Stage 1: Mayrhofen - Guesthouse Steinerkogl
The hike up to the Steinerkogel, at an altitude of almost 1,200m, is one of the loveliest walks in Mayrhofen and is moderate in terms of difficulty. Straight away the path climbs steeply, with continuous switchbacks leading up the mountain. However, after just a few minutes, I am rewarded with lovely views down onto Mayrhofen. The path continues steeply until the little Brandberg chapel, after which it levels off a little. We follow the trail as it snakes through the forest until we spot the Guesthouse Steinerkogel above a meadow – it’s time for a well-deserved rest.
Top tip: Enjoy the sunshine on the terrace high above Mayrhofen with a spicy goulash and a cool shandy.
Stage 2: Circular route to Brandberg
After we have rested and refueled at the guesthouse, we follow the route marked “Rundwanderweg” (“circular route”). It leads us through quite mountain roads and past some very old farm houses until a narrow path branches off down through the forest. We cross a meadow of grazing goats and follow the path, in switchbacks, towards to the valley. Eventually, we reach the end of our hike in the Ziller Valley –the Thanner guesthouse in Brandberg – from where we catch a bus back to Mayrhofen.
Top tip: Allow enough time for your hike. There are so many viewpoints along the route with incredible views down onto Mayrhofen.
STEINERKOGEL HIKE: THE FACTS
– Difficulty: moderate
– Length: 4.3km
– Duration: approximately 2 hours
– Ascent: 532m
– Terrain: Forest paths
Huts en route
Knowing that we would be passing two huts on our hike, we didn’t take many snacks with us. The Steinerkogelhaus is a rustic guesthouse in a fantastic location at an altitude of 1,269m. It boasts beautiful views and a traditional menu. Delicious meat dishes and desserts are cooked according to traditional recipes and there is a wide selection of cakes for hungry hikers.
Top tip: Children are also well catered for with a small playground just next to the hut.
You will either start or end your hike (depending which way round you do it) at the Thanner guesthouse in Brandberg, just 6km from Mayrhofen. Its sunny terrace and large restaurant have great mountain views and you can choose from a menu of international and regional dishes, including gluten-free options.
Top tip: Just next to the guesthouse are some Haflinger ponies, which children loe to pet.
Getting there from Mayrhofen
You can either start your hike in Mayrhofen on foot or by car. If you are driving, go past the cemetery and continue up the “Schluchtstrecke” road with its several hairpin bends into the Zillergrund valley. After approximately 200m there are some parking spaces. If you want to start your hike in Brandberg, take the bus to the Thanner guesthouse. Of course, it’s also possible to walk the 5km from Brandberg to Mayrhofen. These options allow you to tailor your hike in the Ziller Valley to best suit you.