Standing in awe of glaciers, searching the skies for golden eagles, and exploring remote alpine valleys – the Venediger High Trail is a fantastic hike through the mountain group of the same name. The route takes you south along the main ridge of the Venediger Group in Austria’s Hohe Tauern National Park. You hike through the mountains discovering the unspoilt nature of the Alps and the crowning Großvenediger peak.
The beauty of this high trail is that, once you reach the top, you only have a few metres of altitude difference each day. You can relax and explore the majestic mountains where jagged rock, ice, alpine pastures, and indescribable views await. Keep your eyes peeled and you may spot marmots, chamois, and even ibexes on the way. With a bit of luck, you might see a golden eagle or a bearded vulture too.
After the ascent on the first day, you hike through alpine terrain with challenging rock passages. The stages are relatively gentle with short distances and moderately high altitudes. You only hike more than ten kilometres (6 miles) on the last day that includes a long descent. Otherwise, you can take it easy, enjoying the mountain scenery and culinary treats at the mountain huts at your own pace. In addition, the short distances make it easier to keep your concentration throughout the day, especially on the steep and exposed sections. There is a risk of rockfall so you should always keep your eyes and ears peeled. On the third stage, it’s a good idea to wear a helmet. You can get up-to-date information regarding the conditions from the hut keepers. You should be sure-footed and have a head for heights to fully enjoy this hike.
You can make your own version of the trail, which makes it very practical. The basic framework of the hike is seven stages covering almost 55 kilometres (34 miles). Starting from the town of Ströden in the Virgin Valley, you arrive one week later at the Matreier Tauernhaus inn in the Tauern Valley. You are able to descend back down into the valley from each hut if you like, so it’s easy to adjust the length of your hike. If you are fit, fast, and up for a challenge, you can sometimes walk two stages in one day or climb additional peaks en route.
As you stay above 2,000 metres (6,561 feet) most of the way, it’s best to plan this adventure for the summer when most of last winter’s snow has melted. There are no pit stops along the way, so don’t forget to pack some snacks in your rucksack. As the trails are quite short, you will arrive at a mountain hut at the finish line before long. There’s a mountain hut at the end of each stage ready to welcome you with a warm bed and delicious East Tyrolean dishes. The huts are usually only open from July until September. It’s best to reserve a spot in advance so you don’t have to worry about where you will stay on the mountain and to give your hosts time to prepare.
Another advantage of the Venediger High Trail is that it is easy to reach by public transport. There are buses to the start and end points from the East Tyrolean district capital of Lienz.
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Last updated: November 4, 2021
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The first stage of the Venediger Höhenweg is rather short and is therefore perfect for immigration. So you can do it well on the day of arrival. This section leads you through the beautiful Maurertal, which makes it easy for you to get used to your new surroundings.
You can get to the starting point invvt.at…
On the second stage, you first follow your loyal companion from the day before, the Maurerbach, a little further north. But soon you turn to the east, where it goes uphill in sharp bends. The view of the fascinating glaciers above you is rewarding for every strenuous step.
This will take you to the T…
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The third day on the Venediger Höhenweg is the hike to the Sajathütte. The direct route over the Sajatscharte has been closed since 2015 due to the risk of falling rocks. That's why you take a detour today that is safer and takes you a few more meters up to an exciting three-thousand-meter peak. Yousajathuette.at/2015/07/23/sperre-wanderweg-sajathuette-johannishuette/)…
On the fourth stage, you can look forward to wonderful views and a very leisurely hike. The first two thirds of the way you descend crossing the slope under the Vorderen Sajatspitze. You move high above the Virgental and have a great view of the Lasörling group opposite.
At the so-called window, a bench…
Also on stage 5 you can completely enjoy the mountains again, because in good weather there are no technical challenges ahead. On the first half of the hike, there are hardly any differences in altitude waiting for you. From the Eisseehütte you first climb a short distance downhill to get to the high…
On the sixth stage it gets more challenging again. There are some exposed paths and secured climbing spots ahead of you. The first half of the route is quite rocky, the second half is greener. This section of the Venediger Höhenweg is at risk of falling rocks. Talk to the hosts of the Bonn-Matreier-H…
On the seventh day there is not much uphill, but all the more downhill. Because today you hike back down into the valley - but not without treating yourself to one last breathtaking view towards Großvenediger. At the Löbbentörl you can once again enjoy the high alpine landscape and the view of the glaciers…
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