Kühtai - Day Trip Through the Sellrain Valley by Car

Description: Kühtai and the Sellrain valley
Location: Stubai Alps
Duration: half-day

This drive will give you a real taste for the high mountains of Austria. The Sellrain valley is a steepsided valley located "off the beaten track" and visited mainly by Tiroleans, who appreciate the unspoilt nature of the Stubai mountains, the fabulous views and, above all, the mountains sports possibilities in both winter and summer.

Until the boom in more active leisure pursuits, the Sellrain valley was a quiet region with mainly farming communities. In the Middle Ages, however, traders used it to get from the high mountain settlements near the Italian border in the neighbouring Ötz valley to the market at Innsbruck. It was easier and quicker for them to cross the mountain pass on their two day journey, than to make their way through the gorges of the lower Ötztaler stream.

The Sellrain valley in the Austrian Tyrol

Nowadays, the Sellrain valley is a centre for local ski tourers in the winter and walkers in the summer. Many of the high mountain huts of the Stubai Alps are accessible through the small side valleys off the Sellrain. But for those who want more accessible pleasures, the road to Kühtai also offers some spectacular scenery in the summer (and lift-served downhill skiing in the winter).

The journey from Seefeld starts with the descent of the Zirlerberg towards the town of Zirl. Just before the A12 motorway entrance a junction on the right is signposted for Zirl Ost. Follow the signs for Kematen, a town on the southern side of the Inn valley, through the (somewhat complex) traffic filtering system until crossing the main Inn valley floor on the 171. Staying on this road will bring you past the turn-offs to Kematen and Axams and the road will bear round into a narrow gorge-like valley, which is the entrance to the Sellrain valley.

Kühtai in the Austrian Tyrol

Sellrain is the first village in the valley and from here, Gries and St Sigmund, side valleys stretch off to the south into the depths of the Stubai alps. Kühtai, at just under 2000 metres, lies at the top of the pass between the Sellrain and Ötz valleys.

From here it is a steep and winding road down to Ötz past the reservoir for the hydroelectric power station in the main Inn valley. But the views are outstanding and none more so than in Ötzerau, where the panoramas of the main Inn valley and the lower Ötz valley are outstanding.

Hochötz in the Tyrol

The journey back to Seefeld runs, via the A12 motorway, through Telfs and Mösern before regaining the plateau.

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