This memorable cycle-tour takes in four stunning mountain huts over the course of four stages in the Lienz Dolomites. The starting point for the route is Lienz – capital of East Tyrol and the town that gives the local mountains their name. Running anti-clockwise, the tour skirts around the Lienz valley basin. Every stage concludes at a cosy mountain hut where you can spend the night.
Stage 1: Lienz – Dölsach – Gödach – Anna Schutzhaus
Length: 17.5 km – Duration: 4.5 h – Difficulty: Intermediate
The first stage starts in Lienz and initially heads right from the station over the main street to the bridge over the Isel. As soon as you’ve crossed the river, turn right onto the Drauradweg cycle path. Follow the trail until the “Dölsach Zentrum” left turn. Here, cross the tracks and turn right onto a path through a field before you reach the bridge. Around 500 metres further on, you’ll reach a concrete structure which allows you to cross the canal. The first ascent begins (route no. 125) after you hit the road. As soon as you reach the Georgenkapelle chapel, take a sharp right to Gödnach. Proceed through this small town and then head for Görtschach. As soon as you get there, follow signs for “Ederplan”. A forestry road then leads up to the Anna Schutzhaus mountain hut. This very steep ascent is worth the effort for reaching the first mountain lodge on the tour. In the evening, the hut is the perfect place to enjoy one of the most stunning sunsets in Eastern Tyrol with panoramic views over Lienz and the Dolomites.
Stage 2: Anna Schutzhaus – Iselsberg – Debanttal – Lienzer Hütte
Length: 24.5 km – Duration: 4 h – Difficulty: Intermediate
On the following day, take the yesterday’s trail back down until the “Iselsberg Zwischenbergen” exit. Here, you can turn onto the forestry trail towards Iselsberg. You then have to cross the Zwischenbergersattel to reach Stronach. From there, turn onto the road for 500 metres before turning left onto a tarmacked road at the town sign. This leads slightly downhill past Möserhof and then arrives in Debanttal. Yellow signs already indicate the route to the Lienzer Hütte here. However, please bear in mind that it’s another 2.5 hours riding from the Gasthaus “Zur Säge” until you reach the hut.
Stage 3: Lienzer Hütte – Zettersfeld – Hochsteinhütte
Length: 35.5 km – Duration: 5 h – Difficulty: Hard
The motto for day 3 – the early bird catches the worm. After all, the Lienzer Hütte’s unique position between the towering 3,000-metre peaks of the Schober Group ensures an incredible natural spectacle when the first rays of light illuminate the peaks of these mighty mountains. This stage initially heads out of the valley to Faschingalm. You should then continue on until you reach the valley station of the chair lift. A gravel path leads up through the larch forest here and ultimately on to a trail over the pasture. After a brief steep uphill section, continue onto into the centre of Zettersfeld. It’s worth taking a brief breather here to enjoy the sensational views of the Kreuzeck Group and the mountains of South Tyrol. You should then pass Gasthof Bidner and the Zettersfeldbahn lift before ultimately reaching a tarmacked road. Take the Thurnerstraße down into Lienz. When you reach town, ride down Beda Weber Gasse, cross the Isel and turn right behind the church. After you cross the main road, you’ll reach the Hochsteinlift car park. There, you can follow routes no. 103 or 121. For views of Schloss Bruck, head up to the junction. If you want to shorten this stage somewhat, head straight on to Sternalm. Otherwise turn right and follow the path to the Hochsteinhütte. The last 150 vertical metres are really testing. Thankfully you can unwind from the trials of stage 3 in the Sternalm, which is around 500 metres lower down than the Hochsteinhütte.
Stage 4: Sternalm – Drauradweg – Dolomitenhütte – Lienz
Length: 34.5 km – Duration: 4.5 h – Difficulty: Intermediate
On the final day of the tour, ride down from the Sternalm on the Hochsteinstraße until you reach the Drauradweg cycle path. This path links to Amlach and then on towards Tristach. When you reach the sports fields in Tristach, turn right off the road and then left. You’ll be riding along the sled run to Kreithof. The Mautstraße then leads up to the Dolomitenhütte, the fourth and final mountain lodge on the tour. Nestling in the rugged mountain scenery with its striking limestone formations, this is a fabulous place to see the mountains of East Tyrol from a whole new perspective. Head back to Tristach along the same route – turn onto the Drauradweg cycle path there and then ride back to Lienz.