A beautiful walk along the Lech valley via the impressive Holzgau suspension bridge, or alternatively the dramatic Simms Waterfall.
The walk today takes you along the Lech valley from Holzgau via varied trails to the small town of Elbigenalp. Passing through forest, alpine meadows and along the banks of the Lech itself, this day is perhaps the most varied so far in terms of terrain. Throughout the day there are opportunities to bask in the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains or enjoy forest-bathing in the greenery of the pine and spruce.
Starting from Holzgau, there are 2 options for the first part of the walk. You can choose to ascend and cross the Hoehenbach Gorge via the Holzgauer suspension bridge or walk via the Simms waterfall. At 200m long, and 110m above the Hoehenbach Gorge, the Holzgauer Haengerbruecke bridge is the second longest suspension footbridge in Europe (the first being in Switzerland!). If you prefer a lower-adrenaline experience, or just don’t have a head for heights, then the Simms Waterfall walk is a beautiful alternative. The trails meet and then the path undulate through meadows and forest towards Bach, via the Joeclspitzbahn cable car station from where you can ascend to 1768m for panoramic views of the valley below. Beyond Bach, the trail follows the Lech, now a larger river as it flows downstream. Arriving in Elbigenalp, the centre-point of the Lech valley, enjoy an apfelstrudel and soak up the mountain views!
If crossing the Holzgauer suspension bridge is not for you, then take the Simms Waterfall trail (marked as the official Lechweg) from Holzgau. If you want to enjoy both experiences, then first cross the bridge, and immediately take the path on the left up the hill (past the Steinbock statue) to follow the trail to the point at which you can view the waterfall. You can then retrace your steps and rejoin the Lechweg before continuing towards Schiggen and Bach.
Take care on the narrow paths through the forest today, staying close to the right side of the path where the valley falls away to the left. You will also need to cross the road in a couple of places, be careful and look both ways for traffic.
You may be walking past a few different areas where cows graze. Although generally very docile and used to walkers, keep your distance and never turn your back on a cow that is behaving strangely or aggressive. Be particularly vigilant around cows with calves.
Remember that Alpine weather can be changeable! So always be sure to bring a warm layer and waterproofs, just in case.
Points of Interest
Holzgauer Suspension Bridge
The Holzgauer suspension bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Austria and is 200 m long, 110 m high and only 1 m wide. The bridge spans the dramatic Hoehenbach Gorge just above Holzgau. Since opening in 2012 it has closed what used to be a gap in the 125km Lech River Trail. The bridge also forms part of the European E5 long-distance hiking route from Lake Constance all the way to the Adriatic Sea.
In a 1907 trip to the Alps, Hamburg-born British engineer Frederick Richard Simms discovered a waterfall near the village of Holzgau, now called the Simms Wasserfall. According to several stories Simms created the waterfall by changing the watercourse. Nowadays part of the water is derived to its original course. Simms was a scion of a wealthy manufacturing family and a mechanical engineer, businessman, prolific inventor, motor industry pioneer and allegedly coined the words "petrol" and "motorcar”. He was also a founder of the Royal Automobile Club.
The Geierwally Open-Air Theatre
Built directly into the striking rocks of the Elbigenalpen Bernhardstal Gorge, the impressive backdrop of the Geierwally outdoor theater draws visitors to Elbigenalp year after year.
Food and Drink
There are a couple of options to eat along the way today. There is a small mountain restaurant at the foot of the Joechlspitzbahn cable car at Hexenkessel (closed on Wednesdays). Alternatively, you can divert off the trail to buy provisions in Bach. There is a small supermarket in the town square in Holzgau, where today’s walk starts, should you wish to buy drinks and snacks if you would prefer to stop at your leisure.
This tour is available on the following itineraries: WGLRT, WGLRTSV