Follow the entire Wilder Kaiser range from west to east, along the sunny south side, Südwand
Encounter idyllic alpine villages, family-owned huts, and stunning views of the magnificent peaks
Enjoy Outstanding regional cuisine, featuring farm-to-table freshness in which the locals pride themselves
Our Wilder Kaiser trek follows mellow trails traversing the landscape along Austria’s famous Wilder Kaiser mountains. The literal translation of Wilder Kaiser is Wild Emperor, which seems fitting for such a rugged range of peaks. You follow the entire Wilder Kaiser range from west to east, along the sunny south side, Südwand. Along the way, you encounter idyllic alpine villages, family-owned huts, and stunning views of the magnificent peaks. Each meadow (Alm) seems to have its own hut (Hütte), and you pass by many Almhütten en route, o en stopping for a meal or a drink.
The trek begins in Kufstein, home to the famous Kufstein Festung, or Kufstein Fortress. From here, the route rounds the western flank of the range, to the hamlet of Scheffau, stopping at the Hintersteiner See along the way. From Scheffau, the trails continue east to the hamlet of Going and on to St. Johann in Tyrol to wrap up the journey. The looming jagged limestone massif of the Wilder Kaiser provides a spectacular backdrop for the entire week.
The hikes focus on the more mild side of the range, each day traveling from excellent hotels up to charming huts sitting in the many meadows beneath the jagged peaks. With this in mind, each day’s hike will be no more than 8 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain. There are many options for longer variations to each hike listed in the daily hike descriptions. Although you are traveling beneath the peaks, you often encounter intrepid climbers heading higher into the peaks, where the paths disappear into rugged limestone summits.
The central Wilder Kaiser mountains themselves have been set aside as a Naturschutzgebiet, or Nature Protection Area. Note that there are no ski lifts and no resort infrastructure in the entire range, making it a haven for hikers and climbers alike. The famous skiing complex of Kitzbühel lies to the south of the villages, in a different range on the other side of the valley, providing excellent infrastructure for this adventure.
Arrive in Kufstein, a charming town nestled in the Inn River Valley between Innsbruck, Austria, and Rosenheim, Germany. Settle in to your hotel.
A short half hour walk from the hotel takes you to a lift where you ascend to the meadows above town. Enjoy panoramic views of the Wilder Kaiser mountains before heading out on the trail. Ascend on a moderately steep, but good trail over Hochegg offering spectacular views over the Inn River Valley. For lunch we recommend one of the three huts you pass along the trail before hiking down to Hintersteiner See. From here you bus to Scheffau where you spend the night. Distance: 7 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1115/2220 ft.
Today’s hike is an idyllic loop hike up to the base of the magnificent western flank of the Wilder Kaiser. You start the day hiking uphill through the valley, crossing multiple streams. After a brief rest at Hinterschießlingalm you continue to ascend gradually alongside a lovely meadow, with great views of the majestic peaks behind. Lunch can be a picnic on the trail or eaten at Kaiseralm Hütte, which is the apex of today’s hike. After lunch descend back to Scheffau for another night. You may elect to ascend to the higher Kaiser Hochalm adding a longer hike to your day. Distance: 6 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1380 .
Longer hike: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2560 ft.
Today’s hike from the hotel takes you to the charming Riedlhütte (hut), where you find stunning views of the mountains. The hut serves authentic Tyrolean dishes, making it a great stop for lunch. Your decent is on a forest trail down to the storybook village of Going am Wilden Kaiser and your hotel for the night.
Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1610/1350 ft.
The Gaudeamushütte (hut) sits at 4167 ft in a beautiful alpine pasture at the foot of the Törlspitzen mountains. A gentle path takes you from town to the hut, where you enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding jagged peaks and down into the pristine valley below. There is plenty of wildlife to see in the high meadows, including deer, stags, and goats. After lunch at the hut descend on a well maintained path back to your hotel in Going.
Distance: 6.2 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 1480 ft.
Head out today along a rural pasture road towards the impressive Schlierwasserfall perched among huge cli bands in a lush forest. A er a visit you have the option to hike to the Graspoint-Niederalm Hütte for lunch or continue on to the Obere Reglam Hütte for a bit of a later lunch. The views of the mountains from the patio are stunning. Retrace your steps back to town and hotel for a final night in Going.
Distance: 6.5 miles to Graspoint-Niederalm Hütte. Elevation gain/loss: 1870 ft.
Longer hike: 8 miles to Obere Regalm Hütte. Elevation gain/loss: 2260 ft.
Today’s hike finishes your traverse of the Wilder Kaiser mountain range, wrapping up in the historic Altstadt of St. Johann in Tyrol. The trail follows moderate rural roads and forest paths via a charming Almhütten (alpine hut) with the backdrop showcasing the Wilder Kaiser’s majestic peaks. Lunch on the outside patio of the Rummlerhof, a traditional inn located at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser. The path winds through huts and working farms before giving way to the town of St. Johann and your final destination.
Distance: 7.2 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 390/560 ft.