Untouched torrents, spectacular panoramas from mountain summits, and crystal clear lakes with plenty of rustic mountain huts in between – have you already packed your rucksack? The mountains around Schladming in Austria are one of my favourite hiking areas; the varied and unspoilt nature here is hard to find. Many people only know Schladming as a winter sports resort, but the hiking trails in the Schladminger Tauern are some of the most beautiful in Austria.
The Schladminger Tauern High Altitude Trail leads you through this wonderful hiking paradise in seven stages. The trail runs almost 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Hochwurzen ski area near Schladming to
From the Hochwurzen near Schladming, the multi-day hike runs for a total of almost 80 kilometres to St. Nikolai im Sölktal. On the way, you pass through the fascinating Klafferkessel nature reserve with its 30 mountain lakes. For the longer stages, you need to be sure-footed, have a good level of fitness, and experience in alpine terrain as some sections are steep and exposed.
On the first day, you hike from the Hochwurzen to the shimmering Giglach lakes and spend the night in the Ignaz-Mattis-Hütte mountain inn. The second stage, which is the shortest, takes you over the Rotmandlspitze peak to the Keinprechthütte mountain inn. The next day, you continue your journey hiking along fragrant pine-covered trails to the idyllic Gollingwinkel peak and onto the Gollinghütte mountain inn. On the fourth day, a mosaic of lakes, tarns and rocks awaits you in the Klafferkessel National Park. Then, on day five, you enter high-alpine heights: narrow, steep paths lead you through the rocky landscape around the Trattenscharte peak. After spending the night at the Breitlahnhütte mountain inn, you hike past the Schwarzensee lake to the Hinterkarscharte peak, enjoying spectacular views, before reaching your day's destination at the Rudolf-Schober-Hütte mountain inn. The last stage ends with two magnificent mountain lakes and the roaring Dürrmoos waterfall.
You can reach the starting point of the Schladminger Tauern High Trail on the Hochwurzen by cable car from the municipality of Rohrmoos. Alternatively, you can travel by train to Schladming station and catch the 971 bus to the Hochwurzen valley station. To return to Schladming from St. Nikolai im Sölktal you can also catch the bus: the bus line 945 takes you to Stein an der Enns where you can change to the bus 900.
On average, you will cover about 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) of altitude difference (uphill and downhill) every day and will be rewarded with empty hiking trails and incredible views. You can satisfy your food cravings in traditional mountain huts and cool your sweaty feet in the countless mountain lakes en route. The Schladminger Tauern High Altitude Trail is an incredible hiking route.
The official starting point of the Schladminger Tauern Höhenweg is on the Hochwurzen at the Hochwurzenhütte, which you can easily reach with the summit lift. If you want to know right from the start, you can alternatively start directly in the valley in Rohrmoos and hike up to the Hochwurzen. From there the path leads over the Kleine Hochwurzen up to the long grass ridge of the Rossfeld. The highest point of the summit does not mark a summit cross, but the coat of arms of the Rohrmoos community.With wonderful views, you hike on to the next summit, which is not long in coming: through a forest interspersed with many Swiss stone pines, it goes up to the popular viewing peak of the Guschen, where another mountain panorama awaits you. From the summit cross of the Guschen you follow the Giglach-Höhenweg first over the Schneider summit. There you crack the 2,000 meter altitude mark and hike over the western flanks of the high field towards the striking elevation of the Schiedeck.Climbing the 2,339-meter-high summit is highly recommended - but if your calves are already tired, you can skip the summit. From the highest point of the first stage you hike south and arrive in a wonderful landscape that is characterized by small and large lakes such as the Brettersee. Stop for a moment and enjoy the view of the waters and the majestic ridge top.The end is a small serpentine that meanders down a steep slope to the fantastically situated Giglach lakes. You spend the night in the rustic Ignaz-Mattis hut or the nearby Giglach hut.
With fantastic views and many highlights, the second day continues relatively relaxed, because this stage is the shortest of the Schladminger Tauern Höhenweg. After a hearty breakfast, you can look forward to the incredible mountain idyll on the banks of the Giglach lakes. The two lakes with their small islands lie in front of you, shimmering blue-green, all around are mighty peaks and horses graze on the alpine meadows.After you have crossed the clear Giglachbach, the sweaty climb up to the Knappenseen begins. The path winds its way up between barren meadows and stone fields. Before you reach the Rotmandlspitze, which is 2,453 meters high, you've earned a break at the Knappenseen - the ice-cold water will revitalize your tired feet.Once at the top, you look back at the Giglach Lakes and the Ignaz Mattis Hut, an unforgettable sight! From the Rotmandlspitze it goes down to the Kruckeckscharte - be careful, the paths require surefootedness. Then the trail leads you down in tight curves to the beautifully situated Keinsprechthütte. On the facade, which is covered with wooden shingles, you can end the day with a delicious snack.
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After a relaxing night at the Keinsprechthütte, you can warm up at the beginning of the third stage: without any major differences in altitude, hiking trail 702 leads you through a large cirque to the picturesque stone pine floors. You wander over wide grass and stone areas and through sparse forests. After about two and a half kilometers, the ascent up to the Trockenbrotscharte begins, where you cross the border between Styria and the state of Salzburg at an altitude of 2,237 meters.From the Trockenbrotscharte you zigzag down to the Landawirseehütte, which welcomes you with delicious dishes such as Tiroler Gröstl - put your feet up and enjoy it. Strengthened, you can then take a detour to the beautiful Landawirseen, before you follow the route of the Schladminger Tauern Höhenweg to the east.First it goes downhill to the Göriachwinkel and then the last demanding ascent of this stage is on. You walk steeply uphill past bubbling mountain streams and enjoy fantastic views. You reach the highlight of the day at the rocky Gollingscharte at 2,325 meters above sea level. After you have enjoyed the panorama extensively, you climb back down the meters on the other side.The Gollingwinkel is a real feast for the eyes, a natural amphitheater in the midst of steep peaks, on whose flat meadows countless horses frolic in summer. Following the Steinriesenbach, you will reach your stage destination in a short time, the newly expanded Gollinghütte. A sun terrace and a cozy place to sleep await you there.
Put an extra slice of bread on your plate at breakfast - the fourth stage starts with a long ascent up the Greifenberg. At the Gollinghütte you cross the crystal clear Steinriesenbach and then the path winds its way up the slope in countless serpentines. At around 2,450 meters above sea level, an unbelievable all-round view opens up on all sides on the Greifenbergsattel.In front of you is the small Greifenbergsee and a few meters later you will reach the summit cross of the Greifenberg at 2,618 meters. From the summit you can see the impressive Klafferkessel, to which you immediately descend. Caution is required, because it goes over snow and scree fields, sometimes steeply downhill. Countless small and large lakes have formed in the last ice age and in some places waterfalls plunge into the depths - your camera is not given a break.Past the shimmering lakes and varnishes you hike on to the Untere Klafferscharte. Then a path leads in large loops over the Inner Lämmerkar down to the Outer Lämmerkar. In the last meters of this stage you will be spoiled again with a mountain landscape like from a picture book: past pink blooming alpine roses the path leads you directly along the babbling Lämmerkarbach, which you follow to the Preintalerhütte. The spacious hut is located in a high valley with great views and offers space for 100 hikers.
The fifth stage starts in the unique Klafferkessel National Park: After breakfast in the Preintalerhütte, you make your way to the Trattenscharte. You cross the babbling Sonntagskarbach and keep right at the next fork in the road. With a view of the 2,328-meter-high summit of the Schneider, you continue to climb and quickly gain altitude meters.After two and a half kilometers you will pass the small Trattensee, in which the surrounding peaks are reflected. In a zigzag you ascend between the Hohe Schareck and the Wildlochhöhe to the highest point of this stage: Surefootedness is required when walking the Trattenscharte at over 2,400 meters. From the notch you can already look down on the next highlight - the gold lacquers are a truly magical sight. Many small lakes have formed in rocky hollows that shimmer blue to green depending on the incidence of light.Afterwards it goes along the southeast flanks of the Schareck and above the Stummer Almen to the rock formation Karlkirchen, a photogenic rock dome. The path leads you steadily downhill to the Lassachbach, on whose banks the quaint Lassachalm is located. Surrounded by lush meadows, you can take a short break here. From there you hike through a light high forest to your stage destination, the Breitlahnhütte. It is located on the Schwarzenseebach and is known for fresh char and the Breitlahner dumpling pan - the perfect end to your hiking day!
The sixth stage is also characterized by wonderful views, cozy huts and beautiful lakes. From the Breitlahnhütte you follow the Schwarzenseebach to the south. After a short time you will reach the wonderful Schwarzensee, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Tauern. If you have enough strength for a few extra meters of hiking, you can hike once around the crystal-clear water and then take a detour to the authentic Harmeralm.Otherwise the ascent begins first to the front and then to the inner Neualm. In summer, cows graze here and brightly colored meadow flowers shine against each other. Accompanied by the babbling of the Neualmbach, you march on to Rossboden and finally to Rantentörl. At an altitude of 2,166 meters you are back in the high alpine, impressive mountains of the Schladminger Tauern.The route then meanders past small lakes and on to the Hinterkarscharte, the highest point of this stage. With a view of the Lachkogel, you hike downhill to the uncultivated Hubenbaueralm and then dive into a beautiful mountain forest. The last section leads along the idyllic Etrachsbach, which you follow to the Rudolf-Schober-Hütte. There you have reached your stage destination and can end the day on the terrace, surrounded by fragrant stone pines.
The last stage of the Schladminger Tauern Höhenweg is already beginning: From the Rudolf-Schober-Hütte you hike through a light mountain forest at the beginning of this day and follow the path up towards Schimpelspitz. Below the summit you cross the Schimpelscharte and if you still feel like climbing the summit, you can climb the Süßleiteck. Mountain experience and surefootedness are essential.Otherwise, continue on the scenic high path through the Tauern. You will pass the Schimpelsee, which is located in a barren basin, and just a few steps away you can also marvel at the small Breitenbachsee. It continues to be rich in water: over the Schimpelücken you reach the picturesque Hohensee and the Hohenseealm. After you have descended the so-called Kreuzsteg, you can look forward to the rushing water of the Dürrmoos waterfall. At the bridge over the Hohenseebach you keep right and you can hike to a great vantage point.The last few meters of your long-distance hiking adventure through the Schladminger Tauern you walk in a relaxed manner on a flat path along the Hohenseebach. Shortly before your destination in St. Nikolai in Sölktal, you will pass the cozy Bräualm, where you can stop. The water viewing path along the Bräualmbach leads you to St. Nikolai, where the Schladminger Tauern Höhenweg officially ends at the Gasthof Gamsjäger.