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Für Kinder sind Berge ein Abenteuerspielplatz – vor allem, wenn sie auf einer Hütte übernachten dürfen
Out and About

High Up - With Children on Huts

  • Ute Watzl
  • August 27, 2019

For children, the mountains are an adventure playground - especially if they are allowed to spend the night in a hut. Those who plan correctly in advance have the best prerequisites for a dream trip. OutDoor Society gives tips in the series "Outdoor With Children". Part 2: Hiking to huts with children.


"Strange hotel, such tiny rooms!" Five-year-old Lara is sceptical about the room she has just moved into with her parents. The supposed hotel is a mountain hut at 2124 meters, and the room has four beds. The family has it to themselves. Lara's still lucky with that. That this is pure luxury in a mountain hut, because here one often only finds room in larger mattress dormitories, the little one is astonished to note.

In general, the surprises are numerous on this first day. Searching glances already on the hiking car park: Where is our hotel now? The hut must be hiked, with rucksack and family luggage for two days. A little irritated, the children march off along a path lined with alpine roses, and with every bend the tension grows as to when the hut will show its face. Until the Rastkogel hut finally comes into view and, so lonely high on the mountain, creates enthusiasm: "How does the house get up here? Do people live in there?"

How did that house get up there? Overnight stays in a hut are an unforgettable adventure for children.
How did that house get up there? Overnight stays in a hut are an unforgettable adventure for children.

Stays on the Mountain Over Night

Mountain hikes alone are exciting for children. But a night at the cabin becomes an adventure. Even better if you can share it with other kids: Romping around with friends into the evening and exploring the surroundings of the hut instead of being hectically reminded of the way back. When other hikers have to return to the valley in order to land on time in the return traffic jam, hut inhabitants can really enjoy the peace and quiet on the mountain.

And even the youngest ones will look big when the shadows of the surrounding peaks become longer and longer in the setting sun. So lasting memories are guaranteed.

On the mountain the fun is good: away from the urban hustle and bustle, the little ones can let off steam in nature.
On the mountain everything is fun: away from the urban hustle and bustle, the little ones can let off steam in nature.

Adventure Hut

Some mountain huts deliberately focus on families and the children's hunger for adventure. Family friendliness is evident when the hut is easily accessible, i.e. does not require too long an ascent, and has enough smaller rooms. There should also be no immediate hazards such as steep slopes around them. Also a playground, a brook or pond as well as extensive playgrounds and safe hiking tours in the vicinity characterize for example the Alpenvereinshütten with the Seal of approval "With children to huts".

The Rastkogel hut is one of them, nestled between gentle slopes and surrounded by hiking trails leading to the surrounding peaks: Rosskopf, Kreuzjoch, Rastkogel. From the hut terrace you can look over the valley to the great ones of the Zillertal. Großer Löffler, Schwarzenstein, Gigalitz, all snow-covered three thousand metre peaks. The kids don't have a look at that. They storm the rooms, climb the upper floors of the double bunk beds instead of the peaks. At first there is nothing more exciting than exploring your own room and that of your friends. This is immediately followed by the well-equipped playroom.

Outside there's a little creek to explore, but it'll have to wait till tomorrow. Ten o'clock at night is the end of raving: Rest of the hut! And 7:30 is breakfast already. Kathi, the landlady of the hut, has emphatically made this clear. "Mama, they're strict here," complains the four-year-old son. But the everyday life at 2000 meters is well clocked and leaves little room for special wishes.

The children run off in high spirits. Save your powers? There's little point in explaining this to children. They'll stop anyway at the first groundhog caves.

From the Hut to the Summit

The next morning begins gloomy. "Mama, the mountains are gone," the son says as he looks out the window, all grey in grey. But then, bit by bit, the sun reveals the sky again. It is beyond his imagination that he usually perceives this fog up here from the valley as a cloud and that we are now sitting in such a cloud. "These are supposed to be clouds," he screams and watches as individual wafts of mist crawl up the mountain slope.

The day's destination is the visible summit cross on the Kreuzjoch (2336 metres). The children run off in high spirits. Save your powers? There's little point in explaining this to children. They'll stop anyway at the first groundhog caves. In addition, small ponds invite to catch newts and boulders to climb. One more crackle inlay and the cross is reached. The reward is in the form of a thick marmot below the summit. Child and animal watch each other closely until the furry fellow trolls into his cave.

On the path to the summit, children can discover interesting things along the way.
On the way to the summit, children can always discover interesting things along the way.
So in the end it takes five hours to return for a hike adults would master in just two hours. But you have to give that time to the little ones. This is the only way to turn a rather barren hike into an exciting experience.

Summit Happiness with Children

And what the little ones wouldn't have expected up here in the middle of summer: snow! The small white field is immediately used for sliding exercises and a snowball fight. So in the end it takes five hours to return for a hike adults would master in just two hours. But you have to give that time to the little ones. This is the only way to turn a rather barren hike into an exciting experience.

The summit cross and the alpine adventure world do not remain a privilege of adults. That one does not enjoy the comfort of a hotel, that there is no (free) hot water shower, no sockets for a smartphone in one's own room, and also no toilet and shower of one's own - all this concerns, if at all: only the parents. For the children, adventure counts - even without four stars, swimming pool and all-inclusive.

In close contact with nature: the little ones can finally experience first hand what they otherwise only know from the classroom.
In touch with nature: Kids can finally experience first hand what they only know from the classroom.

Mountain holidays with the Alpine Club

Numerous huts of the German and Austrian Alpine Clubs offer special family weeks including children's programme and care during the summer holidays. Together the families go climbing, hike with llamas or torches, make campfires, or spend a night outdoors. While the children are being looked after, parents can also go on tour alone.

From Hut to Hut

Tours lasting several days can also be undertaken with children. Parents only have to think of a few things:

  • The daily unpacking and packing with children is more complex and the multi-day luggage must also be carried for the children.
  • Beds and storage should be booked in advance.
  • When choosing a tour, you should bear in mind that the huts along the route are all child-friendly.