A route connecting two alpine lakes in the Lechquellengebirge range from west to east; the natural Lake Formarin in the west and the artificially made Lake Spullersee in the east. The total mileage is about 12 kilometers, the rise is from 1871 meters or 6138 feet (bus stop and parking lot at Lake Formarin) to 2439 meters or 8001 feet (the top of the Gehrengrat), and Lake Spullersee at the end of the descent is 1827 meters or 5994 feet high, which makes a rise of 568 meters (1864 feet) and a descent of 612 meters (2008 feet).
This hike on a well-marked but nevertheless quite alpine trail - one should have a secure step and not be afraid of heights! - leads through a very wild, at times breathtaking landscape of karst and alpine vegetation, with great views to the Lechquellengebirge peaks and also the Verwall group in the south.
The first place to get to is Lech am Arlberg.
Nearest airports: Zürich, Munich, Innsbruck.
Here are the three simplest ways of getting to Lech am Arlberg by car:
Coming by car from Zürich: Take the motorway to St. Gallen and continue on the motorway, following the signs to St. Margrethen-Chur, as far as Diepoldsau. Here, turn left and follow the road to Hohenems (Austria). Now take the A14, following the signs to Innsbruck, past Feldkirch until Bludenz. Then follow the E60 (Arlberg-Schnellstrasse) as far as Langen am Arlberg (Langen a. A.). In Langen, turn off and follow the road leading through the village of Stuben up towards the Arlberg pass. 3 km before the top of the Arlberg, there is the turn-off towards Flexenpass-Zürs-Lech. Follow this road to Lech. Distance: 196,8 km, duration: 2h 13min.
Coming by car from Innsbruck: Head for the A12 direction Bregenz and follow it until it ends in Landeck. In Landeck, follow the signs to Bregenz and continue on the road through the Stanzer Tal as far as St. Anton. Then take the road to St. Christoph-Arlbergpass, go over the pass and 3 km down the other side. At crossroads, turn right and follow the road leading over the Flexenpass to Zürs and Lech. Distance: 116,8 km; duration: 1h 32min.
Coming by car from Munich: Follow the E533 towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen, then, in Oberau, just ca. 5 km before reaching Garmisch, turn right, following the signs to Reutte (Austria). Upon arrival in Reutte, stay on the road (no. 198) leading up the entire tyrolean Lechtal valley and in Warth, turn left onto the road to Lech. Distance: 188,7 km; duration: 2h 45min.
Coming by means of public transportation: All fast trains commuting between Zürich (Switzerland) or Bregenz (Austria) and Vienna stop in Langen am Arlberg. In Langen, change to the postal car that commutes regularly between Langen and Lech. Coming from Munich: Take one of the international trains bound for Italy via Innsbruck, alight in Innsbruck and change to one of the fast trains bound for Bregenz or Zürich. Alight in Langen a. A., then take the postal car to Lech.
From Lech there are regular busses to the parking lot at Lake Formarin. If you go there in your own car, you will be asked to pay a street toll after the village of Zug. The road is altogether in good condition, but very narrow. In any case it's advisable to leave your car in Lech and use one of the busses for the 12 km through the Zugertal valley to Lake Formarin. Between Lake Spullersee and Lech there are regular busses as well.
The Rote Wand seen from the top of the path
Start at the parking lot before Lake Formarin. Follow the road back for 60 meters, then take the path (no. 601) leading to the right towards the "Steinernes Meer" (signpost) and continue following it up a small high valley in that direction. Soon the valley opens up to a remarkable limestone karst plateau - the "Steinernes Meer". Continue walking up this, always following the markings, to the highest point (can be a bit risky if there is fog), to a col which drops to the Klostertal in the south (Alternative: if you are lodging at the Freiburg hut, 100 meters high above the other end of Lake Formarin, there is a direct path of about three kilometers length with fairly little rise to this very point. Duration: 1-1,5 hours).
At the col above the "Steinernes Meer"
Here, the path turns left and rises first very steeply (one should be free of giddiness for this part) for about 150 meters and then moderately steeply up the slope leading to the Gehrengrat ridge on 2439 meters.
On the Gehrengrat, looking towards the Verwall group
Here, the path turns right and first follows the descending ridge, then turns left to a short but steep section leading into the high grassy valley (very beautiful!) marked as "Dalaaser Schütz" in the Kompass Wanderkarte map.
On the downhill section
A little bit further down the trail, there is a crossroads - a path leading south makes a direct descent to Wald am Arlberg in the Klostertal possible. We stay on path no. 601, turn left and continue descending first in serpentines through the alpine meadows, then through a bit of light forest to the dirt road leading around the Spullersee lake. Turn left here and follow the road. After ten minutes, the bus stop is reached.
View down to the Spullersee from the Gehrengrat
Pöngertlekopf (2539m) and Pfaffeneck (same height) seen from the Gehrengrat
View into the Lechquellengebirge from the Gehrengrat
No extra gear needed, apart from good mountain shoes and adequate clothing (especially wind protection is recommended!); bring enough food and water along, as there are no alpine huts on the way and the possibilities to obtain fresh water out of a stream are rather rare for three quarters of the way.