Peaks and gorges in the Hohe Tauern
© Drautal Tourismus | Franz Gerdl
The glaciated peaks of the Hohe Tauern are the highest mountains in the Eastern Alps. Sparse scree fields, lonely peaks, steep gorges and deep blue mountain lakes - up here it still exists, the secluded Alpine nature. Today, a large part of the mountain range forms the Hohe Tauern National Park and is strictly protected. But while only the most experienced mountaineers climb over the icy glaciers to the peaks of Großglockner, Großvenediger or Hochalmspitze, the Hohe Tauern National Park region also has much to offer families and leisurely hikers. Explore peaceful plateaus, narrow gorges, panoramic grassy mountains and wide high valleys.
We have chosen ten hikes of all levels of difficulty. Short brook walks, nature trails, valley hikes and real mountain tours - there is something for every mountain lover. Just be sure to allow enough time for your hikes as there is a lot to discover in the Hohe Tauern. Animal lovers especially will find joy here, with marmots, chamois, ibexes, eagles and even bearded vultures calling the mountains home.
In order to preserve the nature of the national park for many years to come, almost all trailheads can be reached by bus. You can leave your car at your accommodation or arrive by train.
The round trip to Mokarspitz is a real panoramic tour. As soon as you have crossed the tree line, you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Gailtal Alps, the Carnic Alps and, above all, the striking rocky peaks of the Lienz Dolomites. Your hike is rounded off by the small Knappensee lake and a stop at the Ochsnerhütte alpine dairy.At Gasthof Bergheimat on the Leppner Alm your summit tour begins. First you hike through a sparse mountain forest steadily uphill until only isolated trees on the wide mountain meadows are to be discovered. You pass the Ochsnerhütte and a little later you reach the Knappensee. It is named after the miners, the so-called miners, who mined gold and silver up here. The Wanderwerg continues uphill. On Seidernitztörl you have a beautiful view of the lake of the same name, which lies below the lake in a small depression. Now it goes over the ridge up to the summit of Mokarspitz. Take a break and let the view affect you before continuing along the south slope of the mountain. The path leads down through meadows. Soon you will find a broad hiking trail that will take you along the edge of the forest back to the Ochsnerhütte. After a well-deserved snack, you will continue hiking to the Leppner Alm, the starting point of the tour.On Wednesdays you can reach the Leppner Alm also from Oberdrauburg with the National Park hiking bus. It is a call bus, so you should register the day before at +43 4824/2700-42. More information about the hiking bus at nationalpark-hohetauern.at/Wanderbus
Mountain lakes have a special attraction for hikers. The so-called two lakes on the Schwarzenstein are no exception. The two mountain lakes are located in a wide glacier basin in the barren high mountain landscape of the Hohe Tauern. The visit to the lakes can be perfectly combined with a summit trip to the Hochtristen.On the trail parking lot of Almdorf Emberger Alm begins your hike. Via the meadows of the Emberger Alm and the Naßfeldriegel you climb up to the Rottörl. Already on this section you get a taste of the summit prospect. From Rottörl it goes over a barren mountain meadow steadily uphill to Hochtristen. The panoramic view of the peaks of the Hohe Tauern, the Gailtal Alps and the Carnic Alps is simply magnificent. From the Hochtristen, the trail leads you down to the Two Lakes. Arrived at the small mountain lakes, you can enjoy the great panorama first in peace with a little break. Freshly rested, you then hike over picturesque mountain meadows down to the Emberger Alm, the starting point of your hike.
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Despite its height of 3,086 meters, the pillar is relatively easy to climb. A well-developed, but long mountain trail leads through the Dösenbachtal to the summit. On the ten kilometers to the summit, the landscape changes dramatically: first you hike over alpine pastures, then through quiet coniferous forests and finally over barren mountain meadows. From the Arthur von Schmid-Haus you finally follow a rocky path to the summit. Very sporty hikers complete the tour in one day, but it is more pleasant in any case with an overnight stay at the Arthur von Schmid-Haus. This makes the summit tour perfect as your first hut tour. Old hands will enjoy the hike as well.The hike to the Säuleck begins at the Wanderparkplatz in the lower Dösenbachtal. Follow the signs to Arthur von Schmid-Haus. You wander through small forest and especially over wide meadows. The path only rises moderately and you can enjoy the view of the wild and romantic valley. After you have passed the Konradlacke, the way becomes steeper. In serpentines, it winds through forests and mountain meadows steadily uphill to the Arthur of Schmid house. Once here, you can end the day with a view of Lake Dösener.After a restful night, it's off to the summit early in the morning. Here begins the exciting part. About rocky paths and rough-grained terrain, the trail winds upwards. Plan enough breaks, then you will come safely to the pillar. Once arrived at the summit, you can already expect the fantastic panoramic view. After a breather, the tour continues through the barren mountain landscape back to the mountain hut. After a rest and a hearty mountaineering meal, you will hike down into the valley.The National Park hiking bus will take you from the station Mallnitz-Obervellach comfortably to the starting point of the hike. More information at nationalpark-hohetauern.at/Wanderbus
The Geotrail Tauernfenster is a perfect introduction to get to know the high mountain world of the Hohe Tauern National Park. With the Grossglockner mountain railway it goes up to the Schareck. Good mountain hiking trails and a few vertical meters in the ascent and descent make the tour a real pleasure hike. Suitable clothing and especially solid mountain hiking boots are mandatory in any case.From Heiligenblut you float with the mountain railway up in the direction of Schareck. From the mountain station it is only a short climb up to the summit cross. Enjoy the unique view of the countless three thousand meter mountains that surround you up here. Then you hike on the ridge in the direction Rossschartenkopf. With a view of the glaciated summits of the Hohe Tauern, it finally goes back to the mountain station of the cable car.
The name Natura Mystica is the name of the program: The short circular route meanders along the enchanted Kachlmoor to the impressive Gößnitzwasserfall, which rushes down a narrow ravine. With the short distance and the good hiking trails, the circular walk is also good for families with small children.The leisurely round trip begins at the Wanderparkplatz Retschitzbrücke. From there, you hike leisurely up into the dense forest. Soon you will find the Gößnitzbach, on the bank of which stands an old restored watermill. A narrow path leads you to a lookout pulpit. Here you have a magnificent view of the impressive waterfall. Then it's back to the mill. Behind the mill, the trail branches off to the right. On quiet paths you circle the mystical Kachlmoor. You return to the main hiking trail, which leads you back to the trail parking lot.
The Pasterze is with a length of eight kilometers not only the longest glacier of Austria, but also of the entire Eastern Alps. The glacier is located directly on the northern slope of the Großglockner and slides down through the Mölltal. Although the glacier has been retreating for years, a visit is still an impressive experience. A hiking trail leads you very close to the glacier and you can clearly feel the icy coldness that emanates from it.You begin your hike at the Glocknerhaus on the Grossglockner Alpine Road. First, you circle around the Margaritzenstausee and then slowly wander up to the Sandersee. Up here, the melting glacier water naturally accumulates before continuing to the Margaritzen Reservoir. The trail meanders along the shore to the funicular. Here you follow the path uphill to the glacier tongue. If the glacier's ice is too cold for you, you'll hike back to the cable car. Either on foot or by train it goes up to the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Höhe. From the elevated position you have a great overview of the Pasterze and the surrounding peaks. Above the glacier, the trail continues to climb and with each step changes the perspective on the Pasterze. At the viewpoint waterfall angle again expects you a special panoramic view, before you start the way back. You hike back to the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Höhe and along a narrow trail down to the Glocknerhaus.
Between the Resseck and the Zagutnispitze, the Mallnitzbach has cut a dramatic gorge landscape into the mountains. The Groppenstein Gorge and the northern Rabisch Gorge together form the longest gorge trail in Carinthia and can be completely hiked. An exciting hiking trail connects the two towns of Mallnitz and Obervellach. Thanks to well-developed trails, the tour is also good for families. Of course, if the 490 meter ascent is too exhausting for you, you can also run the tour in the opposite direction.Your hike begins at the trail parking lot below the castle Groppenstein. The hiking trail leads past the castle and directly into the Groppenstein Gorge. The path climbs steadily along the shore. Soon you pass the two waterfalls Groppensteinfall and Zechnerfall, which plunge into the depths of the gorge. Again and again, exciting views open up into the depths of the gorge. At the Gasthaus zur guten Quelle you cross a road for a short while and then reach the Rabischschlucht. The second gorge is a bit shorter, but no less impressive. At the end of the ravine, take the hiking bus back to Obervellach. Of course, if you do not have enough, you can walk back on foot.
Without a doubt, the Seebachtal is one of the most unique places in the Alps. The narrow high valley is located at an altitude of around 1,250 meters and on both sides rise dramatic rock walls. The special is the almost flat bottom. Wide, flat meadows stretch through the long valley and cows chew peacefully on the grass. Wide, comfortable hiking trails and the flat elevation profile of the valley make it a perfect destination for families with children and prams. In addition, two cozy mountain inns await you in the Seebachtal.At the trail parking lot at the Ankogelbahn your round hike begins through the Seebachtal. You follow the comfortable hiking trail into the valley. The path leads you past the Stappitzer lake and on towards the Schwussnerhütte. You will leisurely stroll along the path while enjoying the magnificent view of the unique mountain landscape. After a stop at the Schwussnerhütte you follow the trail through the valley back to the starting point of the hike.The Ankogelbahn is approached in summer several times a day from Mallnitz by the hiking bus. More information at mallnitz.at
The Wasserelebnisweg in the Goppnitzklamm is a great hike for the whole family. The well-developed hiking trail leads through the narrow rock canyon, while the torrent roars below you in the direction of the valley. At many experience stations, you will learn what role the water of the stream played in people's lives. So it is important as drinking water and as an energy supplier, but can also be a danger when the brook swells after the snowmelt. From the end of the Klammweg you hike up to the small Almdorf Gnoppnitz. If the climb is too long for you, you can just walk back through the gorge.Your hike starts in the center of Greifenburg. On the bank of Gnoppnitzbachs you walk directly into the gorge. Soon you will be surrounded by dense forest, while the brook creaks and rushes through the valley. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the experience stations in peace. At the end of the gorge, the path turns right and leads you steadily up to Gnoppnitz. Here you can also pay a visit to the Farmers Museum. Afterwards, in some bends on the asphalt road back to the starting point of your hike.
The Hochstadel is a summit in the Lienz Dolomites. With a height of 2,681 meters, it is not one of the highest peaks in the mountain group, but thanks to its huge north face, it is certainly the best known. The rock face over the Drautal rises above 1,300 meters and has also earned the Hochstadel the nickname 'King of the Drau-Oberland'. While only hardboiled climbers ascend over the north face to the summit, you can climb up from the Hochstadelhaus on a mid-level mountain hike to the Hochstadel. The trails are well marked but require sure-footedness, good condition and suitable equipment.The Hchstadelhaus, the starting point of the hike, can be reached via a private road. From there, your ascent begins directly. The mountain hiking trail meanders steadily uphill on the rocky and scree slopes and with every step the view gets better. Just below the Rudnigkofel you reach the ridge that leads you directly to the Hochstadel. Here, in good weather, a fantastic panoramic view of the Hohe Tauern, the Gailtal Alps, the Carnic Alps and even the Dolomites awaits you. After a short rest on the summit, the tour continues over the exciting Dreitörlweg back to Hochstadelhaus.In summer, the Hochstadelhaus is approached daily by the National Park hiking bus. The bus starts at the station Oberdrauberg. Since it is a Rufbus, you should register best the day before. More information at nationalpark-hohetauern.at/Wanderbus