On hot days, I try to escape the heat of the valley by heading up towards Tirol’s cooler altitudes, above 2,000-meters. Hiking to one of the region’s many mountain lakes is just the thing – these picture-book lakes were created by retreating glaciers and date back to the last ice age. Many of the lakes are difficult to access but I’m going to tell you about three that are easy to get to and offer beautiful walks along manageable paths.
1. To Laserzsee in the Lienz Dolomites
My favourite lake is the shimmering, turquoise-blue lake Laserzsee, which lies amidst the unique limestone crags of the Lienz Dolomites. The route isn’t technical and is suitable for children. Standing next to the lake is the welcoming Karlsbader hut, where a stop is always worthwhile. To reach the starting point, travel along the toll road from Tristach and park in the car park near Lienz Dolomites Hut. A more detailed route description can be found here.
2 Beautiful shades of blue in the rear Stubai
There’s so much to see on this stunning hike: from the spectacular Grawa waterfall to the green valley floor, and the 3,500-meter high mountain glaciers of the rear Stubai valley to Sulzenau hut, which sits a few hundred meters back from the lake. The photo below was taken at the end of June, when you can still see the remnants of snow. The walk starts and finishes at Sulzenau hut car park, about two kilometers from the Stubai Glacier. Find a detailed route description can be found here.
3 To lake Brechsee in the Pitztal valley
The Pitztal valley is home to some of the Alps’ most beautiful mountain lakes. Many are at high altitude and can only be reached with a long and strenuous climb but the tour to lake Brechsee is only around 700 metres above sea level and one of the easier mountain lake hikes in the Ötztal Alps. The starting point is the hamlet of Rehwald, and you hike from here to around 1,460-meters above sea level. Begin by descending through a magnificent forest near the Mauchele Alm pasture (where refreshments are available) and from here, it’s only about 300 meters to Brechsee, which sits above the treeline. If you’d like more challenge, ascend to almost 2,600-meters above Krummen See (Krummen Lake). The picture below was taken at the beginning of July, when the lake was still half frozen. Find a detailed itinerary here.