When I am provided with the opportunity to go out in the mountains, I never say no. Therefore, when I heard that the Innsbruck Tourism Office was kicking off the Innsbruck Trek, I called dibs and wanted to experience the whole thing, first hand.
Everything you need to know about Hiking the Innsbruck Trek
Long story short, or ‘kurz-gesagt’, the Innsbruck Trek is a long distance hiking trail all the way from the city of Innsbruck, around it, and back again. You can choose your accommodation along the way depending on your needs, include a certified mountain guide (or self-guide if you prefer), and even choose between two different-difficulty routes every day. Here’s everything you need to know about it!
Innsbruck Trek Packing List: What’s in my backpack
Before we head off, what is very important is to be prepared and to make sure we have everything we need for a day (or two) in the mountains. The absolute essentials and then some extra precautions. Nothing beats that sad feeling of having to a pair of wet socks at 1500m and a fresh pair lies at your hotel drawer. We’ve prepared a neat stop-motion video with the contents of our backpacks (excluding the video gear), however you can find a very detailed packing list here.
Day 1 : Hiking to the Umbrüggler Alm
Due to the extremely high temperature and significant time required to film, we decided to start our hike from Hungerburg. Thankfully the conditions throughout the week were very ideal: clear and sunny weather. After a quick ride with the Hungerburgbahn, we got off at the top and made our way through the residential area of Hötting and into the woods and the dirt road that leads to the Umbrüggler Alm. That’s a long and somewhat steep road, so don’t be fooled by the relatively easy start.
After a quick stop for cold beverages in Umbrüggler Alm, we continued to Höttinger Bild, a very popular pilgrimage location (Maria in the Woods Chapel). From there on, the dirt road becomes a very scenic and comfortable hiking trail through the dense forest area of the lower Nordkette, all the way to Krannebitten and the Kerschbuchhof.
Day 2 : Through the moss forest to the Lehnberghaus
After spending the night and having a light breakfast in Hotel & Landhaus Bergland in Obsteig, we set off for our next destination the Lehnberghaus and the viewing point Lacke; where we could see the entire Mieming Plateau. After a few minutes through the urban area, we end up on the edge of a gorgeous moss forest, following the dirt road next to the stream (Sturlbach). Soon after that we reached our first goal, restaurant Arzkasten however there’s no time to waste. We have a couple of sips of water and carry on.
The dirt road becomes a path that is relatively narrower and steeper. It’s all about endurance now and under the warm summer sun, that can be a very sweaty challenge. We actually had 3 quick stops for water – never underestimate the summer sun, especially in the Alps. Next thing you know, we’re in Lehnberghaus, where we quickly grabbed a cold Radler then carried on. The steepness is still the same, however the goal at the end of the hike – the panorama platform Lacke – is very rewarding. We did spent some time up there, enjoying the view and chatted away until we decided to continue the conversation at the Lehnberghaus with another Radler. Then it was time to call it a day and head back to our accommodation, to relax, collect ourselves and prepare for tomorrow.
Day 3 : From the Feldringalm across the path Franz-Josef-Weg
We’re about to embark on what I consider as one of the longest hikes I have ever been on, in terms of distance since time at this point is irrelevant (we’ve got plenty of it!). After the bus dropped us off at the Sattele bus station, we started walking towards our first goal, the Feldringalm. Or at least I thought we did. Always make sure you check your maps and the signs people! Sadly, I should have known better, since I’ve been here like a dozen times already. I guess the excitement and the heat got the best of me.
We walked along the mountain dirt road through the conifer forest and as soon as we reached the Feldringalm, we realized we were the first customers of the day, so we ordered a coffee. Next up, a short and steep part of the route that takes you up to the greenest meadows (Feldringer Böden) you’ve ever seen and Marlstein, where from the one end of the horizon to the other you can see the entire Kühtai mountain range. Epic views.
From there we continued walking along the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Weg, all the way until the Längental valley and the hut Dortmunder Hütte; Prost! I really needed to dip my legs in cold water after that 10km hike.
Day 4 : On the Besinnungsweg and through mountaineering villages
Today’s starting point finds us in Mariahilfkapelle in Alt-Peida. We are making our way back to Innsbruck, about 10km (or more) at a time, but this is the longest hike of them all. It’s 13km through a variety of areas and terrain, predominately through mountaineering villages and next to creeks and streams, through and on the side of the valley.
We start walking on an idyllic forest hiking trail along the Zirmbach stream, until we reach the lovely 600-inhabitant village of Gries. Ahead of you, there’s 2.5 hours of more Tyrolean magic, flower decorated old farming houses, charming spots and more of that goody goodness. Make sure you have enough space on your memory cards, if you love taking snaps!
The final goal of this hike is the St. Quirin church, where the mountain ranges of the Karwendel, Nordkette and Patscherkofel create a fantastic panorama. I was so overwhelmed with the scenery, I almost forgot to film it! The final leg of this tour goes through a meadow path to the valley Tiefental and further on towards Oberperfuss. Four hikes down, two to go! Let’s do it!
Day 5 : Along the Innsbrucker Almweg
We’re getting closer and closer to Innsbruck today. The bus drops us off at the Adelshof bus stop and we start going slightly up on a dirt road that soon we leave behind in order to jump on a very very scenic trail that goes through a rift called Götzner Graben. Honestly that part of the route seemed very exotic to me, probably due to the large number of ferns. Had some jungle-like vibe feeling. You will also notice that the trail is quite rooty and occasionally steep so keep an extra eye out for the smoothness of the terrain and how you place your steps. Even the most experienced hikers look out for that stuff.
After a not-so-quick stop in Götzener Alm, we carried on for our next goal, the Mutterer Alm. We decided on the spot to use the trikes (also called mountain carts around these parts) for our descent to the main lifts and from there to go get some rest for the final stage of Innsbruck Trek.
Day 6 : Hiking high above Innsbruck at Patscherkofel
Our final day and the last leg of the tour, a hike around the mountain of Patscherkofel and the famous Zirbenweg. This is a great way of finishing off the entire tour and as soon as you reach Patscherkofel with the cable car, trust me, you will know why. There are views and panoramas for days! Even if you’re not so much in to taking photographs, that last day will definitely make you take some snaps. The Nordkette to the north, Kühtai to the southwest, Italy in the far south and more of the Inn valley and Tyrol to the east.
Wherever you look during this tour, there’s mountain ranges and mountain peaks; Alps, Alps, Alps. They don’t call Innsbruck the heart of the Alps for nothing! On a clear day and with a set of good binoculars, you can see the Zugspitze and even the first emerging summits of the Dolomites to South Tyrol. Like I said, this last leg of the Innsbruck Trek is more of an admiration day, relaxing, taking it all in and reflecting. Easy trail, no surprises, loads of views.
Day 7 : Return home
This was a great experience that I would definitely repeat, hopefully doing the more challenging routes. Due to the extensive snowfall some of the paths weren’t as visible so taking a gamble is really not the safest thing to do when you’re in the mountains. Overall it has been a tremendous experience, most of these hiking trails (or parts of) were new to me, even though I live in Innsbruck for almost a decade now. The accommodation was excellent and the transport always on time and efficient. If you love nature and enjoy the mountains and maybe wanna combine your holidays with a little bit of city tourism, Innsbruck Trek is definitely something you should do. See you on the mountains!