Hiking in Austria is far more than exercise; it’s a window into Austrian culture. As you journey on foot into the Austrian Alps, you can experience mountain pasture culture, culinary traditions, and historic mountain huts.

The Austrian Alps stretch across most of the country, with the highest peaks in the states of Tyrol, Carinthia, and Salzburg.

With so many ranges to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to go. The mountains of Austria require lifetimes to explore.

We’re determined to uncover the best hiking trails in Austria, one summer at a time. So, below you’ll find our favorite day hikes in Austria to date, including hikes in the Zillertal Alps, Rätikon Alps, Lechquellen Gebirge, Lienz Dolomites, Dachstein, Schaldminger Tauern, Silvretta Alps, and the Hohe Tauern.

This post will continue to grow, so do check back in at the end of the summer, or even next year.

If you’re interested in hut-to-hut hikes in Austria, read Trekking Austria and Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.

The Best Day Hikes in Austria

The hiking trails below are linked to their individual trail guides.

Easy Day Hikes in Austria

  1. Dürnstein to Krems: Wachau World Heritage Trail Stage 1 in the Wachau Valley
  2. Lünersee Circuit Trail in the Rätikon Alps
  3. Stone Pine Path in the Tux Alps
  4. Giglach Lakes in Schladminger Tauern
  5. Mühlbach High Trail in the Hochkönig Mountains
  6. Five Huts Trail in the Dachstein Mountains 

Moderate Day Hikes in Austria

  1. Lake Tappenkarsee in the Radstädter Tauern
  2. Hofpürgl Hut to Sulzenalm Circuit Trail in the Dachstein Mountains
  3. Formarinsee to Spullersee in the Lechquellen Mountains 
  4. Margaritzenstausee and Sandersee in Hohe Tauern National Park
  5. Hohes Rad Circuit Trail in the Silvretta Alps

Moderately Difficult Day Hikes in Austria

  1. Spuller Schafberg Peak Hike in the Lechquellen Mountains
  2. Lake Drachensee Circuit Trail in the Mieming Range
  3. Innergschlöss Glacier Trail in Hohe Tauern National Park
  4. Olpererhütte and Friesenberghaus Circuit Trail in the Zillertal Alps

Difficult Day Hikes in Austria

  1. Gamsjoch Peak Hike in the Karwendel Mountains
  2. Rötelstein Peak Hike in the Dachstein Mountains

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Best Hikes in Austria Map

Getting Around Austria

Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing multi-day hikes. 

Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle. 

If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across Austria, we recommend renting a car.

Car Rental

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in Austria. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here.

Hiking-Themed Austria Itineraries

Use these road trip itineraries for inspiration:

1. Dürnstein to Krems: Wachau Word Heritage Trail

Dürnstein, Wachau, Lower Austria
  • Where: Wachau Valley, Lower Austria
  • Starting Point: Dürnstein
  • Ending Point: Krems
  • Distance: 12.5 km point-to-point 
  • Time Needed: 4 – 4:30 hours 
  • Elevation Gain: 357 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 361 meters
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to Hike: All-year-round
  • Where to Stay: Gästezimmer Rolea (budget), Bioweingut Schmidl (midrange) in Dürnstein or Hotel Unter Den Linden (midrange), Klinglhuber Suites (luxury) in Krems

The Wachau World Heritage Trail is a 180 km long-distance hiking trail in the Wachau Valley in Lower Austria. The trail is broken down into 14 stages. 

The first stage, Krems to Dürnstein, is particularly scenic, because of its sweeping views of the serpentine Danube River and the steep terraced vineyards.

It’s an easy, undulating trail, suitable for everyone. Stage 1 of the World Heritage Trail leads initially up to the Dürnstein castle ruins and then through vineyards, pockets of forest, and ultimately through the wine cellar alleys of Stein and Krems. 

We love this point-to-point hike because it’s picturesque, easy and you can walk it at anytime of the year.

It’s also an excellent day trip from Vienna.

Learn More: Dürnstein to Krems Day Hike

More Hikes in Wachau Valley:

2. Lünersee Circuit Trail

Lünersee Circuit Trail - Best Day Hikes in Austria
  • Where: Rätikon Alps, Vorarlberg
  • Trailhead: Douglashütte, Brand Valley
  • Distance: 6.1 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to Go: late May – late October
  • Where to Stay: Hotel Lün (budget), Pension Bergkristall (midrange), or Bike and Board Lodge (luxury) in Brand

Lünersee is a large alpine lake high above Brand Valley in the Austrian State of Vorarlberg.

Set amidst the striking limestone mountains of the Rätikon, this beautiful lake is a scenic destination for casual walking as well as strenuous hiking.

The Lünerseebahn cable car connects Brand Valley to Lake Lünersee. It’s typically open from late May until late October. See Opening Times and Prices here.

This circuit hike around Lünersee is suitable for everyone, including families with small children. If you want to extend your hike into a full-day adventure, we recommend hiking to Schesaplana (2964 m), the highest mountain in the Rätikon Alps.

This stunning lake is also the starting point for the Rätikon Circuit Trail, a 4-5 stage hut-to-hut hiking trail.

Learn More: Lünersee Hiking Guide

3. Stone Pine Path

Stone Pine Trail (Zirbenweg), Easy hike above Innsbruck, Austria
  • Where: Tux Alps, Tirol
  • Distance: 7 km point-to-point
  • Starting Point: Patscherkofelbahn cable car mountain station, Igls
  • Ending Point: Glungezerbahn II mountain station, Tulfes
  • Time Needed: 2:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 200 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 90 meters 
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • When to Hike: Late May – Early October, when cable cars are operating 
  • Where to Stay: Am sonnigen Waldrand in Lans (budget), B&B Appartements Glungezer in Tulfes (midrange) or Gasthof Walzl in Lans (luxury)

The Stone Pine Path (“Zirbenweg” in German) is a blissfully easy walking path in the Tux Alps, high above the Inntal Valley in Tirol.

Lined by Europe’s largest and oldest stone pine trees (Zirben), this undulating forest trail invites you to breathe deeply, slow down, and contemplate your next Zirbenschnaps. 

This easy walk is a perfect activity if you’re hiking with children, hunting for viewpoints of the Inntal Valley, visiting Hall in Tirol or Innsbruck, or simply craving fresh air.

Learn More: Stone Pine Trail

4. Giglach Lakes

Ignaz-Mattis Hütte, Lower Giglach Lake, Schladminger Tauern, Austria - Best Day Hikes in Austria
  • Where: Schladminger Tauern, Styria
  • Trailhead: Ursprungalm
  • Distance: 8.2 km lollipop-circuit 
  • Time Needed: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 415 meters
  • When to Hike: June – Mid-October, depending on snow conditions.
  • Where to Stay: Winzig Apartment (budget), TUI Blue Schladming (midrange), or Thalers Mariandl (luxury) in Schladming

This delightful hike takes you to and around the Giglach Lakes: Oberer Giglachsee (Upper Giglach Lake) and Unterer Giglachsee (Lower Giglach Lake) in the Schladminger Tauern mountains.

From the high alpine pasture Ursprungalm (1601 m), accessible by bus, or by car via a toll road (18 EUR per car), it only takes 1 hour to hike to the Giglach Lakes.

We highly suggest taking the bus from Schladming or Rohrmoos to Ursprungalm. If you stay in a hotel like Thalers Mariandl, you’ll receive a complimentary Schladming-Dachstein Summer Card, which gives you free use of regional hiking buses, including the bus to Ursprungalm.

Depending on the weather and snow conditions, this toll road will open by mid/end of May and closes for the winter by mid-October. In 2021, they didn’t open the road until mid-June, because of snow.

From the enchanting Ursprungalm, follow the wide gravel track uphill to the lakes. The trail isn’t difficult, but it’s continuously uphill.

You’ll first arrive at Giglachseen Hütte, a mountain hut located just above the Upper Giglach Lake. You can take a break there, or continue 20 minutes to Ignaz-Mattis Hütte, a mountain hut perched above the Lower Giglach Lake. This is an ideal location for lunch.

From here, you can continue hiking to the end of the Lower Giglach Lake and then circuit the lake in the direction of Giglachseen Hütte. This route marks the first (alternative) stage of the multi-day Schladminger Tauern High Trail.

Learn More: Schladming Summer Hiking Guide

5. Mühlbach High Trail (Salzburger Almenweg Stage 2)

Mandlwand, Hochkönig, Salzburg, Austria
  • Where: Hochkönig Mountains, Salzburg
  • Starting Point: Arthurhaus, Mühlbach am Hochkönig
  • Ending Point: Erichhütte Car Park, Dienten am Hochkönig
  • Distance: 11.2 km point-to-point
  • Time Needed: 3:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 226 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 377 meters
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Where to Stay in Mühlbach am HochkönigLandhaus Rieding (midrange) Das Grünholz Aparthotel & Restaurant (luxury), Hotel Bergheimat (luxury)
  • Where to Stay in Dienten am HochkönigThe Peak Hochkönig (luxury)

The Salzburger Almenweg is a 31-stage long-distance hiking trail in Salzburg. As the name suggests, this is a thematic hiking trail linking the region’s Almen (alpine pastures) and Almhütten (alpine pasture huts). The entire circuit is 350 km and connects 120 mountain huts. You can hike different stages of the trail as point-to-point day hikes, like stage 2.

Stage 2 of the Salzburger Almenweg, the Mühlbach High Trail, is a particularly lovely trail at the base of the Hochkönig mountains.

The trail traverses mountain pastures and pockets of forest, passing several alpine pasture huts along the way, including the “Vier Hütten” (Four Huts). 

You can start the hike at either Arthurhaus (paid car park/bus stop) high above Mühlbach am Hochkönig, or at the Erichhütte car park (free car park/bus stop) along the Hochkönigstraße road in Dienten am Hochkönig. 

We parked at the Erichhütte car park and took Bus 593 to Arthurhaus and then hiked back to our car. The bus takes 40 minutes and costs 5.10 EUR per person. You can pay the bus driver directly with either cash or card. 

Since this is a relatively short route, we recommend extending this hike to the Hochkeil summit from Arthurhaus, or to the Taghaube summit from Erichhütte.

Learn More: Mühlbach High Trail

6. Five Huts Trail

Neustadtalm, Dachstein, Austria

The 5 Huts Trail (“5 Hüttenweg” in German) is a highly enjoyable day hike in Ramsau am Dachstein in Styria. With very little effort, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the southern slopes of the Dachstein massif, as you traverse alpine pastures, larch forests, and meadows. 

Learn More: 5 Huts Trail in the Dachstein

7. Lake Tappenkarsee

Lake Tappenkarsee day hike, Salzburg, Austria

Tappenkarsee is a mountain lake nestled in the Radstädter Tauern Mountains of Austria. 

This Salzburg lake is a satisfying hiking destination, because it’s cradled by rugged mountains and home to the rustic Tappenkarsee Alm (alpine pasture hut) and charming Tappenkarseehütte (mountain hut). These managed huts are usually open from early June until mid/late September. 

To start the hike, drive or take a bus to Lake Jägersee in Kleinarl Valley. Jägersee is 4 km south of Kleinarl and 11.6 km south of Wagrain. If the toll road is open, continue driving 3.6 km to Schwabalm car park. If the toll road is closed, park at the Jägersee Car Park.

After hiking up a series of serpentines through a mixed forest to Tappenkarsee, follow the lakeshore to the Tappenkarsee Alm and onwards to the Tappenkarsee Hut

Continue ascending to Draugsteintörl saddle. This trail traverses slopes and pastureland, rewarding hikers with ever-changing vistas of the lake. From the saddle, descend to Tappenkarsee Alm and return to the trailhead along the same route. 

Learn More: Tappenkarsee Trail Guide

8. Hofpürgl Hut to Sulzenalm Circuit Trail

Gosaukamm, Dachstein
  • Where: Dachstein Mountains, Salzburg
  • Trailhead: Hofalm, Filzmoos
  • Distance: 12.9 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 5:15 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 912 meters
  • When to Hike: June – October, depending on weather conditions
  • Where to Stay in FilzmoosPension Bergliebe (budget), Das Anja Alt Filzmoos (midrange), meiZeit Lodge (luxury)

This grand circuit hike in Filzmoos runs along the base of Bischofsmütze and Gosaustein in the Dachstein Mountains.

It starts at the end of the Hofalm toll road (5.50 EUR per car, cash only), north of Filzmoos.

The hike begins with a steady ascent to Hofpürglhütte (1705 m), the refuge perched on a ridge beneath the Bischofsmütze twin peaks.

As you gain elevation, the Gosaukamm/Dachstein range seems to spread its wings like a butterfly. After hiking up to Hofpürglhütte (50 minutes), the route follows the Linzerweg (Linzer Steig) across the boulder-filled Kesselwand beneath Bischofsmütze.

The undulating path continues east across graben, spurs, and boulder fields to Rinderfeld, a huge sprawling pasture below soaring limestone walls. After crossing this gorgeous meadow, the trail drops below the treeline and then zigzags up to the Sulzenschneid Spur. 

Crest he spur and continue to the highest point, Eiskarlschneid, marked by a summit cross.

The trail descends to the Sulzenhals saddle and wanders through dwarf pine and later larches to reach the rolling pasture area of Sulzenalm. 

Sulzenalm is home to two enticing huts, Wallehenhütte and Krahlehenhütte, which serve delicious meals throughout the day. 

From Sulzenalm, it’s a 45-minute descent to Hofalm. 

Learn More: Hofpürgl Hut to Sulzenalm Circuit Hike

9. Lake Formarinsee to Lake Spullersee 

Lake Spullersee, Best Day Hikes in Austria
  • Where: Lechquellen Mountain,s Vorarlberg
  • Trailhead: Lake Formarinsee, Zugertal Valley
  • Distance: 11.4 km point-to-point
  • Time Needed: 4:30 – 5 hours 
  • Elevation Gain: 637 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 673 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult, depending on weather conditions 
  • When to Hike: Late June – Late September, when the hiking buses are operating
  • Where to Stay: Lech Hostel (budget), or Haus Braunarl (midrange), or Hotel Auenhof (luxury) in Lech

The day hike from Lake Formarinsee to Lake Spullersee gives you an outstanding overview of the enchanting Lechquellen Mountains in Vorarlberg. The River Lech originates within the range at Lake Formarinsee, which is why it’s called “Lech Source Mountains.” 

From the village of Lech am Arlberg, take bus 7 to Formarinsee. These buses don’t run very frequently, so make sure to plan ahead. From the bus stop, hike around Lake Formarinsee to the mountain hut Freiburger Hütte. Enjoy the views of Rote Wand, the “red wall” mountain. 

Starting at Freiburger hut, the trail ascends gently through wildflower-carpeted slopes and alpine pastures to Steinernes Meer (“Stone Sea”), an impressive karst landscape. After traversing the Stone Sea, continue your ascent to the Gehrengrat mountain ridge. Next, follow the ridge downhill in the direction of Lake Spullersee. 

We love this Austrian hike, because of the romantic alpine scenery and the interesting and varied terrain.

Learn More: Formarinsee to Spullersee Day Hike

10. Margaritzenstausee and Sandersee

Best Day Hikes in Austria - Margaritzenstausee, Sandersee, Hohe Tauern National Park
  • Where: Hohe Tauern National Park, Carinthia
  • Trailhead: Glocknerhaus (2132 m), Grossglockner High Alpine Road
  • Ending Point: Lake Sandersee, or Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe
  • Distance: 8.2 km out-and-back
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 470 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • When to Hike: June – September, when the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is open
  • Where to Stay: Wallackhaus RegioJet Hotels (budget), Hotel Kaiservilla (midrange), or Nationalpark Lodge Grossglockner (luxury) in Heiligenblut am Großglockner

This spellbinding day hike is located in Hohe Tauern National Park, just off the Grossglockner High Alpine Road.

Well-marked and easy-to-follow, the hike delivers unbeatable views of Austria’s highest mountain, Grossglockner (3798 m), and the rapidly receding Pasterze Glacier.

This route is also the first stage of the Alpe Adria long-distance trail, which starts at Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe and ends in Heiligenblut.

Though you can hike in either direction, we recommend starting at the Glocknerhaus, because the views unfold spectacularly as you near the foot of Grossglockner.

Initially, the trail descends from Glocknerhaus to the Margaritzenstausee reservoir and then continues left along the water and over two reservoir cement walls. The water of Pasterze Glacier feeds Margaritzenstausee.

Next, the trail ascends to Lake Sandersee, where there’s an impressive view of Pasterze and Grossglockner.

You can either continue all the way up to Kaiser Franz Josefs Höhe or turn back here. If you continue to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, it’s possible to take a shuttle back to Glocknerhaus. However, these shuttles are very infrequent (max 3 per day). Inside Glocknerhaus, there’s a timetable for the shuttle bus, which you can check before you set off.

11. Hohes Rad Circuit Trail

Hohes Rad Circuit Hike, Silvretta Alps, Austria
  • Where: Silvretta Alps, Vorarlberg & Tirol
  • Trailhead: Silvretta Bielerhöhe (2037 m)
  • Distance: 14.8 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 5 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 720 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • When to Hike: Late June/early July – Late September, when the Silvretta High Alpine Road is open.
  • Where to StayTUI Blue Montafon (budget), Gasthof Löwen (midrange), Amrai Suites (luxury) in Schruns-Tschagguns

Hohes Rad (“High Wheel”) is a mountain in the Silvretta Alps. The peak straddles the border between Tirol and Vorarlberg. 

A wonderful hiking trail wraps around Hohes Rad (2934 m), starting at Silvretta Bielerhöhe (2037 m), a high mountain pass connecting Montafon Valley in Vorarlberg with Paznaun Valley in Tirol. 

From the Silvretta Reservoir, the trail gently ascends Bieltal Valley to the Radsattel mountain saddle. From the saddle, you can detour to the summit of Hohes Rad (3 hours out-and-back) – a challenging peak hike best undertaken by experienced hikers.

The circuit trail continues over the Rad saddle, ultimately descending to Wiesbadener Hütte (2443 m), a mountain refuge set amidst a frozen world of ice, water, and rock. From this impressive mountaineering hut, the trail descends the Ochsental Valley back to the Silvretta Reservoir. 

Learn More: Hohes Rad Circuit Trail

12. Lake Drachensee Circuit Trail

Lake Drachensee, Ehrwald, Austria
  • Trailhead: Mieming Chain. Ehrwalder Almbahn mountain station
  • Distance: 14.9 km lollipop-circuit 
  • Time needed: 5:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 909 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate – Moderately Difficult 
  • When to Hike: June – October. Try to avoid peak season (July – August). 
  • Where to Stay: Haus Tirol Ehrwald (budget), Hotel Alpen Residence (midrange), or Der Grüne Baum Mountain Boutique Hotel (luxury) in Ehrwald

This outstanding circuit trail around Tajakopf mountain links together three mountain lakes: Lake Brendlsee, Lake Drachensee, and Lake Seebensee.

Starting at the Ehrwald Almbahn gondola mountain station, the trail meanders gently through forest before ascending the Ganghofersteig trail to the Brendlkar cirque and then eventually up to the Tajatörl saddle.

This long ascent is somewhat taxing, but there’s no technical difficulty. Hikers should nonetheless be sure-footed and confident in scree.

With the hard part behind you, the trail descends to Lake Drachensee and Coburger Mountain Hut. You’ll face Lake Drachensee the whole time – which is why it’s critical to hike this circuit clockwise.

From the managed Coburger mountain hut, the trail steeply descends to Lake Seebensee and then returns to the Ehrwald Alpine Pasture along easy, forest trails.

Learn More: Lake Drachensee Hike

13. Spuller Schafberg Peak

Spuller Schafberg Hike, Lechquellen Gebirge, Austria
  • Where: Lechquellen Mountains, Vorarlberg
  • Starting Point: Lake Spullersee
  • Ending Point: Zug
  • Distance: 12.3 km point-to-point
  • Time Needed: 5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 980 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 1291 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate/Moderately Difficult (Vorarlberg Blue Trail) 
  • When to Hike: Late June – Late September
  • Where to Stay: Lech Hostel (budget), or Haus Braunarl (midrange), or Hotel Auenhof (luxury) in Lech

Spuller Schafberg (2679 m) is a popular summit hike, starting at the high-altitude reservoir Lake Spullersee in the Lechquellen Mountains, easily accessible by bus from Lech am Arlberg. 

The hike begins with an easy hike to Ravensburger Hütte (45 minutes). From the hut, it’s a 2:15 hour ascent to the peak. The hike to the summit is straightforward, though definitely requires stamina. The terrain is mostly tussock slopes, though there’s some karst pavement to contend with.

The highlight of this hike is the long ridge path to Spuller Schafberg. Along the ridge, views extend to the Verwall and Rätikon Alps.

Learn More: Spuller Schafberg Peak

14. Innergschlöss Glacier Trail

Innergschlöss Glacier Trail - Best Day Hikes in Austria
  • Where: Hohe Tauern National Park, East Tyrol
  • Trailhead: Matreier Tauernhaus
  • Distance: 9.1 km lollipop-circuit 
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult 
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 600 meters
  • When to Hike: June – September 
  • Where to Stay: Zedlacherhof (budget), Matreier Tauernhaus (midrange), or Naturhotel Outside (luxury) in Matrei in Osttirol

This secret day hike in Hohe Tauern National Park is hands down one of the best hikes in Austria.

From the Matreier Tauernhaus hotel and restaurant, take the Venediger Taxi to Innergschlöss (5 EUR one-way).

The glacier trail begins in the storybook hamlet of Innergschlöss. From here follow a circuit trail past rivers, waterfalls, and lakes and ultimately to a spectacular glacier lookout point.

You’ll be able to spot the prominent peaks of the Venediger Group, including Austria’s second-highest mountain: Grossvenediger (3666 m).

The Innergschlöss glacier trail marked the final stages of our Venediger High Trail trek, a multi-day hike in the Venediger Group. And, it was the absolute best part of the entire trek.

Learn More: Innergschlöss Glacier Trail

15. Olpererhütte and Friesenberghaus

Olpererhütte Day Hike, Zillertal Alps, Austria

This excellent loop trail begins at the Schlegeis Reservoir (1785 m), accessible by car, or bus from Mayrhofen in Zillertal.

While most Olpererhütte visitors will hike the short, direct route to the hut, we recommend hiking first to Friesenberghaus. From here, you’ll join the Berlin High Trail and hike along a breathtaking balcony trail to Olpererhütte.

Learn More: Olpererhütte Hiking Guide

16. Gamsjoch Peak

Gamsjoch Peak, Karwendel Mountains, Austria

Gamsjoch (2452 m) is a three-headed mountain in Karwendel Nature Park in Tirol. The summit rewards hikers with sweeping views of Hinterautal-Vomper-Kette, which is the largest mountain chain in the Karwendel Mountains.

The western summit of Gamsjoch (2438 m) is a popular peak hike in the Eastern Karwendel Mountains because of its proximity to the Eng Almdorf (Eng alpine pasture village) and Grosser Ahornboden (Great Maple Floor), a large plain studded with 2,300 sycamore maple trees.

This day hike begins at the Eng Alpine Pasture at the end of Hinterisstal Valley, accessible via a toll road from Vorderrisstal Valley Bavaria, Germany.

Hikers have the option to ascend to Gamsjoch via Hochljoch saddle (the easier, but longer option), or via the unmarked Gumpenkar stream bed/cirque (unmarked and painfully steep, but shorter option).

Learn More: Gamsjoch Peak Hike

17. Rötelstein Peak

Rötelstein Ridge, Dachstein, Filzmoos, Austria
  • Where: Dachstein Mountains, Salzburg
  • Trailhead: Rettensteinhütte car park, Filzmoos
  • Distance: 9.8 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 5 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 937 meters
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Where to Stay in FilzmoosPension Bergliebe (budget), Das Anja Alt Filzmoos (midrange), meiZeit Lodge (luxury)

Rötelstein (2247 m), also called Rettenstein, is a mountain northeast of Filzmoos in Salzburg. It stands just south of the Dachstein massif and thus offers one of the most riveting views of the Gosaukamm and Dachstein South Face.

The Rötelstein summit hike is thrilling and demanding. Hikers must be comfortable scrambling and tackling broken rock and scree terrain. 

Starting at the Rettensteinhütte (only open in winter) car park, the trail ascends continuously up forest and pastureland to reach the southwest slope of Rötelstein. For an hour, the trail follows the main crest to the summit, alternating between scrambling and hiking passages. 

It’s an exciting and lengthy approach with great views along the way. The final stretch to the summit unfolds rather magnificently, as you come face to face with Torstein (2948 m), Mitterspitz (2925 m), and Hoher Dachstein (2995 m). 

The hike continues north across the summit of Rötelstein. 

The soft grassy trail turns to loose rock as the path drops steeply down the northeast side of the mountain. Waymarks steer hikes through scrambling passages and across broken rock and scree to the Sulzenhals saddle. 

From the saddle, it’s an easy jaunt to Sulzenalm, where you can grab a bite to eat at Wallehenhütte or Krahlehenhütte. The Kaiserschmarrn is sensation at both huts.

At the trail junction across from Krahlehenhütte, turn left. The trail wraps around the Mandlinghofalm pasture, backed by the iconic Bischofsmütze – the twin peaks shaped like a bishop’s hat/mitre. 

The way to Rettensteinhütte passes easily through forest and meadows. The final leg follows a forest road and ultimately a paved road back to the starting point. 

Learn More: Rötelstein Peak Hike

More Austria Hiking Trails

Karlsbader Hütte

Lienz Dolomites, East Tyrol, Austria - Best Day Hikes in Austria

Overlooking Laserzsee Lake, Karlsbader Hütte (2260 m) is an undeniably scenic mountain hut in the Lienz Dolomites. This mountain group is part of the Gailtal Alps and is situated on the southern border of Austria, close to Italy. The name is rather misleading because these mountains are limestone and actually do not contain any Dolomite rock, despite their appearance.

To begin this hike, drive up the toll road to the mountain hut Dolomitenhütte (1616 m), an upscale refuge located high above the town of Lienz.

There’s a parking lot very close to Dolomitenhütte. From here, follow the road. After about 20 minutes, you’ll reach an intersection, where a hiking path continues straight (signed “Steig”) and the road continues left. Follow the trail.

The views get increasingly more riveting as you near the limestone crags and pinnacles framing Karlsbader Hütte. It’s a paradise of stone. During the hiking season, Karlsbader Hütte is open for overnight guests and serves food and refreshments. You’ll likely see mountaineers gathered here, as this is a popular starting point for climbing.

When we arrived in mid-June, Laserzsee was still mostly ice. The snowfall made it difficult to explore the area more extensively. If you visit later in the summer, definitely follow the trail around the lake for the best viewpoints of the hut.

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Austria Hiking Tips

Use our Austria Travel Guide and Austria blog archive to plan a unique and memorable trip to Austria. 

When to Hike in Austria 

The best time to hike in Austria is summer and early Fall.

Where to Hike in Austria

Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay.

Day Hiking Gear

Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria 

Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. We’ve summarized our favorite multi-day hikes in Trekking Austria. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.

What to See & Do in Austria

Austrian Hotels

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