The Lechtaler Höhenweg is a demanding but rewarding 8-10 day hike through the Lechtaler Alps. It’s easy to reach from international airports. Here’s how to do it and more!

 

Lechtaler Höhenweg quick facts:

  • Situated in Tyrol, Austria
  • Fly to Zurich, Munich or Innsbruck
  • Starts at Stuttgarter Hütte, near Lech & Zurs
  • Ends at Anhalter Hütte, north of Imst.
  • Length about 100 km (63 miles)
  • Hiking time about 80 hours, recommended 10 days but it’s easy to squeeze it a little
  • Rated Difficult!
  • Most of the route between 2000-2500 meters (6500 – 8200 ft.)

Overview of Lechtaler Höhenweg

The entire Lechtaler Höhenweg, or Lechtal High Trail, is a total of about 100 km / 63 miles of well market but occasionally quite demanding paths along the main ridge of the Lechtal Alps. There’s several variants to the route and a total of 13 mountain huts along the way, depending on how you choose your route.

The Lechtal Höhenweg is a part of the Eagle Walk (also called Adler Weg) which stretches 413 kilometers (257 miles) across entire Tyrol and spans 33 day stages. Some good info on the Eagle Walk Here: http://www.tyrol.com/things-to-do/sports/hiking/eagle-walk

There’s several stretches with fixed cables and some places where in bad conditions there can be a real element of danger. Most of the route is between 2000 – 2500 meters (6500 – 8200 ft.) so it is a high alpine route.

The guidance is that this would take 10 days to complete but many of the suggested stages are only a few hours in length so if you’re fit and willing to put in some sweaty hours, you can easily cut down the number of days.

The Lechtaler Höhenweg is rated Difficult and it is. For me it was more demanding than I had imagined but a lot of that had to do with my overambitious plan, too much gear and weather conditions. Read all about it here.

This is a genuine high alpine route so you need to be fit & prepared accordingly.

Gufelsee on the Lechtaler Höhenweg

Looking west from Gufelseejoch, over Gufelsee.

The Core Route Stages

There’s quite a few variants you can take but as I understand it, this is the core route with ratings and time estimates:

  • Stage 1: Stuttgarter Hütte to Leutkircher Hütte (Difficult, 4 hours)
  • Stage 4: Leutkircher Hütte to Kaiserjochhaus (Difficult, 2 hours)
  • Stage 5: Kaiserjochhaus to Ansbacher Hütte (Difficult, 4½ hours)
  • Stage 8: Ansbacher Hütte to Memminger Hütte (Difficult, 5 hours)
  • Stage 11: Memminger Hütte to Württemberger Haus (Difficult, 3½ hours)
  • Stage 12: WürttembergerHaus to Steinsee Hütte (Difficult, 4 hours)
  • Stage 15: Steinsee Hütte to Hanauer Hütte (Difficult, 3 hours)
  • Stage 17: Hanauer Hütte to Muttekopf Hütte (Difficult, 6½ hours)
  • Stage 18: Muttekopf Hütte to Anhalter Hütte (Moderate, 3½ hours)

The Stage numbering is synced with how they’re described elsewhere, hence the weird numbering. It’s easy to see where you can combine a couple of stages.

Variants to the Core Route

There’s several variants you can take. I think the number of variants makes this trail a little confusing but, I’ll list the variants here for reference:

  • From Stuttgarter Hütte to Ulmer Hütte, Stage 2 (Difficult, 2-3 hours). Then from Ulmer Hütte to Leutkircher Hütte, Stage 3 (Difficult, 3 hours)
  • From Kaiserjochhaus to Simms Hütte, Stage 6 (5 hours). Then from Simms Hütte to Ansbacher Hütte, Stage 7 (5 hours)
  • From Ansbacher Hütte to Augsburger Hütte, Stage 9 (Difficult, 9 hours). This section is also called the “Augsburger Höhenweg” and is said to be very difficult. It’s very long, too, 8-10 hours so recommended for experienced Alpinists only. Back to the core route, from Augsburger Hütte to Memminger Hütte, Stage 10 (Difficult, 5 hours)
  • Stage 13, Steinsee Hütte to Wurttemberger Haus (Difficult, 4½ hours). This is not Stage 12 in reverse, but rather a difficult, scenic and diverse route with fixed cabling and with a high likelihood of snow.
  • Stage 14, which takes you direct from Württemberger Haus to Hanauer Hütte, skpping Steinsee Hütte. (Difficult, 6 hours)
  • Stage 16, from Hanauer Hütte to Steinsee Hütte (Difficult, 3½ hours)

Not an “official” variant but there’s also a possibility to do a very long hike from Memminger Hutte direct to Hanauer Hütte. It’s indicated as 8 hours but it took me more than 9, and there’s no huts in between so think twice before you go on this one. I chose this option to win back some lost time.

East of Memminger Hütte

East of Memminger Hütte, on the direct route to Hanauer Hütte

How to Get There and Back

The Lechtaler Höhenweg, per what I’ve understood, is normally done from West to East.

To start the Lechtaler Höhenweg from the West end properly from the Stuttgarter Hütte, your best option is to get to Lech and start from there. Lech is an upscale ski resort which is easy to get to. If you need to fly in, the best options are Innsbruck, Zurich and Munich. From each of these you can take a train to St. Anton and then take a bus from there to Lech.

Once you’re in Lech, you can start towards Stuttgarter Hütte right from the town. However, to save your strength, I recommend taking the Rutikopfbahn up to the mountain and then walk from there. From the top station of Rutikopfbahn it’s only about 2 hours to walk to Stuttgarter Hütte.

At the other end, Anhalter Hütte is further away from Imst. You could consider getting off the trail already from Muttekopf Hütte, from which you can take a cable car down to Imst. From Imst you can again take a train to whichever airport you need to get back to – or a train to anywhere in Europe for that matter.

From Anhalter Hütte you can continue north towards Germany and find transportation from there or revert towards Imst. Or, you could continue the Eagle Way (E4) towards Nassereith.

The beginning and the end are 100 kilometers apart, which means that unless you have a good reason to, or are continuing somewhere else, there’s no point renting a car.

If you’re not a purist about doing the exact route and want to save a couple of days, you could consider planning for what I did, that is starting from St. Anton and ending in Imst.

 

Some Considerations

  • There’s plenty of trails all around the Lechtaler Alps crossing the Lechtaler Höhenweg, most notable probably being the E5 which goes from Oberstdorf in Germany to Meran in Italy. The crossing is at Memminger Hütte which is extremely busy at times to the point that one might consider avoiding it.
  • A lot of this route is in real back country, which means your cell phone might be off the grid for extended periods.
  • You need to be ready for a strenuous high alpine hike.
  • You can get off the trail from all the huts with reasonable effort if you need to bail out or can’t do the entire trip. A main railroad runs in the valley to the south so transport options are more plentiful on the south side compared to Lechtal on the northern side.

Quick steps to hike the Lechtaler Höhenweg:

Consider booking you night’s stay beforehand for either Lech, or St. Anton: Click here for accommodation options in Lech and  click here to find hotels in St. Anton.

Contact Info for the Mountain Huts

Here’s the contact info to all the mountain huts on the Lechtaler Höhenweg, including the variants.

Stuttgarter Hütte

Ulmer Hütte

Leutkircher Hütte

Kaiserjochhaus

Simms Hütte

Ansbacher Hütte

Augsburger Hütte

Memminger Hütte

Württemberger Haus

Steinsee Hütte

Hanauer Hütte

Muttekopf Hütte

Anhalter Hütte

 

Stuttgarter Hütte

Stuttgarter Hütte – the Lechtal Höhenweg begins here. Also frequented by day trippers from Lech.

Additional Information on the Lechtaler Höhenweg

 

Continue to my experience on the Lechtaler Höhenweg here!

 

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