The hiking season is far from over, quite the opposite in fact: September’s stable weather makes it THE quintessential hiking month. Just in time for the first day of autumn (1st of September), I’d like to introduce three of my favourite hiking routes. As different as these walks are, they all have one thing in common: no route involves more than 500 meters of altitude, so they won’t leave you panting too hard!
1. From the Zillertal valley along the Pfitscherjoch pass
Travel by public bus or car (via a toll road) from Mayrhofen and past Ginzling to the Schlegeis reservoir, which sits 1,800-metres above sea level. Even here, the panorama is impressive, giving superb views across the light blue waters of the reservoir, with the sparkling Schlegeis glacier in the background. One of the area’s most beautiful yet technically easiest hikes, the path is secured with large stone slabs and steps, making it easy for children to tackle. From the car park at the end of the toll road, walk gently uphill to Lavitzalm hut (2090m), walking past powerful waterfalls on your right – this section of the walk takes around 1.5 hours. After a refreshment stop at Lavitzalm pasture, allow around half an hour or more as you walk along the Pfitscherjoch pass (2,246m). Here, the view opens up to give a stunning vista of South Tirol. After stopping at Pfitscherjochhaus – the oldest private hut in South Tirol – retrace the route back to your starting point.
2. The nature trail to Lienz hut
From Lienz in East Tirol, drive through the beautiful Nussdorf-Debant region and park at the Seichenbrunn car park (1,686m). From here, follow the signposted ‘Nature and Culture Trail’ for around one and a half hours to reach Lienzer hut (1,974m). Information panels along the route explain the history of the local landscape, forests and alpine pastures. A lunch stop at Lienzer hut is a must: the East Tirol speciality – pasta with a potato and herb filling – is superb. To return to your start point, either follow the same route back or detour through the forest.
3. To Gaisalm on Lake Achen
As the only Alm (Alpine pasture) in Tirol which can be reached by foot or boat alone, the Gaisalm is a real gem and is located on the western shore of Achensee (Lake Achen). From the Achenkirch area, a path leads above Achensee for around three kilometres, before arriving at Gaisalm. Park by the lakeside and, if you like, you can camp on the northern shore, where the wide and well-signposted trail leads from. Although the path is in good condition, take care as, in some places, the terrain drops steeply to the lake below. From Gaisalm, you can choose to either walk back the same way, continue along the route towards the small village of Pertisau or take the boat across the lake, back to Achenkirch.