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Kröndlhorn

A peak between sky and earth

At 2,444 m above sea level, Kröndlhorn is the highest mountain in the Brixental region. The summit is - contrary to what you might expect - adorned with a small, memorial chapel instead of a summit cross. The full-day tour takes you through an impressive alpinescape, with breathtaking views of up to seventy 3,000-metre peaks.

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Das Kröndlhorn in Westendorf

Details

  • checkType: Full-day tour

  • checkDuration: Approx. 7 hours

  • checkDistance: Approx. 13.5 km

  • checkHighest point: 2,444 m

  • checkElevation gain: 1,200 m

  • checkElevation loss: 1.200 m

  • checkLevel: Moderate/Red

  • checkEquipment: Sturdy hiking boots, provisions, weather-appropriate clothing

  • checkStarting point: Holzplatz/Krumbach car park in the Windautal Valley

Special waypoints:

  • The Rotwandalm mountain inn (1,597 m), at approx. 1/3 of the route, beckons you to stop for refreshment - typical alpine produce fresh from the proprietor's farm
  • The legendary Lake Reinkarsee at 2,194 m
  • The Kröndlhorn Chapel at 2,444 m, the highest "church" in the Kitzbühel Alps


Refreshment stops: Only on the Rotwandalm (on the first third of the trail on the ascent or the last third on the descent).

Kröndlhorn

  • directions_walkMediumLevel
  • access_time7:00 hDuration
  • arrow_right_alt13,5 kmDistance
  • terrain2444 mHighest point
  • trending_up1200 mUphill
  • trending_down1200 mDownhill
  • Details
  • On the trail to Kröndlhorn summit, 2,444 m
    The hike to Kröndlhorn summit takes you past Lake Reinkarsee.
  • Views of the Alps
    You can experience spectacular views on a hike to the highest peak in the region.
  • Awe-inspiring atmosphere
    Experience a special atmosphere when the sun rises and makes its way through the fog.
  • Mountains of the Kitzbüheler Alpen
    The Kitzbüheler Alpen are known for their green grassy mountains, but there are a few rocky exceptions.
  • Kröndlhorn summit
    At 2,444 metres above sea level, Kröndlhorn is the highest mountain in the resorts of Brixen, Kirchberg and Westendorf.
  • The highest church in the Kitzbüheler Alpen
    On the summit of Kröndlhorn there is no summit cross. Instead it has the highest church in the Kitzbüheler Alpen.
  • Sunrise at Lake Reinkarsee
    There is no better place watch the sun rise. The picture speaks for itself.

Via the natural jewel, Windautal Valley, to the starting point of the hike

Rotwandalm
The Windautal Valley is a southern tributary of the Brixental Valley, and is located in the resort of Westendorf in Tirol. The locals fondly refer to the valley as their "natural gem". The valley stretches a distance of 16 km and is lined with meadow after meadow. The picturesque landscape is nature at its finest, with only a few cosy mountain inns to break the tranquillity and offer a place of refreshment. There are no houses here.

The tour to the Kröndlhörn summit starts at the end of the valley basin. You should set aside an entire day to complete this hike. On a hot summer's day, it is recommended to start out early in the morning. You can start from either the Foisching car park or the Krumbach car park. Both car parks can be reached by car. A small toll of approx. € 3.00 is required to enter into the Windautal Valley. As you drive to the starting point, you'll be accompanied by the wild, romantic Windauer Ache - a small stream through the tributary valley. You'll also see a number of waterfalls - big and small - cascading down the mountains.

Via streams and forests up to alpine pastures

Sheep

Sheep

From the starting point, the first long section of the trail takes you mainly through forests. Your path is accompanied by the soothing sound of many small alpine brooks and streams. The water here is so pure and clear that you can safely drink it and replenish your water supply.

In the forests you'll come across clearings from where you can enjoy splendid views of the entire Windautal Valley. The beauty of the forest ensures that you won't mind spending a lot of time in it during the initial stage of the hike. Here, at the edge of Westendorf, you can experience the diversity of nature: rare ferns, lush mosses, ubiquitous mushrooms, fragrant conifers and enormous anthills.

With a little luck you can even spot roe deer, stags, birds of prey or other wildlife. The Windautal Valley is home to a rich variety of fauna and is a well-populated wildlife area. The Woipertouringer conservation project ensures that there are many protected areas throughout the Windautal Valley for the animal species living here. Local hunters regularly check the populations and take care of sick animals.

The further you walk towards the tree line, the more lush and green the alpine pastures will appear. Here you may encounter cows, goats and sheep. Occasionally, you can even spot horses or pigs in the alpine valley pastures. The valley's unspoilt nature, isolation from civilisation and the natural tranquillity offer perfect living conditions for various animal species. With a little luck, you may even see marmots scurrying across the trail or eagles circling in the sky.

Black as night - the legendary Lake Reinkarsee

Sunrise at Lake Reinkarsee
At 2,194 m above sea level, you'll come across one of the highlights of the trail - the deep-black, 1.5 ha Lake Reinkarsee. The lake flows south into the Windauer Ache, which you'll have already encountered at the start.

The alpinescape is particularly beautiful at this altitude. It is best to plan a sheltered break behind the hills and crests around the lake. Although the water temperature is rarely above 7 °C, some hard-boiled adventurers pluck up the courage to jump into the cold, clear water.By the way: At this point you are only around 500 m from the Salzburg border! The lake is famous, not only for its idyllic beauty high up in the mountains of the Kitzbühel Alps. There are also many mystical sagas about how the lake got its deep-black colour.

According to one legend, a former dairyman from the Reinkahralpe is said to have loathed and hated his farmers so much that he let his alpine pasture run down to a bare minimum. As a result, not much was left of the lush, productive alpine pasture. When he finally died, he was punished: he was banished to watch over the alpine pasture as a black bull for eternity. But even in the form of the black bull, he caused mischief and chased away all the animals of the alpine pasture. Incensed, the owner marched to the mountain pasture with two pious monks to finally banish the evil spirit.

'If you banish me from the lake, then Windau beware! Then I'll let the lake the out and you'll no longer see even the rooftop of a house.'

/media/idyllischer-see.jpg

... roared the black bull in a terrible voice.

However, this did not scare the two summoners. And so they began their exorcism and uttered their words of banishment. The bull then plunged into the water and has been trapped in it ever since.

Since then it has been said that the black colour of the water comes from the bull. People from Brixen, Kitzbühel, Sankt Johann and from the valleys often come to hear the bull roar. But he never emerges. But occasionally he will glance up, only with his eyes, and very devilishly.

The summit

Kröndlhorn summit
From Lake Reinkarsee the distance to the summit is no longer far. However, the climb still takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. From this point on, you can expect exposed passages, some of which are secured by rope railing. For the last section, you should definitely be sure-footed. The equipment requirement for this tour should be appropriate.

Upon reaching the summit, the effort made to get there is quickly forgotten. Contrary to what you might expect, the summit is not adorned with a summit cross, but with a small memorial chapel instead. Unfortunately, it has only space for two people. Death notices of the deceased are often hung up here. The highest "church" in the Kitzbühel Alps is in the perfect place for this: deep silence, infinite tranquillity, views that stretch hundreds of kilometres in to distance with an indescribable 360° panorama of over seventy 3,000-metre peak - so close to sky - a place to reflect.

There is also the (true) story of the chapel itself:
Many years ago a farmer lived with his wife in Westendorf. The two tried several times to start a family and have children - but to no avail. Fate brought them several stillbirths, one after the other. Eventually they succeeded and the wife gave birth to a living child. However, the newborn was so seriously ill that the doctors gave him little chance of survival. Out of desperation, the grief-stricken farmer prayed to God and made a promise to him: If the child survived and became well, he would build a memorial chapel at the highest point of the town, out of gratitude. - And so it happened.

"Anyone who thinks this is final highlight of the tour couldn't be more wrong!"

Sheep hut
As beautiful as it is at the summit of the Kröndlhorn, at some point you should think about the descent. The way down to the valley is still long. You should plan 3 hours for the walk downhill. However, you may want to plan additional time if you decide to opt for a refreshment stop at the next destination: Rotwandalm mountain inn.

To head to the Rotwandalm, return along the same trail from the summit to Lake Reinkarsee. The mountain inn is located shortly after the lake. Signposts clearly indicate where to turn off towards the Rotwandalm. Along the way you will pass a sheep pasture. The "sheep hut" here is often used by hikers to shelter from the weather, as required.

You'll notice that the landscape is now "greener" and more lively. Grasses and flowers are in adundance. Here and there small rivulets flow again and one can hear the buzzing of insects. During the summer, more than 100 sheep graze here. They love the untouched nature, the peace and the lush alpine pastures.
The further you follow the trail markings down towards the Rotwandalm, the more likely it is that goats will also appear in the alpine pasture. Then you know it's no longer far to a well-deserved hearty meal.

Next stop: Rotwandalm mountain inn

tropper_DSC0092_rotwandalm_so07 Kopie
The Rotwandalm mountain inn is situated in an idyllic location at the end of the Windautal Valley at 1,597 m. The view from the alpine pasture extends from the two sides of the valley to the Inntal Valley - on a clear day. The perfect place to rest and unwind.

Carola, the proprietor, ensures hikers can relax in a cosy alpine atmosphere. She has spent her summers on the Rotwandalm for many years and manages it together with a local farmer. And what a place a place to recharge: authentic, alpine, hard work, without the many modern devices - just like in times gone by. In addition to working with animals, Carola also produces her own butter (almost 5 kg per day), cheese and bacon. She even bakes the bread she serves her guests.

She likes to spoil hikers who stop by. If the Rotwandalm were not the only mountain inn in the area, you might even consider it an insider tip. She prepares the majority of the small menu herself, naturally with love.

So you should definitely plan a visit to the Rotwandalm. You can then linger a while on the alpine pasture. But remember: the way back to the starting point from here takes just under an hour, where you can see and experience many spectacular views again.

Hiking tips for Kröndlhorn

Below we offer you some important information to help you plan your Kröndlhorn tour, so that you can enjoy your hiking holiday in Westendorf. We would also be glad to offer you individual advice on this or other tours in the region.
For example, on using the Windautaler hiking taxi for your journey to the starting point. Find all the information about the beautiful and certified hiking region Brixental Valley and the activities available to explore. Would you like to go on the KAT Walk? If you love multi-day hikes - then we highly recommend these 6 stages. Simply read on!

How to get from Westendorf to the hike starting point

From the centre of Westendorf, take the Dorfstraße towards the golf course and follow the winding road for about 8 km. In Rettenbach cross the bridge and then turn left at the toll booth. Drive along the first asphalted and later unpaved toll road for the next almost 16 km past the Gamskogelhütte mountain inn to either the Foisching or Krumbach car park and park your vehicle there.

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