Seven in one go: High Pasture Hike above the Gaistal valley
The Gaistal is known as an alpine pasture paradise and lives up to its name: here one alpine pasture worth visiting after the other is waiting for hikers and cyclists. The most rewarding hike in the Gaistal is therefore the high alpine pasture circular hike: it connects 7 (!) of the most beautiful alpine huts in the idyllic valley. And all this on wonderful paths. Find out what awaits you on this round trip and which highlights you shouldn’t miss on which cabin!
A natural paradise
Impressive mountains on both sides, in between a green valley, a turquoise river, many cows and even more marmots: that is the Gaistal valley near Leutasch. And not to forget of course: the numerous alpine pastures and huts! No matter if down in the valley or in airy heights, more than 10 rustic and panoramic alpine pastures have gathered in the extensive valley. On the high alpine pasture circular hike you can hike to 7 of them: The Wettersteinhütte, the Wangalm, the Rotmoosalm, the Steinerne Hüttl, the Tillfussalm, the Gaistalm and the Hämmermoosalm. What you should bring along for the hike is a good physical condition, some sure-footedness and a lot of appetite for good hut food! Depending on the breaks at the huts you will be on the way for at least 10 hours. In case you should sit in a hut for (too) long: The hike can be easily short-cut at several places.
A scenic start: Wettersteinhütte & Wangalm
The start of the circular hike is at the beginning of the Gaistal, preferably early in the morning. There is a sporty steep section waiting for you, where you will already climb a few meters of altitude. Afterwards you can either take the forest road or a small forest path to the Wettersteinhütte (1.717m). Here you will find the first wonderful sun terrace of the tour, from where you can enjoy great views over the Leutasch for the first time.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Wettersteinhütte: the sunny terrace, coffee (after an early start surely well deserved) and cake, the famous blue gentian schnapps.
Only 10 minutes above the Wettersteinhütte is the next beautiful alpine pasture: The Wangalm (1.753m). Another great terrace, this time with a view of the Wettersteinhütte and the Leutasch, awaits hikers here. You often meet climbers here, who scramble the walls of the Schüsselkar behind.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Wangalm: the Wangalmbrettl, the Kaiserschmarrn and the view of the Wettersteinhütte.
The guardian of the Gaistal: The Rotmoosalm
After the first two alpine huts follows a scenically impressive section of the trail. Behind the Wangalm you ascend through the rock garden in the Scharnitztal valley with a view of the rugged walls of the Schüsselkar. At the big boulder you turn off to the Scharnitzjoch and overcome some meters of altitude on the small path. Once you reach the pass you can view the Gehrenspitze, the Hohe Munde and the Gaistal – and the Rotmoosalm also shows up for the first time. The trail continues without difficulty and with only a few meters of altitude difference. A little surefootedness is required, but the views remain impressively beautiful. After a short descent, you finally reach the spectacularly located Rotmoosalm, which thrones at 2,030 meters above the Gaistal and is thus the highest alpine pasture in the valley.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Rotmoosalm: the fried Kaspressknödl and the homemade cakes from host Gabi.
Perhaps the most rustic alp of the Alps: The Steinerne Hüttl
After the Rotmoosalm follows the fourth of the seven huts: the Steinerne Hüttl (1,925m). If your legs are tired or can’t resist the sunny terrace of the Rotmoosalm, you can descend directly to the Gaistalm. Otherwise you can continue on the beautiful trail. The path climbs slightly uphill again in the direction of the mountain Predigstuhl. You can also hike up to the summit of the Predigtstuhl, but here a little surefootedness and a head for heights is required. From the pass it goes slightly downhill to the Hüttl. The Steinerne Hüttl is the most rustic and simple alpine pasture in the Gaistal: the small hut made of stone and wood is nestled into the mountain and has a fine, panoramic terrace and offers only few drinks and a very small, good menu.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Steinernes Hüttl: the view as far as the Zillertal glacier, the refreshing drinks from the cool fountain.
Over beautiful paths into the valley: To the Tillfussalm
Now follows the descent back to the Gaistal. The scenic small path continues steadily towards the valley until the thighs slowly start to burn. The Tillfussalm (1.382m) comes at just the right time and awaits you with a relaxing break, while you once again look up to the Hohe Munde and the peacefully grazing young cows. By the way, behind the Tillfussalm you will find the pretty cabin where the Bavarian writer Ludwig Ganghofer once wrote his works.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Tillfussalm: the Tillfussbrettl, the homemade buttermilk, the fresh yoghurt with fruits.
Further through the Gaistal: The Gaistalalm
Along the turquoise-blue Leutascher Ache (wonderful cooling on hot days!) you hike on to the penultimate of the seven mountain pastures, the Gaistalalm (1.373m). Here you can enjoy a good time once again and completely compensate for the calorie deficit of the long tour.
What you shouldn’t miss on the Gaistalalm: the dumplings, the Almrösti, the homemade apple strudel (tastes like Grandma’s!).
The Grande Finale of the hike: The Hämmermoosalm
If you still have enough energy in your legs, you can make your way from the Gaistalalm to the Hämmermoosalm. If you’ve already had enough, you can skip it and go back the direct way. The path over the Ganghoferweg is flat and nice to walk until you finally arrive at the big alp at the beginning of the valley.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Hämmermoosalm: the famous Schnitzel, the Hämmermoos salad and one last time the view of the constant companion of the tour, the Hohe Munde.
The last descent follows the Ganghoferweg or the broad trail back to the starting point. At the Salzbach parking lot you can cool your feet in the natural Kneipp facility at the Leutascher Ache – after all, this is the best way to regenerate after an extensive tour!
The high alpine hike as 2-day tour
Those who prefer to take it easy can do the high alpine hike in two days, because all the huts also offer nice overnight stays. Summit conquerors can also take a few mountain peaks with them on the way. For example the panoramic Gehrenspitze or to the Predigstuhl between the Wangalm and Rotmoosalm. You can also ascent to the “Gatterl” above the Steinernes Hüttls, from where you can look out over the Zugspitze.
Important: it is essential to make a reservation in advance. In addition to the reservation, you will need your own sleeping bag, pillowcase and mask. You can find more information here.
At one glance: The High Pasture Hike above the Gaistal valley
Length: 24,2 km
Vertical meters uphill: 1264 hm
Highest point: 2.132 m
Duration: 9:45 min
Start & end point: Stupfer parking lot in the Gaistal
High Pasture Hike: click here for the complete hiking description and the interactive map.
Before the hike you should definitely take a look at the list of alpine pastures and huts to check the current opening hours and possible rest days of the huts.
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Fotos: Sebastian Marko, Tessa Mellinger, Charly Schwarz, Tirol Werbung, Promedia, Gaistalalm, Tillfussalm, Chris Weitt