes place between mid May and mid October, when the days are longer and the temperature is warmer. (This hike can be enjoyed in reverse order too.)
Free Mountain Hiking Programme
From June to September, enjoy a selection of free hikes daily with professional guides from the Alpine School Innsbruck (ASI). With more than 1,220 kilometres of trails, the ASI take guest-card holders to the most impressive places and viewpoints surrounding Innsbruck, allowing eager walkers to experience the beautiful mountains in the region.
Although good physical fitness is required (hikes take approximately three to four, hours), mountaineering experience is not needed. Badges (bronze, silver, gold and gold with crystal) are awarded to those that take part in one or more hikes (the more hikes, the better the badge). Minimum age eight.