It’s summer, it’s weekend and the temperatures are perfect for a hiking trip. This time we explore the region of Vorarlberg in Austria for four days. We stay in hotels but we also overnight in the mountain hut called Freiburger hut. There is plenty to see in the area. In this post we tell you more about the night in a mountain hut, the fossilized sea high up in the mountains and a secret waterfall.
The night in the dormitory at the Freiburger hut was pretty cool. It brings back memories. When we were in school we went to ski or summer camps each year. To be honest, I did not like to sleep in dormitories so much. Well, that’s quite a while ago. But it’s definitely worth a try staying overnight in a mountain hut.
We are the first ones going to bed in our room tonight. There are five beds and four of them are occupied. It feels like being in a private room until the moment when the others join us. Luckily no one is snoring and we enjoy a pretty quiet night, even if there are two others sleeping in the same room.
Even if we are not eager to share a room, there is something special about a night in a mountain hut. You wake up and it’s totally quiet outside. We’re in the middle of nature, no traffic noise, just tranquility.
Fancy a night in a mountain hut? Check out the Freiburger hut. You get there from Dalaas or Lech. Coming from Dalaas you can hike up to the hut on the Stebok-Wäg or from Lech on the Lechweg via Lake Formarin.
Here is a short video of our hiking days in Austria:
If you like riding a mountain bike, there are also bike routes to the Formarinsee and further on to the Freiburger hut. Even if you don’t like hiking, you can still access the Freiburger hut. Take the hiking bus from Lech which stops at the parking close to Lake Formarin. From there it’s only a short walk to the hut.
After living more than a year on a small island we really enjoy hiking. Therefore we did the hike from Lech to the Freiburger along the Lechweg. It takes about four hours to do the 14 km and it’s totally worth it. The trail leads all along the Lech River and the landscape is changing constantly. Are you interested in doing the hike on the Lechweg to Lake Formarin? Details here.
What is a fossilized sea doing in the middle of the mountains?
After a hearty breakfast in the Freiburger hut we are full of energy. In about two hours our hiking guide Andrea will pick us up. We’ve got two hours before she’s coming. Enough time to explore a bit more of the area. Right behind the Freiburger hut a hiking trail is leading to the fossilized sea.
OK, let’s go. The first 15 minutes are quite exhausting. The trail starts steep but once on the top, it’s an easy trail with beautiful scenery. The panoramic view is stunning and we can’t help but taking lots of pictures and enjoy the moment.
The rocks are rich on ammonites and other fossils which are proof that a tropical sea was right here about 145 million years ago. Today you will only see mountains and rocks but if you look closely, you can find proof in form of fossilized creatures and shells.
Pssst… what was that? We hear a whistle in the far distance. And again, there it is. The whistle is getting louder and then we see where it comes from. There is a groundhog. Once we see the first one, we see them everywhere. The cute groundhogs are very active and run from one cave to the other. We are lucky and one of the groundhogs is posing for a photograph.
It’s time to go back to the Freiburger hut. We have an appointment in about an hour with Andrea, our hiking guide, who is joining us for the hike on the Stebok-Wäg down to Dalaas in the valley of Klostertal.
We have two options getting from the fossilized sea back to the Freiburger hut. We either take the same route or take the longer route from the fossilized sea to the Alpe Formarin and along the Lake Formarin back to the hut. As we run out of time, we take the same route back. If you do the round tour you should calculate approximately three hours.
Mountains and wildlife
You like mountains but you also want to see more wildlife? How about a hiking tour to the Red Wall, where you have the chance to observe Capricorns in the wild. A population of about 400 Capricorns is living in the area of the Red Wall. That’s the biggest Capricorn colony in Europe. The round tour takes about 6.5 hours.
From the Freiburger hut you’ve got plenty of hiking options. Outdoor fans can choose from shorts hikes to full day tours.
Hiking on the “Stebok-Wäg” trail to Dalaas in the Klostertal
The Stebok-Wäg has been opened this summer. “Stebok” is the name for Capricorn in German and “Wäg” means trail. The Stebok-Wäg is a theme trail and the official start is in the valley in Mason, which is located above of the village Dalaas. It doesn’t matter in which direction you walk the “Stebok-Wäg” trail. There are nine stations with great information about the area. If you want to hike on the Stebok-Wäg just follow the Capricorn signs.
Andrea, our hiking guide, is already waiting for us when we get back from our hike from the fossilized sea. She is a local and knows the area by heart. Not only is she an expert of the area but also knows a lot about the plants and their medical effects.
The trail is steep. Within three hours we descend from 1‘931 meters to 835 meters down in the valley. That is more than 1‘000 meters which we overcome. Luckily, we did hike the last two day and our muscles got some training already.
While we hike down the Stebok-Wäg Andrea tells us lots of interesting stories about life in the valley. It’s pretty interesting to hear all these stories from a local.
A secret waterfall off the path
We’ve got something for you. A little secret. Along the Stebok-Wäg there is an amazing waterfall. We are not too excited about waterfalls anymore. We have seen so many on our travels through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and so often we checked out the longest, widest and biggest waterfall. But Andrea has convinced us that this waterfall is something special.
It’s impossible to find the way to the falls by your own. There is no sign or track and we just walk off the track into the bush. Luckily Andrea knows exactly where to go. We can hear the water but we can’t see a thing. It takes a while until we get there but then, wow. Once we arrive at the waterfall, we feel like we’re the only people on the planet. We’re in the middle of this beautiful nature and the waterfall is a fantastic and spectacular sight.
We are extremely happy that Andrea brought us to the Schmittenbach falls.
Do not look for the trail yourself. You can’t find it and it’s really not recommended to go off the path on your own. If you go with a guide you can ask if she or he can bring you to the falls.
There is some good news. Klostertal Tourism is planning to add the Schmittenbach falls as an impressive water place to their program. The project is called alpine water world. If you are in the area, check with Klostertal Tourism about the progress of the project.
About half an hour later we reach the starting point of the Stebok-Wäg. Officially the Stebok-Wäg starts here and goes all the way up to the Freiburger hut.
Another 45-minute walk and we reach Dalaas, a village in the Klostertal.
Facts about the Stebok-Wäg
If you arrive with your own car, you can park at the Kristbergsaal in Dalaas or in Mason. You can also get to Dalaas by taxi or bus. Check with the information center in Dalaas for more information.
It takes about 3 hours from Mason (close to Dalaas) or 3:30 hours from Dalaas up to the Freiburger hut. The hiking trail is marked with white-red-white paint.
The Stebok-Wäg is a theme trail where you can learn a lot about agriculture and the life in the mountain region. Look around when you walk. You can observe lots of animals, flowers and the geology is interesting too.
Our hiking guide knows the area by heart. Thanks to her we get a lot of insider knowledge about the area. Do you fancy a private tour? The Klostertal Tourism office in Dalaas can organize guided hiking tours. Give it a try. It’s totally worth it.
Check Klostertal Tourism for more information about the area.
Staying overnight at the Freiburger hut
The Freiburger Hut is located 1‘931 Meter above sea level and is open from mid June until beginning of October
Hut managers: Kathrin and Florian Mittermayr
The friendly couple with their team are great hosts. There is a personal touch and the interior is made with love.
They offer delicious and hearty food, a great breakfast buffet and a terrace with an amazing view.
Don’t miss to go to the toilet if you stop at the Freiburger hut. Not just the view is fabulous but also the quotes written on the doors and walls.
How much is a night at Freiburger hut?
- Bed in dormitory in different categories from EUR 19-23 adults, EUR 6-16 children
How much is breakfast or half board?
- Breakfast EUR 12 adults, EUR 7 children up to 12 years, EUR 5 children up to 5 years
- Half board (dinner & breakfast) EUR 27 adults, EUR 15 children up to 12 years
You find more details about the Freiburger hut on the official website www.freiburger-huette.at (in German only)
We also did these two hikes that could be of your interest:
- Hiking from Lech to Lake Formarin, the most beautiful place in Austria
- Hiking in Lech – From the Rüfikopf along the Green Ring
Do you have hiking tips you want to share? We’d love to hear from you. Just write a comment below. Thank you.
We were invited to this trip by Österreich Werbung, Klostertal Tourism and Lech Zürs Tourism. Thank you for the invitation. We promise our readers that we write what we think and our opinion is not influenced by this invitation.