Mountainbiking Scharnitz - Karwendelhaus
Description: Scharnitz - Karwendelhaus
Location: Scharnitz area
Time: 4-5 hours
Difficulty: Medium to Hard
The journey to the Karwendelhaus mountain hut in the middle of the Karwendel Alpine Park is one of the most strenuous that a "vacation cyclist" could expect to undertake. However it is one which is well worth the effort - as it is a hut in a spectacular position which is normally visited only by mountain bikers and long distance walkers.
Most walkers will be on the first stretch of a tour across the Karwendel while expert German mountain bikers like to do the round trip via Krun and Mittenwald.
The route into the Karwendel valley is clearly marked from the centre of Scharnitz. Parking, for those arriving by car, is reached by turning in the direction of the Karwendel valley under the railway line (daily charge). From the car park the road leads through houses before bearing to the left and crossing the river. Shortly afterwards the first steep climb makes its presence felt as the trail climbs out of the valley and up to a vantage point looking out over the Karwendel range and the neighbouring Hinterau and Gleirsch valleys.
The route climbs slowly along the Karwendel valley until the first refreshment stop is reached at the Larchetalm - now closed, but from here there are just under 600 metres in altitude to climb. The trail, however remains relatively constant, with even a couple of downhill stretches until the Karwendelhaus eventually comes into view high above the pass. At the Karwendel waterfall the route starts to wind steeply upwards in hairpin bends - this stretch can be particularly gruelling in the summer heat - and the surface is sometimes cut with erosion channels and larger stones.
Eventually a curve to the right brings the weary climber onto the Hochalm, a pastured hillside under the Karwendelhaus - now only about 15 minutes away. From the terrace of the hut there are spectacular views back down the valley and onto the sheer rock faces towering above the building. Care should be taken on the descent - especially on blind corners, before cattle gates and grids and for wildlife and other cyclists or walkers.
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