A contrasting winter hiking programme in the Innsbruck Region: from gentle to challenging

Last updated on 17.10.2019

When winter comes to the Innsbruck region, it’s not one dull grey day after another, but rather winter days full of variety, with crystal clear air and lots of sunshine at high altitudes, glittering and white-topped mountain peaks and often snow right down into the valley. And there are lots of idyllic but completely different winter hiking trails that make exploring the region all the more enjoyable. There’s something to please everyone here, from leisurely walks across wide and gentle low mountain landscapes, or safe, restful and relaxed hikes in the high mountains. Whether it’s just for fun or serious exercise, winter hiking means recharging the batteries and switching off completely. And what’s more: hiking, especially in winter, brings some extremely positive health benefits.

The Innsbruck region scores with young and old with numerous idyllic winter hiking trails in a wonderfully snow-covered fairytale landscape. © Innsbruck Tourismus

When it starts to get darker outside and the days shorten, some of us tend to curl up snugly at home. But this often means a lack of exercise, sunlight and fresh air. Regular winter hikes can have positive effects on your health and wellbeing in all sorts of ways. Fresh air combined with exercise stimulates the cardiovascular system, promotes blood circulation and strengthens the immune system, especially at the time of year when colds are all too frequent.

Four new winter hiking trails signposted

Exploring the great outdoors in the Innsbruck region can be all the more rewarding in winter. Holidaymakers can enjoy lovely meadows and forests sparkling in the sunlight in their winter attire, and there are breathtaking mountain panoramas that should not be missed.

From winter 2019/20 four newly developed and signposted winter hiking trails will expand the already extensive network of prepared or rolled hiking and walking trails.

Even when the snowflakes come tumbling down, finding your way is easy because the winter hiking trails are marked with magenta signs. The teams responsible for the constant maintenance of the trails make sure that a winter hike doesn’t turn into an exhausting “deep snow expedition”. So you can move safely in the natural alpine landscape, secure in the knowledge that the length of the hikes is adapted to the “daylight conditions”. Sturdy shoes, warm winter clothes and adequate provisions are essential for safe and enjoyable winter hikes.

All that’s left is the question, “What type of winter hiker are you?” Do you prefer enjoying the silence of nature far from the madding crowd? Or a city break with an excursion to secluded, high alpine valleys? Or a winter holiday in sunny villages with wonderful views?

Hiking tips on the Sun Plateau
If you love long gentle winter walks, then the Mieming Plateau is the place for you. It’s one of the sunniest regions in Tyrol. Because of its high altitude, you can be out and about above the mist even in autumn and winter and, thanks to the unique qualities of the majestic larches which lose their needles in winter like deciduous trees, you can enjoy sunshine and wonderful views of the surrounding mountains of the Stubai Alps and the Mieminger Kette chain. The gentle, open landscape with mostly flat and perfectly maintained trails make winter hiking a real pleasure.

Four designated winter hiking trails ensure that everyone finds the right route to suit them. If you choose the Almenroute (Mountain Inn Route) you’ll clearly see for yourself how nature in the forest shuts down in winter and be able to enjoy some authentic refreshment stops.

But if you’d like to get to learn about local agriculture, you can do so on the Genussroute[BB1]  (Scenic Culinary Route). There are 11 culinary stations along the trail, and in the farm shops winter hikers will find regional specialities such as home-made juices, jams and schnapps made from sun-ripened fruit, hearty Tyrolean bacon and lots more, any of which would be a perfect souvenir for friends and family back home.

The Bergdoktorweg (Mountain Doctor Trail) is a variant of the Scenic Culinary Route, taking you through the picturesque village of Wildermieming to the location where the Mountain Doctor TV series used to be filmed. The terrace in front of the “Bergdoktorhaus” is a particularly beautiful place to relax, soak up the sun and enjoy the panoramic views.

On the Arzkasten Winter Circuit you can confidently allow even the youngest children to let off steam. The Weisland playground or a refreshment stop for a cake and hot cocoa in the Arzkasten Inn should be more than enough motivation to inspire young hikers to do this wonderful circuit.

Find peace and quiet in the Mountaineering Villages surrounded by 3,000 m peaks
If you really enjoy a gentle hike in the high mountains, then the Mountaineering Villages in the Sellraintal valley are the perfect place. At first the gorge-like entrance to the Sellraintal valley gives no idea that this high valley widens impressively and affords wonderful views of the imposing mountain scenery of the Stubai Alps. A paradise for all mountain lovers who attach great importance to perfectly groomed and, above all, safe trails in a unique mountain landscape. But it’s not only the dominating mountains with their glaciers and 3,000 m summits which attract visitors. Above all it’s the authenticity and down-to-earth nature of the villages, mountain huts and hosts which make it so easy to enjoy a simple and relaxed holiday here. And the best things is that it’s so close. Coming from Innsbruck, you can reach this incomparable mountain landscape in just under 20 minutes.

Hiking tips in the high mountains
All nature lovers will find a walk along the winter hiking trail from Gries beside the Zirmbach stream a real delight. The stream flows quietly in the winter months and takes its name from the particularly magnificent stone pine trees which grow nearby. It’s the perfect way to find peace and quiet and recharge your batteries.

From lower down in the Lüsenstal valley in Praxmar (1,700 m) there’s an awesome panoramic view of the Lüsener Fernerkogel mountain. Two stages lead via Lüsens to the Fernerboden, the impressive head of the valley at the foot of the mighty Lüsener Fernerkogel. The very sight of this glaciated 3,000 m summit makes it clear why these villages were awarded the prestigious name of Mountaineering Villages.

Two winter hiking trails are signposted in the Kühtai ski resort at the highest point of the Sellraintal valley at an altitude of 2,020 metres. The trails could hardly be richer in contrasts. The Emperor Franz Josef trail meanders through an unspoilt Swiss pine forest, while the winter hiking trail above the tree line leads through the snow-covered, high-alpine landscape at the same consistent altitude.

Lots more information about winter hiking and numerous tour suggestions can be found at

www.innsbruck.info/sport/winter/winterwandern.

 

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