Follow the water on the Stubai Glacier

Summer | Family
created by Mela Hipp

Go hiking on the hottest day of the year? Yes, of course! Because there's no better place to escape the heat than high up in the mountains. So we lace up our hiking boots, pack our backpacks and take the gondola up to an altitude of over 3,000m. An eventful hike awaits us, during which we follow the water from the glacier down to the valley.

Even at the valley station of the 3S Eisgratbahn, the thermometer shows almost 20° C in the early morning. It's supposed to get over 35° C in the course of the day in Tyrol. "Hiking in this heat?" some people might think. But while it is oppressively hot in the valley, mild temperatures and clear air prevail up on the mountain. An ideal destination for hot days.

Wanderer mit Kraxe und Schild "Top of Tyrol" im Hintergrund

For our two-year-old daughter, the ride on the 3S Eisgratbahn and Schaufeljochbahn is already an experience in itself - a waterfall there, sheep there and then snow in summer! We start our family excursion at the Top of Tyrol summit platform at 3,210 metres, one of the most beautiful and impressive viewing points in the Tyrol. The 360° panoramic view couldn’t be any better on this sunny day, we can see more than a hundred 3,000m-peaks. And at the same time, we get an overview of the course of today’s hike.

We want to hike along the glacier path today and follow the course of the water on the Stubai Glacier. To do so, we take the gondola back to the Eisgrat station, the starting point for the hike. Before we start, our young hiker want to explore the Mammoth high-altitude playground at the Eisgrat of course and slide down the six-metre-high mammoth there. But now into the back carrier and off we go! We use the signposts towards the Dresdner Hütte to orientate ourselves and follow the impressive glacier polish and moraines of the Eisjoch Ferner. Occasionally we pass last snow snowfields, but with sturdy boots the trail is easy to master without any notable difficulties. Again and again, we change our line of sight - in front of us the peaks of the Stubai Valley, behind us the diminishing summit platform.

Wanderer macht auf einer Panoramaliege Pause

At the beginning, we are still hiking in snow, but the trail slowly changes to rock, which is criss-crossed by several watercourses. With great enthusiasm of our daughter, we have to cross smaller and larger rivulets before we arrive at the Fernau reservoir after about 2/3 of the tour. There we put down the back carrier and the rucksack and enjoy a small snack with best mountain views, before we continue our hike. 

This turns out to be a scenic surprise after a few minutes of walking, because suddenly we are walking on a green plateau, past a small lake - and through the middle of a flock of sheep. It is not easy to tear our daughter away from here. The last few metres of our tour take us along an easily accessible path through alpine roses with a constant view of the Dresdner Hütte and the Fernau middle station. Once we reach the bottom, we take one last look back up before we take the gondola back down into the valley.

However, our family excursion is not quite over yet. On the way back down the valley, we stop at the car park of the Grawa Alm on the glacier road to reach the Grawa waterfall in less than ten minutes walking time. It is considered the widest waterfall in the Eastern Alps and is an impressive natural spectacle, especially now, at the beginning of summer when large amounts of snow melt. We make ourselves comfortable for a while on the loungers of the wooden platform, enjoy the refreshing air and let our little one marvel with wide eyes for a while before we drive home, satisfied and tired from a varied day on the glacier.

Facts about the hike

  • Start: Eisgrat mountain station (2,900m)
  • Finish: Fernau mid-station (2,300m)
  • Altitude gain: 20 · altitude loss 600
  • Walking time: 1-1.5 hours without breaks
  • Intermediately difficult hike that requires sturdy boots throughout and sure-footedness on some sections
  • Possible for toddlers in a back carrier and for larger children
  • Rest stops at the starting and finishing points of the tour


The Stubai Glacier is not only a fantastic destination for family excursion on hot days, but also offer impressive hikes to lovely spots. With this packing list you are well equipped for a one-day hiking excursion, missing equipment can be rented on site.