The Großglockner is Austria's highest mountain at 3,798 meters and offers many superlatives. Beneath its mighty peak the Pasterze Glacier spreads out and the famous Hochalpenstrasse attracts numerous visitors every year. But you don't always have to climb it, you can also walk around the striking peak and admire it from all sides. A wonderful way to experience the unique nature of the Hohe Tauern National Park.
In seven stages, the about 100 kilometers long Glockner Round Trail leads you over scenic high altitude paths, to picturesque alpine pastures and dreamlike lakes. Some sections are challenging, and some passages are secured with a rope. For this you will be rewarded with fascinating views of the Grossglockner and the surrounding mountain world. The starting point of the long-distance hiking trail is at the Mooserboden reservoir. From there you hike through the impressive landscape of the National Park, where you can meet ibex and groundhogs. Turquoise mountain lakes and clear streams along the way offer you not only countless photo motives but also refreshing resting places. You spend the nights either in rustic huts or in idyllic mountain villages like Kals. Through three provinces - Tyrol, Carinthia and Salzburg - you will travel around the striking summit of the Grossglockner until you reach your destination at the top station of the Kaprun Glacier Cableways.
For the ascent of the Glockner Round Trail, alpine experience, sure-footedness and a good physical condition for the sometimes long stages are necessary. I also recommend that you bring hiking poles for the long descents and pay attention to snow fields that can last long into the summer. For the fifth and sixth stage you can choose between two variants: Either you hike from the Salm hut via the traditional Glocknerhaus to Fusch (5a and 6a) or you choose the path via the idyllic village of Heiligenblut (5b and 6b). From Kaprun you reach the starting point at Mooserboden with the post bus line 660, which takes you to the valley station of the Laerchenwald lift, which takes you up to the reservoir. The end point of the seventh stage is also reached by the post bus line 660.
You can find more information on the bus connections at salzburg-verkehr.at/downloads/regionalbus-660-zell-am-see-kaprun-kitzsteinhorn.
The first stage of the Glockner tour in the Hohe Tauern starts at the Mooserboden reservoir. You walk over the 107-meter-high and almost 500-meter-long dam, which holds back incredible amounts of water. Along the shimmering blue lake it goes towards Kapruner Törl. The ascent is partly steep, but it pays off with dreamy high mountain views. At over 2,600 meters, the route takes you over stone and scree fields, surefootedness is absolutely necessary here.
From the Törl you can already see down to the Übelkar, into which a well-developed path leads. Past the Lower Rifflkees you hike to Tauernmoossee, another impressive reservoir. It is only a short distance from the southern bank to your today's destination, the Rudolfshütte. The modern mountain hotel is idyllically located on the crystal-clear Weißsee and leaves nothing to be desired.
After a relaxing night in the Rudolfshütte you start the second day with a fantastic view of the Weißsee. The ascent to the Kalser Tauern begins right on the southern shore of the lake, where a wooden summit cross including a summit book awaits you. You look back at the shimmering lakes and the Rudolfshütte. The path zigzags down to the Kalserbach that you cross.
Surrounded by mighty peaks almost 3,000 meters high, you follow the babbling brook. On the Silesia Höhenweg it goes through the high alpine landscape past the small Dorfer See and on to the Muntanitzschneid. The path is rocky, demanding and partly secured with ropes. Then you hike up to the highest point of the Glockner circuit - the Gradötzscharte lies at 2,826 meters and rewards you with a phenomenal mountain panorama.From the gap below the Gradötzkogel it is only a short distance to the quaint Sudetendeutsche Hütte, your destination. On the promising terrace you can end the second stage with a Kaiserschmarrn.
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The majority of the third stage leads downhill, so have your hiking poles ready. After a hearty breakfast at the Sudetendeutsche Hütte you hike east and follow the Sudetendeutsche Höhenweg. The 3,000-meter-high summit of the Kendlspitze rises next to you. At these heights, the sky seems very close and the fantastic views change with every step.
The Dürrenfeld continues to the Hohen Tor at 2,477 meters. If you want to take a summit with you on the third stage of the Glockner tour, you have the option of climbing the Blauspitze. The route continues downhill past a storage pond and you can take a break in the nearby Gasthaus Glocknerblick.
You follow the flower and herb path a bit before you get to Großdorf. From here the tour runs along the rushing Kalserbach, on the banks of which the St.Georg church stands with its imposing tower. In the national park community of Kals am Großglockner you have reached your destination and can visit the interesting local museum.
At the beginning of the fourth day of the Glockner tour, you will walk along the Ködnitzbach from the tranquil Kals. An impressive highlight awaits you after just the first kilometer: you can't miss the 100-meter suspension bridge over the Ködnitztal. After a brief thrill on the bridge, you head into the quiet forest. You walk steadily uphill on soft forest paths and can enjoy the typical scent. You quickly gain altitude and reach the tree line.
The path runs along the Peischlachbach and at Peischlachtörl several popular hiking trails meet at 2,484 meters. Over open terrain with a view of the Großglockner it goes up to the rustic Glorer hut. You definitely deserve a rest with freshly baked apple strudel after this climb. Strengthened you hike on to the Upper Glatzsee, where the surrounding peaks are reflected.
Below the Glatzberg, you can decide whether you want to cover the last part on a rope-secured climb or on a somewhat longer but easier hiking trail. On the Leiterbach you cross the border between the federal states of Carinthia and East Tyrol. With a wonderful view of the mighty Großglockner you reach the Salmhütte, which was extended in 2017.
The fifth stage of the Glockner tour can be done in two ways: either you go from the Salmhütte via the Stockerscharte to the Glocknerhaus, as described here, or from the Salmhütte through the Leitertal to Heiligenblut (stage 5b). Both versions are relatively short compared to the other stages and offer time for some relaxation in the Carinthian part of the Hohe Tauern National Park.
After a restful night in the Salmhütte, you follow the Carinthian border path along the slope below the Schwerteck. Lush green meadows on which sheep graze in summer surround you. It goes gently down to the slopes of the first ladder head, then the path winds steeply down to the Margaritzen reservoir.
You walk over the mighty dam and enjoy fantastic views of the lake and the Großglockner. Along the lakeshore, you continue northwards and at the end you climb part of the "Glacier Path Pasterze" to the traditional Glocknerhaus. In the sheltered conservatory you can end the day with a view of Austria's highest mountain.
The fifth stage of the Glockner tour can be done in two variants: Variant 5a leads you from the Salmhütte to the Glocknerhaus, variant 5b, as described here, from the Salmhütte to Heiligenblut. Both are relatively short compared to the other stages and offer time for some relaxation in the Carinthian part of the Hohe Tauern National Park.
With an impressive view of the Großglockner you start from the Salmhütte in the fifth stage. Over wide alpine meadows you descend into the idyllic Leitertal and follow the babbling Leiterbach. Surrounded by the Hohe Tauern, the trail is easy to walk out of the valley. On the Trogalm you can take a break and eat your bread.
Afterwards you hike through an alpine forest and after about ten kilometers you reach the mighty Gössnitz waterfall: 70 meters of water rush down and immerse the surroundings in fine spray mist. You can climb steps to a viewpoint from which you have an even better view of the waterfall. Past the small Kachlmoor you hike down to the picturesque Heiligenblut, your milestone. The Gothic church with the impressive mountains in the background is a popular photo motif.
The sixth stage of the Glockner tour is again held in two variants. Depending on whether you chose the stage destination Glocknerhaus or Heiligenblut the day before, you start from different points.Variant 6a begins at the Glocknerhaus and initially leads you up the Klagenfurt anniversary path to the Unteren Pfandlscharte. At 2,663 meters you can enjoy a fantastic panorama and cross the border to the state of Salzburg. With a view of steep rock faces, glittering lakes and the beautiful Käfertal, it is sometimes steeply downhill. The path leads over scree fields and requires sure-footedness. When you have reached the quaint Trauneralm, the steepest part is behind you and you can relax on the sun terrace of the hut.
Through light forest you march along the mountain stream Fuscher Ache, which winds in countless hairpin bends through the wonderful landscape. On the valley floor you follow the wide path to the Ferleiten wildlife park, where you can take a break in one of the inns. There is also a bus stop here if you want to shorten this stage.
Otherwise it continues along the clear Fuscher Ache to Fusch on the Großglocknerstrasse. Before you reach your destination today, you can make a stop at the impressive Hirzbach waterfall.
When you have completed the fifth stage of the Glockner tour in Heiligenblut, you will hike along the 6b route the next day. You start in the village of Heiligenblut and have the choice between the ascent with the mountain railway or the ascent on foot to the Schareck. You then cover the last stretch from Hochtor to Fusch by bus (grossglockner.at/gg/de/motoren-reifen/glocknerbus).
The hiking trail alternates over meadows and through forests via the Seppenalm to the mountain station. There you can stop at 2,552 meters in the Schareck mountain restaurant and fortify yourself with Salzburg specialties. Just a few meters away you reach the summit cross of the Schareck and look at the surrounding mountains of the Hohe Tauern National Park. We continue to the Mauskarscharte on a promising ridge. In front of you is the 2,665 meter high summit of the Roßschartenkogel and you follow the path to the Hochtor, which marks the highest point of the Großglockner High Alpine Road.
On beautiful days, countless hikers as well as cyclists and drivers romp around to enjoy the view. Before you take the bus down to your destination in Fusch, you can visit the small museum on the Hochtor.
After a night in idyllic Fusch, the seventh stage of the Glockner tour starts with the ascent to the Hirzbachalm. On quiet forest trails you hike through the Hohe Tauern National Park and reach the unmanaged alpine pasture, where you can take a breather.
Then follow the route over idyllic alpine pastures above the tree line. Many hairpin bends take you up to the cozy Gleiwitz hut at 2,176 meters, which is known for its delicious dishes. There is also the possibility to spend the night here and thus split the seventh stage. Strengthened you climb up to the Brandlscharte and can enjoy a view of the Brandlsee on the way. You have reached the highest point of this stage on the notch. Your gaze wanders over the surrounding peaks and if you want even more, you can climb the Rettenzink.
From the Brandlscharte it goes steeply northwest to the Faltenbachkar. Below the Rosskopf you dive into the silent forest. Following the gurgling Schwarzenbach, you will reach the parking lot of the Kapruner Gletscherbahnen, the destination of the Glockner tour. From here you can take the Postbus to Kaprun or Zell am See and take a last look at the beautiful mountains of the Hohe Tauern National Park.