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Bild: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

7 reasons why you should hike the Gastein Trail

Everyone knows the stories of sporty adventurers who cross the Alps. Conventional hikers admire these achievements and yet never think that they can become part of them. Because that’s not so far-fetched. The Gastein Trail is the ideal introduction to an adventurer’s life. But don’t worry, Gastein is not about pushing your own body to the limit. It’s about hiking pleasure in harmony with yourself and nature.

Introduction to adventure: long-distance hiking in the health region

Picture: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

The region’s long-distance hiking trail, the Gastein Trail, offers health-promoting activities to bring your own personal top performance up the mountain. In six stages, hikers get to know the entire Gastein Valley over 75 kilometres and master an impressive 4,643 metres in altitude. And if a stage was more strenuous, you can simply stay at the hut for an extra day. At the end, a relaxing bath in the thermal water or, in the case of special complaints, an application with Gastein radon therapy beckons.

A real challenge for mountain lovers

Picture: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

Admittedly, it won’t be a walk in the park. The longest stage is the last one with a distance of not quite 20 kilometers, but it is mainly downhill. Most of the altitude difference is mastered on the first day. 1,400 meters of altitude difference are climbed over a distance of 16.4 kilometers. This is only topped by the fifth stage with 17 kilometers and 1,456 meters of altitude. The good thing about it, on the first day you are still fresh. Stages 2, 3 and 4 are moderate, here you can relax. On the fifth day it gets exhausting again and on the sixth day the longer distance is sweetened with the prospect of a visit to the thermal baths.

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The highlights in Gastein: Sparkling gold in the hiking area

Picture: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

A gem of nature, sparkling stones or simply a treasure – many things can be described as highlights – and all of them can be found in Gastein.

Experienced hikers will find sparkling stones in the Angertal (stage 6): In the late Middle Ages, gold was laboriously panned here in the stream. Furnaces, forge and miner’s house show the precious metal production of that time.

Natural beauties and architecture from ancient times

Highlights are not only the gold in the Angertal, but also special places along the way. Just like the Stoffalm (stage 1) with old timber construction technology and rustic fountain trough in front of a dense mixed forest. In Gastein, explorers will also find charming places of power, wide pastures (stage 2), perfect sunrises on the Biberalm (stage 3), rustic alpine villages such as the Gadaunerer Hochalmen (stage 4), 360° panoramas up to Austria’s highest mountain, the Großglockner (stage 5) or impressive waterfalls such as in the Gadaunerer Gorge and past architectural art in the planned town of Böckstein. (Stage 6). And always accompanied, of course, the entire Gastein Valley with its most valuable speciality, the thermal water and its three towns of Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein.

Summit victories: Realm of views on a hiking holiday

Picture: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

Not every summit is located directly on the Gastein Trail – but every additional step to the summit cross is worth it. In stage 1, you reach the Tagkopf after a 30-minute climb. An ideal place to enjoy the majestic sunset over the valley. The Wetterkreuz is even on the path of stage 2, here the view to the north to the rocky and striking Hochkönig and to the south to the graceful Hohe Tauern National Park is rewarding. Stage 3 leads to the Schlossalm adventure mountain, where the mountain station of the open Schlossalmbahn is also located. Only five minutes now separate hikers from the summit cross of the Hirschkarspitze: Here you can see the Gastein Valley in its full length for the first time.

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Adventure mountains with steep walls, marmots and birds of prey

Picture: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

If you still have energy, you should definitely invest another hour to get from the Schlossalm to the Mauskarspitze. This 2,373-metre-high mountain above Bad Hofgastein is also known for freeriding among skiers in winter. It takes one and a half hours from the Schlossalm to the Türchlwand. Two stones mark the end of the path, because at the top it goes almost vertically downhill in the south and west. Ideal terrain for birds of prey that take advantage of the buoyancy on the steep slope. The marmots along the way are also a beautiful natural spectacle – with a bit of luck you can see them as small brown spots on the rock.

Adrenaline bridges and Glockner view

Image: Gasteiner Bergbahnen AG

As I said, stage 5 is tough, but if you can still gather strength, you should make your way to the Stubnerkogel. Along the ridge you walk steadily towards the summit – hikers who take the cable car to the Panoramaberg do not experience this. From the viewing platforms you can see as far as Austria’s highest mountain, the Großglockner. The 140-metre-long suspension bridge over a 30-metre-deep abyss between the summit restaurant and the transmitter cable car is also adventurous: the view under your feet is unobstructed – pure thrill.

Alpine pastures and relaxation afterwards

Picture: Gasteinertal Tourismus GmbH

After six stages of overnight stays in Gastein’s alpine pastures such as the Heinreich Alm or the Biberalm, you may already be longing for a longer stay. How about a special spa and health accommodation? In numerous treatments with thermal water or simply in the whirlpool, on bubble loungers and with massage jets in the two Gastein thermal baths , you can relax wonderfully after the long hiking tour. With the feeling that you have earned it, you enjoy these quiet hours twice. This is probably one reason why adventurers are always looking for new challenges – the good feeling afterwards and the many stories they have to tell. Perhaps one or the other conventional hiker will soon be looking for a new challenge thanks to the Gastein Trail!