Between April and May, when the snow starts melting on the Alpine pastures, it’s time for the crocus blossom in South Tyrol. Thousands of crocuses transform the meadows into a lilac-white flower-sea. The time of the crocus depends on snow conditions, weather and, of course, the altitude. A little bit of luck plays a role, too, to find the right timing for a crocus-hike. Because the flower only shows itself for about a week in its whole glory.
While the apple and alpine-rose are the blossom-highlights in South Tyrol, the crocus shows its beauty only to few. Maybe because the ground oftentimes is still muddy, the hiking trails covered by snow and the hotels closed. Not many people are drawn to the mountains beginning and mid-May: winter is over, but it’s not the time for summit tours, yet. Therefor, it’s possile to enjoy the crocus blossom undisturbed.
We’re told by the owner of an Alpine hut, that deers and chamois arrive in the early morning hours and in the evening to eat the crocus. The farmers are fine with that: the flower is not suitable for their cattle’s fodder. I imagine how the first sun rays hit the Alpine meadows and how the deers and chamois use this time for their crocus meal. But now it’s lunch time and I can’t discover any animals. I’m happy anyways.
Since becoming an avid crocus-enthusiast, I’ve been drawn to the mountains in April and May, too, and even the muddy snow, the slippery ground and the closed huts can’t keep me from my crocus-hikes.
Crocus blossoms in South Tyrol: My favorite places
Seiser Alm: Puflatsch, Joch und Compatsch-Saltria
The first crocus meadow I ever saw was on the Puflatsch on the Seiser Alm. Never before and never since then have I seen more crocuses – a dream come true! Since then it pulls me back to the Seiser Alm each year, not only on the Puflatsch, but also to Joch and to Saltria.
Hiking tip 1: Around the Puflatsch
Take the shuttle bus n. 179 or your car to Compatsch/Compaccio (outside the opening season of the Seiser Alm cable way it’s possible to drive up at any time, the parking place is subject to charges). From there you walk towards the Dibaita Puflatschhütte and via the Arnika hut to the Goller cross. On the way to the Fillner cross you pass the so-called witches benches: here the witches are said to have rested, after their flight to the Schlern/Sciliar. The way back to Compatsch goes through the “Engelsrast”, that offers an all-around panoramic view, the Puflatsch inn and the “Tschötsch Alm”. The hike is signposted. You can shortcut it at the Arnika hut and walk directly towards the Puflatsch inn.
Tour details: 9 km, 330 m ascent/descent, 3 h
Best time: End of April/ Beginning of May
Hiking tip 2: From Compatsch to Saltria
The hike starts in Compatsch and leads past the modern Franziskus church towards Ritsch, ignor the junction towards Steger Dellai and to the Hans-und-Paula-Steger-Weg. On the hiking trail n. 6B it goes past the Sanon hut and via the trail n. 9 down to Saltria. You can get back comfortably by bus. In regards of the technical aspect, there may be more exciting hiking trails on the Seiser Alm, but for the crocus view this trail is amazing, because it leads by a lot of incredible Alpine meadows. And the Lang- and Plattkofel/Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto are in full view throughout the walk.
Tour details: 7.5km, 80 m ascent/descent, 2 h
Best time: End of April/ Beginning of May
Hiking Tip 3: From Compatsch via Panorama to the Ladinser Moos and back via the Laurin hut
Those who want to take a picture of the crocuses infront of the Schlern, are on the Ladinser Moos at the right place. Starting point is again at the parking place or bus stop in Compatsch. Here you follow the road to the Alpenhotel Panorama and hike on through a beautiful trail towards the Rosszähne/Denti di Terrarossa. In the swampy ground of the Ladinser Moos the crocus sprouts. You can hike back to Compatsch via the original trail or via the Laurin hut on trail n. 10.
Tour details: 8.5 km, 250 m ascent/descent, 2.5 h
Best time: Mid-May
Note: The information regarding drive to the Seiser Alm and bus connections apply only when the Seiser Alm cable way is not operating. During the season, the drive up to the Seiser Alm by car is only possible before 9 am, between Compatsch and Saltria runs a shuttle bus. The Seiser Alm cable way is open during summer from 8 am to 6 pm (7 pm during high season).
A stop at one of the Alpine huts in the time of the crocus blossom is usually not possible, as it’s during the off-season.
Villnöß/Val di Funes: Crocus meadow under the Geisler peaks/Punte delle Odle
To me, a special highlight is the crocus blossom at the “Gschnagenhardt Alm” and at the “Geisleralm” in the Villnöß valley. Directly under the distinctive Geisler mountain, the crocus carpet spreads out.
Hiking tip: Adolf-Munkel-trail
With the car to the parking spot in Zans (subject to charges), then on the trail n. 6 to the access into the Adolf-Munkel-trail (can still be snow covered in May) to the “Gschnagenhardt Alm” and “Geisleralm”. The way back to Zans is through the “Dusler Alm”.
Tour details: 9 km, 400 m ascent/descent, 3 h
Best time: Mid-May, but it’s best to ask beforehand at one of the Alpine huts
Crocus blossom at the Möltner Joch/Meltina
The crocus has it’s own festivities at the Möltner Joch each year in April. People celebrate in the midst of thousands of crocuses with music and traditional dishes. Be it during the crocus festival or on another day, the with thousands of crocuses covered meadows are a treat for the eyes.
Hiking Tip: To the “Möltner Kaser” and the “Stoanerne Mandln/ Omini di pietra”
The hike starts at the parking place Schermoos in Mölten. Via the Mölten Joch it goes in one and a half hours to the “Möltner Kaser”, where a carpet of crocuses spreads out. Who wants can go further to the “Stoanerne Mandln”, a beautiful viewpoint. You go back on the same way you came on.
Tour details: 12.7 km, 570 m ascent/descent, 4 h
Best time: Mid April
Crocus blossom at the Heilig-Geist-Kirche (Holy Spirit church) in the Ahrntal/Valle Aurina valley
During spring the pilgrimage site “Heilig Geist” in Prettau gleams in crocus-glory, too. The drive up is pretty long, but the hike to the crocus meadow suitable for everyone.
Hiking Tip: To the Heilig-Geist church
The short hike starts at the parking place at the information stand and leads via an even trail in 15 minutes to the small church. The hike is suitable for everybody.
Tour details: 1 km, 30 m ascent/descent, 15 min
Best time: End of April