Day 1: Gmund - Wildbad Kreuth
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 250/180 vertical metres, hiking time: variable, distance: 6 - 22 kilometres
From Gmund, situated on the northern shore of Tegernsee lake, the route follows Tegernsee High Altitude Trail to the resort of Tegernsee. Meandering some 100 metres above the lake, this walk offers stunning views. Don’t miss out on visiting the brewery in Tegernsee. Then, take the unique rowing ferry to Rottach-Egern. The walk continues along a natural trail that follows Weißach river to Wildbad Kreuth.
Day 2: Wildbad Kreuth - Achenkirch
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 850/800 metres, hiking time: 5¾ hours, distance: 17 kilometres
From historic Wildbad Kreuth, a footpath will take you through beech and mixed forest up to the wide open alpine pastures of Gaisalm. From there, the trail meanders along a gentle mountain ridge in its beginning and across fields of dwarf pine later until you reach the mountain crest at the border between Germany’s Bavaria and Austria’s Tirol. This is where you can enjoy stunning and uninterrupted panoramic views from Tegernsee lake in the north to the lofty Zillertal Alps in the south. Pause for a rest at the quaint Blaubergalm hut. The walk continues on easy trails that wind through the former hunting areas of the Habsburg Emperors and take you down to Achenwald and Achenkirch.
Day 3: Achenkirch - Maurach am Achensee
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 200/200 metres, hiking time: 4 hours, distance: 13.5 kilometres
Departing from Achenkirch, this day walk sidles along the western shore of Lake Achensee. The well-maintained track undulates over a number of steps and with handrails at some sections to the Gaisalm hut. Up there, magical scenery of awesome natural beauty awaits, with pretty waterfalls, densely wooded areas and alluvial cones that reach into Lake Achensee, lovingly dubbed “Tirol’s Fjord”. You will pass by beaches which are popular for swimming. The route follows the lakeside road to Pertisau and eventually heads along the tracks of historic Achensee Railway to Maurach, the end of this stage.
Day 4: Maurach am Achensee - Hochfügen
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 450/750 metres, hiking time: 3¾ hours, distance: 13 kilometres
Ride a bus or take the historic Achensee Railway and Zillertal Train to Fügen. Stroll through this lovely and picturesque village until you reach the base of the Spieljoch cable car. The gondola will speed you onto the Spieljoch mountain, to an elevation of 1,865 metres. At the top, above timberline, capture panoramic views of the surrounding mountains of the Zillertal Valley and the Karwendel, Rofan and Wilder Kaiser Mountains. The route follows an awesome trail past the Gartlalm hut to the Loassattel ridge. The Loasalm hut is a true insider‘s tip, serving finest mountain-inspired specialties. An easy trail meanders from the hut to the village resort of Hochfügen.
Day 5: Hochfügen - Mayrhofen
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 900/400 metres, hiking time: 4¾ hours, distance: 11 kilometres
This day walk will take you to historic alpine villages which are only found here in the scenic Zillertal Valley. Beginning in Hochfügen, the track makes its way up to the Sidanjoch ridge past glacier-carved rocks. Having passed the Rastkogelhütte hut, a short climb takes you up onto the Mitterwandskopf mountain. The gorgeous path meanders along a ridge to Melchboden, passing picture-postcard tarns which were glacially carved out during the last Ice Age. Eventually, the path emerges onto the Zillertal High Alpine Road. From there, you can either take the long walk down, which will strain your knees; or you can ride a public bus to the village of Mayrhofen. Doing so, you will cut miles from the route and spare hiking time.
Day 6: Mayrhofen - Pfitsch
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 500/850 metres, hiking time: 4½ hours, distance: 13 kilometres
On this day walk you will cross the Main Alpine Ridge. From Mayrhofen, ride a public bus to the Schlegeis reservoir at an elevation of 1,800 metres. The scenic drive winds up the mountain in switchbacks and offers stunning views of the light blue reservoir and the mighty glaciers in its backyard. The track climbs to the Pfitscherjoch ridge and gradually sidles around a stream with rushing waterfalls. Shortly after having crossed the border to Italy you will reach Pfitscherjochhaus hut at an elevation of 2,275 metres, the highest point on this walk. The trail continues across wide open, gentle alpine pastures and through densely wooded areas, descending into the Pfitschtal Valley. Eventually, a lovely meadow trail will bring you to your destination for this day, which is at St. Jakob or Platz.
Day 7: Pfitsch - Sterzing
Elevation gain/elevation loss: 150/650 metres, hiking time: 5½ hours, distance: 20 kilometres
The last day of The Trans-Alpine Crossing is generally flat, with a few easy climbs and a lot of scenic beauty: The track follows the beautiful and wide open valley, passing quaint farmsteads and historic stone churches that are typical for this region of South Tirol. A short ascent takes you atop a foothill at Flains from where the trail descends into the Gothic town centre of Sterzing. Most trails are rated easy; some short sections are a moderately challenging hike. Those with less time or energy available can ride a bus to Sterzing as well.
For more details on each of the seven stages please refer to www.die-alpenueberquerung.com (German only).