Hiking in a Nature Paradise: Hohe Tauern National Park in Gastein
Gastein Valley lies in the heart of Hohe Tauern National Park, the biggest nature sanctuary in all of Austria.A One third of all plant species native to Austria grow in Hohe Tauern National Park, while animal species threatened by extinction elsewhere find a safe habitat here as well.
The most beautiful hikes imaginable lead you through the intact nature of the National Park. Look forward to some true natural jewels: high meadows strewn with alpine flowers, crystal-clear tarns, refreshing waterfalls, forests and magnificent peaks. Amid the towering giants of the Alps, there is so much waiting to be discovered: ibex, chamois ... marmots frolicking on rocky plateaus, bearded vultures soaring high in the air.
Huts and Hill Farms in Gastein Valley
At the beginning of June, farmers drive their cows, horses and sheep up to the high pastures to spend summer grazing season - "Alpine Summer", as it is known, returns to the land.
In Gastein Valley, some 55 mountain huts are staffed and invite passers-by to stop in for a refreshment break. The hill farmers turn fresh alpine milk into an array of delectable products: After or during your hike, you will be able to enjoy hearty snacks that include homemade cheese, butter, bacon and much more.
One particular paradise for hikers in Gastein Valley is Nassfeld/Sportgastein a flat valley floor nestled between the 3,000-metres peaks of Hohe Tauern National Park. Here, you are sure to find whatever appeals to your hiking tastes, from leisurely strolls between huts, to moderately difficult hikes, all the way to challenging high-alpine tours.
We would like to take this opportunity to present to you 2 especially rewarding hiking tours in Nassfeld, the most beautiful valley head in Hohe Tauern National Park, which you can either explore yourself or have our certified hiking guide lead you on.
Nassfeld-Sportgastein/WeissenbachtalEasy hike with a moderate climb, time: about 3 hours
By Postbus or car (toll road) as far as Sportgastein/Nassfeld (1,580 m). The hike begins to the left (east) of the car park. First, you will cross two streams, the Siglitz- and the Nassfeldbach. Then, you will hike across the valley bottom, along the nature trail until the end of the valley basin, and up into Weissenbachtal. After this beautiful hike through glorious valley scenery, you will have plenty of opportunities to visit mountain huts along the way, "take the weight off" and enjoy some well-deserved refreshments, which are, for the most part, made right there.
Our Tip: The stop for the hiking bus is located right next to Aktivhotel Gasteiner Einkehr - don't forget to take along your GasteinCard, since it will get you all kinds of great discounts.
Hike Bockhartsee and Bockhartscharte in Nassfeld/National ParkIntermediate Hike, time: about 4 hours
For this hike, you will start out from the free car park in Sportgastein. Shortly before the Valeriehaus, the hiking path branches off to the right towards the Bockhartsee. The path isn't too steep and quickly brings you to a stretch of forest. Soon, the hiking path will twice cross the forestry road as it leads you to the Bockhartsee, before, during the last segment of the hike, the trail becomes somewhat steeper again. Once you get to the plateau, you will pass the Bockhartsee and hike along the western shore of the Bockhartsee. You will now continue to the Upper Bockhartsee and, after the better part of 1.5 hrs., you will come to an alpine gap known as the Bockhartscharte. The landscapes surrounding the Bockhartsee are uniquely beautiful. Lush alpine meadows, clear streams and the glorious mountain vistas of 3,000ers in Hohe Tauern National Park await you. Afterwards, you can make your way back down to your original starting point or hike along the ridge path in the opposite direction to the Niedersachsenhaus, then descend into Siglitztal Valley (surefootedness is a must), continuing along the valley floor and back to the start in Sportgastein.