Olpererhütte Hiking & Zillertal Alps Bridge Photo Guide – Austrian ALps 2023

|

Capture Epic Views & Make Lifetime Memories on the Hike to Olpererhütte in the Zillertal Alps of Austria 

How to take an epic swing bridge photo like this?

Olpererhütte zillertal alps bridge photo
I handed my iphone 12 to a fellow hiker for this epic but not dangerous photo.

It’s not hard at all to get shots like these!  The images you can get at the Zillertal Alps bridge are unreal!  It’s an illusion that makes normal hikers look like wild mountaineers.  I hopped about 2 inches off the ground onto the bottom of this suspension bridge to get the photo above with a fellow/stranger hiker acting as my photographer. 

TL;DR: Soak in the impressive Alpine scenery with these 3 hiking trail guides of varying difficulty that lead to Austrias most instagrammable summer spot, the Olpererhütte bridge and tasty mountain hut.

Olpererhütte Travel Trail Guide

olpererhutte bridge photos

Location: Ginzling, Zillertal Alps, Austria
Distance: 4.04 miles, 6.5 km Out and Back – Approximately 3 hours
Elevation: 600 meters, 1970 ft up/down
Difficulty: Moderate due to rocky terrain and steepness 
Where to Stay: Friendliest – Dominikushütte Mountain Hut,  Best Eco-Friendly Luxury – MalisGarten GreenSpa Hotel, Best Budget Hotel – Der Siegler B&B,  Best for Families – Hotel Neue Post

Why Go to Olpererhutte?

I’ve lived in Germany for 7 years and haven’t visited Rome or Barcelona.  It’s my bona fide that I’m definitely not a fan of crowds and an “instagram hot spot” is not my usual cup of tea.  So why is the Olpererhütte Bridge a place I would go to considering it is such a popular destination amongst “hikers”?

  • Does it feel like you’ve stepped back in time?  Yes.
  • Is the world in technicolor?  Yes.  Especially the color-changing Schlegeis Lake.
  • Does the terrain make you forget your to-do list?  Absolutely. It’s challenging, but not technical.
  • Can you hike to Italy from Austria for lunch??  Yes, most definitely. And…it’s not even that hard! 

(and you may run into the mountain sheep being herded home for winter.  The shepherds here don’t carry gnarled olive tree branches to move the bleating sheep, they wear red gore tex.)

You’ve got to drive to the lake on alpine road with tunnels. Then it’s also somewhat difficult and rocky of a hike.  This means that Insta-famous non-hikers aren’t actually going there and pretending with their straw hats.  I guess it’s a good thing that the world of influence is moving toward Nature experiences – as long as we leave no trace. 

Beyond that, the hike and day trip is just views, views, views almost the entire way. It’s impossible to get lost and the hut at the top serves an elderberry infused Spritz that is fantastically delicious. The beer is great too – but an elderberry drink after a 1.5 hour slog uphill?  Yes, please!

It’s more crowded than what I’m used to, so shoulder season is my preference.  Better yet, book a stay at the Olpererhutte overnight and have the bridge and sunrise and sunset to yourselves.

olpererhutte bridge photo
Glam – Nature Experience!

To get the bridge you simply walk uphill past the actual hut. It’s about a 5 minute walk. There you’ll have to set up a tripod in the stream with a timer. Or better yet, just ask someone to take your photo with your own phone and do the same for them.

It is likely you’ll have to wait in line. The best lighting for the lake is when the sun is overhead at noon, but that is also the harshest light on your face so it’s a trade off. As the sun goes down the mountain shadows play onto the lake for dramatic effect.

If you go just 100 meters past the bridge, you’ll frequently have much more privacy and the photos with the Schlegeis lake are amazing.  It’s really weird how people hike a ton and then just stop at the bridge and don’t go a meter past it.

  • Read until the end where you’ll find the perfect excursions to take your tweens and teens before or after the hike so they will be excited to go on these luscious hikes with you.

Webstories Link: Quick Behind the Scenes iphone story 

How this Zillertal Alps Austria Travel Trail Guide is Organized

Olpererhütte Brücke (Olpererhutte bridge) – Is it worth it?

olpererhutte bridge

In 2022 I went there twice to figure out this question. 

Well, actually…I went the first time because I was considering becoming a Hüttenwirten (hut owner) and wanted to check out the lifestyle and do some hikes. I LOVE alpine huts.  They are serious mountain magic.

However the problem with owning one is that you can’t really enjoy the hiking season because you’ve got to work so hard during the summer season (tip your huts). We ended up passing on the opportunity, which sometimes I still am wondering if we did the right thing?

Anyways, I went in mid-June and it was amazing, breathtaking, magical and fun!  So when my friends wanted to do a lady flying dress photography shoot in the Alps, I thought we should definitely try the famous suspension bridge at Olpererhütte.

We went in mid-September to see the Autumn colors and take photos.  Yet again, it definitely amazed us with special plays of light on the lake, delicious wine and food, and gorgeous weather warm enough to wear sleeveless flying dresses without a problem on the top of the mountain. 

schlegeis stausee

Disclaimer: the weather could totally suck while you’re there. It’s the Alps. And that’s the ever-changing beauty of it all. 

Warning: If your knees are like mine and require some TLC, bring hiking poles to ease the downhill.  Also the shaded areas come with some ice during the shoulder seasons (which is the best time to go), so think about bringing microspikes also.

How to Get There: Schlegeis Stausee Trailhead

Schlegeisspeicher Olpererhütte

The trailhead is on the coast of the secluded mountain lake called “Schlegeisspeicher” or “Schlegeis Stausee”.

Sitting at 1780 meters high, this mountain reservoir shimmers in cerulean, moody aqua and turquoise blue depending upon the time of day and sun conditions.  One moment it is beaming blue all the way to the top of the mighty Olperer mountain and then the next draped in moody fog.  

The dam is impressive as a tourist destination in its own right.  It is 725 meters long and 131 meters high.  You can walk along the top or even jump off the side in a giant swing!

It is truly a mindful experience to simply watch it throughout the day.  I met a lovely couple and their wiener dog who don’t hike or really even enjoy walks.  They traveled here simply to have coffee in the Dominikushütte dining room and watch the lakeside plays of light and enjoy each other’s company.

olpererhutte

Getting There by Car

Plug in the directions to “Dominikushütte – Zillertaler Alpen, Dornauberg, Finkenberg, Austria” in google maps. The bus & parking area is directly below this delicious hut. Stop there for coffee before heading up or after coming down.  There are additional parking lots along the lakeside road if it’s full.

This natural area of the Zillertal Alps is located at the end of a very long valley accessed by the mountain town of Zell am Ziller.  Then you’ll drive higher through Mayrhofen (bus and train station), then to Ginzling.  From here the mountain road is fun and framed with canyoning, climbing and alpine cow watching spots.

You’ll reach a one way mountain road with multiple moody tunnels.  Watch out for cows inside the tunnels!  They do wear bells so roll down the window to hear them.

During the daytime you’ll need to pay a 14.50 euro toll.  If you are after hours and there is no attendant, park your car and walk up to the gate.  There is a red button to push and it’ll start the clock for you for 7-10 minutes to allow any cars in the tunnels to come through.  Wait for the green light and proceed up the mountain.  No payment needed.

olpererheutte hike
Zillertal Alps = Epic selfie land with your phone

Getting there by Bus or Train Transit – Get to Mayrhofen im Zillertal

Use the train or bus to get to “Mayrhofen im Zillertal”, Austria.  For example: the train from Landstuhl, Germany to Mayrhofen im Zillertal takes less than 8 hours. 

Then from the town train/bus stop use the bus 4102 to Schlegeisspeicher reservoir. In German, it is “Linie 4102 Mayrhofen – Ginzling/Schlegeis”.  

There are different times each day, weekends and times of year.  Please check the online bus schedule for up to date information and be prepared to pay at least 20 euros for a return ticket. Mayrhofen is the hub for this mountain area and you can also reach other glacier, ski and hiking areas. 

The ride takes about 50 minutes and you’ll be happier the earlier you go in summer to beat the crowds.  In the Autumn the trail is icy until after the sun hits it around 9:00 am so it’s not worth going up unless you have microspikes before then. 

Innsbruck to Olpererhütte : 1.5 – 2 hours

The closest airport in Austria is the Innsbruck airport.  From there it’s about 1:45 – 2:15 hour drive to get to the trailhead or a 1:30 hour train ride.

Related:  

Best Microspikes Review : Parts of this trail can be covered in snow and definitely ice, even in September. Microspikes will help you to not lose traction and fall. 

Dolomites in the Summer : Best things to do including hiking the Alta Via 1 Hut to Hut trail. 

When You Can Hike to Olpererhütte – The Olpererhütte Wanderung

olpererhuette hike map

Best time to Hike to Olpererhutte is Mid-June to Mid-October

The high season is July and August.  September is ideal for warmer weather and less crowds. You’ll want to hike here when the huts are open to enjoy their delicious foods and relaxing ambience. 

Most huts open mid-June and close at the end of the first week of October. However, this is subject to change due to the weather and … how tired the hut owners and workers are. They may close a week early to get to Spain to finally get off their feet for the season. 

I generally avoid August if at all possible.  Most kids are off school for only 6 weeks in Germany and France.  While districts try to stagger vacation, the month of August is the most common time for family vacations and can be challenging if you don’t want to fight for accommodations.

Olpererhütte Weather 

This interactive map and webcam will keep you updated on the weather at the base of the hiking trail to Olpererhutte.  

In July the average high temperature is in the mid-60s and lows in the mid 40’s.

Most of the trail is on a south facing slope so sunshine is abundant when it’s available.  It is frequent to experience afternoon thunderstorms in this part of the Alps. Rain is a constant factor. 

Olpererhütte Hike Map

Interactive Google Map

13 How to use this map: Use your computer mouse or fingers to zoom in and out. Click on the icons to get more information. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the written index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your google maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open google maps, click the menu button, and go to “your places”/ “maps.”

Olpererhütte Bridge & Trail Report

This post links to products and services I love, which I may make a small commission from, at no extra cost to you. If you click and buy through these links, this is how I can continue to make Sustainable Outdoor Travel Guides!!

-Morgan

How long is the Hike to Olpererhutte in Austria?

It depends 😉  There are 3 routes (or more) for day hikes to Olpererhütte from the parking at the Schlegeis reservoir next to Dominikushutte.

You can also reach Olpererhutte if you’re on the multi day Berlin Höhenweg long distance trail.

Free Dolomities Packing List
olpererhütte

#1 Shortest: Direct Blue Route : 4 miles

This is the most common path as it’s a direct straight up & down from the parking area to the Olpererhütte and its famous suspension bridge. 

Expect crowds. It’s rocky and steep but very manageable. There’s almost always an impressive view and lovely places to stop and get once in a lifetime selfies.

This will be the descent for the other 2 routes that are loops.  You can always reverse this if desired.

  • Distance: 4.04 miles, 6.5 km Out and Back
  • Elevation: 600 meters, 1970 ft up/down 
  • Duration: Approx. 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate due to rocky terrain and steepness 
  • GPS: Hiking App Blue Route

#2: Longest : Friesenberghaus Yellow 532/526 8.5 miles

olpererhütte
I had the trail almost completely to myself in late June.

Head up the mountain to the northwest of Dominikushütte and enjoy the vast valley going toward the Friesenberghaus.  I made it just shy of this hütte that supposedly has great food before I hit a lightning storm and had to turn around and run back to the valley.  There’s not much cover here as it’s somewhat barren of trees.  Great views, but no protection.  Other hikers told me that it’s not a bad hike, but you’ll almost all summer encounter snowy passes so wear some gaiters around your boots to stay dry.

  • Distance: 8.44 miles, 13.6 km Loop
  • Elevation: 815 meters, 2675 ft up/down 
  • Duration: Approx. 6-7 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate due to rocky terrain and parts covered in snow
  • GPS: Hiking App Yellow Route

#3: Waterfall : Neumarkter Green 535/502 

Another longer route to enjoy. I’ve not done it as I chose to hike to Italy on my third day there instead of going back to Olpererhutte (i wanted to try that Sudtyrolean cuisine!).  Other hiking reports recommend it due to the fantastic views and interesting statues along the trail.

  • Distance: 8.44 miles, 13.6 km Loop
  • Elevation: 815 meters, 2675 ft up/down 
  • Duration: Approx. 6-7 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate due to rocky terrain and parts covered in snow
  • GPS: Hiking App Yellow Route

olpererhutte bridge

Free GPS Komoot: My Komoot collection of 3 Olpererhutte Hikes:  has one free region to download

Start/end point: Free Parking near Schlegeis Reservoir.

Kid-friendly: yes, 5+.  Small children will likely need to be carried in packs.
Stroller-friendly: not even a little bit

Dog-friendly: Yes, most mountain huts here accept dogs, contact them directly to ask.

Fees: Toll road 14.50 euros.  Toll Road website to check opening days.  No hiking pass needed.

Behind the Scenes Stories: Web Stories ******Olpererhutte********

More Great Hikes Around the Schlegeis Reservoir

Check out this Komoot Collection of more great hikes around the reservoir. 

For you hut to hut hikers the Peter Habeler Trail and the Berlin Höhenweg emerge through these amazing glacier topped Zillertal Alps between tasty hütten.

Olpererhütte Webcam

Bored in the office?  Watch the weather and webcam of the emerald green Schlegeis Reservoir to connect to your serenity.

Want more mountain magic? Here’s several more live webcams of the Zillertal mountains. 

Zillertal Olpererhütte Travel Trail Guide

With roaring streams, magnificent glaciers, and stunning mountain scenery the Zillertal Alps make you feel like you’ve stepped into some kind of alpine heaven. You can stroll over to South Tyrol in Italy and hang from a suspension bridge that makes you appear like you’re on top of the world. However, it’s not for everyone. 

olpererhütte hike
Best Girls Trip Ever!
Who is This Guide NOT for and What are the Alternatives?

This trail has significant elevation change so if you absolutely hate hills, I would not recommend it.  If you’re more interested in the history, cuisine and outdoor convenience – try the Rudesheim, Germany Hike that takes all the hills out with cable cars on the up and the down.  Wine, food and history are abundant.

Some small children might be able to tolerate the incline, but most will likely need to be carried at least part of the way in a hiking child carrier like this trusty Osprey kid pack

Also, if you’re the kind of hiker that wants absolute solitude then this hike is not for you.  It is popular with Austrians and foreigners. 

Where to Stay to Hike Olpererhütte

Most people will be staying in the Zillertal valley at one of the many and varied accommodations from luxury hotels to camping sites.

Olpererhütte Booking

To stay directly at the mountain hut you can reserve a bed online.  You will be sharing rooms with other hikers as this is a mountain hut and not a hotel.

Details:  DAV Sektion Neumarkt i.d.Oberpfalz.

Hut phone number: 0043 664 417 65 66

Total sleeping places: 72

Height above sea level: 2389 m

Coordinates: 47° 02,517′ / 11° 41,300′  

Hotels Near Olpererhütte Hike

Check out the links here from Booking – I always use them for my city and multi-day hikes because they are trustworthy and helpful to keep organized.

Best Accommodation for Families Exploring Nature

The rooftop fairy-tale pool will make this a memorable mountain experience for you and the kids. If you book a stay at the Hotel Neue Post, dinner and breakfast are included to make everything easier for your family.

Best Eco-Friendly Luxury

Have an Alpine- luxury stay at MalisGarten Green Spa Hotel.  It’s dog friendly and offers a hammam, sauna, and spa center to make your time in the Zillertal truly relaxing. 

Best Budget

Der Siegler B&B is a great value for the money with a hearty protein filled breakfast, dog friendly, ping pong and spacious rooms in the heart of Mayrhofen im Zillertal.

Super Budget:  Car Mattress

Summer can be challenging to get accommodations if you don’t plan early!  If you’re out of luck finding a room, try getting a mattress for the back of your SUV as it’s totally legal to sleep one night in your car in Austria.  There’s nothing like waking up to Schlegeis Lake in the morning.  

What to Eat : Olpererhütte Menu

olpererhütte

🍹The food and views from the dining room and outside deck at Olpererhütte are hard to beat.  Often hütten food is good merely because you’ve walked pretty hard uphill to get there. The quality and service at Olpererhütte are excellent in the shoulder season. Definitely try the “Hütten Spritz”, an elderberry infused cocktail.

🥕For an interesting non-meat menu the Guatzesse is a organic permaculture restaurant with vegan and vegetarian options.  It is located down in the valley in the town of Stumm, so get it on your drive out of the Zillertal valley.

🥰The käseknödelsoupe is Tirolean food at it’s best. It is cheap, succulent, filling and made from local alpine ingredients.  Get your steaming bowl at Dominikushütte near the trailhead on the lake.

5 Best Things to do near Mayrhofen Austria Beyond Hiking

Nature’s Ice Palace

You can go inside the Hintertux glacier 365 days a year to visit Nature’s Ice Palace.  This ice cave is serviced by 3 gondolas and the whole family can go inside for diving, paddleboards, canyoning and guided tours of the ice cave with stalagmites and stalactites.  Wear warm clothing and hiking boots as it’s 0 degrees year round.  Take the “Gletscherbus 3” gondola to experience the world’s highest bicable cable car with amazing panoramic views. 

Visit Europe’s Biggest Waterfall –  Krimml Waterfalls

About one hour drive from Mayrhofen is the 380 meter high multi-tiered Krimml waterfalls. It’s a 10 euro toll to get there.

Flying Dress Experience

olpererhutte

It’s always memories that count.  Get a Zillertal Alps bridge photo that is truly unique.

Goddess Lens Photography is a backpacking, hiking, Nature Loving woman’s dream team for doing legacy-worthy photos of her in wondrous places like the Alps, Mediterranean, Morocco and more in Europe.

Zipline on the Dam in the Austrian Alps : Schlegeis 131 Adventure Park

These fr&#(%ing Austrians!  This location is great for bringing along your family members that want a little adrenaline to go along with your hikes. 

The attractions include the Giant Swing, Flying fox zipline, cafe and via ferrata on the Dam itself!  

Schlegeis 3000 Skyrace near Olperer Hut

A vertical race?!?  This extreme trail running race will show you the stuff Austrians are made of.

What to Bring on the Hike to the Zillertal Alps Bridge

It really doesn’t take much to do this hike other than a healthy appetite for views.  Sturdy hiking shoes or boots, water, raingear and a camera are all you need.  I brought a tripod with me for my selfie on the bridge, but ended up just asking a fellow hiker to do the phone for me.  

However, if you’re going to do the routes other than the Direct blue route, you should bring some microspikes to ensure you don’t fall on the snow covered sections.

FAQ About Olpererhutte – 2023

When is the Olpererhutte hut & olpererhütte trail open?

It changes year to year due to weather but typically it’s open mid-June until mid-October.

Is there a Christmas Market?

Yes, and it’s absolutely magical.  Here’s a tour of the Christmas market in Mayrhofen.

How much time do you need for the Olpererhütte hike?

3-4 hours for the direct route.  But you’ll likely want to enjoy the views at the top so add 1-2 hours for photos.

How long is Olpererhütte hike?

There are 3 main hiking trails to Olpererhütte from Schlegeis Reservoir and its parking area. The shortest and the easiest trail has an elevation gain of about 600 meters (1,970 ft) and is about 3 km (1.9 mi) one way. It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to get there and about 1 – 1.5 hours to get back down.


Thanks for reading! Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures or ask questions from the community over on our facebook group Untold Outdoor Europe Travel Planning.

Looking for the perfect gift for the Outdoorsy Lady in your life? 42 Gifts for Outdoorsy Women that Inspire Wonder – 2022

With 💗 , Crave the Planet

Thanks for reading! Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures or ask questions from the community over on our facebook group Untold Outdoor Europe Travel Planning