Hike from Kufstein to the Kaisertal
Today I want to write about a tour through beautiful scenery which is apart from the ascent to the Naunspitze not very strenuous. The Kaisertal Valley sits between the massifs of the „Zahmer Kaiser“ (tame emperor) and the „Wilder Kaiser“ (wild emperor) in the south. Those of you that don’t want to climb as high can skip the ascent to the Naunspitze.
Kufstein, the pearl of Tyrolia
The day anounced itself with bright sunshine and not too hot tempeartures, meaning perfect conditions for a hike. Kufstein is a town you will pass when you travel from Munich to Italia. But until now, I actually never stopped to visit. Today I left the car at home to avoid the traffic jams on the highway. So I have to cross the town in order to get to the starting point of todays tour. The entrance to the Kaisertal is on the border to the neighbouring town of Ebbs. If you do arrive by car, you will find enough parking spaces at the bottom of the Treppenweg (stairway path). Here are a few pictures from Kufstein.
After leaving the train station you have to cross the river Inn. You can’t miss the Unterer Stadtplatz which turns into the Oberer Stadtplatz. Here you will have to make a left turn into Hans-Reisch-Straße and follow it all the way to the parking lot at the city limit of Ebbs. The street will change it’s name a couple of times the last stretch being Sparchener Straße. You will have to cross the creek and then you’ll see the sign below. This is where the Treppenweg begins.
The Treppenweg, an easy entrance to the Kaisertal
The stairs wind themselves up easily along the mountain through a shady forest. That’s a good workout and a warm up for the things that lie ahead of you. Every now and then you get a glimpse of Kufstein, the Inn valley and the mountains on the opposite side of the river.
There is a very famous song about Kufstein, that everybody knows in Germany and of course this song is haunting me know. 🙂
Shortly before I am about to leave the woods and continue in bright sunshine, I take a short rest and put on a good portion of sunscreen. I don’t want to get burned and the tour will be probably in bright sunshine for a good part of it. Finally I reach a gate at the end of the woods and have the first view of the valley.
From this point I can only guess what I will be discovering later, but the first impression is already quite nice. In the valley there are about 30 people that live here permanently and a few years ago there was this dicussion wether they would get just an freight elevator or a street that would have to been built thrugh a tunnel. In the end it was the tunnel they did get but at least it is strictly for the residents only. I can understand that they need a road to bring up their goods, but was it worth to built a costly tunnel just for 30 people?
A few minutes later I reach the „Veitenhof“ the first restaurant in the valley. Next to the road their is a sign that talks about an old legend. Apparently a shepherd named Peter was watching his flock close to the summit called Naunspitze when a huge thunderstorm was approaching. On the summit of the Naunspitze was a black witch sitting and laughing. She yelled at poor Peter: „Naun! Naun! Now you will get wet!“ But Peter found shelter underneath a huge rock and survived the storm without any harm. When the storm was over Peter realized that his black sheep were missing their wool. This made him angry and he yelled at the witch, that he needs to sell this wool and that he doesn’t understand why the old witch would need a new frock. The punishement came instantly and the witch threw a spell around Peter so that he couldn’t move anymore. The next day there came a poacher that knew its way around white magic and lifted the spell. That’s why the neighbouring summits are called Naunspitze and Petersköpfel (Head of Peter).
The steep ascent to the Rietzau alp
After passing the „Veitenhof“ you walk along a well prepared gravel road. You will follow this road for quite some time untill you reach the turn off to the „Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte“ and Naunspitze.
The path rises steeply uphill but is still well prepared and easy to walk. And it leads through shady forest so it’s not getting too strenous. Down in the valley it’ll be a very hot day, but here on the mountain the air is fresh and there is a very welcome breeze. After approx. an hour I get out of the forest again and I reach a green alp meadow. 5 minutes later I reach the Rietzau alp.
There are three houses up here and one of them has a restaurant with a nice terrace. Time for a break with a great view of the Inn valley to one side and the summits of the Wilder Kaiser to the other. It’s a beauti- and peaceful place and the menu shows a big variety. But it’s too early for lunch and so I just have a drink and decide to lunch at the next cabin. Fortunately there are a few more ahead on this tour. Before I continue I take a quick look around the alp.
The inscription at the back of the chapel means: „Oh, how beautiful is god’s world and we were put into the middle of it. We are so far away from the cities noise and we do love our quiet home country.“ At this point I am ready to sign it. Even when this is again a „busy“ day in the mountains and there are quite a few hikers around today. But nature has enough space for all of us. The path continues not too steep but there is no more shade and so I start to sweat again quickly. At least I am burning lots of calories this way.
Last effort to the summit
There are a lot of signs showing you the way and so you can’t miss the turn off to the Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte. A last but steep ascent brings me to this cabin.
But before I am sitting down for my lunch break, I will climb up to the summit. After that, I will have accomplished the most strenuous part of the tour and will be able to enjoy a good meal and the non-alcoholic beer even more.
So I pass the cabin and start the last ascent of about 790 ft. The path winds itself steeply to the top, somtimes in serpentines but mostly straight up and is still easy to walk. Whenever you turn around you get great views of the Rietzau alp and the summits of the Wilder Kaiser on the oppsite side of the valley.
The summit of the Naunspitze
I finally reach the saddle between Naunspitze and Petersköpfel. One summit per day is enough, so I turn left to the Naunspitze. And then the path ends and I am standing in front of this rock wall.
Apparently there is loose rock quite often and the path has to be changed all the time. Ok, then I will climb through it and find my own way. Slowly and most of all cautiously I cross the rocks. It’s well worth the effort. The view from the top is awesome. Look at the pictures….
Since I started my tour this morning the view into the Inn valley became hazier all the time. As if the whole valley would be eaten by fog. This often is a sign of an approaching thunder storm. I hope the weather stays calm at least until I have reached the next cabin. But I will be lucky. Unfortunately I have to quit this beautiful summit again. But on the other side I am starving and it’s time for lunch.
A cabin with a magnificent panorama
It takes me about 30 minutes to get back to the Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte. Here I am not that lucky since all the shady places are taken. At least there is a fresh breeze. On this cabin the menu is somewhat limited. Different kinds of Dumplings or Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. At least they offer salad instead of the Kraut with the dumplings. I do love Sauerkraut, but not on a hot summer day. So I opt for the cheese dumplings with salad and they are sensational. Since they don’t have fridge up here, I have to drink my beer a bit too warm for my taste. But the view makes up for those small shortcomings.
I go for a second non-alcoholic beer, let my mind wander and just enjoy this view. Life can be so perfect at times……..
The descent, an easy stroll
Like all perfect moments this one finds it end too and I am back on my way to the valley. It looks like my fellow hiker friends are all using the path they came up to go back down. After I take a left turn on the second sign I don’t see any other soul for quite a long while. The turn is not that easy to find since at the first turn you will have exactly the same directions. So be sure to take the turn where it says 2 hours to the Anton-Karg-Haus and not the one with the 4h on it.
The path leads through dense and shady forest and is very easy to walk. In my guide book there was a mention of a rock wall I would have to pass. To me it looked more like a huge boulder.
Supposedly I will come to a gravel road. I do see one from time to time between the trees below me. This stretch of the tour seems to go on forever and I am getting doubts if I have taken the correct turn. So what, there is always a path leading into the valley.
Until I’ll find it I will just soak in nature and those amazing views. It is beautiful up here, isn’t it? About an hour later I do see this gravel road again and this times I seem to get closer to it. Another 10 minutes and I am standing on that road. It is descending very slowly towards Kufstein. At the beginning still through shady forest, but soon through open and sunny terrain but with this breathtaking views of the Wilder Kaiser as a backdrop.
I am crossing the first cabin in this valley which is apparently used as a vacation home. To wake up with such a view, would’t that be great?
30 minutes later I reach the cabin called Hinterkaiser. Here you can only eat things that have grown on this farm like ham, sausages and cheese. But I have a train to catch and am still full from my dumplings. Just a minute further down there is this chapel which is dedicated to St. Antonius.
Almost without any effort I did descend already some 2600 ft. And the rest of the tour will continue exactly like this. Shortly after crossing the chapel I come across this spring. Too bad that it doesn’t have more water. A cooling would be appreciated by now.
And soon I reach the restaurant „Pfandlhof“. As per their menu the oldest tavern in the valley. It still is very hot, I am thursty and ran out of water. So I take a last break and enjoy another drink. Here’s another terrace with an amazing view. Not as spectacular as from the other cabins further up the mountain, but still…
Shortly after the Pfandlhof, I reach the turn where I started the steep ascent to the summit this morning. Soon I will be back in Kufstein. Passing the Veithof again, I reach the stairways leading down. One last glimpse of the Inn valley to the north, which means Bavaria, and I am back at the parking lot next to the creek. Another short stroll through the town and I reach the train station.
This is the end of another beautiful day in the mountains. On the way back I tink about what tour I will be walking next.
I hope you liked this post as well as my others and that you are ready now for your own tour in the mountains. I would appreciate your comments.