Discover the alpine-urban variety of the Innsbruck region on foot
Last updated on 13.05.2022
High mountains, wide plateaus, shaded forests, flowering alpine meadows – and all this just a mountain goat’s leap away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Innsbruck region is quite possibly the ideal starting point for a wonderfully varied hiking holiday, a place of almost unlimited choice when it comes to getting your feet moving each day. Best of all, the free mountain hiking programme offers tours for nature lovers, leisurely strollers, peak baggers and families – for a summer full of alpine-urban variety!
Gentle trails and via ferrata routes on the high rock of the Karwendel range, rustic mountain refuges on the Patscherkofel, panoramic hikes in the spellbinding surroundings of the Kalkkögel massif, scenic summit tours around the mountaineering villages of the Sellraintal valley, family-friendly walks at the foot of the Mieminger Kette chain: the Innsbruck region lets you discover the mountains in all their forms, plus unspoilt nature and a wide variety of flora and fauna on enjoyable hikes and more demanding tours. In short, the freedom that you feel when you sense the vastness of the mountains. No wonder your heart will beat faster when you see the stunning variety and breathtaking panoramas. So lace up your hiking boots – the choice of walk is yours…
Good news – there’s a free mountain hiking programme!
The Innsbruck region offers numerous options for walkers: and, for all those who want to explore them in the best company, we recommend the free mountain hiking programme. From May to October there are 18 selected tours, where local certified mountain hiking guides will take those interested to their favourite destinations. Whether you are a nature lover, a leisurely stroller, a peak bagger or a family, you can choose from a wide range of tours, from the easy to the more demanding, so as to create your own personal hiking programme according to preference and physical condition. The mountain hiking programme is one of the services included with the Welcome Card, available free of charge to guests staying for two nights or more at participating partner establishments. Another tip: all of the starting points are easy to reach by public transport, which is also included in the Welcome Card. So get your hiking boots on and head for the great outdoors! For all information see www.innsbruck.info/welcome.
In the wilderness of the Karwendel range
Chamois, golden eagles, three-toed woodpeckers and sandpipers – the Karwendel Nature Park is home to numerous animal species that have European-wide significance. It also possesses a very high proportion of primeval forests and wild streams. Not surprisingly, Austria’s largest nature park – and Tyrol’s oldest protected area – is committed to protecting its natural habitats in all their variety. You can experience the nature park to the full along the Karwendel high-altitude trail, which offers a unique combination of changing views – the solitude of the Karwendel wilderness on the one hand, and the hustle and bustle of the Inn Valley on the other. Overall, its six stages cover some 60 kilometres with a total climb of 7,000 metres. Particularly ambitious hikers can conquer some of the peaks, such as the Stempeljochspitze, along the way. The trail can be walked in both directions, from east to west or west to east, starting either in Scharnitz or in Reith bei Seefeld – Innsbruck lies exactly in the middle. A detour into the city is a must: the Nordkettenbahnen funicular and cable cars can bring you from the loneliness of the high mountains to the hubbub of the city in no time at all. You can spend the night on the mountain in comfortable, warden-run mountain huts – beautiful sunrises and sunsets included!
Experience the original atmosphere of the mountaineering villages
South of Innsbruck is a wonderful little find: the mountaineering villages in the Sellraintal valley. Only about 30 villages in the Alps meet the strict criteria of the “mountaineering villages” and have thus been awarded this special distinction. In the Innsbruck region the villages include Sellrain, Gries im Sellrain and St. Sigmund im Sellrain. Far from the turmoil of mass tourism, here can be found an original, down-to-earth ambience, close to nature and possessing a deep bond with the valley, which can in part be experienced at the traditional inns located high up among remote alpine pastures – a place to discover nature in numerous special ways.
From hut to hut in the Sellraintal valley
Experienced and skilled mountaineers can experience the unique character of the Sellraintal valley on the challenging hut-to-hut hiking tour in the Sellraintal valley. This 7-day hike covers some 80 kilometres with a total climb of 5,700 metres; Alpine roses and gentians line the paths, which run past clear mountain streams and lakes. Note that all seven stages require a high degree of fitness and hiking experience – but the reward is delicious Tyrolean cuisine and a restful sense of tranquillity, alpine freedom guaranteed!
For families and mountaineers: the Lüsenstal valley
The Lüsenstal is a beautiful side valley off the Sellraintal valley where a special treat awaits true mountain lovers, not to mention families with aspiring young alpinists: the Lüsener Fernerkogel, an imposing peak that soars skywards. The common starting point is the Alpengasthof Lüsens, from where a gentle path crosses the Lüsener Fernerboden. An easy climb leads to the end of the valley via alpine pastures, the perfect way for beginners to experience their first hiking adventures in the midst of stupendous scenery. From here on, however, only mountaineers should attempt the path up to the 3,298-metre summit. This demanding tour offers two particular highlights: there is a newly built bridge at around the 2,200-metre point where, along the so-called “wall”, you can see striations from the last glacial high point during the 19th century. But the glacier is also visible to those who remain down in the valley, with display panels telling them all sorts of interesting facts about the development of the glacier.
All of the region’s mountain massifs – in one trek
The Innsbruck Trek is the ideal solution for all those who want to take it easy but would still like to experience all the mountain massifs in the Innsbruck region. This 7-day tour begins right in the middle of Innsbruck’s old town and starts off along the Nordkette – straight from the urban to the alpine world. The route continues along the Wetterstein massif over the sun-kissed Mieming Plateau, then into the imposing Stubai Alps and Kühtai at an altitude of 2,020 metres. From there the trail runs through the mountaineering villages of St. Sigmund and Gries im Sellrain to the former Olympic ski resort of Axamer Lizum. A special highlight of this stage is the spectacular vista of the rugged beauty of the Kalkkögel massif, often dubbed the North Tyrolean Dolomites. The final stage of the trek leads back to the alpine-urban flair of the Tyrolean capital via the popular Stone Pine Trail on the Patscherkofel.
The Innsbruck Trek offers a unique benefit: an all-round carefree package! While you can undertake the trek individually, without a guide, it is also possible to hike in the company of the highly trained mountain guides from the Alpine School Innsbruck (ASI). The package includes luggage transport and accommodation in 3-star hotels, making it particularly easy to hike through the region. For all information see www.innsbruck-trek.com.
Be prepared with hiking guides to the region
All information about the numerous hiking trails and huts can be found in compact form in the three hiking guides to the Innsbruck region (in German): “Kühtai – Sellraintal [Kühtai – Sellraintal valley]”, “Mieminger Plateau und Inntal [Mieming Plateau and Inntal valley]” and “Innsbruck – Umgebung [Innsbruck – surrounding areas]”. All the region’s hiking highlights can be found in the handy brochures available from all local tourist information offices or, alternatively, in digital e-paper format. The best way to prepare individual tours for every taste!
For all information on the variety of hiking tours in the Innsbruck region see www.innsbruck.info/hiking.
About Innsbruck Tourismus
Innsbruck Tourismus is the official destination management organisation for the Innsbruck region, encompassing the capital of Tyrol and over 40 localities in the surrounding area, from the Inntal valley to the Mieming Plateau via Kühtai and as far as the Sellraintal valley. With almost 3.5 million overnight stays (as of 2019), the Innsbruck region is one of Austria’s largest tourism institutions – a unique symbiosis of pulsating urban space and fascinating Alpine world. The vibrant city atmosphere and sightseeing highlights are just a stone’s throw from your next biking or hiking tour, your next ski adventure or winter walk. The Welcome Card, free for visitors, is the key to the region’s boundless opportunities: public transport, usable at no cost, means that the area’s numerous highlights can be enjoyed both sustainably and comfortably. Visitor enjoyment is the focus of the thoughts and actions of each of the organisation’s 90 or so staff: they pass on their passion and enthusiasm for this alpine-urban space to guests, ensuring unforgettable holiday experiences for all in harmony with both people and nature. With a total of twelve tourist information offices, Innsbruck Tourismus can stay close to visitors, be right in the action and keep a finger on the pulse of events – a true hub for the authentic stories and personal impressions of local characters that can be found on the popular blog and social media channels at #myinnsbruck.