Lechtal Alps

Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking, Gutelsee
Hiking above Gutelsee in the Lechtal Alps, Austria.

Our latest adventure in the Alps was an 8-day trek through the Lechtal Alps in Austria, the neighboring range just south of the Allgäuer Alps of our previous trek. In fact on many days of our trek we could look across the valley and see the peaks and ridges which we had just hiked and climbed over the previous week.

The Lechtal Alps are characterized by mountain ridges soaring steeply out of deeply cut valleys, topped with green basins ringed by countless jagged peaks. While the Allgäuer Alps seemed to offer mostly broad sweeping vistas, the Lechtal Alps have more immediate views of towering pyramidal peaks right in your face. The close and rugged peaks, combined with the clear air after some rains cleaned the haze away, made for some stunning photography!

Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking, Valluga
Hiking from the Valluga-Bahn above St. Anton.

We started our trek from St. Anton, the famous Austrian ski resort town. We “cheated” a bit by riding the Valluga-Bahn tram directly from town to the top of the mountains, thus saving nearly 4,500 vertical feet of hiking on the first day! One of the bonuses of hiking in the Alps…

Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking, Weisschrofenspitze

Weisschrofenspitze (2752 m) dominates the scene above the Leutkircher Hütte.

With our tram kick-start we made good progress along the high ridge, passed the Leutkircher Hütte and continued to the Kaiserjochhaus for our first night. This small family-run hut had a little herd of goats, and the menu included lots of items with goat milk, goat cheese, and goat meat.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Leutkircher, meadows, Weisschrofenspitze
Weisschrofenspitze : Prints Available

The poiny peak of Weisschrofenspitze (2752m) as seen from the rolling grassy meadows near the Leutkircher Hütte.

Lechtal Alps, Austria. Kaiserjochhaus, Grießkopf, sunset
Kaiserjochhaus Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset light on Grießkopf (2581m) as seen from near the Kaiserjochhaus hut.

Hintersee, Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking
Hiking past the turquoise waters of Hintersee.

Our next destination was the Ansbacher Hütte, positioned on a high ridge above the Stanzer Tal valley with a commanding view of St. Anton far below.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Ansbacher Hütte, wildflowers
Ansbacher Flowers : Prints Available

Wildflowers at the Ansbacher Hütte – July.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, boots
Chilling out with a view of St. Anton and the Stanzer Tal valley.

During these hut treks it’s easy to fall into a routine – but what a nice routine it is! We wake up around 6 or 7am (me maybe earlier if I want to shoot sunrise), then pack up and hike for usually about 4-6 hours, give or take. Upon arrival at the next hut we check in and dump our stuff on the bed. By then a tall hefeweisen is calling my name; for Claudia it’s a cafe latte. After our drinks on the terrace and a quick wash up, we usually wander around and relax some more for the next few hours soaking in the views and sitting in the grass. At 6pm we go back to the hut for dinner (usually a hearty and delicious meal). After dinner, back outside for a few more hours of chilling out and me taking photos. In bed by 10pm, tired enough to sleep through any snoring in the hut. Next day – repeat!

Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking, Memminger

Hiking up to the Memminger Hütte, with the rugged Freispitze (2884 m) towering across the valley.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking, Memminger Hütte

Relaxing at the Memminger Hütte.

The Memminger Hütte is situated in a gem of a basin, on par with the Rappensee Hütte which we loved so much on our trek in Allgäuer Alps. Complete with a turquoise lake, commanding views, and even some beautiful free-ranging horses, this was the perfect place to spend an extra day to take a break and refresh our legs.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, wildflowers, Memminger Hütte
Memminger Flowers : Prints Available

Wildflowers at the Memminger Hütte – July.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Memminger Hütte, sunset
Memminger Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset at the Memminger Hütte.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Memminger Hütte, horses
Alpine Horses : Prints Available

Free range horses at the Memminger Hütte.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking, fog
Hiking in the rain in the Lechtal Alps.

The weather turned south on our way to the Württemberger Haus the next day, but the enchanting misty boiling clouds along the way more than made up for it!

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Württembergerhutte

Württemberger Haus.

One interesting thing I noticed about the huts around here is that they all have add-on wings. You can see the original smaller stone “cores” of the huts, which were often built well over a century ago. To accommodate the increasing number of trekkers over the decades, extra wings and dormitories have been added on. The older stone parts of the huts often have lower ceilings, crooked lines, and older worn wood inside, while the newer sections have fresh wood construction and a more modern, clean feel.

Lechtal Alps, Austria
Hiking signs in the Lechtal Alps.
Lechtal Alps, Austria, hiking

Hiking towards the Hanauer Hütte, with the Dremelspitze towering above.

A wonderful hike through several basins and past five lakes brought us to the Hanauer Hütte, which seems to be a new “flagship” type of hut with all the modern amenities including hot water! That evening we hiked up to a high lake and I scored a fantastic sunset reflection photo, which satisfied me immensely!

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Dremelspitze, Hanauer Hütte, sunset, reflection
Dremelspitze Reflection : Prints Available

Brilliant sunset light illuminates Dremelspitze (2733m), as seen from above the Hanauer Hütte.

Jack and Claudia on the summit of Muttekopf (2774 m) with a view of the Heiterwand and Zugspitze far behind.
Lechtal Alps, Austria
A typical hut boot room in the Lechtal Alps.

After one last night at the Muttekopfhütte we cheated again and took a chairlift all the way down to the town of Imst, saving another 1000+ meters of knee-jarring downhill hiking.

All in all, yet another epic and deeply impressive trek in the Alps!

25 thoughts on “Lechtal Alps

  1. I’ve been around the Swiss Alps, but your posts on the Allgauer and Lechtal are pretty inspiring. No crevasses to worry about. Do you need to pre-book the hut?

    1. Thanks Mark! We have not had to book reservations for any of the huts, even despite some of them being crowded (especially during the weekends). We just show up and so far we’ve had good luck always getting a mattress spot. Maybe it helps that we are members of the Austria Alpine Club… not sure though.

  2. So cool Jack! Keep your blogs coming. I’m super envious – It brings back so many excellent memories of my summer in the Valais region of the Swiss Alps. As I sit here in the Colorado mountains contemplating what to do with electric storms brewing I question my recollection of lack of similar activity in the Alps. I just don’t remember getting shut down in the Alps by storms like we do here. Do you agree?

    1. Funny you say that Ann – we are in Ehrwald near the Zugspitze and just got back from a hike in the rain and thunder! One of the craziest weather changes I’ve ever seen before in the mountains; it went from hot and clear skies to totally cloudy in 1/2 hour, and was thundering within one hour. Pouring rain by the time we were halfway down. Still thundering outside! That said, this is only the second thunderstorm we’ve experienced in the two weeks we’ve been in the Alps so far, despite seeing some huge billowy clouds on many days.

  3. I’m not a hiker, but always love seeing yout photo posts on Facebook. They always make me smile. Thank you.

  4. Hi Jack,

    I’m looking forward to see the landscape photos in December. 😉 Tyrol has a lot to offer have you thought about coming to Osttirol (Eastern Tyrol)? We have amazing hiking routes here in the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern around Austrians highest Peaks. For a first view you can visit http://www.osttiroler-hoehenwege.at/ It’s still kind of a secret tip…..

    1. Hi Daniel, yes actually the Hohe Tauern is on our list! Claudia has hiked in that area before and really wants to take me there. We may do a long trek through there in the coming week or so… but we’re not totally sure yet. (Our schedule is a bit spontaneous!)

      By the way, I checked out your website – lots of sweet photos!

      1. The weather for the upcoming week looks good so far. But you should expect thunderstorms in the afternoons. But at least they are always good for some dramatic shots…;) If you need some tips for the Hohen Tauern and there especially for the County Osttirol (my backyard 😉 ) Let me know….

        1. Thanks Daniel, I appreciate it! Looks like we’re actually going to be heading down to the Dolomites today for this week and maybe next; so I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make it to the Hohen Tauern this time… but we’ll see, there’s still a possibility!

          1. You are welcome! Hope it doesn’t get too crowded for you in the Dolomites because now it’s ferro agosto that means that this (august) is the main holiday season for ALL Italians now. So lots of them are heading from the south into the cooler mountain regions in the north… 😉 Wish you a pleasent trip!

  5. Man, they sure have this hiking thing figured out over there. No packing a tent, digging cat holes and transportation to the top and back to the bottom. To top it all of they have real food and beer! This makes backpacking in the San Juans look like punishment! Can’t wait to see your other images when December rolls around. What an awesome trip, I can see how you could get used to this sort of thing.

    1. Yeah that’s right Paul, they definitely know how to enjoy the mountains in style over here! I could definitely get used to this… especially the light pack part of it! And the good food and beer part too. And staying in huts perched on high ridges with awesome views. And having a complete train/bus network to take you back to your starting point. And…. on and on…

      That said, there will always be something special about backpacking for 7 days and not seeing a soul, camping wherever you want, having your own “private” lake with mountain goat neighbors, drinking from streams, and that feeling of being self sufficient in the wild.

      But yeah, I could get used to it here! 🙂

  6. Well, Jack and Claudia… since today is my older son’s 38th birthday…this must be your FIRST Anniversary – sounds like you guys have had a magical year, and I’m so happy that you found each other. It gives a great meaning to “hiking into the sunset together!” Happy Anniversary!

  7. Uhhh, Dremelspitze Reflection? Stunning, Jack. Just stunning. Thanks, again, for capturing some truly beautiful images from a different part of the world. Living in Europe as a child is what, I think, gave me my fascination with mountains. So many of these shots bring back some great memories of my time living and traveling around Europe. Welcome back to Ouray!

  8. Our daughter Lisa who lives in Ouray turned us on to your fabulous photography. Your trips to the Austrian alps brought back memories of trips we did in the 1970s to the Zillertal, the Karwendel and the Wilderkaiser. Makes me want to go back.

  9. What fantastic photos!! My father and I are planning our first ever trip to the alps and your photos have inspired some hut to hut hiking. We were wondering about the trail from Muttephof to Hanauer? How difficult of a trail is that exactly? Some of what I have read says difficult but others say intermediate. was it just steep but still a foot path or does it require equipment? My father and I have experience with walk up hiking. Almost every summer is spent in Colorado. We have hiked for instance Handies in Colorado but we are not technical climbers. Just wondering and hoping you have some wisdom for us. It is just hard not knowing the area and trying to plan a multiday hike. Again your photos are out of this world. Both these and the ones in Colorado.

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