Are you looking for a hike that offers max scenery with minimal effort? Then the Drachensee Seebensee hike in Austria is for you. Don’t get lost with my step-by-step directions and video.
Nestled in the stunning Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena region of Austria, the Drachensee and Seebensee hike offers an unforgettable adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. The two majestic mountain lakes, Drachensee and Seebensee, are surrounded by the towering limestone peaks of the Mieminger Chain.
These crystal-clear lakes’ teal waters, combined with the region’s breathtaking scenery, make this hike a must-do for anyone visiting Austria.
Morgan’s Drachensee-Seebensee Hike Austria Video
The journey begins in the charming town of Ehrwald, located near the German border. As you venture along the well-trodden paths, you’ll be immersed in the rich alpine landscape, abundant with nature and wildlife. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual wanderer, this trail offers various options to suit your preferences, with opportunities to explore nearby attractions and enjoy local food and refreshments while taking in the magnificent views.
- Discover the beauty of Drachensee and Seebensee lakes as well as the surrounding Mieminger Chain mountains
- Plan your hike according to your preferences, from a leisurely lakeside stroll to a more challenging ascent
- Enjoy the local amenities, including accommodation, food, and attractions to make your Austrian hiking experience unforgettable
Overview of the Drachensee-Seebensee Hike Austria
Location and Accessibility
The Drachensee and Seebensee are two stunning mountain lakes located in the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena region in Ehrwald, Austria. Beginning your hike in the picturesque town of Ehrwald, situated on the German border, you have easy accessibility to the trailhead at Ehrwalder Alm. To reach the starting point, you can take the Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car. Both lakes reward hikers with crystal-clear, teal waters surrounded by rugged, limestone peaks, and lush mountain landscapes.
Difficulty and Duration
The hike to Seebensee, with an altitude of 1,660 meters, is considered an easy to moderate adventure. From Seebensee, you can continue your journey to the more challenging Drachensee Lake, standing at 1,870 meters. The climb from Seebensee to Drachensee is more difficult, with a 260 meters altitude gain in a relatively short distance.
To complete the entire hike, including the ascent to Drachensee and a visit to the Coburger Hütte mountain hut, be prepared to spend at least 5-6 hours on the trail. The overall distance of the hike varies depending on the route you choose, but it generally covers around 12 to 15 kilometers.
Best Season for Hiking
To experience the best of the Drachensee-Seebensee hike, plan your trip during the warmer months, as the trails are generally open from late spring to early fall. During this period, the mountains and lakes come alive with vibrant colors, and the weather is typically more stable for hiking. However, always make sure to check for local weather conditions before heading out on your hike and be prepared for changes.
Visiting Seebensee and Drachensee in the ideal season will allow you to fully appreciate the beauty of these Austrian lakes and the magical landscapes that surround them.
Starting Point: Ehrwald
Your adventure begins in the charming town of Ehrwald, nestled in the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena region of Austria. To start your hike, you need to take the Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car to the Ehrwalder Alm, or you can hike up from Ehrwald along a well-marked forest path.
Ehrwalder Alm and Seebenalm Mountain Huts
From the top of the Ehrwalder Almbahn, follow the signposted trail towards the Seebenalm mountain huts. The hike from Ehrwalder Alm to Seebenalm is relatively easy and enjoyable, with an ascent of about 200 meters in altitude. Along the way, you will get to enjoy the stunning alpine scenery and the chance to spot local wildlife.
Seebensee Lake and Coburger Hütte
As you continue your hike, the trail will lead you to the picturesque Seebensee Lake, situated at an altitude of 1,657 meters. This mountain lake is characterized by its crystal-clear waters and impressive views, making it a perfect spot for a short break or a picnic. To reach Coburger Hütte, continue from the lake, following the trail for an additional 260 meters ascent over a short distance. Coburger Hütte is an excellent place to rest and grab a bite to eat or even spend the night, with stunning views over the surrounding area.
Drachensee Lake and Vorderen Drachenkopf
To complete your hike, challenge yourself by tackling the steep climb from Seebensee Lake to Drachensee Lake, a 250-vertical-meter ascent with incredible views at the top. Drachensee Lake, also known as “Dragon Lake,” is nestled at 1,874 meters above sea level, surrounded by rugged limestone peaks, dwarf-pine slopes, and cobalt blue waters.
For experienced hikers, you can continue from Drachensee Lake to Vorderen Drachenkopf peak via the Hoher Gang via ferrata route or the slightly easier Tajatörl trail. Both options will require climbing gear and experience in traversing rocky terrain. Keep in mind that these routes are not recommended for beginners or those not equipped for via ferrata climbing.
Remember to layer up for unpredictable weather, wear appropriate footwear, and carry sufficient water and snacks to sustain you throughout your adventure. Get ready to be immersed in the beauty of Austria’s natural landscapes as you embark on this unforgettable hiking itinerary.
Accommodation and Budget
Where to Stay in Ehrwald
When planning your Seebensee and Drachensee hike, you have several accommodation options in Ehrwald. From budget-friendly lodging to mid-range hotels, there is something for every traveler’s budget. Some popular options include Haus Tirol Ehrwald, Das Halali, and LaPosch – Dein Bergaway. Make sure to book your stay in advance, particularly during the peak hiking season from June to September.
Mountain Huts and Overnight Stays
If you prefer to stay closer to the trail, there are mountain huts available. The first option to consider is the Seebenalm mountain hut, located along the first stage of the hike. Here, you can enjoy a meal and rest your legs before continuing up to the Seebensee.
Further into the hike, after reaching the Seebensee, you’ll find the Coburger Hütte, situated near the Drachensee Lake. The Coburger Hütte offers overnight stays and a cozy shelter for hikers in this part of the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena region. It is crucial to book your stay in advance, especially during the peak season, as limited space is available.
To ensure you have a comfortable and budget-friendly trip to the Seebensee and Drachensee, consider the various accommodation options in the valley and on the trail. Note that the prices for the Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car, which takes you to the start of the hike, are 19.5 € for ascent and descent. Remember to factor these costs into your overall budget when planning your Austrian hiking adventure.
Transportation and Equipment
Getting to Ehrwald
To get to Ehrwald, the starting point for the Seebensee and Drachensee hike, you have a few options. If you are coming from Munich, Innsbruck, or Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can take a train to the nearest train station in Ehrwald. From there, it’s a short walk or bus ride to the center of town. You can find train schedules and ticket information on the official railway websites of the respective countries.
Cable Car and Mountain Station
Once you arrive in Ehrwald, you have the option to save some energy by taking the Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car up to the mountain station. The cable car operates daily, with operating hours varying depending on the season. Taking the cable car will significantly reduce the elevation gain of your hike, making it more manageable for those who are not accustomed to high altitudes or long climbs. You can find more information about the cable car, its prices, and operating hours on Ehrwalder Almbahn’s official website.
Trailhead and Hiking Essentials
The trailhead for the Seebensee and Drachensee hike is located near the mountain station, just a short walk from the cable car’s exit. From there, you will follow well-marked trails up to the stunning alpine lakes.
For this hike, it’s essential to wear sturdy, comfortable hiking shoes as the terrain can be rocky and uneven at times. Dress in layers, as the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and don’t forget to bring a rain jacket in case of unexpected showers. It’s essential to pack enough water and snacks for your journey, as there are no shops or restaurants along the route. A lightweight backpack should suffice to carry all your necessities.
Taking into account the elevation gain and the varying terrain, it’s important to know your fitness level and be prepared for the challenges of the Seebensee and Drachensee hike. With proper planning and the right equipment, you’re set to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Zugspitze and the Austrian Alps.
Tips and Practical Information
Map and Altitude Information
Before you embark on your hike to the Seebensee and Drachensee lakes in the Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena region of Austria, it is essential to have an accurate map of the area. Seebensee Lake sits at an altitude of 1,657 meters, while Drachensee Lake is higher at 1,874 meters. Familiarize yourself with the landscape and the elevation changes along the route to ensure a safe and enjoyable trek.
Via Ferrata Routes and Safety Precautions
If you are seeking a more challenging hike, there are several Via Ferrata routes in the area such as the Tajakopf Circuit Route, Vorderen Drachenkopf, and Ehrwalder Sonnenspitze. These routes typically require additional equipment like a harness, helmet, and proper climbing gear. Additionally, these paths should only be undertaken by experienced hikers or those accompanied by a guide. Please be sure to take safety precautions and stay within your skill level when exploring these routes.
Trail Conditions and Etiquette
The best time to hike the Seebensee-Drachensee route is during the month of September, when the trail conditions are optimal, and the weather is generally pleasant. Throughout the hike, be mindful of the natural environment in the Wetterstein Mountains and practice the Leave-No-Trace principles. This includes packing out all your trash, staying on the designated trail, minimizing impact on wildlife and vegetation, being considerate of other hikers, and respecting private property.
As you encounter others on the trail, be courteous and give way to hikers traveling uphill, as they require more energy and focus to maintain their pace. When overtaking slower hikers, announce your presence and pass on the left. Remember, the trail is a shared space, and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it safe, clean, and enjoyable for all users.
Various Hikes in Austria
Austria is home to countless breathtaking hikes, perfect for exploring the beautiful Austrian Alps. The Seebensee and Drachensee Hike is one example of such trails, offering a moderately difficult climb that rewards hikers with stunning views of alpine lakes and the surrounding landscape.
Another great hike is the Rosengartenschlucht in nearby Imst, Austria.
German Alpine Lakes
The Seebensee and Drachensee lakes are situated in the Austrian Alps and have captivated the hearts of many nature enthusiasts. Seebensee features glacial blue waters surrounded by forests, meadows, and rugged mountain peaks, creating a tranquil setting for all to enjoy.
Not far away, the “Dragon Lake,” or Drachensee, showcases deep blue-green waters with towering cliffs rising up to 2,500 meters above sea level. These two lakes provide an exceptional opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Austrian Alpine landscape.
Read ➡️ Lake Eibsee Germany
Nearby Cities and Points of Interest
While hiking in the Austrian Alps, you’ll find yourself close to several major cities worth exploring. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a renowned ski resort and hiking destination, is situated near the German-Austrian border and offers a variety of activities in both summer and winter. Meanwhile, Munich, Germany’s third-largest city, is within driving distance for a day trip or weekend excursion. This gorgeous city is abundant in culture, history, and scenic beauty.
Lastly, Innsbruck, Austria’s charming alpine city, is another must-visit destination. Surrounded by stunning mountains, Innsbruck entices travelers with its unique blend of historical, modern, and natural sightseeing opportunities. Whether you’re hiking the alpine lakes or venturing to nearby cities, you’ll never run out of incredible experiences and sights to discover in this region of Austria.
Nature and Wildlife
Flora and Fauna Along the Trails
While hiking the Drachensee-Seebensee route in Austria, you will be surrounded by the beauty of nature. The trails leading to these high mountain lakes offer a diverse array of flora and fauna. As you make your way along the Immensteig, you will notice dwarf-pine carpets on the slopes, which gently spill into the crystal-clear, teal waters of the lakes. Keep an eye out for cows grazing nearby and listen to the gentle sound of water flowing from the surface of the lakes.
Mountain Scenery and Breathtaking Views
Prepare yourself to be amazed by the stunning mountain scenery during your hike. The Drachensee and Seebensee lakes are nestled within the rugged limestone peaks of the Mieminger Chain. These pale, formidable mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to your journey. As you continue your hike, you will traverse the Hinteres Tajatörl saddle, capturing even more impressive panoramic views of this extraordinary landscape. Remember to bring your camera, as this is a hike you will want to remember for years to come.
Make sure to pace yourself and take breaks when needed, as the beauty of nature in this region is truly mesmerizing. Enjoy hiking the Drachensee-Seebensee route, and let the charm of Austria’s Tyrolean Zugspitz Arena inspire you every step of the way.
Food and Refreshments
Dining Options at Mountain Huts
During your hike, you’ll come across a few mountain huts where you can replenish your energy and enjoy some local cuisine. One of the well-known huts is the Coburger Hütte, located on the shores of Drachensee. It operates from June to October and offers magnificent views of the lake. Make sure not to miss their popular Austrian dish, Kaiserschmarrn.
If you’re taking a break at Seebensee, there’s another option to enjoy some refreshments. Although there isn’t a specific mountain hut by the lake, you can find makeshift picnic spots to rest, enjoy a packed lunch, and soak in the Alpine surroundings.
Where to Eat in Ehrwald
Before or after your hike, Ehrwald is an excellent place to grab a bite to eat and experience the local Tyrolean cuisine. One good option is the food offered at the Ehrwalder Alm, which is also the place where you can take the cable car to Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station.
For more variety in dining options, you can explore the village of Ehrwald, where you’ll find numerous restaurants, cafes, and bakeries offering a mix of Austrian and international dishes. Remember to try out some of the regional specialties, such as Gröstl or Käsespätzle, to get a genuine taste of Tyrolean cuisine.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the Drachensee-Seebensee hike take?
The Drachensee-Seebensee hike typically takes around 4-5 hours in total. Expect to spend 2-2.5 hours hiking one way before reaching Drachensee, and another 2 hours hiking back. The trail is approximately 7 km each way.
What is the difficulty level of the hike?
The difficulty level of the Drachensee-Seebensee hike is moderate, making it accessible to hikers with some experience. The trail starts off easy but becomes more challenging as it progresses. You’ll pass by waterfalls, cows, and dense forests along the way to 1,660-meter-high Seebensee and 1,870-meter-high Drachensee.
Are there any accommodations along the trail?
Yes, there is a mountain hut, the Coburger Hut, at an altitude of 1,917 meters. It’s situated between Seebensee and Drachensee and can provide overnight accommodations if you wish to extend your hike and explore the surrounding area further.
When is the best time to hike the Drachensee-Seebensee route?
The best time to hike the Drachensee-Seebensee route is during the summer months when the weather is favorable and the glacial lakes are easily accessible. Keep in mind that alpine weather can change quickly, so always check the local forecast before starting your hike.
What should I pack for the hike?
When preparing for the Drachensee-Seebensee hike, pack essentials such as comfortable and sturdy hiking boots, rain gear, warm clothing layers, sun protection, and at least 1.5 liters of water. You should also bring snacks or lunch, a map or GPS device, a first aid kit, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery.
Are permits required for the hike?
No specific permits are required to hike the Drachensee-Seebensee route. However, it’s always a good idea to research local guidelines and restrictions before embarking on any hiking adventure.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a physical therapist and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.
We hope you enjoy this hidden gem in Austria! Read more of my off-the-beaten path adventure travel and hiking blogs.
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