This lovely Alm, with its cluster of wooden huts, is situated at the foot of the Steirische Kalkspitze peak and along the Ursprungbach stream.
Some people visit Ursprungalm for lunch and a leisurely circuit walk around the mountain pasture.
Others come here in order to hike to the Giglachseen Lakes, summit the Steirische Kalkspitze (2459 m) and Lungauer Kalkspitze (2471 m), or tackle part of the Giglach High Trail.
This is an active pasture, where cows graze freely in summer. Before visiting, read through these alpine pasture rules and guidelines.
You can also learn more about the alpine transhumance and mountain pastures in our guide to Visiting the Alps in Summer.
Visiting Ursprungalm in Styria, Austria
Ursprungalm Essential Info
- Elevation: 1604 meters
- Mountain Range: Schladminger Tauern
- Austrian State: Styria
- Tourist Region: Schladming-Dachstein
- Where to Eat: Ursprungalm, Giglachseehütte, or Ignaz-Mattis Hütte
- When to Visit: Late June – Mid-October.
- Getting Here: Bus (Free with the Schladming-Dachstein Sommercard), Car (18 EUR), Motorcycle (10 EUR), Bicycle (5 EUR).
- Fun Fact: Scenes from the Heidi movie Courage Mountain were filmed in Ursprungalm in 1989.
- Dogs: Allowed but must be leashed. On buses, they must be muzzled.
- Where to Stay: Pension Stammerhof (budget), Hotel Garni Hochwurzen (midrange), or Thalers Mariandl (luxury) in Rohrmoos
- Recommended Trail Map: Kompass Wanderkarte 31 Schladming
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When to Visit Ursprungalm
Ursprungalm is only accessible during the summer season.
The toll road to Ursprungalm (Ursprungalm Mautstraße) is typically open from late May until late October. The exact timeline will vary depending on snow conditions.
In summer 2021, the road wasn’t accessible until early June, because of lingering snow.
When we visited the second week of June, Ursprungalm was clear of snow, but the Giglach Lakes were still frozen and blanked in snow.
If you’re planning on visiting early (May/early June) or late in the summer season (late September-October), we recommend reaching out to the Schladming-Dachstein Tourist Board for updates on snow conditions.
How to Get to Ursprungalm
We highly recommend taking the hiking bus to Ursprungalm, especially during high summer, when buses are frequent.
The bus connects all major stops in Schladming and Rohrmoos with Ursprungalm. The bus ride from Schladming train station to Ursprungalm takes about 50 minutes.
The bus ride from Rohrmoos to Ursprungalm takes 38 minutes, while the bus ride from Schladming to Ursprungalm takes about 50 minutes.
When you stay in a “Sommercard partner” accommodation like Thalers Mariandl in the Schladming-Dachstein region, you receive a complimentary Schladming-Dachstein Sommercard (Summer Card).
This card gives you free rides on all regional hiking busses and cableways, including the bus to Ursprungalm.
Ursprungalm Bus Schedule
There are three bus schedules: Spring/Early Summer (limited departures), Summer (daily departures), and Fall (limited departures).
You can consult the Planaibus timetable for up-to-date timetables.
Ursprungalm Early Summer Bus Schedule
In early Summer (late May – late June), the bus schedule is very limited. There are only two buses to Ursprungalm each week.
So, unless your schedule aligns perfectly with the bus schedule, you may want to drive to the Alm (18 EUR toll).
Ursprungalm Summer Bus Schedule
In the high season, the Ursprungalm bus line operates daily. If you’re visiting at this time, we highly recommend taking the bus.
Ursprungalm Fall Bus Schedule
There will be a reduced schedule for fall, similar to that of early summer. At the time of writing this guide, the fall bus timetable wasn’t published.
We don’t recommend driving to Ursprungalm, unless it’s early, or late in the season.
The toll is 18 EUR for cars. There’s also a 10 EUR toll for motorbikes and a 5 EUR toll for cyclists/e-bikes.
The mountain road is very narrow and has 13 hairpin bends. It can be challenging to navigate when there’s traffic.
You may need to back up several times in order to let other vehicles pass. You also have to be cautious of free-range grazing cattle and cyclists.
The Ursprungalm parking lot has a 160-car capacity. There’s no additional fee to park here.
Where to Eat around Ursprungalm
There are many alpine pasture huts in Schladminger Tauern mountains and across Austria. However, very few still produce their own dairy products on site.
Fortunately, at Ursprungalm, milk, buttermilk, butter, curd, and cheese are all produced daily on the mountain pasture.
The Ursprungalm mountain pasture hut is typically open from late May until mid-October. Here’s what you can order:
- Butterbrot – bread with butter
- Käsebrot – bread with cheese
- Wurstbrot – bread with sausage
- Speckbrot – bread with bacon
- Verhackertbrot – bread with a local “Verhackert” spread. Verhackert usually consists of chopped bacon, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and lard.
- Brettljause – a snack plate featuring cheeses, meats, spreads, and sometimes pickles.
- Steirerkasbrot – bread with Styrian cheese. In this region. Ennstaler Steirerkas is made from cow, goat, and sheep milk and served in crumbled form. It’s very unique. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t a fan. But, after the second time, I was hooked.
- Kaspressknödelsuppe – cheese dumpling soup. Excellent here. It might be a tad salty for some people, but I loved it.
- Leberknödelsuppe – liver dumpling soup
- Klare Suppe mit Nudeln und Würstel – clear soup with noodles and sausage
- Tirolergröstel mit Spiegelei und Salat – traditional Austrian pan-fried dish, featuring potatoes, chopped beef or pork (or both), onions, butter, and topped with a fried egg. A salad is served on the side.
- Eiernockerl mit grünem Salat – egg dumpling dish served with a green salad.
- Kaiserschmarrn mit Apfelmus/Preiselbeeren – shredded pancakes topped with powder sugar and served with either apple sauce or lingonberry sauce (recommended).
- Speck mit Ei und Käse im Pfandl – pan-fried bacon, egg, and cheese served in a pan.
- Steirische Kasnocken mit Salat – Kasnocken is the Styrian name for Käsespätzle. Käsespätzle is a traditional cheese dumpling (salt, egg, flour) dish, topped with fried onions. It looks like mac & cheese. This Kasnocken/ Käsespätzle is unique because it’s made with Ennstaler Styrian cheese, which has a very bold and unique flavor.
- Kuchen des Tages – cake of the Day
Rohmilch is unpasteurized milk. Depending on who you ask, this is either very healthy milk (the best you can drink), or dangerous. You can decide for yourself.
- Milch – raw milk
- Buttermilch – raw buttermilk
- Erdbeermilch – strawberry milk
- Preiselbeer Milch/Buttermilch – lingonberry (mountain cranberry) milk/buttermilk
- Heidelbeer Milch/Buttermilch – blueberry milk/buttermilk
The drink menu is extensive and includes everything from beer, wine, and schnapps to tea, coffee, and juice.
Ursprungalm Hiking Trails
Ursprungalm Circuit Trail
- Trailhead: Ursprungalm
- Distance: 1.5 km circuit
- Time Needed: 35 minutes
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 30 m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum Elevation: 1596 m
- Maximum Elevation: 1624 m
This gentle trail circuits the mountain pasture. You’ll initially follow the Ursprungbach stream towards the bridge and then continue circuiting the meadow.
This is a nice walk to do if you’re waiting for the bus, or you want to walk off a big meal.
- Trailhead: Ursprungalm
- Distance: 8.2. km lollipop circuit
- Time Needed: 3 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 415 m
- Difficulty: Easy-moderate
- Minimum Elevation: 1606 m
- Maximum Elevation: 1988 m
Giglachseen are two mountain lakes, easily accessible from Ursprungalm.
First, hike through the Almdorf (alpine pasture village) and follow the wide gravel track uphill for 1:00 – 1:15 hours.
The ascent to the lake isn’t difficult, but it’s continuously uphill. If you’re not acclimated, you might feel a little out of breath.
Once you reach the lakes, you can either visit the Giglachseehütte mountain hut or continue following the trail to Ignaz-Mattis Hütte.
From Ignaz-Mattis, continue hiking the circuit trail around Unterer Giglachsee (Lower Giglach Lake), ultimately returning to Giglachseehütte.
Return to Ursprungalm along the familiar gravel road.
Giglach High Trail
- Trailhead: Hochwurzen mountain station
- Ending Point: Ursprungalm
- Distance: 14.6 km point-to-point
- Time Needed: 7:15 – 8 hours
- Elevation Gain: 840 m
- Elevation Loss: 1131 m
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Minimum Elevation: 1606 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2255 m
Start this hike with the earliest possible cableway ascent (Hochwurzen Gipfelbahn) from Rohrmoos to Hochwurzen mountain station (1850 m).
From the mountain station, you’ll follow the Giglach High Trail (Giglachhöhenweg) southwards along peaks and ridges all the way to the Giglach Lakes (6:15 hours needed).
This trail is the first stage of the Schladminger Tauern High Trail.
From Ignaz-Mattis Hütte, continue 1:00-1:15 hour down to Ursprungalm.
Given the constraints of the cableway operating times (8:30 am – 5 pm) and the bus timetable, this is only possible during the high summer season.
You must be fit, acclimated, and experienced. There’s no time to linger, or else you’ll miss the bus back to Rohrmoos, or Schladming.
If you want to have a more relaxed experience, you can always stay the night in Ignaz-Mattis Hütte, or in Giglachseehütte.
Styrian and Lungauer Kalkspitze Peaks
- Trailhead: Ursprungalm
- Distance: 13.2 km circuit
- Time Needed: 6:45 – 7 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1235 m
- Difficulty: Difficult. This hike requires surefootedness and a head for heights.
- Minimum Elevation: 1603 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2470 m
From Ursprungalm, hike up to Giglachseehüttte (1 hour) and then continue 30 minutes to the Znachsattel (2059 m).
From the saddle, you’ll hike to Akarscharte (2315 m) wind gap/notch.
From here, you can either hike right (north) to the Steirische Kakspitze (2459 m) or left (south) to the Lungauer Kalspitze (2471 m).
From either peak, return back to Akarscharte and then continue on trail 02 to Oberhüttensee. From this lake, follow trail 37 back to Ursprungalm.
Where to Stay in Schladming/Rohrmoos
When exploring Ursprungalm and the Schladminger Tauern Mountains, you can either stay in the town of Schladming or the village of Rohrmoos, which is situated just above Schladming.
Rohrmoos is closer to the Untertal, Obertal, and Preuneggtal Valleys, so it’s a great base for day hiking.
We stayed in the family-run Thalers Mariandl in Rohrmoos.
The hotel has been owned and managed by the same family since the 1990s.
In 2019, Thalers Mariandl was completely renovated, ushering in a new generation of ideas and passions (e.g. yoga, plastic-free environment).
It feels immediately fresh, young, and laid-back. We think you’ll love staying here. But, we’ll first share a few reasons why we personally loved our stay:
Before we even set foot in the hotel, we were wowed by the hotel’s stately alpine facade, featuring bleached larch beams.
A wide stone path walkway leads to the entrance, cutting across a perfectly-maintained lawn and manicured garden.
2-minute walk to the bus stop
Thalers Mariandl is only 210 meters from the Rohrmoos Zentrum bus stop.
With such easy access, it’s stress-free to hop on the bus to Ursprungalm, or Riesachfall in Untertal, or Eschachalm in Obertal.
Views of the Dachstein and Schladminger Tauern Mountains
Because of its lofty location (900 meters), Thalers Mariandl faces both the Dachstein as well as the Schladminger Tauern.
On a clear day, the sunsets must be phenomenal.
Thalers Mariandl is managed with a lot of heart. They’re eager to make sure you have everything you need and that all your questions are answered.
We loved the breakfast here. The buffet featured fresh bread, sliced cheeses and meats, vegetables, delicious spreads (tomato-basil, rosemary-chili-orange, mushroom), yogurts and fruits, and loose leaf teas, coffee, and juice.
You can also order egg dishes (omelets, ham & eggs, or a simple scramble) at no extra charge.
Bar & Snacks
Thalers Mariandl doesn’t have a restaurant. But, they do have a bar with a limited snack menu, available in the early evenings.
So, if you don’t want to go out to dinner one night, you can definitely order a few snacks and call it a night.
Our favorite menu item was the sumptuous Steirische Brettljause (Styrian snack board), which must be ordered in advance.
For dinner, we recommend Landalm in Untertal-Dorf.
The sauna area encompasses a bio sauna, a Finnish sauna, and an upstairs and downstairs relaxation area.
Just outside the wellness area, you can treat yourself to delicious Familie Schärf loose leaf teas and trail mix.
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Austria Trip Planning Essentials
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:
- 2 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Vienna
- 1 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Salzburg or Munich
- 10-Day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps Road Trip – starting in Munich
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.
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:
- Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Filzmoos Hiking Guide
- Schladming, Styria Hiking Guide
- Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vienna Mountains Hiking Guide
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.
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
What to See & Do in Austria
- Visit a gorge like the Liechtenstein Gorge in Salzburg.
- Bathe in thermal pools of an Austrian Therme like Aqua Dome in Tirol.
- Stay in a thermal spa hotel like Rogner Bad Blumau (designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser) in Styria, EurothermenResort Bad Ischl in Upper Austria, or Aqua Dome Hotel in Tirol.
- Hike to a mountain lake like Lake Drachensee in Tirol or Lake Tappenkarsee Hike in Salzburg.
- Go Wine Tasting in South Styria.
- Marvel at the culture, music, and architecture of Vienna.
- Eat heartwarming mountain food in an Almhütte at Grosser Ahornboden in Tirol or Ursprungalm in Styria.
- Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Hohe Tauern National Park.
- Visit the castles, monasteries, and wine taverns of the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.