Seebensee hike

Seebensee – Drachensee Hike in Ehrwald, Austria

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Seebensee (Lake Seeben) is one of the most picturesque mountain lakes in Tyrol, Austria. It will come as no surprise that the Seebensee hike is extremely popular, attracting lots of people. But there is so much more to explore in this beautiful area than just this lake!

You can also hike to Coburger Hütte, located just above the Seebensee lake. From there, you have an incredible view of the Drachensee – another stunning mountain lake just nearby. If you hike even further, in the direction of the Tajatörl mountain peak, you have the most stunning views of both these lakes from above…

In this article, you can find all the practical information, a map, and read about our experience hiking to Seebensee and Drachensee. This is one of the most beautiful things to do in Ehrwald, Tiroler Zugspitz Arena and it’s also one of the most beautiful easy day hikes in Austria. Find out!

READ ALSO: Tiroler Zugspitz Arena in Summer

Zugspitze mountain reflections on Seebensee lake
Zugspitze mountain reflections on Seebensee lake
 

Seebensee Drachensee Hike Practical Information & Map

  • Start/end point: Ehrwalder Alm. Top station of Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car (see map).
  • Furthest point: Drachensee lake
  • Difficulty: Easy/ Medium
  • Hiking time: 2-2.5 hours one way, so 4-5 hours total
  • Distance: 7 km one way to Drachensee and 7 km back down
  • Elevation gain: 152m to Seebensee or 412m to Coburger Hut

Good to know: Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station altitude is 1.505m. Seebensee – 1.657m. Coburger Hut – 1.917 m.

The trail to Seebensee is easy and accessible to mountain bikes and also to strollers with big wheels. If you only hike to Seebensee lake, count 1.5 – 2 hours each way, so 3-4 hours total hiking time.

Coburger Hut/ Drachensee hike is a serious climb of about 260 meters altitude over a rather short distance. Count additional 30-45 minutes to get to Coburger Hut from Seebensee.

Below, you can see the map of the Seebensee hike, including the hike to Drachensee, plus a longer loop alternative that we describe below.

Seebensee and Coburger Hut hiking map
Click on the map to enlarge. The yellow line indicates the main hiking trail to Seebensee. A thinner yellow line shows the hike to Drachensee. The dotted line is the alternative alpine track. The orange line shows the entire loop via Tajatörl.
 

Good to know: Instead of making this hike in one direction and back the same way (Ehrwalder Alm – Seebensee – Coburger Hütte – Drachensee and back), you can also opt to continue to Tajatörl mountain, which is another 340 meters higher. From there, you can make a circular hike back down to Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station. If you do this entire loop hike, count at least 5-6 hours walking time. Otherwise, it’s about 4-5 hours of hiking time.

Our experience: We have hiked to Seebensee twice. The first time was a few years ago when we visited Tiroler Zugspitz Arena for the first time. However, during that trip, the weather wasn’t great and we got caught in a serious downpour right after reaching the lake. We had no choice but to turn back down at that time, so we couldn’t appreciate all the beautiful scenery…

Our second time hiking to Seebensee was very different. We had the most beautiful weather and sunshine the entire time. This time, we hiked not only to Seebensee lake but also all the way to Coburger Hütte and Drachensee lake. In this article, I share our experience with this hike. See all the details below!

Drachensee lake
Drachensee
 

Ehrwalder Almbahn

Seebensee hike starts at Bergstation Ehrwalder Alm, the upper station of Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car. You can hike up here from Ehrwald, but that would add more than an hour and a serious climb to your day. So I highly recommend that you save your time and energy and take a cable car instead.

There is a huge parking area at the bottom station of Ehrwalder Almbahn and parking is free of charge. Otherwise, if you are staying nearby, you can also walk here or take a public bus.

Good to know: The hike starts and ends at the summit cable car station. So it’s best to get a round-trip ticket. You can also hike up there or back down, but it’s a long and not extremely rewarding hike that would add a lot of walking to your day. The views around Seebensee are worth your time and effort much more!

In the summer season, the cable car operates daily from 8.30 AM to 4.40-5.30 PM. Here you can find practical information, opening times, and ticket prices.

Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car
Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car
Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain cable car station
Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain cable car station. Once here, just walk straight, with this big building and restaurant on your left and cable car behind you.
Scenery at Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station
Scenery at Ehrwalder Alm
 

Ehrwalder Alm to Seebensee

Seebensee hike is well indicated from the start. After exiting the cable car at the Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station, you’ll pass a restaurant and a kids’ playground on your left. Just keep walking past the restaurant, following the wide gravel road. You can’t really go wrong. This hike is so popular that, usually, you just have to follow other people…

Seebensee hike is really easy. If you want to, you can follow a mountain road pretty much all the way to the lake. It’s a wide gravel road that’s also used by mountain bikes and so it is possible to hike to Seebnesee lake with a stroller as well.

However, after about half an hour of following the road, the path splits. If you prefer, you can hike an alpine track through the forest instead of following the road. In that case, turn left. It’s a really nice hike, not difficult at all, and because there are no mountain bikes here, it is much quieter. So if you don’t have to take the road, I recommend that you take this forest path instead.

Hiking trail 34 to Seebensee in Ehrwald
Here, you can choose to leave the wide road and turn left on the alpine track for a part of the hike. The left path is not suitable for bikes or strollers.
 

Once you leave the forest, you’ll see the most incredible mountain scenery in front of you! It’s really beautiful and the views just get better and better from here on.

After another half an hour or so, you’ll reach a mountain restaurant at Seebenalm. From here, it’s another 15-20 minutes hike to the lake. If you have to use any facilities, this is your last chance for a while – there are no restaurant or bathroom facilities at the Seebensee lake itself.

Hiking to Seebensee in Ehrwald Tyrol
Hiking the alternative (alpine) trail gives you these views
Zugspitze mountain as seen from Seebenalm
Zugspitze mountain as seen from Seebenalm
Seebenalm mountain hut in Ehrwald
Seebenalm mountain hut
 

As you get closer to Seebensee walking from Seebenalm, you’ll see that there are several paths leading to the lake. One goes over a small wooden bridge over the river and continues along the wide gravel road, while the other one splits off to the left just before the bridge.

Both of these trails are very nice, but the left one passes a little waterfall as well. If you do the hike in both directions, take one section on your way up and the other one on your way down.

Either way, you’ll be at Seebensee before you know it. It took us about 1.5 hours to hike from Ehrwalder Almbahn to Seebensee lake with kids.

Seebensee hiking trail
When you reach this bridge, you’re almost at the lake. Take a path on the left before the bridge for a nice waterfall view. Or continue over this bridge for an easier trail.
Waterfall along the Seebensee lake hiking trail
This waterfall is just under the Seebensee lake
 

Seebensee

As already mentioned, Seebensee is one of the most picturesque and the most photographed mountain lakes in Tyrol. If you come here on a sunny day in summer, you’ll always have lots of other people around you. But don’t worry about it being too busy – there is plenty of lake and plenty of incredible scenery for everyone!

On a warm summer’s day, people sometimes swim in the lake. But keep in mind that it’s a mountain lake and the water temperature is freezing cold. At best, you can jump in to cool off after the hike and get back out immediately again! In that case, you may want to pack a quick-drying travel towel and some swimwear with you.

Seebensee is a very popular day-trip destination in Ehrwald in summer. You’ll see lots of tourists, locals, groups of friends, and families with children here. It’s also a very popular place for mountain bikes. On a busy summer weekend, it can get really crowded.

Still, because there is no infrastructure here at all, it still feels like a beautiful nature destination and not like a busy tourist attraction. I hope that they keep it this way. I think that it would be very different if the lake would be surrounded by cafés or boat rentals…

Seebensee lake
Seebensee lake
Seebensee
Seebensee
 

Seebensee to Drachensee

If you can handle some more hiking and don’t mind a bit of a climb, I highly recommend exploring this area a bit more. The hike to Coburger Hut/ Drachensee is really beautiful and gives you a very different perspective on Seebensee lake. Well worth it!

If you decide to hike to Drachensee, follow the wide path along the left side of Seebensee lake. At the far end of the lake, you’ll see signs indicating Coburger Hütte (and you’ll be able to see it right in front of you on the mountain).

Don’t be misled – it looks very close by, but it is a steep and quite a strenuous hike to get there. Luckily, it’s also short and you reach the mountain hut and the lake sooner than you’d expect.

It took us about 35 minutes to climb from Seebensee lake to Coburger Hütte. Not too bad considering that this was our first hike of the summer and we were not in the best shape at all. In any case, take it easy, and don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the scenery behind you. Seebensee and the surrounding mountains look stunning from up here!

Good to know: The hike from Seebensee to Coburger Hütte is an alpine trek on a rather narrow and steep path. You’ll need good hiking shoes here. Hiking poles are a real life-saver as well and especially on the way back down!

Hiking trail to Coburger Hut from Seebensee lake
The Coburger Hut is visible from the Seebensee lake. It’s too tiny on this picture, though, so I indicated it with an arrow to give you an idea of where it is and how steep the climb is.
Hiking from Seebensee to Coburgerhutte
The hiking trail from Seebensee to Coburgerhütte is very steep
Hiking to Coburger Hut
After about 30-35 minutes climbing from the Seebensee lake, you reach the Coburger Hut
 

Coburger Hütte & Drachensee

Your next destination is Coburger Hut, a simple mountain hut in the most spectacular setting. When you reach it after a tiring climb, it feels like a real achievement! And you are immediately rewarded by phenomenal views of Drachensee lake located right behind the mountain hut.

This mountain hut has overnight accommodation, a restaurant, and bathroom facilities. This is a great place for a lunch break! However, it was very busy when we arrived here just around noon. At one moment, we regretted not packing a picnic lunch with us.

Luckily just a few minutes later, we managed to secure a table outside and get a well-deserved reward that we had promised to our kids on the way up. Appel strudel or Kaiserchmarrn. These traditional Austrian deserts make a great motivation when hiking in Tirol with children!

After lunch, we walked down to Drachensee lake and spent some time there. You can see Drachensee from Coburger Hütte, but it’s located a bit below the restaurant, so you’ll need to do a bit more climbing down (and back up again) to get to the lake itself. Also here, we saw quite a few people going for a short swim in the ice-cold waters of the glacial lake.

Coburger Hut and Drachensee
Coburger Hut restaurant with a view of Drachensee
Drachensee with kids
Drachensee lake
Kaiserchmarrn at Coburger Hut restaurant with a view of Drachensee lake
Kaiserchmarrn at Coburger Hut restaurant with a view of Drachensee lake
 

Alternative: Loop to Ehrwalder Alm via Tajatörl

If you are very fit and are up to yet another challenge, you can continue hiking even further up to Tajatörl. The steep uphill trail is very clearly marked and visible from Coburger Hut. On the way, you should be able to get a great view of both – Seebensee and Drachensee lakes below. I think it would be worth hiking just for that.

Once on top, you can then take a trail in the direction of Ehrwalder Almbahn, passing a small mountain lake Brendlisee. As already mentioned before, this hike would mean that you have to negotiate another really steep climb of about 340 meters. According to the hiking brochure, the shortest loop (Ehrwalder Almbahn – Seebensee – Drachensee – Tajatörl -Brendlisee – Ehrwalder Almbahn) will take you at least 5-6 hours.

We didn’t do this as none of us felt like climbing even higher on our first hike of the season. Instead, we took the same route back down as the one we came. My GPS tracking app showed that we walked 7 km in exactly 2 hours when hiking back from Drachensee to Ehrwalder Almbahn. So, in our case, the total hiking time was about 4 hours, distance – 14 kilometers.

Signs for hiking from Coburger Hut to Ehrwalder Almbahn via Tajatörl
Signs for hiking from Coburger Hut to Ehrwalder Almbahn via Tajatörl
Mountain flowers along the Seebensee hike
Mountain flowers along the Seebensee hike
 

Back to Ehrwalder Alm via Seebenalm, Seebental-Blick, and Koatiger Weg

On the way back, we took the same trail as how we came – via Seebensee, Seebenalm, and back down in the direction of Ehrwalder Almbahn. Just this time we opted for the wide gravel road instead of the alternative hiking trail we did in the morning. This is an easy track and quite a relief after all the climbing at Coburger Hütte.

On the way, you also have amazing views of Zugspitze mountain in front of you. This hike is just as beautiful going down as it is going up!

Hiking to Seebensee lake - the best hike in Tyrol Austria
Scenery on the hike down from Drachensee in the direction of Seebensee lake
Zugspitze mountain as seen from Seebensee hike
Zugspitze mountain as seen when hiking back down from Seebensee
 

About half-way down, we saw signs for a 50m detour to the left to a viewpoint over the Seeben Valley (Seebental-Blick). This takes just a few minutes of your time and it’s well worth checking out.

Signs to Seebental Blick viewpoint along the Seebenesee hike
Signs to Seebental Blick viewpoint
View at Seebental Blick viewpoint Ehrwald Austria
Seebental Blick viewpoint – you can see the town of Ehrwald below
 

Hiking further down, we saw signs indicating yet another alternative route to the Ehrwald cable car via Koatiger Weg (trail no. 31) and decided to follow it.

This route was shorter, but there were some very steep downhill sections that were extremely muddy and slippery. My husband had a really bad fall here. Luckily, it all ended well, but we really didn’t enjoy this last part of the hike.

Koatiger Weg looked like a trail that would be nice to do if the path is dry. But it had been raining in the area for over a week before our visit and this alpine path was quite dangerous when wet… So if you want to keep it easy and simple, just follow the main road back, the same way as on your way up (trail no. 34).

Signs on the Seebensee hike in Ehrwald
Signs to Ehrwalder Alm via Koatiger Weg to the left. The ‘regular’ path along trail 34 is much easier.
Hiking Koatiger Weg in Ehrwald
The trail via Koatiger Weg
 

Ehrwalder Alm

Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station has lots of facilities with several restaurants, shops, and a really nice kids’ playground. We spent at least an hour here at the end of our hike.

Our kids loved playing in the playground – there are trampolines and go-carts here, in addition to all the usual playground equipment for younger kids.

In the meantime, we could enjoy a nice cold drink on the sunny terrace of the restaurant with amazing views all around us and cowbells ringing in the distance. That’s how all the hikes should end! 🙂

Hiking in Ehrwald, Austria
Back at Ehrwalder Alm
Playground at Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station
Playground at Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station
 

Seebensee Hike with Kids

Seebensee lake is a great place to visit for families with kids. Seebensee hike is easy, the scenery is stunning, and you can pack a picnic and make a nice day trip out of it.

Furthermore, there are great playgrounds and all the facilities at Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station. And there is also a mountain hut Seebenalm with a restaurant and bathroom facilities just 10-15 minutes before you reach the lake.

You can hike to Seebensee with kids of any age. Kids from about 4 years of age should be able to do the hike by themselves, while the younger ones could be taken in a stroller. The hike to Coburger Hut and Drachensee is a bit more demanding (and can only be done on foot), but also here, we saw families hiking with very young children. So I guess it all depends on your child’s abilities and willingness to hike. We motivated our kids by promising some Kaiserschamrrn at the Coburger Hut and they were unstoppable.

Good to know: As already mentioned, you can reach Seebensee via a wide mountain road that is accessible to strollers with big wheels. There is also a possibility to rent prams or handcarts at the mountain station. They are free of charge, but you need to leave your ID card as a deposit until the cart is returned. More information on the official website of the cable car.

Seebensee with kids
Seebensee is a really nice lake to hike to with kids
 

To Summarize

Seebensee lake hike is a wonderful hiking experience for everyone who wants to see some of the most beautiful landscapes of Tyrol without much effort. It’s an easy rewarding hike of 3-4 hours total.

Coburger Hütte and Drachensee is a great option for those looking for a somewhat more challenging hike and even more spectacular scenery. This is a moderate and very rewarding hike that will take about 4-5 hours of total hiking time.

If you have an entire day and don’t mind a serious hike, consider the loop hike Ehrwalder Almbahn – Seebensee – Cobuger Hütte – Tajatörl – Brendlisee – Ehrwalder Almbahn. This is a moderate – strenuous hike that will require at least 5-6 hours. So if you want to do this hike and truly enjoy the scenery around you, I recommend starting earlier in the morning. That way you don’t have to rush, can spend some time at all the lakes, and also have lunch at one of the mountain huts along the way.

Hiking to Seebensee
The views around Seebensee are stunning! No wonder, this is one of the most popular hikes in Tyrol.
 

So, this is our guide to one of the best hikes in Ehrwald – a hike to Seebensee and Coburger Hut / Drachensee. If you have any questions, leave a reply below and we’ll try to help. If you have hiked in this area, feel free to share your experience.

READ ALSO: Things to Do in Tiroler Zugspitz Arena in Summer

More travel inspiration for Tyrol:

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Complete guide to Seebensee hike in Austrian Tyrol
Seebensee and Drachensee - most beautiful hike in Tyrol Austria
 

Comments

  1. I visited other parts of Austria myself, including Tyrol, Voralberg. and Vienna. As a Railwayman, it is the journey there and back that I also enjoy, as well as the destination.

    But your treks and guides really quite stunning.
    Your boys will have some amazing memories, I’m sure.

    I traveled much of the UK with my nephew, very often by Rail and further afield alone or with a friend. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

    1. Author

      Hi Jack, we haven’t traveled by train much, but I hear that Austria and Switzerland are excellent places for that. Especially in the mountains as you get to see some stunning scenery not easily reachable otherwise.
      Hiking, to us, is a bit like that – we hike in order to see places that we wouldn’t be able to access any other way.
      Thanks for reading and I hope that you’ll find some inspiration for your future travels on our blog.

  2. This is a great blog post. We are heading there in a couple of weeks, and I really appreciate having this detailed description to pull from when planning. Thanks!! +

    1. Author

      Glad you found this useful, Jen. Enjoy your vacation in Tyrol. It’s so beautiful!

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