Dreamway – Inn valley to the Dolomites

On this leg of the Dreamway you’ll cross the Alpine core where the mountains are the highest. Along the way there are many snowcapped peaks and glaciers, as well as high Alpine passes to cross. The terrain, however, will be significantly easier than the stretch between the Karwendelhaus and the Halleranger Haus. This leg starts with the ascent out of Hall to the Glungezer Hütte and ends with the descent to the village of Pfunders in South Tyrol, Italy. Along the way there are no shops so any foodsupplies have to be carried for 7 days.

If your time is limited but you still want to experience some of the Dreamway you can hike this section as far as the Olperer Hütte or the Pfitscherjoch before descending down to the Schlegeisspeicher where you can catch the bus to Mayrhofen. From Mayrhofen it is about two hours by train to get back to Innsbruck.

Hall to Glungezer Hütte

This stage is one of only ascent, 2400 meters of it. Most of this stage is quite unattractive as the climb out of the densely populated Inn valley is less than charming. If you don’t feel like slogging your way up all the way to the Glungezer Hütte you can take the bus to the village of Tulfes, where you can take a chairlift to the Tulfein Alm. From there it is about 600 meters and 1,5 hours of hiking to reach the Glungezer Hütte.

View back down the Inn valley on the final approach to the Glungezer Hütte along the Dreamway
View back down the Inn valley on the final approach to the Glungezer Hütte
Glungezer Hütte to Lizumer Hütte

This is one of the longest days of hiking on the Dreamway, most of it on boulderfields. Experienced hikers can do this section in 8 hours but most hikers take about 11 hours to reach the Lizumer Hütte. Because of this, this stretch is considered among the most difficult hikes on the Dreamway. Even though most of the route is on boulderfields the terrain is relatively easy to cross. Some passages require easy scrambling to get through but these should pose no problems to anyone who has come this far. As you find yourself on a an exposed ridgeline most of the time it is essential to avoid thunderstorms. Routefinding is easy, even in low visibility, because of the frequent waymarking. On good days the views are supposed to be excellent.

Ridgewalk to the Lizumer Hütte along the Dreamway
Low visibility after the Glungezer Hütte. Navigation was still possible thanks to the many red and white paint flashes such as the ones seen here.
Lizumer Hütte to the Tuxerjochhaus

This is a relatively straightforward day compared to yesterday’s hike. It sees you cross a series of high Alpine passes offering great views of the Zillertaler Alpen and the Hintertux glacier. The ascent to the Geierjoch, early in the day, is the hardest as it leads you through steep and rough terrain. In low visibility navigation requires some care but is still doable, thanks to the frequent waymarking.

Tuxerjochhaus to the Olperer Hütte.

This day starts out with a dreadfull crossing of the Hintertuxer ski area. Before you ascent through boulderfields to the Friesenbergscharte at 2905 meters. From there you have epic views ahead to the Zillertal and to the Friesenberghaus below. The descent down to the Friesenbergshaus is somewhat exposed and requires care but this should be no problem by now. After the Friesenberghaus it is some 1,5 hours of hiking to reach the Olperer Hütte.

On the stretch huts are often fully booked weeks in advance. Below is a list of alternatives to try if you find yourself unable to secure accommodation along the main dreamway.

  • Instead of continuing to the Olperer Hütte you can stay in the recently renovated Friesenberghaus. This sets you up for a somewhat longer day to the hamlet of Stein tomorrow but it should be doable.
  • From the Friesenberghaus you can descend down to the private Dominikushütte just above the Schlegeisspeicher. The next day you can hike past the lake and follow the Zamser Bach all the way to the Pfitscherjoch where you rejoin the main Dreamway.
  • You can also set out to the Geraer Hütte. From here you can cross the Alpeiner and then rejoin the Dreamway en route to the Pfitscherjoch.
View from the Friesenbergscharte
View from the Friesenbergscharte. On the far right you can see the glaciated Großer Möseler (3478 meter).
Olperer Hütte to Stein

This is an easy day with two halves. On the first half of the day you traverse across the slopes of the Olperer and the Schrammacher. You then cross the border with Italy at the Pfitscherjoch. At the Pfitscherjoch is an excellent private hut (Pfitscherjoch Haus) which operates free hot showers and a sauna in the afternoon.

After the Pfitscherjoch there is a steep but very pretty descent down to the charming hamlet of Stein. The village of Stein has two pensions, but Gasthof Stein is by far the better choice.

Stein to Pfunders

This stretch feels quite wild as it is not as popular as the other stages of the Dreamway. After the Hamlet of Stein you follow a dirt road back up the valley untill you reach a small path that branches off through thick forrest. After a while you enter a hidden valley with amazing views back to the Schrammacher and up to the Hochfeiler, as well as the two large glaciers that feed the river far below. On the descent towards Pfunders you can catch the first glimpse of the Dolomites.

Jenny hiking up a wild valley along the Dreamway
Jenny hiking up a wild valley

Pfunders itself is a small village with one pension, Gasthof Brugger. There is also a small supermarket in the town center, next to the church. In Pfunders you can catch the bus to Niedervintl, where you can catch the train to Brixen and even all the way back to Munich.

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