Hiking the Dachstein circular in 8 spectacular stages

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Breathtaking views, untouched nature and wonderful hiking trails: the Dachstein region is a Mecca for mountain enthusiasts and pleasure hikers alike. The Dachstein circular is the most intensive way to get to know Austria's impressive mountain landscape – one of the most beautiful areas in the Alps. You will get to know the region over 85 miles (137 kilometers, hiking three to nine hours a day through three federal states (Salzburg, Styria and Upper Austria) and some of the most stunning spots in the Alps, which are UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites.

In this Collection, we show you through the circular hike in eight stages from towering a glacier at 2700 meters (8858 feet) down to lakes, with countless scenic highlights in between. Along the way, you can look forward to hospitality in the rustic huts and cosy nights in a warm bed along the way. Afterall, nothing beats an evening card game after a well-deserved rest at several thousand meters altitude – don't you think?

So: pack enough (weatherproof) clothing, good shoes and, if you decide on the via ferrata variant for stage 3, remember to bring the necessary equipment. Take your favourite hiking buddies with you and don't forget to reserve a bed in the various accommodations before setting off. You can safely leave your car at the Gosause when you arrive as you won't need it for the next few days. Because there is only you, the great scenery of the Dachstein massif and eight (admittedly sometimes exhausting, but always rewarding) day hikes.

Most of the eight stages can also be tackled individually as day hikes. Some of the starting points can be reached directly by public transport whilst you can take a gondola to the others. More detailed information can be found at the end of each route description.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    8.52 mi
    1.3 mph
    3,550 ft
    1,025 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The first section of the Dachstein circular walk leads you from the crystal-clear Vorderen Gosausee to the Hofpürglhütte. A tour that will be remembered for its great views of the surrounding mountains and the many rustic huts that invite you to take a break. You need good footwear and a certain basic condition, because there are some steep passages and thus several meters to overcome. Because you are going to alpine heights, you should be prepared for sudden changes in the weather, so be sure to bring weatherproof clothing with you.Let's go to the parking lot at Vorderen Gosausee. You can also travel by bus 542. Before you start with the ascent to Gablonzer Hütte, it is definitely worth a short detour to the turquoise-blue lake.Under the lift route and over gentle switchbacks, you are already taking a good part of the altitude back and finally reach the idyllic Gablonzer Hütte (1,550 meters). If you feel like having a rest, you can strengthen yourself here before continuing on the Austria path.This part of the hike offers breathtaking views of the Gosausee and the Törleck. Yes, even a border crossing (from Upper Austria to Salzburg) you make here. And you'll see the next rustic hut, the Stuhlalm, along the way, where you can taste the finest home-made specialties.Strengthened it continues on the last section of the stage. And up through rocks and pines - a section on which caution is required - and finally over a leisurely way to your first destination, the Hofpürglhütte. From here you have a wonderful view of the Dachstein massif and can recharge your energy reserves during an evening snack before continuing on stage 2 tomorrow.

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  • Difficult
    7.81 mi
    1.3 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,350 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Standing up with a wonderful view from the Hofpürglhütte and strengthened by a hearty breakfast, the Dachstein Rundwanderung leads you further in the direction of Dachstein Südwandhütte. Stage 2 takes you over steep climbs up to 2,300 meters above sea level. Because you are going to such dizzying heights, you must always be prepared for weather changes. Good footwear is therefore just as important as weatherproof clothing. On the way you will not pass any hut - so pack some provisions in your backpack.You start Stage 2 on a mountain trail that brings you ever closer to the Dachstein Glacier. It rises steadily and leads over the boiler wall and large scree slopes finally to the Rinderfeld. Here not only lush green alpine meadows, but also a great view of the Hohe Tauern await you. Maybe just the right place for a small snack?It goes on at least over the summit of Sulzenscheid and from there back down to the Sulzenhals. You realize - this hike has it all. Altogether it goes up over 800 meters and back down 700 meters. Below the ridge, you continue to the so-called "gate".After another border crossing - this time from Salzburg to Styria -, a few hairpin bends and scree slopes, and a last climb you finally reach the Dachstein Südwandhütte. Arriving here, it's time to put your legs up and gather your strength. You have reached today's stage goal.Tip: If you would like to do this hike individually as a day trip, you should take the public transport to Filzmoos and from there take a hiking bus in the direction of Aualm.More information about the hiking bus can be found here:

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  • Difficult
    6.49 mi
    1.1 mph
    2,975 ft
    2,125 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The third stage can be tackled in two different ways. If you have experience with it, on the one hand, there is the possibility to climb over a via ferrata towards the glacier. As an alternative, you can enter the Dachstein Gletscherbahn below the Dachstein Südwand hut. If you choose the via ferrata, you need a via ferrata equipment. As always, you should keep an eye on the weather in order to arrive safely at the finish line.Let's go directly behind your night quarters, where you - well rested and well-saturated from breakfast - in a steep serpentine path. Climb the last 200 meters in altitude over the insured Hühnerscharten via ferrata up to the Hunerkogel and thus directly to the edge of the glacier. This is also the point where you land if you choose the variant of the glacier track.Once at the top, you immediately notice the imposing Gjaidstein, which interrupts the large glacier area. If you feel like it, you can pay a visit to the Skywalk and the suspension bridge. The view is terrific up here anyway.From the mountain station Hunerkogel we continue, past the Gjaidstein and further east. The colored markings on rocks and snow poles serve as orientation. And so this high alpine hike takes you from the glacier, past the Feiserscharte until you land after a last steep descent in the Guttenberghaus. This is your current milestone.Tip: If you would like to do this hike (or at least a large part of it) individually as a day trip, you can take a bus from the Schladming train station to the valley station of the Dachstein Glacier Cable Car and continue by gondola.More information can be found here: derdachstein.at/de/service/anreise

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  • Difficult
    8.89 mi
    1.4 mph
    1,700 ft
    2,725 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The fourth stage of the Dachstein circular walk takes you from your cozy sleeping place at an altitude of 2,127 meters in the Guttenberghaus down again and for the first time back towards the forest and meadows. As the trek begins high above 2,000 meters, you should always have your weather-resistant layers on hand. Sturdy footwear is also a must on this tour.Let's go after a delicious breakfast, first uphill to Feisterscharte. Up here, it makes sense to turn around again and enjoy the view of your night-quarters and the surrounding mountains. Then you follow the path no. 618 over the northern slope of the Sinabell east, which leads you over rocks and through pines and gorges to the Grafenbergalm. From here it is over for now with the high alpine terrain. Provided you have provisions, this is also the perfect place to eat it.Through a dense forest and past the Brunner hut you continue hiking until you finally reach today's destination of the day: the Berggasthof Steinerhaus. And with him the well-deserved break before it continues tomorrow in old freshness.Tip: If you would like to tackle this hike independently of the other tours of the round, we would still recommend you to schedule two days for it. The road from Ramsau to Guttenberghaus alone takes a lot of time and only then you can really enjoy the actual hike up there. From the Steinerhaus a taxi or bus will take you back to Ramsau.

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  • Difficult
    11.8 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,950 ft
    4,700 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Stage 5 is the last leg of your circuit, which involves steep ascents and descents. He leads you back to the valley. On the way - on the Viehbergalm - several rustic huts are waiting for you. On the Ritzingeralm there is even the possibility to stay overnight.About roots and stones, it goes from the Gasthof Steinerhaus downhill until finally - below the Kimpfling saddle - the turnoff to Notgasse is in front of you. This section of today's hike is particularly spectacular: in the gorge, up to 60-meter-high cliffs with historic rock carvings stand out.So you continue through the gorge until you reach a forest road, which you continue to follow. Finally, you will pass the Viehbergalm, where you can take a long break from the efforts of the last days.Do you feel invigorated, it goes on for you in the forest and on the so-called "Bretterlsteig". Over the summit of the Hochmühleck and over the Goseritzalm you finally reach today's stage destination - the Steinitzenalm.Tip: If you want to tackle this hike individually as a day trip, you can take the train to Schladming or Gröbing and from there continue by bus or taxi.You can find more information about the journey here: steinerhaus.at/Apartmenthaus_Stoder/Anreise.html

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  • Difficult
    19.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,400 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    On this section of the Dachstein Rundwanderung you can take it a bit more comfortable. On easy trails you first wander through the forest, pass a lake and finally arrive by ship in the world-famous Hallstatt. Sturdy shoes and a rain jacket can always be beneficial, depending on the weather. Otherwise, you do not need any special equipment for this tour.From your quarters, the Steinitzenalm, you start walking in the direction of "Strumern". It is a spring in the forest, which is especially beautiful in spring, but basically in every season. A flat path leads you to the Ödensee. If you feel like it, you can cool down here for a short time - preferably for longer. After the last few days, a round in bog water will definitely do your joints and muscles well.Finally, you hike along the Traun in the direction of Bad Aussee. Over a forest path and - after crossing a suspension bridge - you walk along the Koppentraun-Ufer, then over the Obertrauner Höhenweg to Obertraun.The beauty of this part of the hike is the fact that you are always accompanied by water in all sorts of shapes and colors. So now: Along the turquoise Lake Hallstatt you march in the direction of Hallstatt Station. From there you cross the lake by boat and finally land in today's stage destination Hallstatt.The charming seaside town is known throughout the world for its idyllic location and small streets. Once there, you should definitely make your own picture of it. Overnight accommodation, as well as excellent restaurants are also here enough. So let it taste you - you deserve it!Tip: If you want to do this hike individually as a day trip, you can take the train to Bad Aussee and from there with the Narcissus jet.More information can be found here: ausseerland.salzkammergut.at/oesterreich/unterkunft/430001650/steinitzenalm.html

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  • Intermediate
    8.36 mi
    2.3 mph
    450 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The penultimate of the eight stages around the Dachstein is the shortest of all with a duration of just over three hours. If the temperatures play along, you can make a detour to the bathing jetty and refresh yourself in Lake Hallstatt. But take it easy - the last stage of the circular walk has it all again.The tour starts at Lake Hallstatt, from where you make your way to Hallstatt train station, depending on where you have spent the night. From here you can walk along the eastern shore of Lake Hallstatt, which offers a magnificent view of the crystal-clear water and Hallstatt, as well as one or the other idyllic resting place. If you have not packed a snack, invites the lakeside terrace of the shore host Seeraunzn to strengthen. Give yourself time here - today you can really enjoy.After a while you will find yourself below the Arikogl again and continue on beautiful forest trails towards the Au. Short you have to cross the main road, then you are already on a walk that leads you through the beautiful landscape to Bad Goisern. This is your destination today and at the same time a charming spot with great gastronomy and cozy accommodation.So relax! Tomorrow the last part of your unforgettable journey around the UNESCO World Heritage Dachstein awaits you.Tip: Because the hike starts right at the Hallstatt train station, it also makes a good day trip.

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  • Difficult
    14.0 mi
    1.6 mph
    5,125 ft
    3,675 ft
    Expert mountaineering route. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    So fast is a successful round trip past - you are already at the starting point of the last stage. And in the center of Bad Goisern. As always, this time around: rainproof clothing, good footwear and possibly food for the road. But you know about it by now.First, it's uphill again for you. You hike after the Traunbrücke right to Steinach and a forest road up to the pasture. Soon you will see the material cable car of the Goiserer hut. And where it goes, you'll land right there. But you have to first over a few roots, steps and serpentines.And then it lies in front of you: the Goiserer Alm. A quaint cozy snack station with great views and accommodation. Maybe you decide to stop for a while. Either way, the descent over the Schartenalm (and past even more rustic huts) in the direction of Gosau.Soon you will see the next stop - the Iglmoosalm. And so much is revealed: Alone for the delicious pastries pays a short break here. Besides, you are almost at the end of your tour, so if you leave early enough, you still have a little time to enjoy. Then you start on your way to Gosau: Over the panorama path and accompanied by - the name suggests - a great view.As they say? One should always stop when it is the most beautiful. And one of the most beautiful places is now in front of you: the Gosausee - the eighth and last stage of your roundtrip around the Dachstein.Tip: As this hike starts right in the center of Bad Goisern, you can theoretically also arrive by train and hike from there to Gosausee in the course of a day trip.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    85.4 mi
  • Duration
    52:52 h
  • Elevation
    20,050 ft

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