Hochschwab (2277 m) is the highest mountain in the Hochschwab mountain range in Upper Styria, Austria.

The Hochschwab range forms part of the Northern Limestone Alps, a massive chain in the Austrian Alps that also encompasses the Karwendel Mountains, Lechtal Alps, and the Kaiser Mountains.

The dome-shaped mountain is a fantastic hiking destination for those seeking a fun and strenuous summit hike coupled with wildlife sightings.

If you’re based in Vienna, this is a perfect weekend getaway.

We recommend hiking in this range for two days and overnighting in Schiestlhaus (2154 m), the highest refuge in the Hochschwab group.

Hiking in Austria’s Hochschwab Mountains: 1-2 Day Hike

Chamois, Hochschwab, Styria
  • Trailhead: Alpengasthof Bodenbauer | Google Maps
  • Distance: 19.9 km circuit
  • Time Needed: 8-9 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1586 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate-Moderately Difficult
  • Minimum Elevation: 881 meters
  • Maximum Elevation: 2273 meters
  • When to Hike: May – October
  • Route: Bodenbauer (restaurant), Trawiesalm (meadow), G’hackte (easy secured route), Fleischer Biwak (shelter) – Hochschwab (mountain peak) – Schiestlhaus – Fleischer Biwak – Häuslalm (mountain hut) – Bodenbauer
  • Where to Eat: Schiestlhaus, Häuslalm, and Bodenbauer
  • Where to Stay: Pension Gierlinger (budget), Hotel Post Karlon (midrange) in Aflenz
  • Recommended Trail Map: Hochschwab WK2041, 1:25000 (Freytag & Berndt)

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Getting to the Alpengasthof Bodenbauer Trailhead

You need a car to reach the trailhead, as there is no public transit to Alpengasthof Bodenbauer (Google Maps).

There’s a large parking lot next to the guesthouse, where you can park for free.

2 Day Hochschwab Hiking Map

Hochschwab and Schiestlhaus Trail Description

Day 1: Bodenbauer – Trawiesalm – Hochschwab – Schiestlhaus

Hochschwab Mountains and Schiestlhaus Hut Hike, Upper Styria, Austria
  • Distance: 8.2 km
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1411 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 137 meters
  • Minimum Elevation: 881 meters
  • Maximum Elevation: 2273 meters

There are several different routes that lead to Schiestlhaus and Hochschwab.

We decided to start the hike at Alpengasthof Bodenbauer, an alpine guesthouse and restaurant.

As mentioned before, to reach Bodenbauer, you’ll need a car. The drive from Vienna takes 2 hours.

If you arrive by car and it’s already late, we recommend staying at Alpengasthof Bodenbauer (midrange) directly at the trailhead. 

Alternatively you could also stay in the nearby town Aflenz.

2 day Hochschwab Mountains Hike, Styria, Austria. Overnight in Schiestlhaus Hut.

From Alpengasthof Bodenbauer, you have two choices.

You can either hike to Hochschwab via the mountain hut Häuslalm, or you can hike to the summit via the meadow Trawiesalm.

We recommend hiking via Trawiesalm because the ascent is shorter and there’s a secured section that is easier to go up than down.

You don’t need any gear for this section.

Hike to Hochschwab Summit, Styria, Austria

The trail is very well marked. Just follow the signs to Hochschwabgipfel (839).

It takes 4:30 hours to reach the Hochschwab summit and another 30 minutes to reach the mountain hut Schiestlhaus.

The first segment of the trail is flat and easy. It takes 1 hr to reach Trawiesalm, which is an idyllic meadow with incredible mountain vistas.

On a sunny day, the mountains look violet. After passing through a stunted pine forest, the trail begins to climb.

You might see grazing chamois (Gämse in German) as you gain elevation.

Assisted Climbing Route, Hochschwab Summit Trail, Styria, Austria

There’s a steep part called G’hackte, which is a secured route with fixed ladders, rails and ropes.

This secured passage doesn’t require any equipment. While it’s not difficult, it lasts a bit longer than you might think.

Hochschwab Summit and Schiestlhaus Trail, Styria, Austria

After the G’hackte, the trail slowly ascends to the top of Hochschwab, elevation 2,277 m, marked by a giant cross.

At the top, you can see the peaks of Austria’s most famous mountains.

Hochschwab Summit Hike, Styria, AustriaThe descent to Schiestlhaus (2154 m) takes 30 minutes.

This mountain hut is situated on a summit plateau, elevation 2,154 m, directly below Hochschwab.

From a distance, Schiestlhaus looks like a box, albeit a sexy box.

Large windows and a sunny terrace complement the sleek building shape.

Stay at Schiestlhaus

Schiestlhaus Mountain Hut, Hochschwab Mountains

The hut is designed to accommodate overnight guests. You can sleep in a dormitory or a private room.

Definitely make a reservation in advance by calling the hut +43 (0) 699 108 121 99.

Overnight stays cost between 24 EUR and 45 EUR (adult), depending on the room and whether you have an alpine association membership (e.g. Österreichischer Touristenklub (ÖTK), Österreichischer Alpenverein, Slovenian Tourist Club (PZS), etc…).

To find out whether your alpine club membership gets you a discount, you can review the list on their website (which isn’t complete), or reach out to the hut and ask.

Note: Pillows, comforters, and sheets are provided, but you’ll need to bring a sleeping bag liner for your overnight stay.

Schiestlhaus Mountain Hut Interior, Kitchen Menu, Austria

Meals aren’t included in the hut price. In the evening, you can order dinner at any time before 8:00 p.m.

We were really satisfied with the goulash soup, sweet potato curry, and spaghetti bolognese.

Other menu offerings include Griesschmarrn mit Kompott (a sweet dish consisting of scrambled and baked semolina dough and sugar), Würstl (sausage), Nudl Gröstl (Noodles), Ravioli & Zucchini Erbsen Ragout (vegetable stew), Hirschragout mit Knödel (deer stew with dumplings).

Schiestlhaus also serves beer, wine, and schnapps along with non-alcohol beverages.

The breakfast buffet costs an additional 15 EUR per person and is laid out at 7:00 a.m.

It includes sliced cheeses, meats and bread, scrambled eggs, bacon, and different spreads, as well as coffee, tea, water, and orange juice.

Schiestlhaus Mountain Hut Dining Space, Hochschwab Mountains, Austrian Hiking Trails

The interior dining space is bright and colorful. Tibetan flags, rainbow flags, plants, and animal skulls add to the overall hip and cheerful ascetic.

The outside terrace is a perfect place to soak up the last rays of sunlight.

We watched the fat yellow sun dip into a sea of pink, before returning to our table for a final treat (cake for Sabrina, tea with rum for Kati).

Overall, we loved our experience here.

Day 2: Schiestlhaus – Häuslalm – Bodenbauer

Hochschwab Hiking Tour, Styria, Austria
Day 2 Hochschwab Hike
  • Distance: 11.8 km
  • Time Needed: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 110 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 1384 meters
  • Minimum Elevation: 881 meters
  • Maximum Elevation: 2201 meters

After breakfast, we started the 4-hour hike to Häuslalm.

We saw ibex (Steinböcke) grazing on the alpine plateau as well as chamois (Gämse) sitting on snow patches. 

Alpine Ibex, Hochschwab Mountains, Styria, Austria
Alpine Ibex (Steinbock)

Häuslalm is a welcoming hut serving traditional Austrian fare.

We ordered their Kaspressknödel (cheese dumpling) soup, Käsespätzle (egg noodles smothered in cheese and fried onions) and house-made smoked sausage.

We decided to dine inside to enjoy the hut’s charming and warm interior. However, Häuslalm’s outside deck offers plenty of al fresco dining.

Häuslalm, Hochschwab Hike, Styria, Austria

Stuffed and satisfied, we started the final stretch to Alpengasthof Bodenbauer. This final section takes about 1:30 hours.

The hike traverses forest as well as meadows, revealing the sun-kissed limestone alps.

Häuslalm Lunch, Hochschwab Hike, Styria, Austria

Where to Stay in Aflenz

Budget | Pension Gierlinger

Midrange | Hotel Post Karlon

Look for accommodation in Aflenz.

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Austria Trip Planning Essentials

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

When to Visit Austria 

Summer and early Fall are our favorite seasons in Austria. 

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 hut-to-hut 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. 

Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:

Car Rental 

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. 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.

Check car rental rates here

If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border. 

Hiking in Austria

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. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:

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.

Hiking Essentials

What to See & Do in Austria

Austrian Hotels

Learn more about Styria