Picturesque mountain lakes, lush greenery, fantastic views paired with culinary delicacies. Hikes are a great mix of exercise, relaxation and pleasure. And let’s be honest – in Austria, we are really lucky to have such wealth of impressive natural scenery. We often seek out special locations far away – while here, you can easily reach them in a few hours by car or train. Staycation is calling!
And so is our main attraction in part III of the walking series, “Oh Baby it’s a Wanderful Life”. This article takes us to the upper Enns Valley in north-western Upper Styria. Correct, it takes us to the Schladming-Dachstein region. breathtaking mountain scenery meets Styrian delicacies. Whether it is summer or winter, the area is simply timeless, like a classic beauty.
01 // DACHSTEIN GLACIER
Just as it was 50 years ago for Neil Armstrong, so was it also for the Schladming-Dachstein region. Granted, the same distance as Apollo 11 wasn’t covered – BUT, it was definitely a giant step for mankind, at least in the Enns Valley. The first gondola reached the Dachstein mountain station – and that achievement was celebrated this year with a new gondola, a panoramic gondola.
And now it is precisely this new panoramic gondola, fitted with glass on all sides, that takes you to the mountain station (taking about 6 minutes). By the way, the gondola even has a balcony – which is super cool, making the trip into quite an experience, with a breathtaking panoramic view unobscured by glass at the tip of your nose. Once you have reached the mountain station at the summit, you can enjoy the view up there in many different ways:
Stairway to nowhere – 14 steps lead you down to a glass platform with a breathtaking view – 400 m above the foot of the wall.
Skywalk – this spectacular glass platform is 2,700 m above the seabed. From up there you can enjoy the incredibly beautiful mountain panorama – with not only the Hohe Tauern in view, but also Slovenia and the Czech Republic.
Ice Palace – Ice, Ice Baby. The Palace takes you into another world. There are lovingly carved figures and buildings made of ice 6 m below the glacier. You can marvel at the moment as you wander through European cities.
Suspension bridge – the highest of its kind in Austria. Standing on this bridge, your feet will be roughly 400 m above the ground. Not for the faint-hearted.
Of course, there are also several hiking trails that you can explore.
02 // WILD WATER THEME TRAIL
The theme trail starts directly from Schladming. From Kraiterparkplatz, the trail leads along the Talbachklamm towards Untertal-Dorf. At this point, you will be hiking across lush green meadows to the Alte Mühle; the Gföller Mühle is the last mill on Untertalbach, where formerly 40 mills were in use.
After a short uphill hike, you will reach the nature reserve Toteisboden, which offers optimal conditions for the flora and the Trettermoor (bog). The Talbach river wends its way here through the bog. The next section of the hike leads across lush greenery, and through forests along the crystal-clear Untertalbach river. You will also find some cosy rest stops along the way – which are wonderful for offering one or more breaks to enjoy a “Kaiserschmarren” (shredded sweet pancakes with raisins).
The next is stop is the Seeleiten car park, and from there you head to the alpine path through the “Höll” – you can experience the energy of the waterfall up close here – and cool off the natural way. The various viewing platforms offer many opportunities to explore the highest Styrian waterfall. Anyone with “steady nerves” can venture over the suspension bridge (50 m), which leads over the Wildbach (torrent) in the Höllenschlucht. After many steps, you will reach a trail leading to the Riesachsee lake. This is definitely worth a hike, as you can see from the pictures.
Tour facts: medium // 16.5 km // 5:21 hours // see all details here.
3 // HOCHWURZEN – ROSSFELD – GUSCHEN
It starts at the Hochwurzen mountain station. From there you follow the signs for the trail having the no. 60 over the “Kleine Wurzen” to the Hüttecksattel (1,744 m), and then there is a pleasant uphill walk to the long back side of the Rossfeld (1,919 m). The path continues gently downhill to the crossroads on the Latterfußsattel (1,792 m), then you proceed on a hike to the highest point of the tour – the Guschen (1,982 m). Once at the top, you will have a beautiful all-round view of the Dachstein-Massiv and the Schladminger Tauern.
There are three different options on the way back:
- To the Latterfußsattel – from there take path no. 773 into the Obertal valley and to the valley station of Hochwurzen
- To the Hüttecksattel – from there take path no. 61 (a bit steeper) to the valley station of Hochwurzen
- To the Hochwurzenhütte – from there you can take the gondola down to the valley if your legs are too tired, or, if you still have some energy, you can take path no. 60 back to the Hochwurzen valley station (which takes about another 1.5 hours).
Tour facts: medium // 8.9 km // 4:00 hours
For those whose inner voice is saying, “Hey, I want to get to Schladming right now, without delay”, there is Good News. You can take part in our #mytravitude contest, and with a bit of luck, you can win a voucher for 2 nights and 2 people. Indeed, you will then be able to use this voucher for a hiking wellness holiday at the Falkensteinerhotel Schladming. Okay then, see you in Schladming! ✌