Alpine hiking on Vienna’s doorstep – Rax-Schneeberg Group Mountains

Hiking Collection by Tamara

Take a deep breath, forget everyday life for a while, and enjoy the mountains. Just 50 miles (80 km) from the Austrian capital of Vienna, the Rax-Schneeberg Group mountain range rises. Following the Styrian Lower Austrian border, you can enjoy fresh alpine air from Klosterwappen, the summit of Schneeburg, the highest point in Lower Austria. With a little help from the Schneeberg or Rax cable cars, you can easily reach the top and enjoy incredible views from the get-go of your hike.

The Rax Massif and the Schneeberg Massif are part of the Northern Limestone Alps and are also known as Vienna’s local mountains. The Rax is not only a popular weekend destination for the city, but it also supplies high-quality drinking water to the capital through the first Viennese high spring water pipeline. The highest point of the Rax mountains is the 6,584-feet (2,007 m) Heukuppe whilst the Klosterwappen at 6,811 feet (2,076 m) is the tallest peak in the Schneeberg. In between the two mountain groups, runs the Hell Valley.

This region is a true hiking paradise with countless possibilities that is easy to reach with public transport. For example, you can travel by train from Wien Hauptbahnhof to Puchberg am Schneeberg or Payerbach-Reichenau an der Rax in under thirty minutes, making the area a great option for a day trip. In this Collection, you will find eight Tours ranging from relaxed family strolls to challenging summit ascents.

Following gravel paths, forest trails and rocky gorges, you walk through fields of mountain pines to breathtaking viewpoints. When you get hungry, you can tuck into a delicious Kaiserschmarrn (traditional sweetened pancakes) or Strudel at a mountain hut such as the Ottohaus which was once visited by the famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Follow the spring water pipeline through Hell Valley and test your nerves on the Skywalk, a lookout over the cliffs in the Hohe Wand which lies just to the east of the Rax-Schneeberg Group. On hot summer days, the hike to the Sebastian Waterfall is especially nice, whilst art lovers will enjoy the Gauermann Circular Trail.

Whichever hike you choose, you can leave behind life’s stresses and look forward to stunning landscapes just outside Vienna. For more information on how to get there by train, visit: oebb.at/en

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Intermediate
    02:17
    4.13 mi
    1.8 mph
    975 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You can get to the starting point of this tour, which takes you to the highest mountain in Lower Austria, with the Schneebergbahn. This leaves directly at the train station in Puchberg am Schneeberg. Once at the top, you can first enjoy the breathtaking view or a snack in the form of Kaiserschmarrn in the Berghaus Hochschneeberg. You can also spend the night in this.At first you walk past the art gallery and the enchanting Elisabethkirche and follow the route up to the Damböckhaus. Another opportunity to stop for a break, maybe time for a cyclist? It then goes high over the Ochsenboden and past the summit of the Miesriegel. You bring the last demanding climb behind you and reach the monastery coat of arms at 2,075 meters, the highest point in all of Lower Austria. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the happiness of the summit and the fantastic mountain panorama.Then you walk over the Donnerkogel to the Fischerhütte - you can relax your feet on the sun terrace. The way back runs over the Hackermulde back to the Damböckhaus and finally you are back at the mountain station of the Schneebergbahn. With this you drive back into the valley or you stay overnight in the Berghaus Hochschneeberg to experience a unique sunset.

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    Intermediate
    01:22
    2.15 mi
    1.6 mph
    900 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This family-friendly hike starts at Preiner Gscheid. If you want to travel by public transport, take the 1748 bus from the Payerbach-Reichenau train station. At the Preiner Gscheid pass is the rustic Edelweisshütte, which you can visit before or after your hike - topfenstrudel sends its regards.At the beginning the path is relatively steep uphill, but then becomes flatter as the hike progresses. Alternatively, you can take the more relaxed forest path, which also zigzags up to the Waxriegelhaus. Partly it goes through the forest, but in some places the trees are thinning, such as at the uncultivated Gfotzhütte.Shortly before you reach your destination, the Waxriegelhaus, you step out of the forest onto the spacious Siebenbrunnenwiese. From the Alm you have a gigantic view of the Rax. A particularly colorful spectacle is on offer in autumn, when the forests around the Siebenbrunnenwiese turn golden yellow.At 1,361 meters you can let yourself be pampered with one of the delicious dumplings in the Waxriegelhaus and enjoy the fantastic view. Return to the starting point on the same path or you can choose one of the other variants further east.

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  • Difficult
    03:42
    7.29 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    You cover the first few meters of altitude in a relaxed manner: With the Rax cable car you gondola from Hirschwang an der Rax, which you can also reach by train, up to the Rax plateau. Up at the mountain station, the first fantastic views of the Rax-Schneeberg massif await you before the start of the hike. It starts with the ascent to the Gatterlkreuz, a small rest area.From there you follow the path to the Praterstern, surrounded by pines and conifers, where you branch off to the right. Soon you will reach the Höllental view, which offers you a spectacular view down into the rocky valley. Afterwards you continue to hike towards Hofhalt-Kolar-Platzl, where you dive into the forest. The path begins to climb gently and brings you to the Neue Seehütte. You can enjoy a delicious snack on the sun beds in front of the hut before you tackle the ascent of the Preinerwand.Strengthened, you follow the steep and panoramic ridge path up to the summit cross at 1,783 meters - here Lower Austria is at your feet. A few meters in altitude are then waiting for you and following the ridge path you get to the Otto-Schutzhaus. The legendary shelter has been offering hikers food and beds since 1893.After a well-deserved rest and a visit to the beautiful Alpine garden, you walk again to the Praterstern, where you meet the path that leads you back to the starting point. The Rax cable car will then take you down to the valley in seven minutes. You can find more information about the timetables at raxalpe.com/de/tickets-preise-gutscheine/fahrplan.

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    Intermediate
    01:42
    3.47 mi
    2.0 mph
    500 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The water pipe route follows the high spring water pipe, which has supplied the city of Vienna with fresh tap water since the 19th century. The hike through the wild and romantic Höllental is also suitable for children. The starting point is at the train station in Hirschwang an der Rax. From there it goes over the Schwarza and past the Henriettenkapelle into the forest.The rest of the way runs in the shade of large trees and steadily along the water, so you can walk the 1st Vienna Water Pipeline Path even on hot summer days. Over time, smaller and larger caves have formed in the rugged rock faces, which you can explore - ideally equipped with a headlamp. You make your way through the idyllic Höllental via ladders and stairs. Alongside the path, rest areas and pebble beaches invite you to take a break or cool off.Still further north you hike along the crystal clear water of the Schwarza and enjoy great views of the Rax. After a good five kilometers you will reach your destination in Kaiserbrunn, where you can finally visit the flood pipe museum. From Kaiserbrunn you either hike the same way back to the starting point or you take the bus to Hirschwang.

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    Intermediate
    02:14
    4.43 mi
    2.0 mph
    925 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It starts at the valley station of the Schneeberg chairlift in Losenheim. If you want to travel by public transport, take the 1720 bus to Losenheim from the Puchberg am Schneeberg train station. At the beginning of this circular hike, you walk past the reservoir and immediately dive into the forest. Surrounded by the fragrant forest air, you follow the path towards Mamauwiese. At the ford on the Sebastianbach, keep to the right or take a detour to the idyllic Mamauwiesen Alm.Then the wild and romantic Sebastianbach accompanies you to the rushing waterfall - the water plunges a few meters over a washed-out rock face. Only a few steps away from the Sebastian waterfall you reach the quaint waterfall hut, where you can stop. You sit particularly comfortably in the parlor of the 200 year old Sebastianhütte. After a rest, you will brush the edge of the Sonnleiten settlement and from there follow the clear Losenheimer Bach.On the way to the Forellenhof you can see the small castle ruins Losenheim, which is enthroned on a rocky hill, from afar. A visit is only possible by appointment and for at least five people. In the Forellenhof you can not only enjoy freshly caught fish, but also spend the night. After a stop, it's only a short distance back to the valley station.

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    Easy
    00:57
    2.06 mi
    2.2 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This circular hiking trail is dedicated to the famous Biedermeier painter Friedrich Gauermann, who grew up in Scheuchenstein and developed his love for alpine motifs here. As a member of the Vienna Academy (1807 to 1862), the artist achieved international fame and sold his paintings to the imperial family, the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie.You start at Gasthaus Hornung, which you can reach from Puchberg train station with the 7847 regional bus. On flat forest and meadow paths you hike through the green Miesenbachtal. After a few minutes' walk you will pass Gauermanns Hof, Friedrich Gauermann's birthplace. You can find out more about his life and works in the nearby Gauermann Museum in Scheuchenstein. In the small village there is also an inn and the lovely St. Rupert Church.Afterwards it goes on a side street along the edge of the forest towards Grandhäusl, where you pass information boards, pictures and poems about Friedrich Gauermann. After about an hour you will get back to the starting point and you can take a detour to the Tiefenbachfall, which is very close to the Hornung inn.

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    Difficult
    06:21
    7.37 mi
    1.2 mph
    3,375 ft
    3,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This demanding hike, on which more than 1,000 meters of altitude has to be mastered, takes you into the most spectacular gorge in the Rax-Schneeberg region. Surefootedness and sufficient stamina are prerequisites for walking this tour. The starting point is at the Weichtalhaus, which you can reach from Payerbach-Reichenau train station by bus 1746. From the Weichtalhaus der Naturfreunde, which is open from Wednesday to Sunday, it goes into the picturesque Weichtalklamm.

    On partly narrow paths you hike through narrow rocky passages and climb over ladders past gnarled trees. A really adventurous ascent through the largest gorge on the Schneeberg! Surrounded by caves and rock formations, it continues uphill and finally you reach the Kienthalerhütte via a short forest path. The rustic hut is located just below the 1,416 meter high tower stone and is only managed on weekends.

    After a well-deserved rest, you follow the so-called southern Grafensteig high above the Höllental. On the southern slopes of the Schneeberg you march through shady forest, some of which offer spectacular views. The tour zigzags down to the unmanaged Stadelwandhütte, from which you can take a detour to the Stadelwandhöhe viewpoint.

    You continue to the Stadelwandsattel and then you descend with an impressive view of the Stadelwand on narrow serpentines into the valley of the Schwarza. The last section back to the Weichtalhaus leads along the main road - be careful, there is no sidewalk here.

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    Intermediate
    02:36
    5.33 mi
    2.0 mph
    950 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Hohe Wand is a massive karst plateau, which is also one of Vienna's local mountains. It reaches a maximum height of 1,132 meters and is located east of the Rax-Schneeberg group.The Hohe Wand nature park with its animal enclosures is the starting point of this circular hike. Mouflons, deer, marmots and other species cavort in the various enclosures and are of interest to hikers of all ages. At the petting zoo, keep left and follow the path to the deer enclosure, which is in the middle of the forest. After you have crossed the Hochkogelstraße, you hike downhill to the Lange Wiese and you can stop off at the nearby Alpengasthof Postl.Now it is not far to the next highlight of this tour, the Sky Walk: Only a steel grating lies between you and the abyss on the Hohe Wand. If you are brave, you can go all the way to the front on the cantilevered footbridge and enjoy a fantastic view of Lake Neusiedl. When the thermals are good, paragliders float right next to you.Afterwards you walk back a little towards the Alpengasthof, where you keep left and get to the Schwarzen Kogel. We continue to the Hochkogelhaus, another refreshment stop with a viewing terrace. After a short rest, you hike steadily uphill on soft forest paths to the Kleine Kanzel. Sitting between pines you can let the wonderful mountain panorama work on you. From the Kleine Kanzel it is only a short walk back to the starting point at the zoo.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    36.2 mi
  • Duration
    21:11 h
  • Elevation
    9,050 ft

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