The Friesenberghaus Hike of the Zillertal Valley
The Friesenberghaus hike in the Zillertal Valley is a great choice for those that want to enjoy the scenic mountain landscape while visiting the Austrian Alps. If heading just to the Friesenberghaus or also including a stop at the Olperer Hut as well, this guide has you covered. Read on for all you need to know about taking part of the hike for yourself and what to expect along the way.
1) Friesenberghaus Facts
The Friesenberghaus itself is a hut located in the mountainside of the Zillertal Alps. During the summer months, you have the chance to eat, drink or even sleep overnight at the hut. To reach it though, you must make the way on your own by foot as you head up a hiking trail.
There are a few main ways to go about this hike to reach the Friesenberghaus, all of which start at Schlegeis Stausee lake:
1) Schlegeis Stausee → Friesenberghaus → Schlegeis Stausee (4 hours; same way up and down)
2) Schlegeis Stausee → Olpererhutte → Friesenberghaus → Schlegeis Stausee (6 hours; circular route)
3) Schlegeis Stausee → Friesenberghaus → Olpererhutte → Schlegeis Stausee (6 hours; circular route reverse).
Since most people do combine the Friesenberghaus along with a stop at the Olpererhutte, I will go about the guide with that in mind. Below are some helpful points to note for this circular route:
Hike Name: Olpererhutte → Friesenberghaus
Trail #: 502 → 526 → 532
Starting & Ending Point: Schlegeis Stausee Parking Lot
Length: 14 KM / 8.7 Miles
Duration: 5-6 Hours
Elevation Gain: 850 Meters / 2,790 Feet
Terrain: Packed Dirt & Rocky Uneven Terrain
Difficulty: Medium / Hard
The portions of the hike from the lake to the Olpererhutte, and from the Friesenberghaus to the lake, have pretty manageable terrain. However, the route in between the two huts from the Olpererhutte to the Friesenberghaus is a more dangerous rocky, uneven path.
2) Friesenberghaus Hike Map
Below is a screenshot from the Maps.me app that shows the circular route starting at the lake and making the clockwise hike towards the two huts, and then wrapping back around down to the lake.
3) How to Reach the Schlegeis Stausee Parking Lot
There are a couple main ways to get yourself to the starting point of the Friesenberghaus hike at the Schleigeis Stausee Parking Lot. You can either choose to head there by driving in your own or you can hop on the local bus.
Driving Your Car
There are two parking lot locations near the trailhead. One smaller lot directly in front of the start of the hike and a larger parking lot another minute drive down the road. If there is space in the smaller lot, it would make more sense to park there. If not, you will just need to walk another 10 minutes or so to the trailhead from the main lot.
Note that you will need to pay a toll of 12 Euro to access the Schlegeis Alpenstrasse Alpine Road that goes to the Schlegeis area. The toll booth is about 15 minutes prior to reaching the Schlegeis area.
Taking The Bus
On the other hand, if coming by bus you can take the seasonal 4102 route (~May to September) that runs from Mayrhofen to Schlegeis Stausee. If coming from another town/city, try to get yourself to Mayrhofen by bus or train and make your way from there.
» Note that the road to get to the Schlegeis area is only open from around mid May to October so taking part of the hike outside of these months will not be possible.
» If you have more time in the area, you can also check out the adrenaline options near the lake. This Schlegeis 131 Guide will go over it all for you.
» The map below shows the location of the two parking lots, the trailhead (and trail ending point), the Olperer Hut and Friesenberghaus.
4) What to Bring on the Hike
If you are wondering what to bring along when taking part of hikes in general take a look at the comprehensive Hiking Packing List that I put together. It includes everything I bring along on day hikes, and it will have you better prepared when taking part of trails all over Austria. The list includes several different essentials such as:
Hiking Shoes | Keen Targhee
Water Bottle | CamelBak Chute
Action Camera | GoPro Hero 8
Rain Jacket | Columbia Watertight II
Backpack Rain Cover | Joy Walker Cover
Portable Charger | Anker Powercore
Hiking Backpack | Osprey Talon 22
5) Where to Stay in Mayrhofen
There are many small towns to stay in when visiting the Zillertal Valley and the Schlegeis Stausee area in particular. I would recommend staying in the town of Mayrhofen though as it does have a good amount of choices when it comes to accommodation and it is also very centrally located to many different activities around the area.
Since Mayrhofen is a relatively small valley town, no matter where you stay in it, you will be at most a 20 minute walk to restaurants, bars, the cable cars, and the train station. The drive from Mayrhofen to the start of the hike is just about 35 minutes. Below are some great options to choose from depending on your budget:
6) The Friesenberghaus Hike of the Zillertal Valley
I will break up the hike in the three main parts – from the lake to the Olpererhutte, from the Olpererhutte to the Friesenberghaus, and finally from the Friesenberghaus back down to the lake.
A) Schlegeis Stausee to Olpererhutte
You will start off the hike by following the signs for trail #502 to the Olpererhutte. This portion of trail will zig zag up the mountainside, through the forest, and up over Schlegeis Stausee. As you begin to get higher, the views will start to get even better as more of the surrounding mountains and glaciers come into view.
Eventually you will see the Olpererhutte out in the distance and you just need to follow the trail past the flowing streams until you reach the hut itself.
This part of the trail will be where most of the elevation gain will be coming from. Getting up from the lake to the hut is a change of 600 meters / 1,969 feet so it can get quite tough at times.
» You can read a bit more detail about this first portion of the climb in the Olpererhutte Hiking Guide up on the site.
B) Olpererhutte to Friesenberghaus
After enjoying the first hut for a bit, relaxing and taking in the view, you can continue on to the Friesenberghaus. Simply start following the signs on route number 526 pointing you in the right direction.
Soon after you leave the Olpererhutte though, you will come across one of the highlights of the hike – the Schlegeis suspension bridge. This short bridge is built on top of the flowing river with the lake, mountains, and glaciers out in the distance. When it comes to views, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Once you pass the bridge though, the terrain will get much more technical from time to time. Instead of having a nice packed dirt path to follow, you will need to walk on uneven rocks throughout durations of the trail.
Here you will need to be on the lookout for the red marked rocks, which will help you understand the route to take. Be very careful here and take things slowly since walking on this uneven terrain can be quite dangerous.
As you walk further along you will be able to enjoy some new views of the Zillertal Valley out in the distance with Schlegeis Stausee now in your rear view mirror.
As you continue along the rocky terrain, you eventually will see the Friesenberghaus out in the distance right next to a small lake off to the side. You will reach a point where you will now have to head downhill on a loose dirt/rocky path zig zagging down to reach the Friesenberghaus.
This portion of the trail can also be quite dangerous as the terrain can be a bit slippery especially with it going downhill. After around a half hour or so of decline you will reach the Friesenberghaus, where you can sit back and relax now that you have completed the toughest parts of the hike.
C) Friesenberghaus to Schlegeis Stausee
Now that you have visited both huts, it is time to head all the way back down to the starting point of the hike near Schlegeis Stausee. From the hut you will now need to follow the signs on route #532 down to the bottom.
The hike down is as scenic as it gets. You will be walking down a beautiful green valley with a river running right through it as you take in the views of the surrounding mountains and the lake out in the distance.
It is also nice that you now will find an easier path here to follow that wraps around and down the valley. The route will be much less technical than some of the previous portions of trail.
At one point you will cross over a small bridge that goes over the river as you make your way to the other side of the valley. This path then starts to wrap around the mountain as you begin to walk towards Schlegeis Stausee.
You will begin to get lower and lower, as you get closer to the lake and soon will be surrounded by more forest greenery all around. After passing by some more rivers and waterfalls coming down from the side of the mountain, you will soon reach the ending point of the trail near the front of the lake.
Note: if you just want to head to the Friesenberghaus and not complete the circular route including the Olpererhutte, then this is where you will want to catch the trail up.
From the exit point of the trail it is a nice walk alongside the lake, as you walk the street back to the original parking lot from the beginning of the day. After seeing the lake from above for the entirety of the day, it is quite nice getting right up close to it as well.
Now that you have a better idea on how to take part of the hike to the Friesenberghaus, it is time to head on over there on your own. If you have any questions or comments about the hike, be sure to write them in below.
Be sure to also check out the other Austria itineraries and guides up on the site. Have fun out there and safe travels!