Is it about the journey or the destination? You decide. There is nothing quite like a pristine mountain lake for relief from the summer heat. Hikers can cool off in the lovely Hintersteinersee lake at the end of the hiking day. With that in mind, and surrounded by the mesmerising peaks of the Kaiser Mountains, this stage takes you through mountain meadows, dwarf pine scrubland, beech forests and craggy rocks, passing the Gruttenhütte hut on the way to the picture-postcard Hintersteinersee, one of the cleanest and most beautiful mountain lakes in Tirol. The pristine lake covers 56 hectares of spring-fed waters and measures 36 metres at its deepest point. Hintersteinersee lake is private property, but swimming is allowed on its north-western shore. Before taking the plunge, why not dip your finger in holy water? The Baroque ceiling frescos by local artist Matthias Kirchner at the Bärnstatt chapel opposite the Gasthof Bärnstatt inn are well worth a visit.
Eagle View ·The rugged and lofty Kaiser Mountains are named after the “Kaiserkopf” peak (“Kaiser” meaning "Emperor" in German). Legend has it that the rock shows the noble profile of a peacefully sleeping Charlemagne. The large imperial crown, formed by the spikes of Ellmauer Halt, slips from his head. The profile of the sleeping emperor can best be admired from the village of Going. However, you will still need to use your imagination a bit!
Eagle Kick ·Take a dip in the crystal-clear and ice cold water of the spring-fed Hintersteinersee lake. There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day spent hiking in the high-altitude sun. With temperatures ranging from 18 to 20 degrees Celsius, it’s the perfect place to cool off. If cold refreshment is not exactly your idea of fun, the exceptionally beautiful lakeside scenery provides a wonderful opportunity to simply stand and stare. Or, take a walk along the five-kilometre-long trail that circles the pristine mountain lake and offers stunning views of the Wilder Kaiser Mountains.
Tip! There is a Black Diamond Service Station at the Gaudeamushütte, where hikers who have broken a walking pole or lost a glove can get a free replacement.