During this tour you will have breathtaking panoramic views. From the summit you will look onto three lakes: Schliersee, Spitzingsee and Tegernsee. The ascent to the Ankelalm is pretty easy. The only stretch that is a bit more difficult is a narrow ridge you have to cross during the descent via the northern flank to the Freudenreichalm. For this you have to be sure footed and not afraid of heights. A short piece is secured with wire rope. If you are not confident with this you can descend via the path you toook to come up to the summit. This tour is a real treat.
length: 7.8 miles
walking time: 6 hours
elevation in the ascent: 2.800 ft.
elevation in the descent: 2.800 ft.
For today I have chosen a tour that gives me easy access with the train from Munich. It is once again a day with picture perfect conditions. A blue sky convoys my train ride which is very comfortable. Seems that not that many people are going to Schliersee and so the train is not as packed in compairison with the ones going to Tegernsee or Lenggries.
In Neuhaus there would be the open air museum of Markus Wasmeier, a famous skier from Germany. But today I don’t have the time to combine the museum visit and my hike. Next time maybe. So I am putting sunscreen on my head and arms and off I go. The tour starts with a walk through Neuhaus. Cute old farm houses are hiding in huge gardens. Very idyllic.
A few minutes later I reach the end of the village. From here the tour follows the route of the „Neuhauser Bockerlbahn“. In January 1919 a heavy foehn storm ( something like the Sta. Anna winds in California) cut an aisle about 3 miles long and 2 miles wide in the forest south of the Spitzingsee. Two more storms followed in March and July and brought down the rest of the trees that were still standing. In the end 300,000 trees were lying in an area difficult to access. But they had to go as fast as possible to prevent vermin (bark beetle) from spreading. So already by mid February 1919 a plan to build a train track of 7.5 miles had been established. Via this „Bockerlbahn“ they brought the wood to Fischhausen-Neuhaus. Three years later all the wood was gone and the train track was dismanteld. These days you can walk along the trace. Along this way you will find signs with explanations and the history of this train.
I follow this trail only for a short distance since I soon reach the turn to the Ankelalm. Along a forest road the tour continues climbing slowly uphill. Allthough the road leads through dense forest it is wide enough to let the sun reach its floor. But in te forest the temparatures stay on the cool side. From time to time I do reach openings giving views of the surrounding mountains. Up to now this is a very pleasant walk.
After about 1.5 hours the forest is clearing onto an alp. The pastures are of a lush green and there are only a few scatterd trees. To my right rises now a rock wall. From this point on the tour continues in the bright sun. To my luck it is not as hot today. There are a few fair-weather clouds. Just as it has to be in Bavaria: a blue-white sky. After a short ascent I reach the Ankelalm.
The cabin looks rather new. My research on the net told me that it has been newly built in 2018. It is very nice and looks exactly as the old one. There are only a few places to sit down but I am lucky and find a table in the shade. On the menu they only have small snacks as speck, cheese and homemade bread. At the moment I am not hungry and only care for a cold drink. I sit on the cabin side facing the summit of the Brecherspitze and the hollow below.
There are happy chicken roaming the property. Some of them have a funny feather headdress. Which coiffeur they might be visiting? Wash, lay and dry. When my research gave me the correct answer this bred is called „Druffler Haubenhuhn“ and is known for laying lots of eggs. These chicken know that there are bread crumbs falling from the tables from time to time and are very trusting. Sorry but you won’t get anything from me today.
After a short break I continue. A short climb brings me to the hollow in front of me and leaves me awestruck. I wouldn’t have expected something like that here. Amazing. To my left I can see the summit of the Brecherspitze. To both sides long ridges are bordering the valley. I think this can be classified as idyllic.
A few minutes behind the cabin the path takes a left and runs a bit steeper uphill. There are a lot of beautiful flowers blooming. And all of a suden those two cows are standing next to me and staring at me. Since a cow almost ran after me on my last tour I am showing even mor respect in front of those animals. But these two stay calm. When I turn around to look back into the valley I can see the Schliersee for the first time with it’s water shimmering blue in the sunlight.
I follow the path uphill. It is a bit steeper here, but still not really strenous. I have a view of the summit now all the time. But also of the hollow with the Ankelalm and the lake. After about 30 minutes I reach the ridge that gives way to a view to the east and south. In the far I can now see the summit of the Wendelstein. I have to admit that I took a cog railway to get to the top of that mountain.
I have to admire this view for a while. Isn’t that magnificent? The region called Bavarian Upland is lying in front of me. Way down in the valley I can see the road leading to the Spitzingsee. I could marvel at this sight forever but I guess from the summit it is even better. So I follow the path leading in a forest of mountain pine.
Between those small trees I keep finding beautiful flowers. The view of the Schliersee gets better with every step I climb. At the far end of the northern ridge I see this little chapel. It still is far away but if I am reading my map correctly I will see it up close later.
A short stretch just below the summit is a bit rocky but no problem. And then it’s done. Just as I thought on that ridge a few minutes earlier the view is litterally breathtaking. To the Northeast lies the Schliersee, to the South the Spitzingsee and facing West I can see a bit of the Tegernsee. There are quite a few people up here. Well that’s what happens on summits that are so easy to get to by train.
I am looking for a place to sit down, enjoy the view and let my thoughts wander for a while. This is a dream. This place will be added to my favourite spots in the Alps.
After a somewhat longer break I get going. The descent is mileagewise a bit longer than the ascent, so I will be on the hike for a few more hours.
The first few feet can be done easily. As on the West side from where I came I am walking through a forest of mountain pine. The upper tip of the mountain is shaped like a cone. But soon I do reach the ridge and realize that this path could be a challenge for some people. The path is good to walk but I am sure that people that are afraid of heights will have difficulties. To both sides the mountainside falls steeply towards the valley.
A short bit ist secured with wire rope. For me points like this are the salt of a tour. I am always astonished about the fact how considerate people are in the mountains. When I reach the roped stretch the hikers that are coming my way stop and let me pass. Why can’t the people be like that down in the valley? Would be great.
On this even path I am moving forward pretty fast. Almost too fast since I want to enjoy this panoramic view for another while. At that votive sign a young man has been hit by lightning and died. Everybody knows that the weather in the mountains can change rapidly. That’s one of the reasons why I only go on hikes when the weather is stable. And I am trying to start early in the morning. The danger of thunderstorms rises quickly in the late afternoon.
Shortly after this sign follows a short ascent. Once I have made it, I do have this great view of the Wendelstein for the last time today. And a first glimpse of the Freudenreich chapel. Surprising that it is still standing there. It sits in the middle of the ridge and suffers in heavy weather. The winds must be really strong here. It seems that the chapel can withstand this.
When I am finally standing in front of it I see that it is fixed with strong wire ropes. So my guess was right that it would be blown away otherwise. At this chapel you have two choices. You either continue on the ridge and walk back to the Ankelalm on this side of the mountain or you descent via a meadow down to the Freudenreichalm. I am going for the second option. The first bit is very steep but on the soft ground of the meadow this can be absorbed easily.
A few minutes later I am back on more even ground. Slowly I am getting hungry and look forward to the Freudenreich cabin. I am wondering where this name (meaning either rich realm or just rich in pleasure) comes from. I don’t think that back in the old days it was such a great pleasure to watch the cattle up here.
And so I finally reach the cabin. It is simple but looks very inviting. Below the canopy is a well on which sits a statue of Saint Mary. Built into the hill is a cellar that looks like another house. A nice young girl is asking me what she can do for me. A cold drink would be perfect now. And for lunch I am having a Jausen (speck, cheese, sausage, pickles and fresh bread). The bread seems to be home made. Delicious.
At the table next to me there are a few locals sitting and having animated discussions. I hardly understand a word allthough they are German too. The cabin doesn’t provide great panoramic views but it’s situation is again very idyllic. The toilet is next to the stable and you have to flush with water from buckets. I am surprised that it’s clean despite this fact.
But I have to quit this beautiful place at some point. I still have to walk a bit before I reach the train station in Neuhaus. From this cabin the tour follows again a gravel road. The rest of the hike will be a pleasant stroll.
At first I am crossing a pasture but soon I do reach the forest. The trees are still rather young. Apparently they reforested this part a few years ago. At least with broadleef trees instead of the fir they used to plant eveywhere killing the diversity. This will become a nice forest in the future. Along the way I do see rare flowers again and the first ripe berries shining in bright red.
At a crossing I stumble over these yellow flowers. As if they would want to show me the way. Shortly afterwards follow those deadly nightshade. I kind a like those flowers. But I make sure not to touch this highly toxic plant. The poison of the berries gives you first a „furry feeling“ in the mouth and leads to hallucinations, palpitation and in the end to respiratory paralysis. So hands off!
Again a few minutes later I am standing in front of this old but artisticaly made column. It does look really old and could need a thorough restauration. That’s none of those usual wooden crosses you often find. Unfortunately there is no sign explaining what it really is.
And a bit further down the road sits this chapel. It really is amazing how many religious artefacts one finds in the forest of the Alps. Apparently it was dangerous in the woods at certain times back in the old days. Today they do make at least nice foto motives.
So I finally reach Neuhaus. Again I admire those old farm houses that are hiding in the woods. To be honest, as much as I love mother nature, to live here would be a bit too lonely for me. Maybe I wouldn’t enjoy my hikes that much anymore if I would be awoken every morning by singing birds.
I hope you want to go and see the Brecherspitze for yourself now. I can only recommend it. Let me know how you liked it.
From the shores of the artificial Sylvenstein lake this tour runs at first along a even paved road through dense forest. You continue above the Krottenbach canyon still rather comfortable direction Delpsee. The ascent at the end of the valley is steep and quite strenuous. You will be awarded with the maginificent Karwendel panorama from the Tölzer Hütte. The complete hike is rather long and so you have to be in good shape to do it. Since I wasn’t sure how long this tour would take I did take the car for once. Weiterlesen
An invitation to celebrate a birthday was the reason for me to return to my native village. Besides all the due family visits I still had the time to take a walk in a nearby natural reserve. This reserve is home to a very rare plant that should be in full bloom at the end of may. When I was a kid my father used to take me there to watch these flowers. For this visit though I had first to search the way to get there. One dosn’t have to climb the highest mountains to see a natural wonder. Weiterlesen
April was already pretty warm and so I decided to profit from the great weather on Easter Sunday and go on a first tour in the mountains. It was pretty clear that after those heavy snowstorms of the last winter there would still be tons of snow. So I chose a hike that doesn’t bring me to real high elevations and get a great panoramic view anyway. In the end I was shown that I wanted to climb too high.
For my last day of vacation in Südtirol/Alto Adige I chose an easier tour. After two days with quite a lot of feet in elevation I wanted to have it a bit more comfortable. The guide that was leading us to the Wilde Kreuzspitze talked about the Rodenecker Alp. Supposedly there is great panoramic hike to walk. From the Zumis parking lot sitting on 5660 ft. you will be walking without much elevation across the Rodenecker alp enjoying fabulous views of the Zillertaler Alps to the north and the Dolomites to the south. This tour is a treat for all of you not wanting to climb lots of feet but enjoy great panoramic views anyway.
Around the Vals valley there are a few summits that do offer great panoramic views of the Dolimite mountains in the south and the Zillertaler alps to the north. After not being able to get to the summit of the Wilde Kreuzspitze I decided to climb the Seefeldspitze the next day. The tour starts at the parking lot of the Fanealm too. Those who are in a hurry can take the shortcut over a steep path that mounts straight to the summit. If you want to have it less strenous then follow the forest road leading to the Tschirnaun alp. After this cabin there aren’t many signs showing you the way, but since you are in open terrain it is easy to orientate yourself and find your way. Curios? Then read on.
The Wilde Kreuzspitze is a summit with approx. 10,300 ft at the end of the Vals valley in South Tyrol close to the Austrian border. While preparig this trip this was the only hike that was described in guide books. I was tantalised already for quite some time to stand on a mountain with more than 10,000 ft. The ascent is not too strenuous but above 8,0000 ft. it could be that you encounter difficulties due to the thin air. The only part that is really steep ist the stretch between the Rauhtaljoch (9,100 ft.) and the summit. Unfortunately we couldn’t go all the way up since the weather changed dramatically and a strong wind blew snow clouds in from Austria. Curios how it went? Then read on.
During this tour you will have to bring yourself to take an ascent of arounf 1,500 ft. along a skiing slope. At some points it is a bit steep, but easily manageable. As soon as you have reached the upper end of the ski lift on a ridge called Tanne you will continue on a forest road comfortably downwards. The first part of the tour will offer great views of the Jochtal and Gänsbichl. Once you have reached Meransen you can enjoy panoramic views of the Dolomites with the Geisler group and the Pustertal. This is an ideal tour if you want to go for an easy walk. And you won’t have to renounce great views.
While I prepared this voyage I first chose the Hotel Falkensteiner Hof in Vals since it has a large wellness area which I have been using extensively. In a second step I was looking for possible hiking tours. This was a bit more difficult. Apparently the region is not as popular as other parts of this northern italian region like the Dolomites. The hiking area Gitschberg/Jochtal sits between the more famous Eisack valley (Brixen) and Pustertal (Bruneck). In the hiking guides I leaved through there was just one tour to be found bringing you to the „Wilde Kreuzspitze“. During my stay I was able to explore a diversified hiking destination with lots of Trails for every shape and need. I really did like it here and would come back instantly.
Vals in southern Tirol
The tiny village sits on 4,400 ft. in the Valler valley in the middle of lush green meadows. Around the valley floor the summits of the „Gurnatsch/Gaisjoch“ with 8,650 ft., the „Seefeldspitze“ (8,900 ft.) and as the highest point the „Wilde Kreuzspitze“ with 10,300 ft. are building an impressive scenery. These mountains are part of the massif of the „Pfunderer Berge“ that are sitting right on the Austrian border in the north and geographically belong to the Zillertaler Alpen. From the village to the south you have a great view of the „Geisler“ massif and other summits of the Dolomites.
In the village there are a few hotels and about 3 shops. Apart from that there is nothing else to do. Since the hotels offer a 3/4 board (breakfast, dinner and coffe/cake or soup in the afternoon) a outside restaurant would find it difficult to survive. I bought a new camera especially for this trip which fell onto the street during my first round of the village and broke for good the very next day. What a bummer!
Vals is is a village in the district of Mühlbach at the entry to the Pustertal. There is a road through the forest leading into the valley and to the village of Meransen belonging to the same district. About Meransen I will write in a later post. All of you that are looking for tranquility and relaxation in a spectacular surrounding will find the perfect spot here.
Hotel Falkensteiner Hof
At the beginning of October you can’t be sure to always have great weather. So when I was looking for a hotel I made sure to find one with a large wellness area where I could spend a rainy day. The Falkensteiner Hof offers exactly that. On about 11,000 square feet you will find 4 different saunas, a steambath, a whirlpool and a bright relaxation area. That’s all fairly new and nicely designed. I am not so sure though if I really like the idea that the late Mrs. Falkensteiner, founder of the hotel chain, looks at me when I am sitting in the Whirlpool. One floor up there is an interior pool and a spa. I did book a Südtiroler Holzstabmassage, where they churn you with wooden sticks. A real treat and with €65.- for a 50 minute treatment really affordable.
The rooms have been renovated recently and are decorated with lots of wood from swiss stone pines which makes them very cozy. When I arrived there was a bathrobe lying on my bed and on the wardrobe was a bag with a huge sauna towel. That’s very handy when you want to use the wellness area. I had a real single room which was a bit smaller than the other rooms but sufficient for my needs. The closet did offer enough space for my belongings.
I didn’t take any pics of the interior since that would have meant that I would have to stroll through the house in the middle of the night. During the fall school holidays and with the 3rd of Ocotber (German national holiday) being on a wednesday the hotel was fully booked.
The interior is a mixture of modern elegance and a bit of regional charme. For my taste it could have been a bit more rustic and regional. The way it is, it’s very nice but somehow also exchangeable.
The breakfast buffet offers cold cuts, cheese, great selection of bread, jam and a cooking station where you can order freshly made eggs or pancakes. Perfect to get prepared for a big tour.
Dinner was served as a daily changing menu. One night italian, one night fish and on one evening also regional food. The meal started with a selection of starters on a buffet, followed by at least one more starter served at the table, main course and desert. The choice of the menu always included also a vegetarian dish. The servings weren’t too big so you left the table saturated but not full. Those who were still hungry had the possibilty to help themselves on a cheese and fruit buffet on top. The food was really very tasty.
Hike to the Jochtal
For my first day the forecast announced bad weather but when I rose that moring the sun was shining and it looked perfect. After breakfast I went to the reception and asked them for their opinion. There is a man working that is a certified mountain guide. He should know what it’ll be like. He meant that the good weather would last for a bit so I went for my first hike.
From the hotel to the valley station of the Jochtal gondola it’s about 10 minutes by foot. In the hotel rate included is the Almencard Plus. This allows you to use the Jochtal and Gitschberg gondolas as well as all public transportation. That saves quite some money. I didn’t use the public transportation since they don’t run very often in the late season and most of all they never went where I wanted to go.
Turns out that the weather is perfect for a hike and so I decide not to take the gondola to the summit but follow the signs to a trail leading up the mountain. The first stretch leads along a small tarred road uphill. The view of the valley is rather impressive. Further up the valley I can see the summit of the Seefeldspitze. I do like it here.
Just a short time later follows a crossing and the signs lead me to a small path in the forest. This mounts slowly in serpentines through the woods. Every now and then I do get a glimpse of the Gaisjoch on the opposite side and of the valley. Unhurriedly I continue my ascent. Here in the woods it’s a bit fresh and so I am happy that I brought a jacket. Unfortunately there aren’t any flowers this late in the year but I do find the first fall foliage.
About half an hour later the path ends right on the ski slopes. There are no signs so I guess I have to follow this slope upwards. As per my map I should reach the Nockalmhütte soon. While I am ascending over the slope suddenly there is a fresh wind blowing. I am walking straightforward up the mountain. That’s the most strenous part of this tour.
The wind picks up more and more and the sun is hiden behind big clouds now. Suddenly a space hopper for kids is flying my way. This can only come from the cabin. I pick it up and take it with me. Effectively I do see the Nockalmhütte a short time after. Even though I am just an hour into my tour I decide to take a break. I am the only guest and the innkeeper is really happy that I brought back the hopper.
We start talking. Due the 3/4 board in the hotels there are less guests coming for a snack. On top most of the people take the gondola to the summit and don’t walk up anymore. The cabin is very nice and has obviously been redone just a little while ago. It’s open form mid-May through the end of October and then from December to Easter. There are more guests in the winter since it sits right on the slopes. Full of hope that the weather will hold for another while I continue my tour. My drink is on the house since I brought back the toy.
When I leave the cabin I realise why this is called the Jochtal. Up to now I was climbing a mountain and there was no valley to be seen. Here on 5,800 ft. begins a valley. I like the fall colours of the blueberry bushes. They would be shining bright in the sun. The wind continues to blow and it is rather fresh now. Meanwhile I am closer to the mountain station of the gondola than to the valley and so I decide to walk at least to the summit.
The path runs almost evenly through the valley. Only at the end of it there is a short climb. Despite the weather getting worse I do enjoy my first tour here. I still have the whole week in front of me and will be going on a few more tours. And the forecast for the rest of my stay looks pretty good.
Soon I reach the Valler Jöchl, a ridge sitting on 6,350 ft. From here I could take a panoramic trail leading along the summits of the valley. This would take a couple of hours and I don’t think that there is another cabin on the way. The wind gets even stronger and I was hit by the first drops of rain. So I will walk up to the gondola and then decide if I continue to walk or go back to the hotel.
On the short stretch between the Valler Jöchl and the summit I am making only about 230 ft. The path mounts slowly alongside the mountain. During the short walk to the summit the rain gets heavier and the wind blows it horizontally over the mountain. Since I will have a few more days here I decide to go back to the hotel, warm me up in the sauna and spend a relaxed afternoon in the wellness area. During the 10 minute walk from the gondola to the hotel I get soaking wet and am looking foward even more to go hide in the sauna.
Mühlbach in Südtirol
Later in the afternoon I am warmed up and feel fresh and restored. In my room there is a fridge but it’s empty. So I decide to drive down the hill to Mühbach and buy some drinks before going to dinner.
Mühlbach sits on the entrance of the Pustertal on 2,400 ft. There is not much to see. The biggest building is the Ansitz Freyenthurn, sort of a castle, which houses a convent school called Herz-Jesu-Institut.
Meanwhile it has stopped raining but it is rather cool. So I do take a short stroll around the village before going shopping. Due to the weather it is very quiet here. Summer season is coming to an end so there aren’t that many visitors around either. After 30 minutes I have seen most of it and I do go shopping. My first day in Südtirol comes to an end. It wasn’t exactly like I had it planned but very relaxing. And I still have a couple of days to do one or the other tour. That’s what I am looking forward to now.