Zirbenweg Innsbruck – How to Easily Hike This High Alpine Trail

You can get addicted to the views

The Zirbenweg trail overlooking Innsbruck and the Inn Valley is a popular hiking trail for many reasons. Not only does it offer beautiful views of the valley and Nordkette mountain range on the opposite side, but it is relatively short and easy thanks to taking a cable car to the start.

We started hiking the Zirbenweg when our son was five years old and still return as often as we can with visiting family and friends. It´s one of the best trails for kids to start hiking in Austria.


Zirbenweg Basics

Distance7 km
Hiking time2 to 3 hours
Difference in altitude+/- 200m
Start and/or endPatscherkofel and Glungezer mountain stations
Hiking seasonMay to October
Cable cars and bus ticket€35 (more prices below)

Zirbenweg Innsbruck Trail Description

The Zirbenweg trail winds its way at an altitude of about 2,000m between the Patscherkofel and Glungezer cable car mountain stations. Most people, including us, start at Patscherkofel. Our main consideration is that we like to end at the Tulfeinalm (2,035m), one of our favourite mountain restaurants, and take the cable car home from there.

The views from the Patscherkofel cable car gives you a preview of what to expect on the trail.

Welcoming Start

From the Patscherkofel cable car mountain station (1,964m) the start of the trail is clearly marked with a wooden sign welcoming you: “Wilkommen am Zirbenweg”. It is also possible to be met by a welcoming committee of cows, as we were on our last hike. They are nothing to be afraid of, just make your way around them quietly while keeping an eye out for any sudden, unexpected behaviour.

Inn Valley views from the Zirbenweg

The first part of the Zirbenweg trail offers excellent views down the Inn Valley and on the Nordkette mountain range. The path is wide and even, allowing for your eyes to roam over the surrounding scenery. There is ample opportunity to wander off the main path to viewing points with benches.

Boscheben Snack Bar

When you reach a plateau where the trail swerves right past a Roman Catholic relic on a tree, you know you are getting closer to Alpengasthof Boscheben (2,035m). After this, there is a sharp turn to the left from where it is only minutes before you reach this mountain snack bar.

Boscheben isn’t directly next to the Zirbenweg trail but you can’t miss it about 50m in along a path turning off to your right. You are welcomed by a friendly face behind a self-service window.

Restaurant Boscheben

Boscheben isn’t directly next to the Zirbenweg trail but you can’t miss it about 50m in along a path turning off to your right. You are welcomed by a friendly face behind a self-service window.

Diverse Landscapes

From Boscheben, the trail enters the forest. Sure-footedness is needed here due to the path becoming narrower. There is a steep embankment on one side, and a few small rocks and tree roots to step over or around. After leaving the forest, the trail continues over a rocky patch. Although there are no faraway views, I love this stretch in the shade of the trees and rocks until you turn left at a T-junction.

A little hill awaits, after which the Inn Valley once again lies open in front of you. Now there are only about 1,25 hours left to the Tulfeinalm.

Stone Pine Trail Innsbruck
Views over the Inn Valley toward Kufstein.

Oldest Living Stone Pine

The next stretch of the Zirbenweg trail is characterized by thick shrubs. In August, there are blueberries to be picked. The boys decided they needed enough to make jam and emptied a packet of cashew nuts to put their harvest in.

Information boards in German and English (unfortunately, sometimes German only) give interesting facts about the geology and the vegetation along the trail. At one spot, there is a wooden “peephole” through which you should see a 750-year old stone pine, the oldest living tree in Tyrol. Call us blind, but none of us can say for sure that we did see the tree in question.

Over a stream, up a short hill, past some huge rocks, and the Tulfeinalm appears in the distance. But before you get to it, you might want to have a look inside the little chapel to your right. Or quench your thirst at the water fountain on the left (also the cow’s drinking place).

Schnapps and Kaspressknödel at the Tulfeinalm

The Tulfeinalm is one of our favourite mountain restaurants. Not only is it close to home, but the traditional food and service count among the best in the Alps. And before you finally head home, do try a Schnapps!

Interesting Facts

  • The 750-year old stone pine is in a natural forest in what is called the Ampass Basin. It is believed to have sprouted to life at the beginning of the Habsburg Dynasty around 1273 and was declared a national monument in 1926.
  • The Zirbenweg trail is open roughly from the end of May to the end of October. On our first hike in June 2013, we even had a patch of snow to cross.
  • No less than 400 Alpine peaks can be seen from the Zirbenweg trail.
  • The Austrian stone pine (Zirbe in German) is a popular type of wood that only grows 1800m above sea level. Its scent is said to have a stress-relieving effect.

Tips for Hiking the Zirbenweg

  • Allow 3 hours to hike the Zirbenweg trail at a leisurely pace, resting and taking in the scenery.
  • Look out for the sign after every kilometre that tells you how far you have left. It is a welcome encouragement for kids.
  • Try to start out as early as possible. Not only will you miss the worst heat of the day on a hot day, but you are also less likely to meet too many other hikers on the trail.
  • If you are flexible and the weather allows it, avoid walking on a Sunday when the trail is at its busiest.
  • Take cash – the Tulfeinalm and Alpengasthof Boscheben have no credit card facilities.
  • The weather in the Alps can change in minutes. Make sure you know the science behind packing for hiking before you set off.

Getting to the Start/Finish

Regardless of where you choose to start your hike, there is a regular bus running between the Patscherkofel and the Glungezer cable car stations from June to October (see below).

If you are coming by car and want to start your hike at Patscherkofel, it is best to leave your car in the parking area at Glungezer (free of charge) and take the bus to the start. This way, you can simply head home when you are done.

If you are using public transport from Innsbruck, the J Bus gets to Patscherkofel in 15 minutes. From Tulfes, you can get Bus 4134 back to Innsbruck.

Zirbenweg Ticket Prices

PricesAdultYouth Child
Cable cars with bus€35,50€28,50€21
Cable cars only€32€25,50€18,50

Youth = 16-18 years old

Child = 6-15 years old

Cable Car Operating Times

Patscherkofel09:00 – 17:00
Glungezer08:30 – 17:00
  • During the summer months, the Glungezerbahn also runs until 22:00 on Tuesday nights and the Patscherkofelbahn until 23:00 on Thursday nights.

Zirbenweg Bus

Buses 4132 and 4134 travel several times per day between the Glungezerbahn and Patscherkofel base stations. Sometimes it´s a direct connection and sometimes you need to change once along the way. Ask the bus driver which is the case when you get on.

Here is the bus timetable until 8 July 2023. From 9 July 2023, a new bus line with numbers 530 and 540 will operate between Glungezer and Patscherkofel, with a change-over at Aldrans Fagslung.

Bus Tickets

The bus tickets are either included in the Zirbenweg ticket, in which case you need to buy at one of the two cable car stations before getting onto the bus. It´s also possible to buy the tickets on the bus.

Where to Stay

If you want to stay close to the start of finish of the Innsbruck stone pine trail, the villages of Igls and Tulfes are good options. Use the deal finder below to see what your options are.



Having fun in Austria, and then writing about it is hard work 😆 . That’s why some links in this article are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use any of them to make a purchase. It’s totally cool if you don’t. I love to help anyway. If you do, it will help us discover another part of Austria to write about.

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About Linda de Beer 91 Articles
Name: Linda de Beer Profession: Travel blogger and freelance writer
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Oh my gosh, what incredible views! It’s great there are places to stop at for beer and food. Beautiful pictures also!

Divyakshi Gupta

A 750 year old pine forest! Wow! With such stunning views and natural delights like blueberries on the way, this one is super captivating! 🙂 the restro with a view looks tempting. I’d love to do this someday. Pines are love! ❤️Being an easy one, seems doable for beginnwnrs like me 🙂

Marcus and Mel

The views of the Alps are amazing and it is a great destination in the summer. The Tulfeinalm restaurant and beer look like a good way to complete a hike.


The Zirbenweg Looks like a lovely afternoon hike! The landscape is really beautiful! I had (and loved) Knödel before, but i never heard about the Schlutzkrapfen – I have to try them 😀 Awesome post, thank you for sharing it.

Siddhartha Joshi

I think it’s fascinating to walk a trail lined by Europe’s oldest and largest stone pine population…and with views like the ones you’ve shared makes the journey even more wonderful 🙂

I haven’t been to Austria yet, but might visit later this year…I wonder if it’s good to visit in winters too…


Love the detailed research. The Austrian Alps are beautiful, and I love hiking, so it is a perfect combo. I also like that I can grab a beer and maybe a sausage while taking in a view. Works for me!


So awesome to read about trekking and hiking trails around the world. Of course the views are stunning and breaks at those restaurants with some beers will be truly refreshing. I noticed the food looks super yummy too. So cool to have those binoculars in the way. I’ve never seen that on a trail before. Would love to do this one day.

Red Nomad OZ (Marion Halliday)

Wow! You’re so lucky to be close to such a brilliant walk – but the altitude is not that much lower than the highest point in Australia (2228 m)!!! Also in Australia there are not many walks with food/beer stops along the way – I’m sure hiking would be a lot more popular if there were, haha!

Punita Malhotra

The hiking trail is breathtaking. Though I’m not cut out for heavy hiking, this seems very doable for me. The eating joints with those amazing views, and fresh mountain air are very appealing.

Megan Jerrard

Definitely says something about the hike if you return every year – thanks for sharing your photos and info! Thanks for the tip to keep an eye out for Catholic relics along the way – makes it even more of an interesting hike – I love that there are pit stops you can take for breaks along the way.

Seriously stunning views – haha though I think finding the 750 year old pine through that peephole looks like somewhat of a needle in a haystack case! The Tulfeinalm looks like a great mountain restaurant – I’ll definitely make this trip!

Deborah Regen

Love it all! Such gorgeous scenery! Pinned.