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 eight 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 93 miles (150 km) and climb an unbelievable 24,934 feet (7,600 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.
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:
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
The fifth stage of the Carnic High Trail is the transition from the rugged 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 Plöcken Pass awaits you. From there it goes parallel to the main ridge on the slopes of the Angerbach valley up to the Zollnerseehütte. If the entire stage is too long for you, you can also split up the tour. You can also stay at the Valentinalm inn. This results in two partial stages of seven and 15 kilometers.From the Wolayerseehütte it goes up to the Valentintörl, which lies directly between the Rauchkofel in the north and the Seewarte in the south. From up here you can take a first look into the wide valley and even look down to the Plöcken Pass.
The eighth and last stage of the Carnic High Trail is really tough again. Most of the time you hike on good and comfortable paths across the broad ridges and through quiet mountain forests, but the long descent from the Göriacher Alm to the stage goal of Thoerl-Maglern can cause trembling knees. Take a break here and enjoy the fantastic view of the Klagenfurt basin.At the Dolinza Alm you cross the border to Italy at the start of your tour and then hike through a forested brook valley to the Freistitzer Alm. In the small Almdorf you can take a break or move on.The next few kilometers lead you directly over the Carnic ridge. It is covered with picturesque meadows and you can reach the Almdorf Achomitzer Alm without major ascents and descents. From there it goes into a wide, quiet forest area. The path winds slowly down until you reach the Bartolo saddle.