Salzburger Almenweg: Stage 14
"In the footsteps of Archduke John to Europe's highest grass-topped mountain"
Beginning right next to the Hotel Grüner Baum is the first steep climb up to the Poserhöhe – a relatively short distance, during which you’ll ascend 450 vertical meters. The effort is well rewarded, however, with superb views of the Gastein Valley.
By the children’s playground at Alpenhaus Poserhöhe (around 400m beyond the Poserhöhe, please continue straight, rather than turning left towards a hunting lodge), things become a little more relaxing, as we continue up to the Tofernscharte. As we go, we can clearly observe the changing vegetation as we increase in elevation, transforming as it does from dense forest, to stunted forest, dwarf pine and finally to open alpine pastures.
The last 200 vertical meters up to the alpine gap do require greater physical exertion yet again. Once up at the gap, there is an opportunity to hike up to the Gamskarkogel (at an elevation of 2,467 m, the highest grass-topped mountain in all of Europe). The Almenweg, however, heads towards the valley and on towards Hüttschlag.
Right at the summit of the Gamskarkogel is the Gamskarkogelhütte ("Bad Gasteiner Hütte"), where refreshments are served during the summer. It is actually one of the oldest hikers’ refuges in the Alps, built in 1828 by order of Archduke John and a place often visited by the archduke together with his hunting parties.
A relatively steep footpath, becoming broader as it makes its way downhill, leads via the Tofernalm (not staffed) to the Harbachalm (elev. 1,612 m). From there, a hiking path take us to the valley bottom, where a supply road leads us out of the valley.
Especially noteworthy along this trail are the steep mountain streams, which plunge down from the flanks of the Frauenkogel. Approximately 1 km beyond the Ebenalm trail fork, a footpath branches off downhill to the left and into the forest. This runs above the Grünhofalm and back to the winding supply road, which is crossed 3 different times. After approx. 1 km, the trail exits the forest, with the imposing panoramas of Hüttschlag stretching out before us. It’s now just a short stretch downhill to the left and we'll have made it into town.
Sights & destinations
If you would like to experience a sunrise or sunset in the mountains, you should definitely spend a night on the Gamskarkogel. Barely anywhere else in the Hohe Tauern range is there an opportunity to overnight at a mountaintop hikers' refuge with wide-open views in all directions.
Valley Museum “Auf der Alm-Zwischen Himmel und Erde”, National Park Info Point, via ferratas „Gletschergoaß” , „Kupfergeist” and „Franzl”
Historic "Kösslerhäusl" farm, Grossarl village mill
Accommodations & stops
|Hoteldorf Grüner Baum****:||May - Oct.||Tel.: +43 (0)6434 2516-0|
|Poserhöhe:||May - Nov.||Tel.: +43 (0)6434 5333|
|Alternative Telefonnummer: +43 (0)664 3632730|
|Harbachalm:||Jul. - late Aug.||Tel.: +43 (0)6414 590|
|Alternative Telefonnummer: +43 (0)664 7867535|
|Gamskarkogelhütte:||mid Jun. - late Sep.||Tel.: +43 (0)664 9203679|
|Haus Bergfried (Hüttschlag):||-||Tel.: T +43 (0)664 3723 384|
|Vorderschappachhof (Hüttschlag):||-||Tel.: T +43 (0)6417 245|
|Hotel Almrösl (Hüttschlag):||-||Tel.: T +43 (0)6417 601|
|Hotel Hüttenwirt (Hüttschlag):||-||Tel.: T +43 (0)6417 606|