Long distance trekking is very popular these days, and the Alps are the perfect place to experience this. Famous treks like the Tour de Mont Blanc, Alta Via and GR5 cover the mountains. Although less well known, the Adlerweg, or Eagle’s Path, in Austria has incredibly challenging and beautiful trails.
As well as taking its name from the Austrian national symbol the trail also takes its form. When looked at on a map, the shape of the track looks like the wings of an eagle and, along its length, the trail is marked with an eagle symbol. In total the trail is 413km long and broken up into 33 stages. Over the course of the trail, hikers ascend approximately 31,000m.
The trail starts in St Johann, traverses the Wilder Kaiser above Ellmau, and crosses the Inn valley at Kufstein. After this point, the path crosses the Brandenbergen Alpen into the east of Pertisau. Much of the Pertisau section of the Adlerweg is walkable from resort, particularly on the Rofangebirge and Karwendelgebirge mountains.
One of the loveliest parts of this section of the Adlerweg is the walk between Faltzthurntal and Gramai, and the climb to the Lamsenjochhutte. If you are feeling fit you may want to attempt this in one hit, or you could stop for lunch at the Gramai Alm. This quaint, little resting spot comes with its own farm, the home of Elvis the goat. There is even a shop selling local, homemade cheese and cured meats, as well as other local delicacies.
To join the Adlerweg head out of Pertisau via the Karwendel Nature Park, beginning a 2-hour walk to the Gramaialm. The gentle sound of cow bells echo around the valley on this wonderfully peaceful and enjoyable walk.
First you will arrive at the Faltzthurnalm, a small group of farm houses where you are greeted with the inviting smell of freshly cured ham and cheese. On from here it is approximately an hour’s walk to reach the Gramaialm. A wall of mountains surround this area of the Karwendel Nature Park and everywhere you turn, you are met with outstanding scenery. It is an encounter with nature at its most impressive.
Several races pass through and along the Adlerweg, The Karwendelmarsch is an annual race, which covers 52km, passing from Scharnitz to Pertisau, and is truly gruelling test of physical endurance. There is also the Achenseelauf, taking place on the first weekend of September and includes a steep climb and descent of the Gaisalm – a formidable challenge. The fastest runners have completed the 23.5km course in approximately 1 hour 15 minutes!
Whether you are racing along it, or casually strolling in search of a fine lunch and an equisite view, the Adlerweg is a fabulous trail. I highly recommend that any visitor to Pertisau takes the time to explore this incredible route. And I hope that you feel inspired to visit the Adlerweg soon.