Fragrant Swiss pine forests, idyllic alpine pastures, adventurous peaks and flowery mountain meadows – the Karnisch High Trail is one of the great long-distance hiking trails in the Alps. You can expect diverse alpine landscapes combined with magnificent views of the Sesto Dolomites, the Julian Alps, the Hohe Tauern and the Gailtal Alps as you climb countless smaller summits.
In eleven day-long stages, you will hike from Sillian in the west to Thoerl-Maglern in the east, following the main Carnic ridge along the Italian-Austrian border. In total, you will cover more than 99 miles (160 km) and climb an unbelievable 27,887 feet (8,500 metres) in altitude on this historic trail. The main crest of the Carnic High Altitude Trail was a highly contested border area during the First World War and you will alternate between Italy and Austria during your hike. Numerous information boards offer you more background knowledge about the military cemeteries, bunkers and fortified positions along the path.
Every evening, you can look forward to a cozy mountain hut or an alpine inn and enjoy the mountainous panorama. On the way, however, there are very few opportunities to stop for refreshments so make sure you pack sufficient provisions in your rucksack. Contact the huts in advance to see which can supply you with packed lunches.
If you are short on time but would like to dip your toes on the Karnisch High Trail then you can divide it into two sections. The first section from the Leckfeldalm to the Plöckenpass unveils barren mountain landscape and is the most popular part of the trail. Starting from the Plöckenpass, the second stage is quiet and secluded. You can take a bus from Kötschach station to the start of the second section.
You can reach the starting point of the Karnisch High Trail at the Leckfeldalm by foot or by taxi from Sillian. Situated on the railway line between Bolzano and Lienz, Sillian is easily reached by train. You can also return from Thoerl-Maglern by train in the same way. As there is often a lot of snow at higher altitudes until early summer, mid-June to the end of September is the best period for your adventure.
The Karnisch is one of the six most beautiful long-distance hiking trails in Tyrol, the so-called ‘Great Walks’. All routes promise you three things: escape from your everyday, beautiful alpine landscapes and real adventure. As well as the Karnisch High Trail, the Tyrolean hiking trail elites include the Berlin High Trail Lechtal Mountain Trail, the Stubai High Trail, the Eagle Way, and the Inntal High Trail.
Majestic hiking along the Eagle Way – Great Walks
Discover the Zillertaler Alps on the Berlin High Trail:
Follow eagle wings on the Eagle Walk East Tyrol:
Hike at high altitudes on the Stubai High Trail:
Follow the picturesque Inntal High Trail in six stages:
Hut-Hopping on the Lechtal High Trail:
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: May 5, 2022
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
Your first stage on the Carnic High Trail takes you from the green slopes of the Drau Valley up to the barren mountain meadows of the Carnic Ridge. Your companion on today's hike: the picturesque view of the rocky peaks of the Sesto Dolomites.
Your hike begins in the heart of the village of Sillian. From…
Starting from the Sillianer Hütte, the Karnische Höhenweg always meanders eastwards along the broad summit ridge at the beginning of the second stage. After you have passed the Hochgrätensee, it goes uphill a little and the ridge becomes rockier - pure high mountain feelings. The exciting path takes…
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A comparatively short section of the Karnische Höhenweg awaits you today: Starting from the Filmoor-Standschützenhütte, you hike almost six and a half kilometers through beautiful landscape to the Porzehütte. Perfect for a little breather. Because on stage 3 it gets a little crisper again.
At the beginning…
A real tightrope walk is on the program today: almost the entire route of the fourth stage runs directly over the summit ridge of the Carnic ridge. In constant ups and downs you hike over rocky paths and then over wide mountain meadows to the numerous peaks along the way.
Your fourth day of hiking begins…
On the section between the Hochweißsteinhaus and the Wolayerseehütte, the Karnische Kamm is extremely rocky, steep and exposed. Instead, the Karnische Höhenweg leads you safely through the picturesque Val Fleons, an untouched high valley on the Italian side of the ridge. You can always enjoy the view…
The sixth stage of the Karnischer Höhenweg forms the transition from the rough high mountain landscape of the western section to the quiet alpine landscape of the eastern part of the long-distance hiking trail. First, a long descent to the Plöckenpass awaits you. From there it continues through a wonderfully…
Did you sleep well? Today the seventh stage of the Carnic High Trail awaits you. With well-loosened calves from the gentle tour yesterday, you start right at the Gasthof Valentinalm. Parallel to the main ridge on the slopes of the Angerbach valley, the path continues uphill to the Zollnersee hut.
The eighth stage takes you across the picturesque mountain meadows that characterize the landscape of the eastern Carnic main ridge. There are no really steep ascents and descents awaiting you, but there are a total of 19 kilometers to come. Just plan enough breaks on the hike so that you arrive at your…
A comparatively short stage awaits you today. At the beginning you hike back towards the Rudigsattel, but let yourself be diverted shortly before and hike through a depression on the northern slope of the ridge and over the summit of the Madritsche to the picturesque alpine meadows of the Nassfeld. In…
The penultimate stage of the Karnische Höhenweg begins with the fact that, starting from your night's accommodation, it sends you leisurely across the border to Italy at the Stutenbodensattel. You walk south around the Zielkofel to the Stallensattel. Here you switch back to Carinthia and a little later…
The time has come: Today is the last stage of the Carnic High Trail. Starting from your quarters, it first leads you directly over the Carnic ridge, which is covered here by picturesque meadows. Without major ascents and descents you reach the Almdorf Achomitzer Alm, from where it goes into a wide, quiet…
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