Karwendel nature reserve
The Alpine World of Wonders at the Gates of the City
The Nordkette is the entrance to Karwendel, a unique nature reserve and hiking paradise. With steep slopes, lush alpine meadows, bubbling streams and spectacular views of the Zugspitze, the Karwendel highlights are plentiful. Even though this alpine world of wonders covers over 100 square kilometres of untamed countryside, it’s still not far from Innsbruck. The city’s Nordkettenbahn cable cars will transport visitors in just 20 minutes from the city centre to 2,000m above sea level, and the perfect starting point for hiking, climbing and visiting our alpine huts. Numerous mountain huts and alpine farms, such as the Arzler Alm, Unbrüggler Alm, Höttinger Alm, Rumer Alm and Enzianhütte, are easy to reach, even with small children. These huts are a wonderful place for visitors to take a break, relax and enjoy a tasty snack.
Speaking of hiking: the Karwendel Nature Park is also a great destination for multi-day hikes. There are numerous mountain huts that offer overnight accommodation in addition to being a place to stop and enjoy a bite to eat along the way. The "classic" Karwendel hike is the tour from Scharnitz to the village of Pertisau on Lake Achensee. Several long-distance hiking trails also lead through the Karwendel mountains, for example the Eagle trail, sections of the Via Alpina and the Munich-Venice tour.
Mountain bikes are, of course, allowed on any of the toll roads in the Karwendel that are open to cars; in the Tyrolean part there are also 14 bike tours. The Karwendel mountains are also a paradise for mountaineers and rock climbers. There are even still virgin peaks that have yet to be climbed.
Some big names are associated with the Karwendel mountains, from the "alpine explorer" Hermann von Barth, who is said to have climbed 88 summits in the Karwendel mountains in the summer of 1870 alone, to the famous alpine geologist Otto Ampferer. The name Karwendel, by the way, was first officially used for the entire region by the cartographers Peter Anich and Blasius Hueber in 1774. The word is of Germanic origin and goes back to Kérwentil (the "spear turner"), who owned a farm in the upper Isar Valley in the area around Scharnitz. The area was therefore referred to as Kerwéndelau and this name became synonymous with the entire vast mountain range.
Hikes on the Nordkette
We have selected some hikes for you that start at one of the Nordkettenbahnen lift stations. You can find more hikes in the Innsbruck region here.