And from here I have again a view of this majestic wall that apparently builds the end of the valley. My map tells me that the summit to the left is called „Dreizinkenspitze“ followed by the „Laliederer Spitze“ to the right and at the end you see the „Sonnenspitze“. Two hours later I will stand at the foot of these walls and with every yard I will come closer to this monument my awe will grow. This scenery reminds me a bit of the famous „Rosengarten“ in Southern Tyrolia, only those rocks shimmer red in the sunlight.
Breathtaking scenery in the Karwendel mountains
Scenically this is one the most beautiful tours, I hiked so far. I had to stop pretty often to admire the monumental mountain scenery. And here comes the good thing about this hike: You don’t need to be shaped up for Iron Man to walk this tour. The ascent through the Laliederer valley is mostly smooth. There is just one relatively short steep ascent to the Falkenhütte and the descent to the Engalm is a bit steep too at times, but easily to walk.
In one of my guide books I read about this tour and said to myself, that I do have to do this hike soon. In the book they talked about the end of the tour at the Engalm and the valley called „Großer Ahornboden“ which translates to big maple floor. If you want to have m personal opinion; I would say that the route to get there is more spectacular. Unfortunately I had to go through two lowdowns in order to be able to walk this tour. My train from Munich left at 7 a.m, which means I had to get up very early. And the other one being that you can do this tour only on weekends, since the special hiker bus from Lenggries only then leaves early enough to accomplish the tour in one day. And at the end of the tour after a day in great nature and calm you will arrive at the Engalm, which can be reached by big tour coaches, with loads of excursionists.
The Bergsteigerbus is already waiting when the train from Munich arrives and fills up with other hikers that had the same idea as me. There is a special ticket called „Bayernticket“ you can use for the train and the bus all the way up to the Austrian border. Show it to the bus driver and he’ll charge you only for the Austrian part of this ride. Starting from Lenggries the bus soon reaches the artificial lake called „Sylvensteinspeicher“, which holds Munich’s drinking water. Crystal clear and fresh from the mountains this water is better than some of the mineral water you can buy at the super market. The road follows the lake direction Hinterriß and ends at the hotel Berggasthof Eng. I step off the bus at the stop called „Einstieg Laliederertal“ and am already overwhelmed. This scenery is truly dramatic.
As you can see in the picture above the path is a easy to walk gravel road that leads through a forest. I hardly realize that I am climbing slowly higher in altitude. The fresh and tangy morning air fills my lungs. This feels great. In the valley below to my right I hear the swoosh of a creek. Too bad that the path doesn’t follow this creek. Maybe later. I keep taking deep breaths of the fresh air and enjoy the lookouts the trees give way to from time to time.
After about an hour or so the road leaves the forest and leads down into a broad valley. The sun hasn’t reached the valley floor yet, so it is enjoyably cool. Perfect hiking climate.
One last small rise in elevation brings me finally in front of this rock wall and the small village of alpine cabins called Laliedersalm-Niederleger. This translates to something like low lying Laliedersalm. My map tells me that there is also a high lying Alm. Funny names they have here in Austria…….
I am surrounded by earsplitting noise from what feels like hundreds of cowbells. Maybe it’s just imagination, but I am convinced that those towering rocks are amplifying the sound with it’s echo. In the center of this village I see a sign for the Falkenhütte, showing right into the meadow and through the crowds of cows. Could this be right? But then I see the next sign across the meadow, so I cross it.
And again I am standing there with my mouth wide open. Or as we say in German when we are really overwhelmed „my mouth goes dry“. But the dry mouth is also due to a quenching thirst that I will fight with a fresh non-alcoholic beer. The first one hisses while it’s going down. Plus these great views. Actually I could stay here for a while.
My guide book would lead me to the summit of the Mahnkopf, but this would mean about an hour one way and a gain of elevation of another 600 feet. Maybe next time. In order to get some great shots of this cabin I do follow that path a bit.
Since I still have quite a long stretch to walk and I am not really sure how long it’ll take me to get to my final destination, I am not staying too long at this cabin. I do have to catch a bus, that won’t wait for me. But I will certainly come back and then climb to the summit of the Mahnkopf. Or take one of the many other trails, that lead through this natural wonder.
The Falkenhütte being the highest point of this tour, I have to descend to the „Spiliessjoch“. The path is being forked here. To the right you will get to the Ladizalm and the small maple floor. I take a left and cross at the bottom of the rock wall in direction of the Hohljoch.
At the foot of this impressive wall I am crossing through large fields of rubble. Where the wall rises out of this rubble there are some areas where there still is some snow. Since the sun never get’s here, I am not really surprised.
Since I can’t offer any spectacular wild animal sightings today, a picture of this black and white cow has to do. 🙂
So I reach the Hohljoch and get a last view of the valley through which I came this morning.
When I turn around in the direction I will be continuing, I have the next WOW! on my lips. From the ridge of the Hohljoch I get the first glimpse of the valley that surrounds the Engalm and the big maple floor. I find this view as impressive as all the other great views I had already today.
Somehow I fell rather small when I look at these mountains, but I also have a sense of freedom. There are some things that we humans can’t create like mother nature did.
Shortly after the ridge the path is being divided again. To the left it leads to the summit of the Gamsjoch which I have already seen from far. To the right the path is leading down into the valley. That’s my direction. Below the sign with the dircetions there is another, rather huge one, showing a crossed out bike. Dear mountain bikers: sometimes such signs actually do make sense. This path is a) narrow and b) in large parts that uneven that you will have to carry your bike. There are other routes for you to ride to the valley. As the Laliederertal for example.
So I start the descent and have to stop every other minute to let pass another mountain biker who then has to get off his bike, because there is another high and steep step in front of him. But this gives me also the time to enjoy the breathtaking views.
And the I can see my final destination deep down in the valley. The syllable Kar in the name of the region comes from an ancient German word for bucket, bowl, receptacle. What this has to do with those mounting rock walls, isn’t so clear to me.
While descending I get the first look at the so famous Maple Floor and am somewhat disappointed. Where are those 2000 maple trees?
But first I reach the Engalm, a beautiful small village of alpine cabins. Very rustic, but also cozy and idyllic. Unfortunately there is this toll road leading up here, that can be used by big motorcoaches and I am not the only one who thinks that this is a truly awesome place. There are quite a lot of people around and this is the end of enjoying a calm day surrounded by mother nature. I take a closer look at the village.
After such a long hike I am very hungry. There is a restaurant in the village (sorry only avialble in German). Since the weather is just picture perfect I am looking for a seat on the terrace which is divided in a self service and serviced part. I feel like being served, so I sit down next to a group of tourists from one of those motorcoaches. They are talking about their lovers and the illnesses they have. Rather amusing.
On the menu I discover this dish with 3 different dumplings. That’s about exactly what I need now. On my plate I find a regular bread dumpling, one that has been flavored with tomato and one with spinach. All topped with lots of melted butter and cheese. Very yummy but also very heavy. After all those calories I would have to walk my tour again to burn them off.
Instead I am walking around a bit and stop in the farmers shop to do some shopping. There you can have a tasting of local cheese. Along with it you can buy delicious bread and jam. Too bad that they don’t have an online-shop. I’d order my cheese on a weekly basis here. The cheese they are selling has just one a gold medal in the alpine cheese olympics. (Yes, this does exist).
On my way to the close by Alpengasthof and bus stop I finally come across those famous maple trees. And the nature trail telling you everything about them.
There actually are a bit over 2000 maple trees growing here. Some of them are up to 600 years old. I haven’t seen most of them since the Engalm marks the end of this nature park. To keep the valley in it’s current state every tree that is dying is replaced by a new one. This is especially spectacular during Indian Summer when the leaves are turning red and yellow.
Unfortunately I realize too late, that I am missing out on something here, but it’s time to catch my bus. When I miss it, I will have to stay overnight. Which wouldn’t be the worst that could happen. So one last admiring look around and th board the bus.
What a terrific day in really awesome scenery.
Respect, if you actaully did read this post completely. 🙂
I hope it wasn’t too boring. 🙂
And as usual I am looking forward to read your comments.