Tirol Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October

18.09.2018JannisJannis
Towered by soaring Lamsenspitze Peak: Lamsenjoch Hut at Karwendel Mountain Range (c) Silberregion Karwendel

For many avid walkers, there’s nothing quite like hiking during the autumn months. The crowds of summer have largely disappeared, the wonderful mix of explosive colours, deep blue, cloudless skies and crisp, nostalgic breezes have taken their place and the surrounding high peaks may already have a dusting of snow. Fortunately, there are nice Alpinist Association shelters and refuges throughout Tirol that are open well into October, making it easy to do an overnighter that will be perfect for witnessing the change in seasons…

In this Blog post, we share our favourite places to rest or spend the night on a long multi-day hut-to-hut trek in Tirol this October. While some of these mountain shelters will close their summer season in the first days of October, others stay open until the end of the month. As closing dates may vary due to inclement weather, we would urge you to contact the refuges directly to check when they are manned and to make a booking, if you’re thinking of doing an overnighter there.

Wilder Kaiser

When the old growth forest of scenic Kaisertal Valley begins to change colour, the hike from Kufstein to Stripsenjochhaus Lodge is an all-day feast for the senses. There are two wonderful chapels and nice Anton-Karg-Haus shelter along this route, which is open until early October. Wilder Kaiser Mountain Range (literally “Wild Emperor”) aptly lives up to its name as being wild, untamed, rugged, lofty and majestic—and is simply breathtaking during the autumn months. Its amazing fall colours are best explored on the amazing “Kaiserkrone” Multi-Day Trek, which translates to ‘The Emperor’s Crown’.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Wilder Kaiser Mountain Range

Grutten Hut at the heart of Wilder Kaiser Range (c) TVB Wilder Kaiser / Simon Oberleitner

Kitzbühel Alps

Bordered by the Zillertal Alps and Hohe Tauern Range to the south and the Northern Limestone Alps to the north, the gently rolling grassy foothills of the Kitzbühel Alps offer captivating views of jagged and soaring peaks. The grey rock offers a sharp contrast to the glistening white glaciers. It’s particularly worth hiking here in the fall to experience the Kitzbühel Alps in the golden and brownish hues of autumn. The hike up to Neue Bamberger Hut and Schafsiedel Mountain from Wegscheid car park is a special treat. On your climb atop Schafsiedel Peak you will be rewarded with ridiculously beautiful scenery, but the series of Wildalmseen, three turquoise-hued lakes tucked into the high country, is the best. If the weather is cooperating, it may even be warm enough to take your last quick dip in gorgeous Wildsee Lake, an aquatic gem on the shores of Wildseeloderhaus Lodge, which is open till the end of October.

A worthy autumnal mountain bike tour in this north-eastern corner of Tirol is the one to Straubinger Haus Lodge, from where a footpath takes you to the top of Fellhorn Mountain. The views of the Alpine Main Ridge will certainly slack your jaw – and make you want to return again and again.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Kitzbühel Alps

Zillertal Alps

Fall is one of the best seasons to get out for a hike in the Zillertal Alps. The view from Olperer Hut is amazing, especially with Schlegeis Reservoir below you. The hut is full of fall flare until October 7, 2018. In the morning, you can take a walk along the High Trail towards Friesenberghaus Lodge (which has already closed down for the season) and descend to Schlegeis Reservoir – or you can opt to nab the peak of Riefenkopf for amazing mountain views. Karl-von-Edel-Hut is open as long as Ahornbahn Gondola is operating. If it’s a clear, blue-sky day in October, you can scamper up to Ahornspitze and tag its summit – but be prepared, this adventure requires stamina, sure footing and should not be attempted by those with a fear of heights. On your way back down, you can gather new strength with a hearty meal at Karl-von-Edel-Hut. Ahorn, the mountain in the backyard of Mayrhofen, is a wonderful family destination in the fall as well…

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Zillertal Alps

Olperer Hut high above Schlegeis Reservoir.

Rofan

Rofan Mountain Range delivers stunning views and some of Tirol’s most memorable peaks. Until the end of October, hikers can rest their bodies at Erfurter or Bayreuther Hut and scale the heights of rewarding Two-Thousanders high above Achensee Lake in the next morning. Of course, you can also spend a night on both huts during a wonderful Two Day Trek.

One of the most striking summits between Karwendel and Wilder Kaiser Ranges is the grey peak of Guffert that looms over the Brandenberg Alps, which are carpeted in vivid greenery. A long yet rewarding tour leads atop its summit from the namesake hut. The sweeping views over the Bavarian foothills of the Alps and most of Tirol are definitely worth the climb!

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Rofan Mountain Range

Bayreuther Hut amid Rofan Mountain Range.

Tux Alps

Particularly in autumn, the mountains of the Tux Alps are gorgeous playgrounds for hiking. Hiking along the Inntal High Trail is a magical experience in the fall. If you have only got time for a day hike, Kellerjoch and Glungezer/Patscherkofel are wonderful trails here that take in autumn’s arboreal wonders. If you have got a weekend, Rastkogel Hut serves as perfect base for bagging the namesake peak, Rastkogel, until the end of October. From the summit there are uninterrupted panoramic views of the Zillertal Alps.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Tux Alps

Karwendel Mountains

Ahornboden Plateau in Karwendel Mountain Range is a truly magical place during the fall, where you’re immediately treated to golden maple groves. And it only gets better as you head further into the “Urweltliche Gebirg” (translating to ‘primeval mountains’), where more amazing displays of fall colours and stunning views of the Alpine Main Ridge await. Autumn also means that the crowds of summer have whittled down, making it a wonderful place to visit. Moreover, most shelters and refuges here are open until the middle of October so you can still embark on the unforgettable adventure of hiking the Karwendel High Trail. A shorter yet very beautiful option is riding your bicycle to the source of Isar River and walk up to Hallerangerhaus Lodge. Another worthwhile fall tour is the trek from Gramai Alpine Inn to Lamsenjoch Hut and atop the summit of Lamsenspitze Peak. An exhausting yet very rewarding option is the Bike & Hike Tour from Scharnitz across Karwendeltal Valley to Karwendelhaus Lodge and to the top of Birkkarspitze – Karwendeltal is a great place to witness its amazing display of fall colours.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Karwendel Mountain Range

Winter Room at Magdeburger Hut. You can do an overnighter here until October 15, 2018. (c) Fridrik Pall Fridriksson, Instagram @skiarktis

Wetterstein & Mieminger Mountains

It’s no secret that Seebensee Lake amid Mieming Mountain Range is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Tirol. When the larch forest along the shoreline of this aquatic jewel begins to change colour, the old-growth trees are sporting their striking golden and yellowish gowns, making it a wonderful place to visit… best rounded out with a stop at nearby Coburger Hut, which closes its summer season on October 7, 2018.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Wetterstein Mountain Range

Tannheimer Mountains

Scenic Tannheimer Tal Valley is another one of Tirol’s best autumn hut-to-hut walk destinations. The wonderful Three Lakes Walk, for example, takes you to Landsberger Hut, which is open until mid-October. Or, ride the gondola atop Füssener Jöchle , effortlessly gaining vertical feet. From the top, take a walk to Bad Kissinger Hut, which is towered by lofty Aggenstein Peak. Alternatively, cross gorgeous Reintal Valley by mountain bike or on foot to get to Otto-Mayr-Hut, located at the heart of Tannheimer Range. This hut is the perfect base to scale a variety of peaks, from easy climbs (Große Schlicke, Schartschrofen) over advanced scrambles (Rote Flüh) to expert-only terrains (Gimpel, Köllenspitze, Gehrenspitze).

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Tannheim and Allgäu Alps

Stubai Alps

Most Alpinist Association huts in the Stubai Alps are located at considerable altitudes; even those that are still open in October lie at elevations around 2,000 meters above sea level. My favourite hike in the first week of October is riding Kreuzjochbahn Gondola (Schlick 2000) to its top. From there, take the amazing Panorama Trail towards Sennjoch Hut and continue along the more demanding path that climbs atop Hohe Burgstall Mountain. From the summit you can descend to Starkenburger Hut with the loop bringing you back to the gondola’s top terminal. This trek will have you hopping with joy with its nonstop horizon-spanning views of the jagged ridges and colossal summits of the Stubai Alps—and you will even scale one of the Stubai Seven Summits.

When you’ve got a long weekend for the trek across the Stubai Alps, you can do an overnighter at Starkenburger Hut and take a walk along a demanding section of the Stubai High Trail, which will take you to Franz-Senn-Hut in ultimately scenic Oberbergtal Valley. There are not enough adjectives that live up to the splendour of the setting.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Stubai Alps

Franz-Senn Hut in the Stubai Alps (c) Alpinbilder / Hans Sterr

Ötztal Alps

For sheer elevation, most shelters and refuges in the Ötztal Alps are closing down for the season in late September. One exception is Langtalereck Hut, which is open until early October. The rugged route to the hut travels through deeply carved Gurgler Tal Valley, towered by mighty glistening white glaciers. A truly magical place during the fall.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Ötztal Alps

Lechtal Alps

Wolfratshauser Hut on the easternmost edge of the Lechtal Alps welcomes weary hikers until the second Sunday in October. The hut possesses a wonderful location high above the valley basins of Lermoos and Ehrwald and is towered by soaring Grubigstein Peak. If that’s not enough to slack your jaw, the views of mighty Zugspitz Range will most certainly captivate you. The refuge serves as perfect base for exploring the beautiful walk from Lermoos to Berwang. The crossing of Gartnerwand Face is an unforgettable adventure, best left to sure-footed trekkers with mountaineering experience and a good head for heights.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Lechtal Alps

Verwall Mountains

The setting of Friedrichshafener Hut is postcard-worthy, and even more so in the first days of October. This lovely shelter is easy to reach, making it a wonderful fall hike destination for families. More ambitious hikers will want to continue on to the higher grounds of Silvretta Range. Luckily, plenty of rewarding peak-bagging options start right from the hut, such as Fädnerspitze, Hohe Köpfe and Ventinesberg—the perfect perches for a moment of solitude at the end of the hiking season.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – Verwall Mountain Range

Friedrichshafener Hut in Verwall Mountain Range (c) TVB Paznaun-Ischgl

East Tirol

It’s not hard to find good hiking in East Tirol, given the surrounding Hohe Tauern Range that is home to the highest mountains in Austria. Matrei in East Tirol is a popular spot for fall hut-to-hut hiking. The glorious mountain scenery can be accessed from two high-lying refuges that are open until mid-October. Walking across Kalsertal Valley you will reach Stüdl Hut that sits in a rugged bowl under the reign of majestic Großglockner Mountain at an elevation of 2,801 meters. As if this isn’t enough, this amazing refuge is well worth visiting for its outstanding architecture alone. The next day, you can opt for a trek to Kalser Tauernhaus Lodge that sits in the shadow of Glockner’s impressive glaciers. High above Virgen in Virgental Valley you will find Bonn-Matreier Hut (elev. 2,750m) along the Venice High Trail. Especially in the fall, this shelter is perfect for looking out on the world. This is one of the most beautiful mountain hut locations I have been to so far. Again, there are not enough adjectives that live up to the splendour of the setting.

Alpinist Association Refuges for Overnighters in Golden October – East Tirol

Stüdl Hut at the base of Großglockner Mountain.

Have a great time enjoying many beautiful fall hikes. See you out there!

Jannis

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” This compelling quote says it all for outdoor lover Jannis Braun. His passion for hiking and mountain biking inspired him to move from Germany to Innsbruck. Finding pleasure in the mountains, Jannis continues to embrace the beauty and culture around him.

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