The Koasa Trail – Hiking in Tyrol
Koasa Trail – A hiking trail in Tyrol
The Koasa Trail revolves around the Wilder Kaiser, a mountain massif that is part of the Kaisergebirge. This consists of the aforementioned Wilder Kaiser, the Zahmen Kaiser and the Niederkaiser. It is located in the eastern Alps and is a magnet for hikers, mountaineers and climbers. The official Koasa Trail has only been around for a few years. It connects different hiking trails to a long distance hike of several days with a distance of 80 kilometres, so that you can easily discover the highlights of the Wilder Kaiser. Every day, a special natural setting is waiting for you, which will make the region grow ever closer to your heart.
And one more info in advance with a little outing: When I first read about the Koasa Trail, my inner voice elegantly emphasized “Ko-Asa Trail”. It stayed a few days until I used Google for some information and found out that Koasa is Austrian for Cesar (German: Kaiser). All I can say is: Facepalm, Barbara!
Koasa Trail – How to get there
- By plane: I recommend to travel within Europe by bus, train or if necessary by your own car. For the sake of completeness I would also like to mention that the Kitzbüheler Alps are easily accessible from three airports: Innsbruck Airport (INN) is 100 km away, Salzburg Airport (SZG) 60 km and Munich Airport (MUC) 160 km.
- By bus or train: Unfortunately there is no Flixbus to Sankt Johann in Tirol, but you can go to Innsbruck, Salzburg, Munich or Vienna and continue by train from there. St. Johann in Tirol has a stop for an express train and Oberndorf has a stop for regional trains. From Innsbruck you can expect about 80 minutes, from Salzburg about 30 minutes, from Munich about 2.5 hours and from Vienna about 5.5 hours.
- By car or motorbike: If you have your own vehicle or hire a car, the best way to get from Munich or Innsbruck is to take the A12 Inntal motorway and then the B178 from Salzburg via the A1 or A10 to the B178.
Koasa Trail – The stages
As already mentioned, the five stages of the Koasa Trail cover about 80 kilometres, where you will be rewarded for your efforts with breathtaking views of the Wilder Kaiser. Every day a highlight waits for you:
The tour starts at the Info Point in Sankt Johann. From there you walk down the street to the right, cross the Kitzbüheler Ache and leave the city shortly afterwards. After some time the ascent to the ridge of the Niederkaiser begins very slowly. It’s a good hour uphill – past the hermitage with the small chapel Maria Blut, where a nun shouted a happy “Grüß Gott” to me, and the Gmail chapel – until you reach the ridge at 1226 meters altitude. There you will be rewarded with a fantastic view – on your right you can admire the Wilder Kaiser and on your left you can enjoy the view down into the valley to St Johann in Tirol. On the other side it goes down again. A refreshing spritzer of herbs, peppermint or dandelion awaits you at the Bacheralm. Homemade, of course. And at more than fair prices of 2.50 euros for half a litre. From there it is not far to the small village of Gasteig. In about 1.5 hours you walk from there once around the Reitberg and then again 1.5 hours along the Kaiserbach in an idyllic scenery up to the Griesner Alm.
Highlight of the day: The Niederkaiserkamm! The view in both directions is so beautiful that I didn’t even know where to look first…
For the second stage you can choose between two variants. The first has a length of 10 kilometers and leads you to the Hunds- and Stripsenkopf. Then you run along the ridge over the peaks Tristecken, Feldberg and Wasserlahnerkopf and over the Gamsgraben back into the valley. However, I decided for the shorter variant 2 (during my stay there was still quite a lot of snow on the route of variant 1), where you run to the Fischbachalm and from there up to the mountain. When you reach the top, you pass the Vorderen and Hinteren Ranggen Alm, both of which unfortunately offer no hospitality. Then the descent back to the Griesner Alm begins. In the airy heights of the two alps you have a perfect view of the mighty steep walls of the Wilder Kaiser. When I was there, there was still so much snow that the mountains glittered and sparkled like diamonds in the sun.
Highlight of the day: The Kaiserbachtal! But for me, the sight of the mountains that were within my grasp on this stage was also a highlight that accompanied me all the way.
The third stage was a bit shorter for me because I spontaneously changed my accommodation. As beautiful as the Griesner Alm is, I still can’t do without Internet for two days. If you choose this accommodation, you will be stuck in a radio hole for two full days and even during the hike of the second stage you will at best have E-Net. So I moved to a hotel in Gasteig, which shortened stage 3 by about 5 kilometres. From Gasteig I went over the small village Hinterberg to the Teufelsgasse – a beautiful gorge, which the devil himself is said to have created, so that the sinful get lost in it. It had only been opened shortly before my arrival, because it had not been accessible before because of the masses of snow. Shortly after the Teufelsgasse a fantastic view of the valley opens up. After only a few bends you reach the Prostalm: a welcome refreshment is waiting for you here, along with another perfect view of the Wilder Kaiser. I took a good hour’s break before I climbed the last few metres up to the Prostkögel – the highest point of this stage. From there it was only downhill to Erpfendorf. Unfortunately I missed the turn-off because the sign had fallen down and I took a detour of about one kilometre to the neighbouring village of Weng. I admit that the descent with the detour was a physical challenge and the temperatures were around 30 degrees. I was more than happy when I finally got to the hotel and ended the day in the whirlpool.
Highlight of the day: The Teufelsgasse! The path is varied and offers a completely new landscape.
For the fourth stage you need endurance and I advise you to start very early. I started at 9am and it turned out to be quite late. The first kilometres make the stage seem harmless, as it goes through Erpfendorf and the neighbouring village without a strong ascent and then through the cool Griesbachklamm. At the end of the gorge you suddenly turn right and climb steeply through the forest. At the top, it’s not far to the Angerlalm, which not only provides the necessary refreshment, but at least has put a big grin on my lips: Several goats and a pig run around freely here and delight kids and grown ups alike. After about 45 minutes, I strapped on my backpack again and continued the ascent. It took me about 15 minutes to get to a gate that I opened. As I turned around, I saw a hiker just a few meters behind me, and I kept the gate open for him. He thanked me and immediately began to ask questions: “Where are you going?”, “Where are you coming from?”, “Are you on holiday? He quickly realized that we had the same path for a good three kilometers before he had to turn left and I had to turn right. He knew his way around incredibly well and even though his walking pace was too fast for me, I was happy about the company and his information about the trail and the surroundings. Nevertheless, I was also glad when our paths separated again. Because I was really out of breath through the fast pace uphill. When I looked into my app I got quite a shock: There were still 10 kilometres to my destination! Exhausted by the previous 9 kilometers and the brooding 33 degrees, before which I could hardly protect myself on the mountain ridge andw hen it went cross-country through the meadows, I went my way. I certainly took three more breaks, because I became more and more tired. Around 5pm I finally came to a road. At some point I met a herd of cows grazing peacefully on the side. Then I turned around the next bend. A black cow stood in the middle of the road and stared straight into my eyes. Suddenly she scratched with her hooves – like a bull ready to attack. I couldn’t really imagine that the cow would really attack, but as you know, better safe than sorry. So I flee under the fence into the high field on the other side of the road. The cow kept looking at me as I slowly fought my way through the high grass one step at a time. I was happy to leave the herd behind me and finally came near St. Johann. Shortly after 6pm I reached the hotel completely exhausted. It was my longest and most difficult hike ever.
Highlight of the day: The Griesbachklamm! Cool, beautiful and photogenic is this part of the Koasa Trail, which I liked best of all.
In consultation with my contact person from the Tirol Tourist Board I decided to take the last day slowly: Instead of the ascent I took the gondola to the Kitzbüheler Horn. The highlight of the day on stage 5 is a waterfall which you pass during the ascent. Unfortunately it was closed, so we would have had to bypass the area anyway. Therefore the gondola ride was an excellent alternative. From the gondola station to the Horn you can normally hike. However, this trail was still closed. The hard and long winter has really affected some stages of the Koasa Trail. Therefore this day trip consisted for me only of the descent to Oberndorf. Also the breaks at the two alps were nice: the Stanglalm and the Müllneralm.
Highlight of the day: Actually it should have been the waterfall as mentioned before, but as I couldn’t see it, my personal highlight was the gondola ride.
Koasa Trail – The hotels
The hotel where my hiking tour in Tyrol began and ended combines alpine love and luxury. Wood determines the public spaces. Be sure to bring your swimsuit! You shouldn’t miss the infinity pool with a view of the Wilder Kaiser. And if you prefer it dry, there is even a relaxation room with comfortable beds from which you can enjoy the panoramic view.
The Griesner Alm is a place where time seems to have stood still. There is neither WIFI nor mobile Internet, but lots of good air and good food. The Alm is ideal if you want to switch off for a few days – in the truest sense of the word. You should also be aware that if you book the trail as a package this alp is intended for two nights.
Although the Hotel Kramerhof is furnished in a rustic style, it still offers modern facilities. For the little ones there is an adjoining horse farm. But I admit that even I was quite excited to open my eyes in the morning and see some horses grazing peacefully in front of the window. I’ve never seen such a sight before.
I really liked the Vitalhotel Berghof. The name says it all, so you feel like you’re on a farm in the mountains, but the little things that make your stay unforgettable are still there: for example the spa area and the whirlpool. But also the fact that you are greeted with a cheerful smile by the boss himself makes you feel at home.
The hotel in Sankt Johann is modern and especially in winter very well situated as it has a lift directly behind the house. It is also ideal for the Koasa Trail hike. However, it is a chain hotel and not a small family business.
Koasa Trail – Conclusion
For me, the Koasa Trail was a special experience. Not only did it bring me as a sea lover closer to the mountains. It also gave me a welcome physical effort. I already mentioned in my Venice article that my mother left us a little over a month ago. Through this experience with death, I felt for the first time a certain joy to have sore muscles. It showed me that I was alive. That my body works the way it should. I also had the feeling that my mother accompanied me on this path and discovered the beauty of Tyrol together with me.
I made another experience for the first time and I was deeply surprised: Since this was my first hike for more than two days, I did not know how quickly the muscles got used to the daily effort. But already on the third day my sore muscles became noticeably less instead of more. Even after the 19 kilometres of the fourth stage, it wasn’t my muscles that failed me, but rather my general energy, which was quickly used up in the high temperatures and demanded a quieter day.
I am grateful and glad that I was able to walk the Koasa Trail and hope that I will soon return to this beautiful region to discover more hiking trails and natural sites.
PS: I was invited by the Tourist Association Kitzbüheler Alpen St. Johann in Tirol. My opinion was not influenced by this cooperation.
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