Alpine stories: The Eppzirler Alm and its hosts

11. July 2022

The Eppzirler Alm is situated at 1,459 m above sea level in the middle of the Karwendel mountains. Up here, the world is a different one: a quieter, a more tranquil, perhaps also a more contented one. Christian and Vanessa run the alpine pasture at the end of the Eppzirler Valley.

Eppzirler Alm: 500 years of history

The roots of the alp go back a very long way: it was already mentioned several times in the 16th century. At that time, valuable Tyrolean stone oil was also already being extracted. In the beginning, however, it was not particularly successful. Eppzirl only experienced its heyday as a mining area in the 19th century with the development of cast iron crucibles. At that time the mountain pasture was given the nickname “Golden Alp”. Oil shale deposits were dug in up to ten pits for the valuable stone oil.

In the 1920s, the Eppzirler Alm experienced its very own “Golden Twenties”. In addition to the stables that still exist today, another stable for milking and milk production was built, and in 1932 the alp was made accessible for the first time by a forest road. To this day, it has been preserved as a jewel of alpine pasture and high mountain landscape.

By the way: According to a myth, more than 30 tonnes of Reichsgold disappeared during the Second World War and was hidden somewhere in the area at the end of the war. No one has found it to this day. If you happen to stumble across it, please let us know.

The Alm today: a little paradise

In total, the alpine pasture covers an area of around 1,100 hectares and is open from the beginning of June to mid-September. Then around 100 head of cattle also graze on the meadows, and the hut keepers keep a constant watchful eye on them. Hikers are always happy to take a seat on the sun terrace. The menu is small, but has everything that makes hikers’ hearts happy. Bacon and cheese dumplings with cabbage, soup or salad, a richly stocked snack board, bacon and cheese sandwiches and wonderfully fragrant homemade apple strudel are served.

“Regionality is very important to us, which is why our bacon and sausages are from our own production,” says Christian, the owner of the hut. “Whenever possible, we also work with regional producers for our other ingredients.” Christian and Vanessa agree: “We simply have the most beautiful place to work!”

A real place of peace in the Karwendel mountains

The panoramic view over the gentle, lush meadows of the alpine pasture on one side and the jagged limestone peaks of the Karwendel mountains on the other amazes every visitor.  Behind the lovely alp, the Erlspitze, the Eppzirler Scharte, the Freiungstürme, the Kuhjoch and Reither Spitze are enthroned. The views are truly breathtaking, allowing hikers to relax and at the same time giving them energy. You don’t even have to climb the peaks in Eppzirl to get this feeling.

Hikes to and around the Eppzirler Alm

The Eppzirler Alm can be reached comfortably via the forest path in about two hours from Gießenbach. The route is family-friendly and easy for children. If you like, the Eppzirler Alm is the end point, or you can use it as a starting point for further hikes, for example via the Eppzirler Scharte to the Solsteinhaus (walking time: 2.5 to 3 h / difference in altitude: 350 m) or via the Ursprungsattel to the Nördlinger Hütte (walking time: 4.5 to 5 h / difference in altitude: 779 m) or for summit tours to one of the Karwendel peaks.

The more ambitious take the circular hike from the valley station of the Rosshütte cable car via the Schlagkopf, the Eppzirler Alm and the Nördlinger Hütte and via the Reitherjochalm back to Seefeld. The entire route is just over 20 kilometres long, the tour takes around ten hours and requires a really good level of fitness as well as surefootedness and a head for heights. If you have all that, it is truly sensational and rewards you with breathtaking views and a lot of happiness. On the 15th stage of the Eagle Walk, which leads from the Solsteinhaus via Scharnitz to Leutasch, you also pass the alp via the Eppzirler Scharte down.

Insider tip: Autumn at Eppzirl

When autumn arrives in the Karwendel mountains, things get really beautiful in the Eppzirl. The larches on the hills around the mountain pasture are turning a bright yellow-gold, while the mountain peaks all around are already covered in white. On mild days you can enjoy the warm rays of the sun on the terrace, but in the lounge Christian and Vanessa also like to heat up the stove, where you can make yourself really cosy.


Hiking tip

Eppzirler Alm

Starting point: Giessenbach car park

Ascent: 469 m

Highest point: 1,459 m

Length: 6.2 km

Walking time: 2 h

Difficulty: medium

The hike starts at the railway station in Gießenbach near Scharnitz or at the hiking car park Gießenbach P5/P6 and leads upstream through the picturesque Gießenbach valley. Follow the forest path, steeply at first, then more leisurely along the mountain stream. At the fork, keep to the right. The trail climbs steeply for a short distance, then continues more gently through woodland and slightly downhill across alpine meadows into a small valley floor. The last stretch to the Eppzirler Alm is a gentle uphill hike.

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