The Karwendel Mountains are well-known for their Karwendel Alpine Park, where the most impressive sycamore forest of Europe grows.
The Karwendel Mountains in the northern Limestone Alps are largely located on Austrian territory. A small part is situated in Bavaria in Germany: The denomination "Karwendel" thus describes the entire mountain range between the rivers Isar and Inn, and Lake Achensee. The peaks mainly consist of limestone and dolomite, which is particularly frequent in the Erlspitz Group. The main ridges are inclined versus south - their break lines form vertical rock faces of up to 1,000 metres.
On the southern side, however, there are large cirques - amphitheatre-like valleys formed by glacial erosion. The Karwendel Mountains border on the Bavarian pre-Alps, the Brandenberger and the Tux Alps, the Mieminger Mountains and the Wetterstein Mountains. In higher located cirques you can often observe packs of chamois, and around the Sonnjoch there are also ibexes.
Peaks: Among the most important mountains are the Birkkarspitze (2,749 m a.s.l.), which forms together with the three Ödkar Peaks a mighty massif in the centre of the Karwendel Mountains, the Frau Hitt (2,269 m a.s.l.), the Hafelekarspitze (2,334 m a.s.l.) and the Grosser Bettelwurf.
Trails: The Karwendel Mountains are a protected area: In fact, the Karwendel Alpine Park includes an area of 727 sqkm and is one of the largest nature parks of the Eastern Alps. Popular starting points for hikes are Mittenwald, Scharnitz, Seefeld, Pertisau and Hall in Tirol. The most popular fixed-rope routes are the ones of Innsbruck and Mieming. A classical hike, however, is the three-day tour from Scharnitz to Lake Achensee, which is characterised by an impressive landscape.