The trail from Saries lift to the Pfalzerhutte is packed dirt and rocks, pretty standard footing. Because this trail is so popular, you may want to run very early to avoid dodging hikers all day.
Decide whether you want to run from Malbun (on the Malbun to Furstin Gina Weg (Princess Gina Trail)
or take the Sareis chairlift. Either way, even the initial views from the top of the Sareis mountain station are great! Towards the north is a paraglider launch zone and info board for pilots. There is also a restaurant with a tempting outdoor seating patio.
Head downhill away from the chairlift, initially on a wide dirt road. Soon, a skinny path veers off through stunted trees to the left. This signed turn immediately deposits you on a ridgeline where you get your first taste of the amazing views to come. The meadows below are full of happy cows munching on impossibly green grass and sounding their cowbell melodies.
The broad ridgeline path is braided in spots, but if you're pointed uphill and towards the looming cross, you won't go wrong. Soon, the incline steepens and the trail surface gets a bit more rocky and challenging. There are natural places to stop and rest; enjoy the wildflowers, imagine skiing down to the village of Malbun, and gaze at the rocky Austrian peaks. A very short section of rock slab is well protected by a wire handrail and should be no problem for anyone not deathly afraid of heights. This is also where the memorial plaque for Princess Gina is affixed to the rock slab.
Continue uphill through small gullies and scramble through rocky outcrops to reach the highest part of the climb (Augstenberg Peak) with its huge guy-wired summit cross. This spot is often crowded with people picnicking, but there are many nearby grassy spots for more tranquility. Pick your way along the ridge, now heading in a more southerly direction. Follow signs to Pfalzerhutte (also called Pfalzer Cabin).
No one would fault a runner who sings a little "the hills are alive" at this point in the run ... the alpine scenery is JUST that good! Descend through flowery fields and contour around craggy buttes. Before long, you'll spy the Pfalzerhutte perched on the comically steep saddle between Austria and Liechtenstein. A bit more tricky descent through blocky rock outcrops is aided by well-placed handrails just where you want them. Take it slow through this section, even though you can likely smell the apple strudel and taste the cold beer waiting for you at the hut. This place rents beds, has bathrooms and sells hot meals and cold drinks (details: tourismus.li/en/lie/place/P…).
Swiss stone pines, Scots pines. Elusive ibex, marmots.