We tracked the movements of adult Ringlet butterflies (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Erebia Dalman, 1816) in high-elevation (> 1800 meters a.s.l.) grasslands in the Austrian Alps in order to test if an anthropogenic boundary (= an asphalt road) had a stronger effect on butterfly movement than natural habitat boundaries (trees, scree, or dwarf shrubs surrounding grassland sites). 373 individuals (136 females, 237 males) belonging to 11 Erebia species were observed in one flight season (July–August 2013) while approaching or crossing habitat edges. Erebia pandrose (Borkhausen, 1788) was the most abundant species with 239 observations. All species studied were reluctant to cross habitat boundaries, but permeability was further strongly affected by the border type. Additional variables influencing movement probability were species identity and the time of the day. In E. pandrose, for which we had sufficient observations to analyse this, individuals were more likely to cross a boundary in the morning and in the late afternoon than at midday. Erebia euryale (Esper, 1805) and E. nivalis Lorković & de Lesse, 1954 were more likely to leave a habitat patch than their studied congeners. The key result of our study is that the paved road had the lowest permeability among all edge types (0.1 likelihood of crossing when approaching the edge). A road cutting across a conservation area (viz. a national park) thus hinders inter-patch exchange among Ringlet butterflies in the alpine zone, even though theoretically they ought to be able to fly across.