This three day trek across the awesome Ötztal Alps is of moderate difficulty and provides access to pristine and remote places and many natural wonders along the way. Sweeping vistas of the Ice Giants of the Ötztal Alps and of Tirol’s highest waterfall capture the sheer greatness of the Alps themselves. This trek is quite demanding, especially in the extremely rugged terrain of its upper ranges. It requires endurance and sure footing. Make sure you have appropriate footwear and exercise due caution.
Oetz, Acherkogelbahn Gondola Top Terminal (2,020m)
Oetz, Acherkogelbahn Gondola Top Terminal (2,020m)
- Wheelchair-accessible Hiking Route
- Circular hike
intermediate (red mountain trails)
Elevation uphill 1,315m
Vertical metres downhill 2,305m
Best time of year
* These are approximate values and recommendations. Please take your personal fitness level, technical ability and the current weather conditions into account. Tirol Werbung cannot guarantee that the information provided is correct and accepts no liability.
Day 1: Oetz – Hochoetz (by gondola) – “Knappenweg” (Miner’s Trail) – Dortmunder Hut
Elevation Gain/Elevation Loss: 350/400 meters | Hiking Time: 3½ hours | Distance: 10 kilometers | Highest Elevation: 2,100 meters
From Oetz, Acherkogelbahn Gondola conveniently whisks you up to the top terminal; from there follow the signs for “Knappenweg” (“Miners Trail”) and “Höhenwanderweg” on a gentle downhill stroll along a dirt road that winds through meadows (these meadows are ski runs in the winter). Pass Kühtaile Alm and walk towards “Balbachalm” at the fork; the route again passes Kühtaile Alm (this time underneath) and takes you down to Balbachalm. This is where the trail turns onto a singletrack trail (Knappenweg, Höhenweg) that takes you through fragrant stone pine forest before gently ascending a slope that leads into the valley. At grade of Zwölferköpfl Peak, the trail descends to the entrance of Wörgetal Valley (Miners Trail, Miners Home). Remnants of ancient walls can be found at Upper Issalm Alpine Pasture Hut, along with interesting discovery panels that were installed on a lovely place to rest. Turn right there and follow signs for “Knappenweg” and “Knappenhaus”. A short climb takes you through Wörgetal Valley to the restored Miners Home with its stamp mill; idyllic Puchersee Lake is located below the home on the right hand side. Walk back the same way until you get to the resting place – this time, though, turn right and follow the sign for “Dortmunder Hütte”. In this portion of the walk, the trail has many ups and downs as it skirts the slope (on some sections steps made of planks were installed to facilitate walking). Later, the trail passes Mittergrat Hut on its way down into Mittertal Valley. There, follow the signs indicating “Kühtai”. The path soon widens to a dirt road that gently meanders down to Längental Reservoir; turn right and skirt the lake before reaching the dam, pass the power station and bear left with an easy climb taking you to Kühtaier Straße Road. Cross the street and take the path/dirt road that leads to Dortmunder Hut on the outskirts of the village resort of Kühtai. This walk partly coincides with the Miners Trail (Interpretive Trail) and mostly travels through awesome, wide open Alpine terrain that is dotted by stone pines.
Day 2: Dortmunder Hut – Finstertaler Scharte Notch – Guben/Schweinfurter Hut
Elevation Gain/Elevation Loss: 850/800 meters | Hiking Time: 4 hours | Distance: 10 kilometers | Highest Elevation: 2,777 meters
From Dortmunder Hut, located on Kühtaier Straße Road in the outskirts of Kühtai, follow the signs indicating “Finstertaler Scharte” and “Schweinfurter Hütte”. Take the road first, then turn right and follow the way-marked trail that takes you up the ski runs. Once you come out onto wide open Alpine meadows, the trail is an easy stroll without ups and downs. Walk to the road that accesses the reservoir; cross it and continue walking on the track that gently ascends to the dam in the beginning. Later, a vigorous climb will take you up. The track merges with the access road; keep on this road and take advantage of all possible short-cuts. The road eventually takes you to the crown of the dam and to the lake itself (keep right at the last fork). From there, follow the footpath that skirts the lake to the south; take the first fork to the left and climb the wide open and steep talus slopes. You’ll reach a flat floor at the entrance to a basin dotted by scree and talus. Turn right and climb through rugged and steep terrain to Finstertaler Scharte Notch. On the descent from the notch you will pass the wide open meadows of Weites Kar Cirque and have your first view of Schweinfurter Hut. From the cirque a steep series of switchbacks will take you down to the hut through meadows.
Day 3: Guben/Schweinfurter Hut – Niederthai – Stuibenfall Waterfall – Umhausen – Oetz (by bus)
Elevation Gain/Elevation Loss: 50/1,050 meters | Hiking Time: 3½ hours | Distance: 10.5 kilometers | Highest Elevation: 1,050 meters
From the hut, walk out of the valley on the forest road for about 200 meters and bear left when trail “Niederthai, 142” branches off. This route will take you along the valley bottom and through Alpine pastures until you reach the forest road again. Another 1.5-kilometer walk along this road will bring you to Larstigalm Alpine Pasture (elev. 1,777m). A few hundred meters on, keep walking through to the other side of the valley where another road (“Bergmahdweg, Niederthai 50 min”) gently winds down to Niederthai through meadows and groves. Leave this road at the height of the church and descend to the village on a short singletrack trail. Having reached the first homes of Niederthai, take the right fork at Sennhof beneath the village and wander through meadows until you get to Stuibenfall Inn. Follow signage for “Stuibenfall”. This track is well maintained and takes you down to Ötztal Valley. View the rushing waters of Stuibenfall, Tirol’s tallest waterfall, cascading down over cliffs, weather-scarred rocks and moss-covered boulders in a foaming, spewing onrush of unrestrained energy. There are various viewpoints along the trail, very close to the rushing water. At the end of the trail keep to the road left of the brook and stroll to the village center of Umhausen, passing Oetzi Village. The bus stop is located at the fire department building close to the parish church.