Countless summits, sweeping valleys, and rustic mountain huts – the Saalach Valley Ridge is an exciting adventure through Austria’s Kitzbuhlen Alps. Located in western Austria in the region of Salzburg, the Saalach Valley offers excellent hiking through wild nature.
This route takes you 51 miles (82.5 km) through the mountains, with just under 13,120 feet (4,000 m) to climb, over 5 stages. Depending on your fitness level and preference, you can also split the hike into more stages. You can catch mountain gondolas to enjoy the stunning alpine panoramas. The hike is demanding, but you will be rewarded with unforgettable memories, sweeping views, delicious food, and nature at its best.
The Saalach Valley Ridge is a very varied hike that never gets boring. On the first stage, you walk from Saalfelden to Leogang accompanied by the quiet gurgle of meandering streams, before spending the night in Hütten, a historic mining village. On the second day, you follow in the footsteps of miners as you hike through the Schwarzleotal Valley, passing the Spielberghorn and Kohlmais peaks en route. On stage 3, you’ll use cable cars to reach a panoramic path from Zwölferkogel to Schattberg mountain. Stage 4 takes you up the Glemmtal Valley to the town of Viehhofen, surrounded by mountains at 2,800 feet (856 m). Stage 5 concludes your adventure with a ride of the summer toboggan run which takes you back down into the valley to Saalfelden.
Now you know what awaits, what do you need to consider before setting off? Make sure you bring enough water with you and wear suitable footwear. You climb up quite high, so surefootedness are needed on this adventure. You should also book your accommodation ahead of time to ensure you have a warm bed at the end of the day. This is especially important in Alpengasthof Stiegernigg, the endpoint of stage 4, which is very popular during high season. (viehhofen.com for more info).
Although it may look confusing on the map, this route is a circular. The gaps are sections that you will travel by cable car. I left these sections out so they didn’t increase the mileage and climbing totals of the tour.
So hop in the car or train and your adventure can start. Saalfelden, the start and endpoint of the high altitude trail, can be easily reached by train via Salzburg, Innsbruck, Munich, or Klagenfurt. There’s also a high-speed train from Vienna. For more information on trains, visit: fahrplan.oebb.at.
Stage 1 of the Saalachtaler Höhenweg starts in the heart of Saalfeld. The beautiful town is approached several times a day by trains from important hubs (fahrplan.oebb.at). You have surely packed plenty of water and provisions, the sturdy hiking shoe is really looking forward to finally being carried out into the mountains and the rain protection is dormant for safety in the depths of your backpack.
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