Turn your back on civilization, everyday life, and your to-do list for a moment. Hike out into untouched nature and the mighty mountain world of Salzburg for a day, a week, or even longer. You can find endless places to let off steam and burn off your energy. Today, I present my beloved home from its more rustic side – let’s head to the Salzburger Almenweg!
350 kilometers (217 miles), just under 19,000 metres of altitude (62,350 feet), three weeks in beautiful nature and the charming villages of the Salzburg region. Sounds like quite the adventure, right? For us Salzburgers, no hike is complete without a rustic hut, of course. You can take a break, feast, and enjoy the view. You can even stretch your sore calves in a warm bed for the night. That’s exactly what the Almenweg is all about.
Of all the Austrian provinces, Salzburger Land has the greatest density of alpine pastures. You can find around 550 huts here that spoil hikers with regional delicacies. This trail leads past a large number of these wonderful places where you can stop off for refreshments.
First, you hike from Pfarrwerfen am Tennengebirge in the direction of the Hochkönig mountains. From the Salzburg Sun Terrace, you then walk to the towns of Gastein, Großarl, and Hüttschlag and on to the Salzburger Sport World as well as Zauchensee, Flachau, Wagrain towns. You collect your last hiking pins in Filzmoos and St. Martin am Tennengebirge before heading back to the starting point in Pfarrwerfen. You receive the bronze gentian for one stage of the Almenweg as the individual sections can also make wonderful day trips. After five stages, you earn silver and after 10, gold. Mountain experts who complete all 31 stages get the diamond gentian.
If all this talk of meadows is getting too much of you, then start packing. A backpack with plenty of spare clothing layers is a must, as well as appropriate footwear that can withstand three weeks of walking. I’ve provided tips on how to divide the Tour in the respective descriptions and I also let you know where you can spend the night if the stage doesn’t end in a town. I hope you learn to love my homeland on the road as much as I do!
As you can probably imagine, there are many ways to get on the Salzburger Almenweg, shorten it or vary it according to your mood. The official variant starts at the Pfarrwerfen train station. You cross the Salzach and start to hike uphill on a steep goods path. First you march through the Höllntal, then up to the Grünmaißalm.A few meters in front of the Alm you leave the forest behind you and enjoy a magnificent view of the Hochthron. Alternately over a steep path, then again over a forest path, you hike on to the Stegalm, then to your first stop, the Mitterfeldalm and finally to your destination, the Arthurhaus. Here you can check in for the night or get back to Pfarrwerfen by bus via Mühlbach and Bischofshofen.
Today you can expect a wonderful tour and the Hochkönig as your constant companion. From Arthurhaus you march along the southern flank of the giant in a westerly direction. You will pass several springs with drinkable water for your bottle and numerous rustic huts to stop off at.After about three and a half hours full of beautiful nature, huts worth visiting and also one or the other sweaty climb, the Erichhütte finally welcomes you. Here you can spend the night. However, if you are about to jump, the hiking trail leads you down to the Dientner Sattel, where you will find a bus stop.
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Depending on where you spent the night, or whether you might even just start at this point on the Almenweg, today's stage begins either at the Erichhütte or a little further down on the idyllic Dientner Sattel. First a little downhill to the Dientalm, then steadily uphill through the forest, the hiking trail leads you up to the Tiergartenalm. You leave them behind and continue walking relatively flat to the Klingelbergalm. Over a boggy area - the Hochkönig of course still in view - you climb to the Schneebergkreuz.Once here, you have the following options: Either you climb over the Karbachalm to Mühlbach, or over the Köckenalm to St. Veit and look for accommodation in one of the two villages. As a third variant, you can also attach the next and part of the next but one stage and pave your way to Goldegg / Weng. There is a hotel right on the Böndlsee that will happily accommodate you for the night.
The fourth stage of the Salzburger Almenweg begins at the Schneebergkreuz with its panoramic views and ends directly on the sun terrace of the inviting Meislsteinalm. If you've spent the night in Mühlbach, it's best to take the Mühlbacher Bergbahn to the Karbachalm and via the mountain rescue cross to the starting point of the tour. Then you descend along the ridge to the south and discover a few small idyllic ponds before diving into the forest.First through a ditch, then over an ascent you get to Hochegg, then through the forest and over pastures to Gamskögerl. From here it is not far and mainly only goes downhill to the Meislsteinalm. As already described in the last stage, after your stop you can consider hiking further to the Böndlsee and spend the night down there in the hotel.
The fifth stage of the Salzburger Almenweg is manageable in terms of length. If you have decided at the end of stage 4 to hang on the few kilometers more down to the valley to the Hotel am Böndlsee, a considerable part of this stage will be omitted. The little bit down to Lend could be wonderfully added to stage 6 as a round of entering.Starting from the Meislsteinalm, you always hike along a goods path for this section. You will first pass the rustic (and serviced) Hackeralm and a few kilometers later you will be standing on the banks of the idyllic Böndlsee. If you feel like it and the weather allows it, you can refresh yourself here. Then you march steadily downhill to today's stage destination: Lend.
Today you can expect a short but crisp tour up to the Drei-Waller-Kapelle. To do this, you first make your way out of the small village of Lend. You walk over the Salzach Bridge and further up the main road, under the main road and shortly afterwards left up to the Höhenwart.What follows is a relatively steep forest path. In return, it offers you great views of the Salzach Valley every now and then. And in the end it leads you to an equally promising destination - that much should be said. You march through the forest to the Kögerlalm, your overnight accommodation for the night, if you will. But before you stop for a break, you definitely have to go further: through the light larch forest to the Drei-Waller-Kapelle. Don't worry, you have already covered most of the vertical meters. Once there, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Gastein Valley. If you don't want to spend the night in the Kögerlalm, you can also descend from here to Dorfgastein.
Today is stage 7 and it starts again at the pretty Drei-Waller-Kapelle. If you have spent the night in the valley, you must first hike from Unterberg via the Sagenwanderweg and the Huberalm up here. Then you also get on the Salzburger Almenweg, which doesn't talk about the bush for a long time, but leads you directly to the Rauchkögerl.A little below the summit you pass an idyllic high moor and some small ponds and soon afterwards you reach the initially highest point of this stage - a cross below the Bernkogel at 1,897 meters. You continue walking towards the Bernkogel, but turn right after about 150 meters and circle the mighty mountain and with it the Sladinkopf. After the saddle south of the Sladinkopf, a steep serpentine path finally leads you down to your stage destination, the Heinreichalm. You can spend the night here, hike a little further to the Amoseralm or descend into the valley.
The eighth stage of the Salzburger Almenweg takes you deeper into the Gastein Valley. You hike from the Heinreichalm to the Biberalm for a good eleven kilometers. That means: if you stayed on the former. Otherwise, you can first follow the marked hiking trails up here. Then it’s off: First, a goods road leads you up to a hut, then a footpath branches off to the right that takes you to the highest point of today's tour - a saddle below the Tagkopf.Over an extensive pasture area, through the so-called "Saugruam" and always nice downhill, you will soon reach the Präau-Hochalm. After a possible rest, you first walk on an unpaved road, then on a forest road and finally on a rather bumpy footpath down to the Wöflalm. This is followed by three more alpine pastures, a dreamlike landscape and after a short ascent towards Hohe Scharte the Wetterkreuz, which reveals a spectacular view over the Gastein Valley. From here it is not far to your stage destination, the Biberalm.
Stage 9 of the Salzburger Almenweg leads you from the Biberalm to the Schlossalm ski hotspot in Bad Hofgastein. So much can be revealed in advance: There is no shortage of huts along the way. When you wake up in the Biberalm, or have paved the way up here from the valley, you start to walk straight in the direction of the Wiedner Alm. You cross the Almbach and find yourself only a short time later at the Kerscher Alm.The Hytongasteig leads you down to the managed Fundner Heimalm, which invites you to take a (first) rest. Then it goes over the bridge of the Leidalmbach and along a forest road to the Brandner Hochalm, where a stop also pays off. From here you walk up idyllic but steep paths to a 2,019 meter high saddle and then past numerous small mountain lakes to the Kleine Scharte. The mountain station of the Schlossalmbahn is also located here, with the gondolas of which you can comfortably float down into the valley. If you prefer to spend the night on the mountain, you can do so in the Naturfreundehaus a little below the mountain station.
With stage 10 of the Salzburger Almenweg you can expect some downhill passages and lots of wonderful nature. If you haven't stayed overnight on the mountain, you can first “fly” you to the mountain station by gondola. Then you can start.Over the pasture area of the Schloss-Hochalm you march over to the Ochsenriedel, then over the steep Hermann-Kreilinger-Steig and a subsequent, refreshingly flat path down to the cultivated Rockfeldalm. This is followed by a short up and down. Then you are already in the middle of the particularly beautiful Gadaunerer Hochalmen. There are several places to stop for a break, where you can really enjoy the Gastein Valley and its specialties. When you are ready, a wide forest path finally takes you down to the Angertal, your destination for today. From here you can take the bus to Bad Hofgastein, where you will find plenty of accommodation for the night.
Hopefully you've already taken an early bus to Angertal when you spent the night in Bad Hofgastein. Because today there are a good eleven kilometers and a few meters in altitude on the program. It goes from Angertal to Sportgastein. But look forward to it! The head of the Gastein Valley is a particularly picturesque piece of earth!From the parking lot or the bus stop in Angertal you cross the stream and follow the path to the right into the forest, past the Waldgasthof Angertal to the Miesbichlscharte-Schattbachalm junction. It goes uphill: first through the forest to the cultivated Schattbachalm, then above the tree line following the Rupertiweg to the 2,233 meter high Miesbichlscharte. Enjoy the view and look forward to the descent: Passing the Bockhartsee with the hut of the same name, you descend into the wonderful Nassfeld / Sportgastein, the destination of your stage today. You can do this from the Bockhartseehütte via a steep climb or the slightly gentler forest path. On request, you can spend the night in the Viehhauseralm directly in Sportgastein or in Bad Gastein, which you can reach by bus from Sportgastein.
The twelfth stage of the Salzburger Almenweg means well with you: Almost ten kilometers await you - it always goes downhill. At the same time you will experience one of the most beautiful sides of the Gastein Valley. It begins in the picturesque Sportgastein, continues on the natural route, dotted with impressive waterfalls, and finally ends in the historic core of Bad Gastein. If you are one of the ambitious hikers in the world, you can add stage 13 to it. But I would recommend that you give yourself a little time, because in Bad Gastein, in addition to the already impressive town center, there are also some nice cafes, small shops and unusual restaurants to discover.But enough raved: Now you can hike first. From the parking lot and the bus stop in Sportgastein you walk along the toll road to the power plant and then left down to the Ache. You hike over a couple of sturdy bridges and between the high rock walls. At the height of the two Astenalmen, which, by the way, are wonderful places to stop for a break, the hiking trail finally joins a forest and a little later an asphalt road. From Böckstein you then follow the Kaiserin Elisabeth promenade and with it the Gasteiner Ache to the valley station of the Stubnerkogelbahn, your destination today.
Stage 13 begins in the charming heart of Bad Gastein, where you may even have spent the night. On a leisurely five kilometers and always along the "Franz Klammer running route", it leads you into the wonderful Kötschach valley.To do this, starting from the valley station of the Stubnerkogelbahn, you first make your way to the main road, cross the Ache and then branch off onto K. H. Waggerlstraße. Via Palfnerstraße, which follows shortly afterwards, you climb to the highest point of the stage, the Windischgrätzhöhe. You hike through the forest and over meadows to the Alpengasthaus Rudolfshöhe, a possible nightly accommodation. Otherwise, keep going in the direction of Kötschachtal until you are finally in the middle of the former hotel village Grüner Baum and thus at your current stage destination.
The last two stages turned out to be quite comfortable. And that's just as well. Because for stage 14 of the Salzburger Almenweg it goes high again. Over a total length of a good 14 kilometers, you leave the Gastein Valley behind you and hike over a gap to Hüttschlag. To do this, you first climb steadily up from the Hotel Grüner Baum to the Poserhöhe. A relatively short route, on which you master an impressive 450 meters and at the end of which you will be rewarded with a wonderful view over the Gastein Valley. After a possible stop, you march on - at first a little more leisurely but still uphill - to the Toferscharte.When you arrive at the Scharte, the Gamskarkogel - at 2,467 meters, the highest grass mountain in Europe - smiles at you. However, the Salzburger Almenweg leads down into the valley in the direction of Hüttschlag. The footpath is steep but widening and slowly but surely and always beautifully leads you into the valley near steep mountain streams that meander along the steep flanks of the Frauenkogel.
Stage 15 of the Salzburger Almenweg takes you through wonderful nature and impressive mountain worlds from Hüttschlag at the head of the Grossarl Valley to the glittering Tappenkarsee and then on to the Draugsteinalmen. The - quite a few - vertical meters that lie ahead of you will certainly make this tour one of the most demanding on the long-distance hiking trail. But it is definitely one of the most beautiful.It starts in Hüttschlag, from where you first hike to Wolfau, then over the Karteisgraben to the alp of the same name. One more card index is still possible: You will soon reach the Törl with the resounding name and from there you will march through particularly beautiful, open terrain that only sprouts with bushes and larches. Above all, with the glittering Tappenkarsee, you can already see from here where to go next. Alternatively, you can save yourself the descent via the ridge directly to the Draugsteintörl. Once you have reached the lakeshore and the two huts (the Tappenkarseehütte is also ideal for an overnight stay), you then go uphill again: to the Draugsteintörl. The descent takes place along the flanks of the mighty Draugstein until you sooner or later find yourself in front of the two Draugsteinalmen and thus at the destination of today's stage.
Today it's a bit more relaxed again - but you've earned it really hard after the last two stages. From your overnight accommodation in one of the two Draugsteinalmen you first climb a good 100 meters in altitude to the Almenweg and make your way along the southwest flank of the Draugstein to the Filzmoossattel.You have already reached the highest point of today's tour! It now goes continuously down to the Filzmoosalm and then parallel to the slope to your stage destination, the Ellmaualm. On this path you will pass the Filzmoosalm and Ellmaualm, two other managed alpine pastures, the Loosbühel and the Weißalm. So you can choose where to take an enjoyable break. Oh and speaking of the variety of huts: welcome once again to the valley of the alpine pastures!
A tour that is quite long at over 17 kilometers, but relatively easy to master thanks to its gentle ups and downs, awaits you in the course of stage 17 of the Salzburger Almenweg. Starting from your destination yesterday, you first hike over to the Hennerbichlalm, then a little steeper uphill to the Kartörl. You can still enjoy the panorama that awaits you here for a long time: until you reach the Spatalm and a little later the Kleinwildalm, to be precise.Now it's first evenly downhill, then through a wonderful high spruce forest up to the traditional Karseggalm. Via the Hochbruck-Jagdhütte, the Muggenfeldalm and the Maurachalm you will soon begin to climb continuously to the Sonntagskogel. From the promising summit you can already see the mountain station of the Grafenbergbahn, the actual destination of your today's tour. So that you have a warm bed for the night, you can consider checking in at the Gernkogelalm or the Buchauhütte and not going there until tomorrow. Alternatively, you can, of course, float off the train towards the valley and move into accommodation there. The main thing is that you slept well tomorrow for stage 18.
To be guided from stage 18 over to the wonderful Kleinarl, you first walk from your night quarters to the mountain station of the Grafenbergbahn. From here it's a short descent to the actual Almenweg and then relatively leisurely to the Auhofalm. But don't be fooled - the ascent to the Kitzstein (“fork”) follows on foot.With that you have the strenuous part of the tour behind you! From the Kitzstein it’s only a minimal uphill to the Penkkopf. Then always nice downhill to the Kleinarler Hütte. Here you have earned a strengthening. You can also really fill your stomach, because from the hut there is a beautiful footpath down to the center of Kleinarl.
The fact that you woke up in an idyllic valley can only mean one thing: You can go up again - to the alpine meadows and peaks of the Salzburger Land. Stage 19 takes you a good 13 kilometers from Kleinarl to the Kogelalm or the mountain station of the "Flying Mozart". To do this, you leave the Kleinarl town center behind you for the time being and make your way up the (goods) path up to the Ennskraxn snack station. There follows a beautiful forest path through the Steinkargraben. Alternating with a forest road and soon accompanied by a view of the Ennskraxn, it leads you to the Steinkaralm.You climb another short stretch until you reach a ridge on which you stay until you reach your destination - a wonderful panorama included, of course. So you first walk past the serviced Weißenhofalm, then the Wildbühel and the Mooskopf to the mountain station of the Kleinarl mountain railway. Climbing a little downhill you get to the Frauenalmsattel. One last time uphill briefly to the Saukarkopf, then your goal is already within your grasp. At the “Top Line” mountain station you now have the choice: Either you hike over the Grießenkareck to the “Flying Mozart” mountain station and take it down to the valley, or you walk to the Wagrainer Haus. The Kogelalm, which is not far from here, also offers beds for the night.
After the efforts of the last few days, stage 20 means well to you again. It's steadily downhill for eight and a half kilometers. Until you are right in the middle of Flachau. It starts at the mountain station of the "Flying Mozart" cable car. For a large part through the ski area and past numerous refreshment stops, such as the Latschenhof, the Jandlalm and the Waldgasthof, you always walk beautifully down the valley.From the Waldgasthof you will soon dive into a closed high forest, which will take you further and further towards the valley. Shortly before the village of Flachau you will finally come across the Grießenkarweg, which leads you into the center. Here you can look for a place to stay for the night and treat yourself to a well-deserved treat in the colorful cafés and restaurants before continuing tomorrow with stage 21 and a tightrope walk.
Magical forests, gentle alpine pastures and a ridge with great views accompany you on your way from Flachau to Zauchensee. It starts in the heart of Flachau and always beautifully up to the Lackenalm. Once up there, you will not only enjoy a wonderful panorama, but will also find a nice place to stop for refreshments. Enjoy it, just not too good - because about half of today's altitude is still ahead of you.It goes up again steeply and you will soon reach a high path. At the point where you can branch off to the Lackenkogel, you've earned a rest - 1,050 meters of altitude are behind, rather below, you. And so you follow the high path to the Gamskogelhütte, from where you can get to your destination either by lift or on foot via Oberzauchensee. Alternatively, shortly before the ascent to the Roßkopf, a path branches off to the left at a chair lift station - a successful shortcut that leads you to Zauchensee on at least as beautiful a path.
Because stage 22 can hardly be surpassed in terms of natural beauty, but is pleasantly short and without noticeable inclines, I would recommend that you connect it directly to stage 23. At the Gnadenalm, the goal of this stage, there is no possibility to spend the night.From Oberzauchensee you climb to the Stubhöhe. When you arrive at a good 1,700 meters, you can first sniff the fresh mountain air and treat yourself to a break - because from here it’s only downhill. You walk through the wonderful landscape and past the Tauernkarleitenalm down to the Vordergnadenalm, the destination of this stage.
Today you march from Pongau to Lungau - a particularly natural, quiet and idyllic part of the Salzburger Land. Your destination, Obertauern, as a well-known ski resort, may not exactly fall into the "quiet" category, at least in winter, but until then you can enjoy a lot of green and even more silence.From the Vordergnadenalm you follow a supply road south to the Hintergnadenalm. The only but crisp ascent to the Südwiener Hütte begins here. After a possible stop at the rustic Alm, keep to the left at the saddle and continue walking east. The Hirschwandsteig takes over - it runs at an altitude of between 1,750 and 1,650 meters through wonderful nature and beneath numerous gravel meadows. He also provides you with a wonderful panorama. At the Felseralm it plunges into gentle larch forests, you will soon cross a stream and shortly afterwards you will reach Obertauern.
Stage 24 of the Salzburger Almenweg begins directly with an ascent. If you want to save yourself a good 300 meters in altitude, you can let the Grünwaldkopfbahn “float” you up the mountain. Otherwise you start right in the heart of Obertauern at the Wisenegg-Tauernhaus.No matter how you get up, both variants meet again at Grünwaldsee. And foot strength is required. You first hike in the direction of the Seekarhaus and after the Dikt’n Alm then across a ski slope to the Knappenhaus. It goes uphill again to the mountain station of a chairlift and from there just a few more steps to the Seekarscharte. Hiking through interesting karst forms, you will soon reach a 2,100 meter high saddle and thus the highest point of the tour. From there you descend in the direction of the Oberhüttensattel and shortly before you turn to your destination, the Oberhütte.