valley in Tyrol, Austria
Europe > Central Europe > Austria > Tyrol > Tuxer Valley

The Tuxer Valley (German: Tuxtal) is an Alpine valley that branches off from the Ziller Valley at Mayrhofen in Tyrol, Austria. It is best known for its Hintertux glacier nicknamed the Frozen Wall (German: Gefrorene Wand) which is a popular year-round ski resort.

Towns and villagesEdit

  • 1 Finkenberg — Finkenberg and Ginzling
  • 2 Tux — Lanersbach, Vorderlanersbach, Juns, and Madseit
  • 3 Hintertux

Other destinationsEdit

  • 1 Schlegeis Reservoir — lake and hydroelectric dam that can be visited

UnderstandEdit

The most important branch of the economy in the valley is tourism, which has a well developed hospitality infrastructure. The valley is popular for winter sports year round since 1968 when the first ski infrastructure was built on the 1 Hintertux glacier. Credit for the first ski resort in the valley goes to the 2 Eggalm however, which had been operating since 1961. Establishment of the 3 Rastkogel in 1984, and its merger with the 4 Penken facilities in 2001 gave winter sports tourism a massive boost. Ski infrastructure has been continuously expanded and upgraded in the 21st century to increase capacity, and the Tuxer Valley attracts thousands of skiers with its modern lifts, snow cannons, and groomed slopes.

Hintertux also has the highest thermal baths in Europe with various mineral springs.

OrientationEdit

 
Tuxbach river flowing through the Tuxer Valley in spring

The Tuxer Valley is a side valley of the Ziller Valley from which it branches at Mayrhofen. The valley has a length of 13 km from Mayrhofen (630 m) to Hintertux (1500 m), with a difference in elevation of ca. 850 m. The Tuxbach river, which gives the valley its name, flows through the valley from Hintertux until Mayrhofen where it merges with the Ziller river.

HistoryEdit

There is archaelogical evidence of human activity as early as the Middle Stone Age, but the region remained uninhabited for most of history and was only used as pasture. The first mention of the valley dates from the year 899 in a document from Emperor Arnulf, who assigned the valley to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. Settlers only arrived in the Tuxer Valley in the 11th and 12th century, from the Ziller Valley and also from the Wipp Valley in the west by crossing the Tuxerjoch mountain pass. The meadows and alpine pastures in the valley continue to be cultivated today, although rarely as a primary source of income.

 
The St. Barbara Chapel, one of the remains of the Tux Magnesite Mine. A ski lift can be seen in the background.

Before skiers arrived to the valley, it was an important centre for magnesite mining, a magnesium carbonate mineral with a variety of industrial applications. From 1927 to 1976 the 5 Tux Magnesite Mine, 500 m above Vorderlanersbach, was the highest of its kind in Europe and extracted the mineral in an open-cast quarry and also in underground tunnels. At the height of the operations, 400 miners worked to mine magnesite in the valley. Ropeways linked the mining facilities with the factory in Lanersbach to transport magnesite and workers. From Lanersbach, magnesite was brought to the loading station of the Zillertalbahn in Mayrhofen in the Ziller Valley. The former ropeway for magnesite transport spans an almost identical trajectory as the 6 Horbergbahn, and some of the magnesite ropeway foundations can still be seen between the Horbergbahn support pylons. When magnesite mining operation stopped in 1976 and it was clear the valley would reorient its economy towards tourism, it was decided to renaturalise the area. The factory and all of its facilities were demolished. The only remains are the St. Barbara Chapel built in 1947 based on plans by Hubert Prachensky with frescoes by Max Weiler, as well as a pair of former worker's houses.

ClimateEdit

The valley has an alpine climate with warm summers and cold winters. Snowfall is common in the valley from October to April, and year round on the Hintertux glacier. The summers are invariably wet, and most of the annual precipitation falls between June and August as rain. Rainproof outfits are a must when visiting the Tuxer Valley in summer!

Tuxer Valley
Climate chart (explanation)
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
44
 
 
−1
−9
 
 
 
41
 
 
1
−8
 
 
 
47
 
 
5
−4
 
 
 
60
 
 
10
0
 
 
 
96
 
 
14
4
 
 
 
114
 
 
18
7
 
 
 
138
 
 
20
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19
9
 
 
 
82
 
 
17
6
 
 
 
61
 
 
11
2
 
 
 
61
 
 
4
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44
 
 
1
−7
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
See the Tuxer Valley forecast at NOAA
Imperial conversion
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
 
1.7
 
 
30
16
 
 
 
1.6
 
 
34
18
 
 
 
1.9
 
 
41
25
 
 
 
2.4
 
 
50
32
 
 
 
3.8
 
 
57
39
 
 
 
4.5
 
 
64
45
 
 
 
5.4
 
 
68
48
 
 
 
4.9
 
 
66
48
 
 
 
3.2
 
 
63
43
 
 
 
2.4
 
 
52
36
 
 
 
2.4
 
 
39
27
 
 
 
1.7
 
 
34
19
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Get inEdit

By planeEdit

The closest airport is 1 Innsbruck Airport   (INN IATA) which is just across the mountain ridge, however, terrain limitations require a massive detour so the overall travel distance is closer to 80 km to the entrance of the valley. From the airport, take bus  F  (for Flughafen) towards the city centre and transfer at the 2 main station   onto the Austrian Rail Network. Take any train that stops in Jenbach, there transfer to the Zillertalbahn (Ziller Valley Railway).

The next closest international airport hub is 3 Munich Airport (MUC IATA) in Germany, which is ca. 170 km to the north. There are good train connections from Munich Airport to Jenbach, usually with a transfer in Kufstein.

By trainEdit

There is no rail infrastructure in the Tuxer Valley, the closest station is 4 Mayrhofen station at the end of the Ziller Valley, which is served by the Zillertalbahn. The scenic Zillertalbahn connects to the national rail network at Jenbach, where transits are possible between Zillertalbahn, Lower Inn Valley Railway, and Achenseebahn at 5 Jenbach station  . There are no direct trains to Mayrhofen from Innsbruck, you must transit at Jenbach.

From Mayrhofen station, it's a 4.5 km walk to Finkenberg town centre. Alternatively, and for the other towns, take the bus from the station.

By busEdit

From Mayrhofen station, take bus  4104  direction Hintertux and get off at the right stop, which are announced in the bus. Travel time from Mayrhofen is ca. 8 minutes to Finkenberg, 18 minutes to Vorderlanersbach, 21 minutes to Lanersbach, 26 minutes to Juns, 28 minutes to Madseit, and half an hour to the glacier of Hintertux.

By carEdit

Travel to the valley by car is not recommended because of the limited parking amenities in the towns. Rather leave your car in Mayrhofen and take the bus from there. Snow chains are mandatory when entering the Tuxer Valley in winter, so you'll need them to reach all of the towns and villages in the valley. Expect to be fined heavily if you ignore the signs, get stuck in snow or ice on the L6, and block traffic in the entire valley.

Get aroundEdit

The easiest way to get around is using line  4104  which travels between Mayrhofen station and Hintertux, stopping at every town and village along the way. The bus stops are usually named after the closest or most significant nearby attraction, for example 1 Lanersbach Eggalmbahnen or 2 Finkenberg Teufelsbrücke. The first part of a bus stop is always the town or village name, and the second part the nearest attraction or point of interest.

Although it's allowed to use bus  4104  with ski equipment, this is generally discouraged in favour of the  GREEN LINE . This is a dedicated ski bus traveling between Mayrhofen and Hintertux, and stopping only at the gondola lifts (3 Finkenberger Almbahnen, 4 Tux Rastkogelbahn, 5 Hintertux Gletscherbahn) and at major stops. The  GREEN LINE  ski bus is free for skiers with a valid ski pass.

To reach the Schlegeis reservoir, take bus  4102  from Mayrhofen station, the last stop on the line is 6 Schlegeis Stausee, which passes through Ginzling.

SeeEdit

 
The Hochsteg bridge in Finkenberg
 
Ginzling

DoEdit

 
Skiing on the Hintertux Glacier

With nearly 200 km of groomed slopes, the Tuxer Valley is a paradise for skiers in winter. There are 3 ski resorts: 1 Ahorn in Mayrhofen, the 2 Hintertux glacier in Hintertux, and the Penken/Rastkogel/Eggalm accessible from Mayrhofen to Vorderlanersbach in Tux. This area has a gondola lift from each of the towns: 3 Finkenberger Almbahnen to ascend the Penken from Finkenberg, the 4 Rastkogelbahn to ascend the Rastkogel from Vorderlanersbach, and the 5 Eggalmbahn for the Eggalm in Lanersbach. A must-do is the 6 150er Tux, a large gondola with a capacity of 150 people crossing the 7 Wanglspitze. The descent back to Penken is a piste over a relatively narrow ridge, with fantastic panoramic views on either side. The Hintertux glacier, with over 50 km of slopes, is the only ski resort in Austria where skiing is possible year-round! For experienced skiers, the 7 Harakiri is a thrilling challenge. This icy piste with a slope of 78% is the steepest groomed piste in Austria and a serious skill test.

Name Tel. Altitude   /   /     /   /  
Ahorn +43-5285-62277 630-1970 m 6 Lifts: 1 / 2 / 3 18 km Pistes: 9 / 3 / 6
Penken/Rastkogel/Eggalm +43 528562277 630-2500 m 38 Lifts: 9 / 15 / 14 124 km Pistes: 31 / 66 / 27
Hintertux Glacier +43.5287.8510 1500-3250 m 20 Lifts: 6 / 6 / 8 51 km Pistes: 14 / 35 / 2

Tickets can be purchased for either resort separately, but combi tickets are also available under the name Ski- & Gletscherwelt Zillertal 3000, which is cheaper if purchased for a duration of 3 days or more. The  GREEN LINE  is a free ski bus (on display of a valid ski pass) commuting between the 3 ski resorts in the valley.

EatEdit

DrinkEdit

Stay safeEdit

See also: Snow safety

Go nextEdit

  • Innsbruck — the regional capital, and only city of significance in the Alps
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