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Wild nature and mighty peaks – hiking the Saalach Valley Ridge Way in Austria

Michael Aigner

Wild nature and mighty peaks – hiking the Saalach Valley Ridge Way in Austria

Hiking Collection by Valerie

5

Tours

27:53 h

51.2 mi

12,750 ft

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.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Saalfelden nach Leogang/Hütten – Saalachtaler Höhenweg

    Difficult
    05:16
    10.8 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    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

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    by Valerie

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  • Difficult
    04:42
    8.11 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,300 ft
    300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Day two of your Saalachtaler Höhenweg hike is on. And for that you start on the trail of the miners right at the beginning: It goes through the Schwarzleotal. To achieve this, you first march from yesterday's stage destination along the Leoganger Ache to soon cross it by bridge - you're almost in the

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    by Valerie

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  • Difficult
    06:36
    12.1 mi
    1.8 mph
    3,325 ft
    3,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Day three of your Saalachtaler Höhenweg hike begins and ends with a cable car ride. In between are some beautiful peaks (crosses) and of course fabulous nature. From the valley station of the Zwölferkogel cable car in Hinterglemm you will be transported in one swing to the 1,984 meter high Zwölferkogel

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    by Valerie

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  • Difficult
    06:31
    11.7 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,800 ft
    4,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    I hope that the night in the charming village of Saalbach was good. Because today there are again a lot of kilometers. It goes out of the valley. And at proud heights to Viehhofen.

    

    To do this, you also get back into a gondola right at the beginning. The Kohlmaisgipfelbahn takes you from the center of

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    by Valerie

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  • Intermediate
    04:47
    8.47 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,575 ft
    2,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It is time to tackle the last leg of your circular hike. And as befits a real mountain tour, you will end it with a bang. If you fancy summer tobogganing.

    

    But for now, you're going to walk. After an energizing breakfast in yesterday's stage destination Gasthof Stiegernigg you hike the way back a bit to

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    by Valerie

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    51.2 mi
  • Duration
    27:53 h
  • Elevation
    12,750 ft

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