Vals in Nordtirol

Part of the municipality of Vals in Nordtirol, extending to the Tux Main Ridge, is the 6 km long Valsertal valley.

Altitude: 1,129 m asl

The Valsertal valley leads to the Schmirntal valley at St. Jodok, and together with this valley it leads to the Wipptal valley at Stafflach. The chief city of the municipality, the parish hamlet St. Jodok, belongs to the municipality of Vals in Nordtirol (southern part) and the municipality of Schmirn (northern part). Its name derives from the Saint Jodok, whose crown is illustrated on the emblem of the village. The black wedge, however, is meant to represent the Valsertal valley.

Vals has got a turbulent history: it was first mentioned in 1313 AD as “Valles”, deriving from “vallis”, the Latin term for valley. In Mediaeval times marble has been quarried in the valley, a material that was applied for the floor of the Imperial Court and the Dome of Innsbruck. When the pest almost rendered extinct the entire population of the Valsertal valley, it was resettled by the inhabitants of neighbouring villages. The year 1809 was the year of the Battles of Bergisel, and also the Valsertal valley was combat area. In National Socialism many detainees were employed to exploit molybdenum at an altitude of 3,000 m asl, despite of the fact that the deposit was relatively small. Also in this period of time, in 1942, great part of the valley was placed under natural protection in order to preserve the variety of vegetation. In 2001 the head of the valley was declared a “Natura 2000″ area as a consequence of a new ordinance.

The Valsertal valley is probably one of the most pristine side valleys of the Wipptal valley. In order to enjoy this beautiful landscape to the fullest, guided tours, wild animal watching, bat catching nights and snowshoeing tours in winter are offered. Worthwhile is also the protected grey alder forest at the head of the valley, where rare plant and animal species have their natural habitat. In winter there is a ski lift which is perfect for beginners, the 5 km long Vals Eben cross-country ski trail, as well as the two toboggan runs Padaun - Klammergrad (3 km long) and Schwarzer Brunnen (Black Fountain, 2 km long).

Our recommendation: to those who love mountaineering we absolutely recommend a hike to the Geraerhütte refuge (2,324 m asl), located in the western Zillertal Alps and embedded between the rock faces of the Olperer, Fussstein and the Schrammacher mountains!

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