Alps Scenic Hikes - Bike and Hike to Birkkarspitz and to the Ödkarspitzen

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Alps Scenic Hikes - Bike and Hike to Birkkarspitz and to the Ödkarspitzen

The Birkkarspitze is a classic in the Karwendel. As a round tour with the three Ödkarspitzen and with Bike and Hike, it makes a great weekend tour with an overnight stay at the Karwendelhaus.


The tour starts in Scharnitz. There is a large parking lot near the Naturpark info center. If you start the tour only in the afternoon, the parking lot can be relatively full.

Hike and Bike Tour

On the first day of the tour, we cycle from Scharnitz to the Karwendelhaus. The next day, the tour goes via the Brendelsteig up to the three Ödkarspitzen and the Birkkarspitze. Via the Schlauchkar the hike leads back to the Karwendelhaus. Now comes the best part of the tour with the bike downhill back to Scharnitz. As a pure hiking tour, at least three days must be planned, as the ascent and descent to and from the Karwendelhaus take considerably longer.

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Cycling tour to the Karwendelhaus through the Karwendel valley

Tag 1: Scharnitz - Karwendelhaus

Our tour starts at the parking lot in Scharnitz. We have decided to do the tour as a bike and hike. The advantage is that the very long climb through the Karwendel valley can be shortened to a small mountain bike tour of about 2-3 hours. For the tour as a pure hike on the second day after the long mountain tour on Birkkarspitz and Ödkarspitzen still a long descent through the Karwendel valley must be mastered. This can be done comfortably by bike downhill without much effort.

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View back into the Karwendel valley from the Karwendelhaus

The mountain bike tour to the Karwendelhaus is easy and leads via a forest road in about 2 to 3 hours to our first destination of the day, the Karwendelhaus. The first part of the trail is a bit steeper, first on a tarred road past some houses and then on a forest road uphill through the forest. After a short time you reach a small viewpoint with a view into the gorge where the Karwendelbach flows deep below. Further up, the forest thins out a bit and the path becomes flatter and now leads through the Karwendel valley along the Karwendel stream. Here the view of the surrounding Karwendel peaks opens up. Relatively flat with only a few short steep climbs, the beautiful path leads to the end of the valley floor. From here you can already see the Karwendelhaus from which we now still separate a few meters of altitude. Now it gets significantly steeper. In some serpentines the forest road leads through the forest further uphill. This is probably the most strenuous part of the day. Further up, some curves open up the first views over the valley. At the top there are already some bicycles lined up on the rock. We put ours to it and first get us a piece of cake.

Tag 2: Ödkarspitzen and Birkkarspitze - Scharnitz

The hiking trail starts directly at the Karwendelhaus and leads uphill over a short, steeper rocky passage. Between the mountain pines it goes in the direction of Ödkarspitzen and Birkkarspitze, which can soon be seen from the hiking trail. After a short time we reach the junction where we have to decide in which direction the round trip should go. We have decided after recommendation of the hut host to make the tour clockwise, that is, we start via the Brendelsteig and take the descent over the scree field in the Schlauchkar. So we follow the path to the right. Over the Brendelsteig it goes at the foot of the Ödkarspitzen at the beginning easily and after a short time increasingly steep uphill. A first great distant view opens up when you reach the ridge. It is worth a short break for first photos with a view of the Karwendel valley.

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The hiking trail just above the Karwendelhaus
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Hiker on the hiking trail over the Ödkarspitzen

Here you meet the Toni Gaugg high trail, which continues towards Seekarlspitze. However, we turn left and follow the signpost to the Ödkarspitzen. From now on, the trail leads increasingly uphill over stony scree terrain. After about an hour you reach the first peak of the day, the western Ödkarspitze. The view is already very beautiful from here with a deep view into the Karwendel valley and Isar valley to the opposite Karwendel peaks Praxmarerkarspitze and Kaskarspitze . The further path leads with panoramic views and only a slight incline further to the Mittlere Ödkarspitze, the highest of the three Ödkarspitz peaks. Here it is worthwhile to take a short break with a view of our next destinations eastern Ödkarspitze and Birkkarspitze. Up to the eastern Ödkarspitze the path leads first downhill. From there, our last peak, the Birkkarspitze, presents itself directly opposite.

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View of the opposite Birkkarspitz peak

A steep trail, secured in short passages with wire rope, leads from the eastern Ödkarspitze down to a saddle. Here you have to pay attention to the trail markings in order not to get off the trail in the steep terrain. Arrived at the saddle, the ascent is as steep as the descent. Here, too, there are individual passages where you have to scramble a bit. After about half an hour we stand on our last summit and actually the goal of the day, the Birkkarspitze. From here, the view opens up further to the west and over the Schlauchkar in the direction of the Karwendelhaus. Here we take a well-deserved summit snack before we start our descent.

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View into the Karwendel valley from the summit of Birkkarspitze
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View along the Karwendel ridge from the Birkkarspitze

Down we go first on the same way as up back to the saddle. After this first steep descent, our path now leads through the Schlauchkar down to the Karwendelhaus. First over a steep then flattening scree field, the path stretches until you reach the height of the Mountain pines again. After one or two hours, you meet the turnoff towards Brendelsteig from this morning. Now it is not far to return to the Karwendelhaus via the already known path. Those who make it back before four o’clock can now treat themselves to a Kaiserschmarrn at the hut.

The fastest part of the tour now follows on the descent by mountain bike. Through the Karwendel valley, always downhill, the forest road from the previous day leads us back to Scharnitz at a rapid pace.


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