Every summit has its own unmistakeable shape. Some summits have several different shapes when viewed from different directions. Brünnstein is a real shape shifter and shows about 8 different shapes depending upon the viewing direction: a bold peak, a broad ridge, a huge rockface, a rocky meadow slope or a tree overgrown, not very prominent height.
Brünnstein is standing west of lower Inntal valley and the village of Oberaudorf. Tatzelwurm valley is the northern limitation of the ridge, lonely Gießenbach valley is the southern limitation. To the west the ridge stretches on and builds more summits: Brünnsteinschanze, an easy winter ski hike aim, Steilner Joch and Großer Thraiten, two easy but nice summer / autumn hikes.
Brünnstein belongs to the Mangfallgebirge, a part of the Bavarian Alps (sometimes and unluckily enough in SP, too, called “Bavarian Prealps”) and marks its easternmost part.
South of the summit stands Brünnsteinhaus, a huge and frequented alpine club hut which is open nearly the whole year. This nice hut has a great sun terrace and even greater views to the Kaisergebirge, to Großvenediger region and over the Inntal valley.
A steep and in some parts nearly perpendicular rock face rises up behind the hut up to the sharp and long summit ridge of this geologically interesting mountain. On the summit ridge there are a little chapel, a little summit cross and - further on to the west, the highest point of Brünnstein which - funny to say - is seldomly visited despite of the many “summit conquerors” this mountain normally sees on nice and sunny summer and autumn days. This is due to the off-trail character of the summit ridge, the rock scramble you have to do and the fact that most people do not know that the summit cross and the chapel is not the highest point of the summit ridge. So you can be alone on Brünnstein, even on frequented days.
I prefer a clear december or january day for summiting Brünnstein - when the snow conditions are o.k. -or alternatively a nice april weekend. There are only a few people, you have sometimes demanding snow obstacles which give an extra kick to the not very difficult summit routes. Sometimes you have to use crampons and ice axes, especially in december / january. And normally the hut is open and gives you the chance for a good Weißbier before descending to your trailhead.
Brünnstein main trailheads are at Oberaudorf in the Inntal valley, near Kiefersfelden or at Tatzelwurm Hotel.
At the highway exit take road St 2093 to Oberaudorf.
For the Oberaudorf trailhead turn left after the railway crossing on road St 2089, drive through the old castle entrance and turn right immediately after the castle, direction Luegsteinsee. At the campground Luegsteinsee there is the parking area for those who want to start right from the beginning.
Alternatively follow the Mühlauer Straße which passes by Luegsteinsee and some houses, ascends steeply through woods into an upper valley, passes by a dammed lake and arrives at Dörfl which is some farmhouses in this upper valley. Follow Mühlauer Straße straight on until you reach the parking area for Brünnstein. The pavement ends there and the road is closed for public traffic.
Alternatively follow the narrow road from Oberaudorf to Trißl and go on to the inn of Buchau.
For the Tatzelwurm trailhead turn right on road St 2089 at Oberaudorf center and follow this road in the direction to Brannenburg. About 2 km after Oberaudorf at the little village of Reisach turn left on Tatzelwurmstraße; there are signposts to Tatzelwurm, Bayrischzell and Sudelfeld. Follow this road until you reach the huge Hotel Tatzelwurm with several parking areas.
The Gießenbach trailhead is west of the village of Kiefersfelden. Exit the Inntal highway at Kiefersfelden and follow the signposts to Thiersee and Bayrischzell. Park your car about 1 km west of Kiefersfelden at Breitenau.
Normal Routes Overview
There are several routes to Brünnsteinhaus, which is the only starting point for the two normal summit routes. All routes are easy hiking routes which require no special gear or abilities.
Main routes to Brünnsteinhaus
Red Tape & Geology
There are no special restrictions around Brünnstein trails and routes. The ridge zone west of the main summit is a protected winter rest area for animals. Please do not enter this part of the mountain as long as there is snow.
Brünnstein is mainly built up of the limestone of an old coral reef, the so called Oberrhätkalk. You will easily find fossilized corals on your way up to the top.
This reef limestone was fold up and stands now perpendicular as the southern limitation of a local syncline north of the summit. If you choose the northern ascents from Tatzelwurm you traverse this geological syncline with the younger sediments on the northern Brünnstein slopes.
Around Brünnstein there are many villages which offer all kinds of accommodation, like hotels, bed & breakfast or campgrounds. The most important villages are:
The following mountain huts offer accommodations, too:
Mountain Condition, Gear & Maps
Gear & Mountain Conditions
In summer and autumn, normal hiking gear is sufficient.
In winter crampons and an ice axe may be helpful for the via ferrata route, which often has less snow cover than the south slope route.
Crampons and gaiters are helpful when you do the ferrata route in spring.
In spring you might be forced to bypass the uppermost part of the ferrata by using the summit ridge off - trail. This needs an UIAA grade I - II climb for about 40 meters.
Springtime with still snow in the routes can be fun because there are less people on the summit and the ascent is more demanding.
Summer and autumn are the normal seasons for a Brünnstein hike.
If there is not much snow lying in december / january, Brünnstein can be an interesting winter hike which requires caution on the ferrata route due to ice and snow.