I slept like a baby my first night in Seefeld. Perhaps it was the freshness of the Austrian mountain air combined with the blissful feeling of being at peace in the mountains. Or maybe it was the anticipation for the day ahead knowing that I’d finally be in the place I’d been longing to be for so many months: Way up high at the top of the world in the heart of the Austrian Alps.
The kids rose to the smell of scrambled eggs, freshly baked bread and strawberry jam. It was the first time we had a homemade breakfast in two weeks and I was enjoying the normalcy of cooking and having a kitchen again. I stepped out on our apartment’s spacious wood deck, rose my head up to the sky and smiled, letting the morning sun gently warm my face. We were going to have a wonderful day of hiking ahead. I was looking forward to checking out the Rosshütte Ski Area – one of two main Alpine ski resorts in Seefeld- which has a couple of fantastic panoramic hikes at the top of the Alps overlooking the Olympiaregion. After yesterday’s hike along the lower-laying plateau, I desperately craved to get up high knowing very well that the views would be breathtaking. Thanks to the Seefeld Tourist Office, we had a route in mind. It would be my children’s very first high alpine hike and I wanted it to wow them.
After breakfast, we set off on foot, heading to the base of the ski resort located about a 15 minute walk from town. When we arrived at the base of the mountain, we purchased a ticket to ride the funicular up to the Rosshütte mid-station located at 1760 m saving us a long, long hike up. We saw people hiking along the way but in my opinion, I preferred to save my energy (and especially the kids’ energy) for the top where the views would be astounding.
As we rode up the funicular, we could see clouds forming off in the distance. After all my years of hiking, the most important thing I’ve learned about the mountains is to be prepared because the weather is unpredictable and can change in an instant. Thankfully we had rain gear packed just in case the weather would turn unforgiving. Luckily we never had to use it.
When we got off the funicular, we discovered that unfortunately that the gondola (our next ride up) was out of service due to construction. That meant that we had to start our hike right there at the base of a ski run hiking literally straight up for an hour to reach the start of our hike at Seefelder Joch. I was concerned that my daughter Sophia would freak out and our hike would be over but somehow she pulled it together and moved her tiny legs up the hill stopping often to catch her breath along the way. Even I was panting quite a bit as the trail was pretty rocky and steep. We learned an important lesson too. That any kind of serious hiking in Austria or pretty much anywhere in the world requires a set of hiking poles. We were able to share our hiking poles with Sophia but promised her we would try to find her a pair in town for the next hike which seemed to keep her going. I honestly was quite proud of her as she is only eleven and has never done any hiking like this before.
Forty-five minutes later we arrived at Seefelder Joch (2064 m) where had the gondola been running, we would have gotten off to begin our panoramic hike. We took a moment to have some water and rest a bit before continuing on for the best part of the hike. The wondrous view was what I’d come all the way to Austria for and what I could hardly wait to show my children.
The panoramic High Trail to Seefelder Spitze (at roughly 2220 m) begins at Seefelder Joch and takes about an hour to reach the top. It is labeled a red trail meaning “more difficult”. I personally didn’t find the hike hard however the path itself was very narrow and not good for those who have a fear of heights (like my daughter Sophia).
About half way through the hike, the path narrowed even more and my daughter Sophia did not want to continue. She was too afraid and as much as I would have loved to make it to the top for the view, we decided to wait it out on a bench while my father and Max continued on to the summit. A half an hour later they returned with a few incredible photos and the news per my son Max that it wasn’t too bad. If this hike was labeled a red trail, I could only imagine what the black trail “King Trail” was like that goes even higher over the mountain top to Reither Spitze. I think even I would have been terrified of that trail.
After a picnic lunch, it was time to head back down. Sophia was ready to get to level ground. The promise of getting her first pair of hiking poles that she rightfully earned kept her moving steadily down the mountain and back to town. I wasn’t so sure I should have made such a promise given how expensive everything is in Austria yet by chance we bought a brand new pair of hiking poles at 50% off from a local hiking store just as he was closing his shop. It was Sophia’s lucky day! It also meant that she would be doing many more hikes over the next week in Austria.
If you go:
Rosshütte is located at Talstation 419 in Seefeld in Tirol. Check out www.seefeld-sports.at to learn about all the hikes and skiing at Rosshütte. Looking for an easier hike? Check out the Circular Walk from Seefeld to Lake Möserer See.