The Meraner Höhenweg or Alta Via di Merano is one of the most remarkable and most popular circular hikes in South Tyrol. The path runs along the edge of the Texelgruppe/Gruppo di Tessa nature park, circumnavigating the homonymous Mountain Group over a distance of 100 km, at an almost constant altitude. I recommend tackling the Meraner Höhenweg in a clockwise direction. Multiple ascents and descents to and from the Meraner Höhenweg allow you to start or interrupt your hike at your preferred point.
Moreover, the solitary farmsteads on or near the Meraner Höhenweg can be reached via small cable cars or access roads. The Meraner Höhenweg itself is marked by the number 24. Exposed sections are fitted with safety systems (chains, wire ropes, etc.). Ascents and descents are also frequently facilitated by natural or manmade steps.
The lowest point on the path is beside the Kalmbach in Passeiertal/Val Passiria at 820 metres above sea level, the highest at 2895 metres by Eisjöchl, the pass between the Pfossental/Val di Fosse and the Pfelderer Tal/Val di Plan. Spellbound by the unspoilt mountain landscape on the one hand, we experience close by, on the other, the deprivations of the mountain farmers in this barren area. After this long hike we will return to our everyday lives both humbled and strengthened.
Important information: The Stettiner Refuge was destroyed by an avalanche in the winter of 2013/14. A makeshift shelter is being erected. However, the path is still fully accessible, as the section from the Eishof to Pfelders/Plan can be managed in approx. 5 – 6 hours and from Pfelders/Plan to the Eishof in 5 ½ – 6 ½ hours.
I recommend the following stages:
Possible start and finish points: Katharinaberg, Unterstell, Hochmuth, Ulfas
Route rating/description: challenging mountain path for experienced hikers
Mountain range: Naturpark Texelgruppe/Parco Naturale Gruppo di Tessa
Length: approx. 100 km
Time: 4 – 6 days
Highest point: 2895 m
Elevation gain: 5100 m
Ideal time of year: July to late September