If mountaineering friends ask you: “where have you been lately” and you answer truthfully: “Ich war am Kotzen”, you will earn some compassionate looks, as everybody will understand: "I was vomiting".
But Kotzen, in our case, neither means “to vomit” nor is this mountain so strenuous that you end up with your previous meals in front of you.
In my opinion the denomination for this mountain derives from a special treated woolen material used for blankets, coats and cloaks, which is named “Kotzen” or “Kutzen” in upper Bavaria. If you look from Stierjoch to Kotzen, the broad meadow ridge of this mountain reminds you of such a blanket or cloak, thrown over the mountain.
Maybe a bit too farfetched??
Kotzen is a lonely summit in the foothills of Karwendel, the so called Vorkarwendel (Pre Karwendel). It is the highest point of a ridge, running south – north and starting at Stierjoch. The ridge ends near Sylvenstein lake and above the village of Fall.
Surrounded by desolate valleys, ruined Alm huts on the slopes, narrow and sparsely marked trails, a hike to Kotzen summit tends to be a lonely one.
I like best the nice ridge traverse from Lerchkogel and Torjoch to Stierjoch with Kotzen as the last summit. You will be surprised if you meet fellow hikers on that route. It is a long but not very difficult hike. Kotzen as the last summit offers great views on Sylvenstein lake and the surrounding Bavarian Alps. Higher Pre Karwendel summits and the northernmost Karwendel range with steep northern rock faces give a dramatic aspect to the southern views. The summit meadow invites you to a lazy hour.
All in all: slow - hiking. Like slow food.
Enjoy your hike!
Trailhead for Kotzen is the little village of Fall at the border of Sylvenstein lake.
Sylvenstein lake is a dam lake and Fall was built up new on the lake shores as old Fall villages was on the bottom of the former valley. With low water you still can see the ruins of old Fall village.
You reach Fall
Leave road number 307 at the signpost “Fall”, cross the village on Dürrachstraße in southern direction until you arrive at the hiker and overnight parking areas at the beginning of Dürrach valley forest road.
All Fall routes follow the forest road into Bächental. The paved road crosses the river Dürrach after about 1 km and ascends alongside the Dürrach canyon (there are some good lookouts) in the direction of Aquila inn.
After 2 kms a forest road branches off to the right. Follow this road for about 150 m and take the right hand trail, descending to a huge footbridge across the impressive Dürrach canyon. Ascend on that trail to Kotzenalm Niederleger (ruins). Follow the trail, ascending the northeast slopes and then the east slopes of Kotzen until you reach Kotzen south ridge. Ascend Kotzen´s broad south ridge mainly off-trail.
Follow the paved Bächental road 3 kms from Fall to a forest road junction. Take the right hand forest road which descends shortly to a bridge across Dürrach and ascends again after that bridge. After the third switchback with another forest road junction there are three possibilities to go on:
- Follow the left hand forest road up to Lerchkogel Niederleger,
- Follow the trail branching off to your right shortly after the switchback to Lerchkogel Niederleger (signpost, the trail crosses some interesting highland swamps – muddy shoes included),
- From Lerchkogel Niederleger take the route to Ludernalm below Torjoch – Stierjoch ridge and ascend the col between Stierjoch and Kotzen. Turn right there and follow the Kotzen south ridge to the summit.
- Follow the right hand forest road up to the meadows of Ludernalm with a trail junction. Take the right hand trail up to the col between Kotzen and Stierjoch and follow the Kotzen south ridge to the summit.
Torjoch – Stierjoch – Kotzen traverse:
Ascend Torjoch via Lerchkogel trails. Traverse to Stierjoch, descend the north ridge of Stierjoch and summit Kotzen. Return to the car via Kotzenalm trail. Nice round trip, allow 7 to 8 hours.
Route from Tölzer Hütte:
Tölzer Hütte , an alpine club hut on the south side of Schafreither, is the nearest mountain hut. Take the trail in eastern direction to Delpssee and Delpsjoch col and ascend the southwest ridge of Stierjoch. Descend Stierjoch north ridge and ascend Kotzen south ridge to the summit.
Red Tape & Accommodation
Kotzen belongs to the nature protection area „Karwendel und Karwendelvorgebirge”, which covers nearly the whole German Karwendel area.
The entrance is free.
Please respect the following rules in the nature protection area:
You find hotels, bed & breakfast and other accommodation at
A part of the Fall parking areas is reserved for motorhomes overnight stay .
The nearest mountain huts are
Gear & Mountain Condition
Kotzen is a late spring, summer and autumn hike.
The hike is easy but not too short and the trails are sparsely marked and in some parts badly maintained.
You need good hiking boots and a knack for orientation.
There is no “official” ski route to Kotzen. However, Kotzen can be a snow shoe tour (see the attached pictures of user kogo. For that, avalanche gear is highly recommended.
Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin here.
Maps & Guide Book
Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 25.000, map number BY 12: Karwendelgebirge Nord, Schafreiter, Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation Bayern, 2010
Bayerische Topographische Karte, 1 : 50.000, map number UK50-51: Karwendel, Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation Bayern, 2008, with UTM-grid for GPS
Alpenvereinsführer, Karwendel alpin, Bergverlag Rother, München, 2011