Hike to the source of the Isar river

The source area of the Isar river can be found in the Hinterautal valley in the Tyrolean Karwendel Mountains. Beautiful wide paths lead us from Scharnitz through the gently rising valley.

Today we’d like to discover the source of the Isar river, where the crystal clear water is shimmering in turquoise colourations on the pebble. We start our hike at the parking space near the Wiesenhof tavern at the entrance of the Hinterautal valley (municipality of Scharnitz). A wide and mostly flat hiking and cycling path enters the valley, accompanied by the murmur of the Isar river. After a hike of 10 km in the Karwendel Alpine Park, the largest nature park of Austria, the valley opens up.

Cattle graze on the beautiful mountain pastures, and cairns (stone men made of loosely stacked stones) are located at the Isar riverbank. Information panels indicate that we’ve almost reached our destination: the Isar source.

The water wells out of the ground and joins the other streams and creeks of the valley to form the Isar river. The place is called “bei den Flüssen”, which means “at the rivers”, in this area various underground waters well out of the ground. Here we are surrounded by the shady forest and moss banks. Together with the soft roaring of the water it seems to be a really magical place in the middle of untouched nature.

Suggestion: to reach a rest point, you can walk another kilometre to the Kastenalm mountain hut. We also recommend bringing your own snacks and water.

Author: AT

Important: if you want to do this hike, please take information about the current conditions on site!

Starting point: Scharnitz, parking space near the Wiesenhof tavern (chargeable)
Destination: Isar source in the Hinterautal valley
Signposts: no. 224, “Isarursprung”
Distance: approx. 9.7 km (each direction)
Walking time: approx. 2.5 hours (each direction)
Altitude difference: approx. 230 m
Altitude level: between 1,020 and 1,170 m asl
Experienced in: June 2017

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