Hohe Tauern

  • Pasterze Glacier  - © pixabay user PeterT
  • Johannisberg  - © wiki user TCole
  • South along Sudetendeutscher Hohenweg, down lower Granatspitz ridge - © William Mackesy
  • High Durrenfeld ridge, Sudetendeutsher Hohenweg, morning light - © William Mackesy
  • Across Mooserboden reservoir, Kaprun Valley  - © wiki user SevereHeadcase
  • A dying glacier (Pasterze)  - © wiki user Bernd Thaller
  • Alex-Enzinger-Weg up lower western ridge of Kaprun valley - © William Mackesy
  • Grossvenediger above the Sudetendeutscher Hut - © William Mackesy
  • Heinrich Schweiger Hut above Mooserboden, Kaprun Valley  - © wiki user Tigerente
  • Kodnitztal valley head, Studl hut round corner to left - © William Mackesy
  • Sudetendeutcher Hut from high Durrenfeld  pass - © William Mackesy
  • North from Durrenfeld pass - © William Mackesy
  • South along Sudetendeutscher Hohenweg, down lower Granatspitz ridge - © William Mackesy
  • Grossglockner ALMOST out of cloud, from Kals flank alternative - © William Mackesy
  • Mooserboden Dam, Kaprun Valley  - © wiki user Leo-seta
  • Pasterze Glacier  - © wiki user Manuel Wutte

Key information: Hohe Tauern

  • Austria’s highest mountains, and many would say its single finest walking area. Spectacular peaks and glaciers.
  • A huge selection of thrilling walking. 

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating91.5
  • Beauty35
  • Natural interest16.5
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating91.5

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable (e.g up to 11 days selected highlights)
  • Maximum Altitude: Your Choice
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
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High Durrenfeld ridge, Sudetendeutsher Hohenweg, morning light - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

Austria’s largest National Park is arguably the single finest walking area in Austria – although many would argue for some of its competitors! It lies a bit north of the Italian border and south-ish of Salzburg and consists of a number of sub-groups (they don’t seem to be called ranges here – are they too small to qualify?), containing Austria’s highest mountains as well as magnificent glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and lovely higher and lower valleys.

The most famous groups are the Glockner, home of that beautiful pyramid, Grössglockner, Austria’s highest mountain at 3,798m, and the Venediger, which contains the largest areas of ice. There is of course fantastic walking in all the groups.

Wildlife includes shy ibex, chamoix and loveable marmots. A goodly selection of birdlife includes majestic eagles.

The Hohe Tauern are some of the best-hutted mountains in Austria (and saying that is saying something), with over 100 scattered through the region, usually in superb or at the least very pretty and charming locations. Good details and telephone numbers for some of the best are in the Cicerone guide.

There is a plethora of great walks here, from short explorations to multi-dayers. There are several important lifts open in the summer; check on arrival which are open and their times – many close for lunch.

Great multi-day walks

Crossing the Glockner group: the variants of this superb route cross the entire Glockner group, north-south, in 6 or 7 days. It takes in the very best of the Kaprun valley (see below), then swings west of Grossglocker to enjoy the finest walk above Kals (see also below). A Walkopedia priority to walk this route.

The Venediger Höhenweg: This is the most famous long walk in the Hohe Tauern, and one of the great walks of Austria. It is a demanding trek, circling round the southern flanks of the great group, crossing several high passes. It commands outstanding views into the icy heart of the group, and gets close to the base of some of its glaciers. 6 or 7 days, 48km.

Sudetendeutscher Höhenweg: this delightful 2-day walk takes you along the high ridge of the Granatspitz, with outstanding all-round views. A really soul-refreshing expedition. We loved this walk.

The high Spitzbrett ridge, between the Kaprun valley and the Fuscher valley to its east, makes for beautiful and thrilling – at times very exposed – 2 day traverse.

You can devise your own multi-dayer, to suit yout tastes and capacities. You just need to look at maps and guidebooks and salivate – in particular, you can extend/combine the great day walks described below. Note, though, that you do need to book many huts ahead.

Bases for day walking

You can base yourself around Matrei in Osttirol, in the deep Tauerntal to the south of the highest masses (including Kals am Grossglockner), for access to the Venediger and Glockner groups, as well as the Granatspitz, Lasörling and Schober groups. The Salzach and Kaprun valleys to the north gives access to the Venediger and Glockner groups. Their main towns are Zell am Zee and Kaprun. Various major valleys run south from there, including the Gasteinertal at the east of the range, with Badgasten its best base town.

From the North

There is fine walking from the Salzach valley to the north, and its south-running tributaries. But, it is further from the highest mountains, so less easily accessible to them than the various valleys to the South, except from the road in the Kaprunertal south of Kaprun.

Starting at a cable car top near Kaprun, the Alexander-Enzinger-Weg runs along a superb high ridge to the Krefelder Hut at 2,293m, with exceptional views into the Glockner group. Ski-spoilt in places.

At the head of the Kaprun valley are two reservoirs, with the higher, the Mooserboden, in a gorgeous position. From the roadhead here, you can make several walks of varying difficulty, from lakeside wanders to climbs to huts and viewpoints, with magnificent close-up views of the high range and its glaciers. See more

These walks form the start of the multi-day Crossing of the Glockner group (see above).

From the South

As well as beautiful valley walks, there are endless higher forays into the heart of the range.

Actually in the heart of the range and accessible from south and (by tunnel) north, the famously lovely Gchlösstal valley runs west into the heart of the Venediger group from the big Tauerntal, with exceptional views. 

There are several valleys north into the Venediger group from the big Virgental, including the Maurer valley with the Essener-Rostocker Hut at its head. A long walk in, and you can go on to climb further in the upper valley. This is the first day of the Venediger Höhenweg (see above).

South of the Virgental is the Lasörling Group. While not as high or glaciated or famous as the Venediger, these have some excellent walks and are emptier. They are riddled with trails, including high ridge walks and peaks to bag. The group is well served with huts, too.

East of Matrei is the Granatspitz group, with some outstanding walking, including the Europa Panoramaweg and The Sudetendeutscher Höhenweg which continues along this ridge to the Sudetendeutscher hut to make two marvellous days.

For close-up encounters with the Glockner group’s southern walls and slopes, there are some fine walks from Kals am Grossglockner, including to the Stüdl Hut at 2,800m and the Glorer Hut. Marvellous scenery and exciting walking.

From the East

A wealth of walking around Badgastein, into the Goldberg group to its west, and the Graukogel ridge (not technically in the Hohe Tauern) to the east. The 5 hour high ridge walk south from Stubnerkogel, over Tischkogel at 2,409m, looks compulsory if you are in the area. 

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The Hohe Tauern are well loved, and well walked, so this won’t feel like a wilderness on the main routes, although you can get away. This can be tough walking in high and remote mountains with uncertain weather. Come fully prepared.

Many roads up valleys are now closed to cars, requiring you to take mountain taxis (not cheap).

Have a look at TripAdvisor  – there are tens of millions of reviews, so you may get good, current views on the area.

Walking in Austria  – Kev Reynolds for Cicerone: more than 100 walks in the Austrian Alps, including 18 in this area. And Trekking in Austria’s Hohe Tauern – Allen Hartley for Cicerone: long-distance trekking in the area. As usual, inspiring books (indeed, Walkopedia was alerted to some of these routes by the former), packed with valuable information, including good detail on the routes. As Austrian maps are good, Walking in Austria has less on each walk that some other Cicerones, but that is fine. Recommended.

Find relevant books on Amazon.

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Johannisberg  - © wiki user TCole

OTHER ACCOUNTS
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Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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South along Sudetendeutscher Hohenweg, down lower Granatspitz ridge - © William Mackesy...
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