Seebensee, Ehrwald, Tyrol, Austria

Seebensee & Drachensee: Hike to the Lakes in Ehrwald, Tyrol

December 27, 2023

Lake Seebensee and Lake Drachensee are among the most popular hiking destinations in the Tyrol region, Austria. Both lakes have similar beautiful alpine surroundings and are attractive destinations for nature lovers, hikers and photographers.

Seebensee (Seeben Lake) and Drachensee (Dragon Lake) are both natural high-mountain lakes in the northwest of Tyrol. Seebensee lies at an altitude of 1,657 meters (5,436 ft) and Drachensee at 1,874 meters (6,148 ft), both surrounded by picturesque Alpine rocky mountain peaks.

The area is a very popular destination in the Tyrol, especially because of the wonderful scenery that accompanies you almost the whole hiking trail, the fresh mountain air and the relaxing alpine environment with the surrounding mountains, the alpine meadows and the crystal clear waters.

Due to their popularity, we have compiled an article detailing the routes to these two breathtaking Tyrolean alpine lakes. Having personally hiked these trails a few times, we can give a detailed description for those who are currently preparing their first hike in this area.

Seebensee and Drachensee can be reached from many directions, but most people start their hike from Ehrwald.

Therefore, the starting point of our article is the charming town of Ehrwald, which is located close to the German border and at the base of the famous Zugspitze mountain.

This makes a trip to Seebensee and Drachensee the perfect part of a road trip to Tyrol or the Bavarian Alps. The other attractions in the area, which are also worth a visit, are listed at the end of this article.

So, let’s look at the most important information about hiking to Seebensee and Drachensee. First you can find out more about the routes and then get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Routes to Seebensee and Drachensee

There are several routes to Seebensee and Drachensee. We will show you the most popular route, which starts from the Ehrwalder Almbahn parking lot (where you can leave your car, and here is the valley station of the cable car), then goes up to the Ehrwalder Alm (more exactly to the mountain station of the cable car), from where you can reach Seebensee and from there to Drachensee.

Along the way, you will have several opportunities to rest and eat, which will be detailed later.

In addition, you will need to decide in advance which mode of transport you will choose for which part of the tour, as there are several available.

Routes from the parking lot to the Ehrwalder Alm

Distance: 3 km (1.9 miles)
Elevation gain: 425 m (1 395 ft)

By cable car (Ehrwalder Almbahn)

You can take the cable car from the car park, which makes the trip quicker and easier. A big advantage is that you can also take your bike on the Ehrwalder Almbahn cable car.

As in all cases, the cable car has a valley station and a mountain station, which in German are called “Ehrwalder Almbahn Talstation” and “Ehrwalder Almbahn Bergstation”.

You can buy tickets on the spot, which are already available from kiosks. If necessary, the traditional ticket office is also available.

For the latest information on ticket prices, operating hours and opening times, please visit the official website of the Ehrwalder Almbahn.

Although it is possible to buy tickets online on the website, in most cases this is not necessary because the cable cars are not so full.

By bike

You can also cycle up to the Ehrwalder Alm. There is a good quality asphalt road from the parking lot to the Ehrwalder Alm, but it is quite steep and winding, so we recommend this option only for downhill.

On foot

You can also hike up to the Ehrwalder Alm. A good quality asphalt road and a shorter hiking trail are available. However, in this case, as with cycling, it is recommended to walk downhill only.

Routes from Ehrwalder Alm to the Seebensee

Distance: 5.1 km (3.2 miles)
Elevation gain: 283 m (928 ft), loss: 127 m (417 ft)

After arriving at the Ehrwalder Alm, a wide, gravel path starts up towards Seebensee. The road forks in a few places, so it is worth using a GPS. On this stretch, you can choose between two modes: cycling or walking.

By bike

By bike, the first section is the hardest, but don’t let this put you off the bike, as you’ll get a lot of benefit on the way down!

The first section is heavily graveled, the wheels can slip, there are lots of tourists…etc. In addition, after a few minutes there is a steep, winding section up the mountainside. Here you may have to push the bike, but the other sections are all easier.

The rest of the way is generally easier by bike, so you can reach the next stop, Seebenalm, relatively quickly. From here, a steep section leads up to Seebensee, where it is also not easy to cycle. It is worth taking a break at Seebenalm and Seebensee.

On foot

On foot, the first section is easier, the winding mountain section is, to be honest, easier to walk up than to cycle.

However, the walk is long and tiring on foot. After several kilometers of walking on the gravel road, you arrive at Seebenalm, a restaurant relatively close to Seebensee. Here it is worth taking a short rest and recharging for the final stretch to Seebensee, which is a steeper section.

Although there are some places on the road between the Ehrwalder Alm and Seebensee where they want you to turn off the wide gravel road onto a narrow path, don’t take the path, as it is much more difficult to walk on.

Finally, you reach Seebensee, where it is worth spending more time.

From the Seebensee, you can see stunning mountains such as the Vorderer Drachenkopf, the Ehrwalder Sonnenspitze and the Vorderer Tajakopf.

Things to see on the way

Most of the route leads through the Seebenwald forest. On the way to Seebensee you will find many interesting plants, and you can often see local animals such as horses, cows and goats. Whether the free roaming animals will harm you is unknown, but in any case, keep your distance from them.

You can also stop at several great places to take photos, there will be small mountain springs, panoramic views, forest scenery…etc.


On the way there is also a small lake worth a detour called Igelsee. From the main hiking trail, you only have to hike a few hundred meters downhill to see this green lake. If you have more time in the area, don’t miss it!

Hiking route from Seebensee to Drachensee

Distance: 1.9 km (1.2 miles)
Elevation gain: 270 m (886 ft), loss: 59 m (194 ft)

A gravel path runs along the eastern side of Seebensee, up towards the mountains.

This path leads to Drachensee, where you can only continue on foot after a fence. If you have been cycling so far, leave your bike at the fence.

This is the section where you really need good hiking shoes and hiking boots. This is because there is a very steep, difficult and slippery section leading up to the Drachensee. You should be well-prepared for this section and only hike in good fitness.

After the steep path, you reach the Coburger Hütte (Coburger Hut), a mountain hut near Drachensee, where you also have the opportunity to relax and taste the local food.

From here you can see the Drachensee, and it is only a short walk to the lakeshore.

By the way, you can walk around the lake, but we think the best view is from the direction of the Coburger Hütte.

On the way back

The situation on the way back is similar to the way there. Although, the way back is much faster and easier. The road back is basically downhill, with only a few small sections going uphill.

If you plan to take a bike, it is worth planning the last section (from the Ehrwalder Alm down to the parking lot) on a bike, then you don’t have to use the cable car on the way down. The main advantage is that in this case, you don’t have to adapt to the cable car’s operating hours (it closes quite early).

If you choose to walk, don’t forget that you will have to adapt to the operating hours of the cable car, unless you can walk all the way down to the car park, which is quite a long way.

There is a shortcut section we recommend for hikers on the way down, called Koatiger Weg on the map. This is a short, steep path, so we recommend using it on the way down, especially if you have hiking poles.

When you arrive at the car park below, you can still have dinner at the Brent Alm next to the car park, where you can try Tyrolean dishes, similar to the places above.

Summary of the options to get to Seebensee and Drachensee

  • By cable car to Ehrwalder Alm and hiking to the two lakes
  • By cable car to Ehrwalder Alm, by bike to Seebensee and hike to Drachensee
  • Biking to the Seebensee through Ehrwalder Alm and hiking to the Drachensee
  • Hiking on foot to the two lakes

How long does it take to do the whole tour, visiting the two lakes?

If you take the fastest route with the cable car and cycle up to Seebensee, and are prepared for the hike up to Drachensee (with good fitness and basic hiking equipment), you should still plan at least 5–6 hours for the whole trip. However, this means quite a rushed pace.

If you want to stop along the way for the breathtaking views, admire the alpine scenery with its fascinating flora and fauna, take photos, try some Tyrolean dishes in one of the local restaurants, or you are just not in the best physical condition, then plan a whole day.

This means arriving as early as possible, between 8-10am, and getting down to the car park during the afternoon. It is important to note that there are fewer people outside in the Alps in the late afternoon, as the cable cars close after 5-6pm, so everyone tries to plan their mountain hikes for the early hours (late rising night owls at a disadvantage).

Other things to know

There are a few more things to know besides the routes, which are worth mentioning regarding the Seebensee and Drachensee hike.

Map with important places for the tour

We made a map with the most important places, with all the restaurants, lift stations, the parking lot and the lakes.

The map only shows the route to Seebensee, as Google Maps does not know the way to Drachensee. To see the route to Drachensee, visit

What to take with you on your hike to Seebensee and Drachensee

Here’s what you should take with you on your hike:

  • comfortable hiking shoes
  • hiking poles
  • backpack
  • plenty of food and water
  • first aid kit (or at least a few band-aids), necessary medicines
  • sunscreen in summer (apply at the start)
  • raincoat

If you only hike to Seebensee:

  • hiking poles are not necessarily needed

If you go by bike:

  • bicycle (electric bicycle is advantage)
  • helmet, knee pads
  • simple defect repair kit

Dining options during the tour

Although most of the restaurants you will pass on the tour have already been mentioned, we will list them again. From the valley station of the Ehrwalder Almbahn towards the Drachensee, the following dining options are available:

  • Brent Alm
  • Tirolerhaus
  • Gasthof Ehrwalder Alm
  • Seebenalm
  • Coburger Hut

Best time to visit Seebensee and Drachensee

We recommend hiking to Seebensee and Drachensee only in summer or early autumn.

The best time to visit the two lakes is between June and September, and July is the absolute best.

Although some people also visit the lakes at other times of the year, due to the weather and limited facilities (e.g. many places are closed at this time), we do not recommend hiking outside these months.

September is usually the time of the „Almabtrieb”, a celebration in the Alpine towns. During the „Almabtrieb”, the animals are driven down from the mountains to their wintering grounds, the cows are decorated with flowers and paraded through the streets by shepherds. The „Almabtrieb” in Tyrol is usually held in the second half of September. It is also a good time to visit Ehrwald and, in good weather conditions, to hike to the Seebensee and Drachensee.

Weather in Ehrwald, Tyrol

The weather in Tyrol is quite changeable, so planning a hiking trip is not an easy task. It can often be rainy, windy or stormy. So be prepared for possible weather conditions and always check the current weather forecast.

During the recommended summer period, the weather is generally pleasant, 18-25°C (64-77°F), with frequent nice weather. However, showers may occur occasionally and you should be prepared for them.

Our suggestion is that if the weather forecast does not show perfect sunny weather, don’t go, because being stuck in the mountains in stormy weather is not a good idea.

Can people swim in Seebensee or Drachensee?

In principle yes, especially in the summer months some people try it. However, it is worth noting that the water temperature is very low even in summer. So bathing in these lakes is not recommended because of the cold water.

Where to stay in Ehrwald

There are some good places to stay in Ehrwald, and we recommend some of them:

Furthermore, nearby towns such as Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany are also a great choice, where we also offer some accommodation options:

Other places to visit nearby, in Austria and Germany

The area is full of the best places for tourists, here are some of them:


Eibsee is a beautiful mountain lake in the Bavarian Alps. With its crystal clear waters, stunning scenery and the surrounding mountains, Eibsee offers outstanding natural beauty.

Walking along the lakeshore, you can enjoy excellent views of the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks, including the famous Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. The area around Eibsee offers a wide range of hiking and excursions for active holidaymakers.

Eibsee is an ideal destination not only for outdoor enthusiasts but also for water sports lovers. In summer, you can go swimming, fishing and kayaking. And in winter, the surrounding mountains offer numerous ski slopes, making the lake an attractive winter destination.

Altogether, Eibsee is an enchanting landscape, where the harmony of nature and the mountain environment offers visitors a fascinating experience.


Geroldsee is a beautiful mountain lake also located in the Bavarian Alps. The lake is surrounded by picturesque hills, pine forests and meadows with small wooden chalets offering a stunning alpine view. The lake and the surrounding mountains offer excellent photographic opportunities, as the lake water often reflects the colors of the mountains and the sky.

Geroldsee is a place where you can enjoy the tranquility and beauty of nature, ideal for both relaxation and photography.


Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol, set in the mountains. Innsbruck boasts stunning natural surroundings and a historic atmosphere. It is situated on the banks of the Inn river, where the mountains form a backdrop for the colorful traditional Austrian houses.

Innsbruck is also famous for its winter sports, making it a paradise for skiers and snowboarders. The surrounding mountains offer numerous ski slopes and ski resorts.

The city center has many historical and cultural attractions, such as the Innsbrucker Hofgarten gardens and the Golden Roof.

Overall, Innsbruck is an enchanting city where natural beauty meets historical values. Whether skiing, sightseeing or simply enjoying the mountains and the city atmosphere, Innsbruck offers visitors a wide range of activities.

Schlegeis Stausee

The Schlegeis Stausee is a magnificent artificial mountain reservoir in the Zillertal Alps. Originally built for hydroelectric power generation, the Schlegeis Stausee quickly became a destination of natural beauty and a center of tourist attractions.

The crystal clear waters of the lake and the surrounding mountains provide a stunning sight. In harmony with the mountains, the lake is surrounded by a wealth of hiking trails that offer the opportunity to explore the beautiful Alpine landscape. The lakeshore is ideal for leisurely walks, and there are several viewpoints (such as the popular Olpererhütte) offering stunning panoramic views.

We hope we have inspired you to visit Seebensee and Drachensee on a pleasant summer hike. We can assure you that this area is one of the most beautiful places in Austria, so don’t miss it if you travel there!

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