Sonnspitze is the triangular highpoint between Aurach valley, Glemm valley and Schwarzache valley and is one of the lesser visited summits of the area.
Located between higher and more frequented Staffkogel
to the south, Spieleckkogel
with the mountain station of a cablecar nearby to the east and Mesnerhöhe
to the north, Sonnspitze marks the culmination point of three ridges and three valleys.
Sonnspitze is a typical Kitzbühel summit with old rocks cropping out at the summit zone, steep gras overgrown slopes and swamp meadows around the Alm zone.
The north cirque of Sonnspitze hosts Rosskarlacke, a beautiful mountain lake above Hochwildalm and a hiker aim on its own.
Being a ski summit, too, Sonnspitze can be climbed year round.
What I like most are the traverse options of this area where Sonnspitze can be easily included, e.g as starting or end summit for the traverse of Mesnerhöhe to Bischof or for a traverse of Staffkogel, Saalkogel to Rauber.
For Sonnspitze there are two main trailheads:
You reach the trailhead Aurach Wildpark from Kitzbühel on the road number 161
to Pass Thurn
. At Aurach turn on Auracher Straße
at the signpost “Wildpark Aurach” and follow this road to Oberaurach and the trailhead.
Sonnspitze as seen from the trail to Henlabjoch Rettensteine as seen from Sonnspitze south ridge
Kitzbühel can be reached by car
The nearest railway station
to the trailhead Aurach is Kitzbühel
Busses number 4010
go to Aurach. However there is no bus service to Wildpark Aurach and the trailhead.
You reach the trailheads within Saalbach / Hinterglemm valley via Glemmer Straße
, which branches off road number 311
north of Zell am See
Zell am See can be reached from the north / Bad Reichenhall
via Lofer and Saalfelden; from the east / Bischofshofen – highway number A 10
via Sankt Johann im Pongau, from the south via Großglockner Hochalpenstraße
and from the west / Zillertal
via Gerlospass and Neukirchen.
The nearest railway station
to the trailhead Hinterglemm is Zell am See
. Bus number 680
go to Hochalmbahn / Hinterglemm.
Routes Overview Sonnspitze, Mesnerhöhe and Bischof
For the south route start at the parking area near the Wildpark Aurach
Follow the forest road
into Aurach valley. This forest road makes 4 switchbacks, you can cut them on the old foot trail, regaining the road further up. Stay on that road , passing Brachofenbachalm
and lower Staffalm
. The forest road bends to the left and leaves in a broad curve the Aurach valley and reaches upper Staffalm
Leave the Alm on a road to the northeast. At the next switchback leave the road straight on a trail which goes up to Sonnenfeldalm. Turn sharp right there on a trail leading up to broad Henlabjoch between Staffkogel and Sonnspitze.
Turn left there and follow the south ridge
up to the summit.
Routes from Saalbach / Hinterglemm:
South route overview from Hochwildalm, Henlabjoch to the left Sonnspitze as seen from below Henlabjoch
From the Saalbach / Hinterglemm mountain station of the cablecar
follow the ridge to Spieleckkogel
and to Sonnspitze
in western direction.
climb Spieleckkogel from the valley ground via Spieleckalm
or take the trail from Lengau at the end of Saalbach / Hinterglemm valley via Eibig Hochalm
Ridge crest traverse to Bischof:
Descend the north ridge of Sonnspitze on a narrow foot track and over some easy rocks to a small pond of the now bradening ridge.
Follow the ridge which gets narrow again and ascends to Mesnerhöhe
Climb over that secondary summit until you reach the bold rock spire of Pfaffel
A view from near Bischof summit to Mesnerhöhe (left), Sonnspitze and Staffkogel (right) with their connecting ridges On the ridge traverse Sonnspitze - Bischof
Go left there, traverse on a narrow foot track these Pfaffel rocks until you reach a steep zigzag track, leading you up to a notch between Pfaffel and Bischof.
Follow the south ridge of Bischof to the meadows below the summit ridge, go left there below the summit ridge until you reach Bischof summit.
Epic traverse from Groß Gebra to Weißkopfkogel, Bischof, Mesnerhöhe, Sonnspitze, Staffkogel, Saalkogel and Rauber. Trailhead is Aurach Wildpark. Very long day.
The ridge Spieleckkogel - Sonnspitze as seen from below the summit Trail to Henlabjoch with Staffkogel in the background
From Aurach trailhead
via Hochwildalm, Sonnenfelderalm and the steep southwest slopes or alternatively via Staffalm and the southwest summit slope.
From Saalbach / Hinterglemm valley, Lengau
, via Eibing Hochalm, Henlabjoch and south ridge.
Red Tape & Accommodation
Staffkogel as seen from Henlabjoch
No red tape
as far as I know.
Up to now (2017) no parking fees at the trailhead Aurach. The Glemm valley trailheads may require fees.
All kinds of accommodation
can be found at
Saalbach / Hinterglemm
Bochumer Hütte / Kelchalm
Gear & Mountain Condition
Hochwildalm as seen from the south route to Sonnspitze
Sonnspitze is an all - season mountain.
In the hiking season you need full hiking gear and good shoes. The summit routes are easy hikes on mostly marked mountain trails and - near the valleys - forest roads.
The ridge crest traverse do need some rock scramble and a secure step on steep gras slopes.
The ski routes are easy routes for beginners. Full ski and avalanche gear is required.
Check the Tirol avalanche bulletin
Maps & Guide BooksMaps
Alpenvereinskarte 1 : 50.000; Kitzbüheler Alpen Ost, map number 34/2
, Deutscher Alpenverein, 2010; - topo map with trails; the same with ski routes.
Österreichische Karte 1 : 50.000 - UTM (ÖK50), map number 3214
Upper Aurach valley, south route Hirschlacke lake as seen from the summit
Available only antiquarian but an indispensable mountain guide book:
Georg Bleier / Kurt Kettner: Alpenvereinsführer Kitzbüheler Alpen, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, München, 1984
Horst Höfler, Kurt Kettner: Kitzbüheler Alpen. Mit Skirouten. Führer für Täler, Hütten und Berge, Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, München, 1976
R. Weiss: Skitouren Kitzbüheler Alpen mit angrenzendem Salzburger Anteil am Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Gebietsführer, Steiger Verlag Innsbruck, 2000 (there is an antiquarian edition from 1985 with main focus on Kitzbüheler Alpen, too)