Long-distance hiking

Long-distance hiking

Long-distance hiking/trekking/walking on long-distance hiking trails

Source: Fritz Käfer / OEAV

Long-distance hiking/trekking/walking is not a new invention because travelling journeymen and merchants used to hike from place to place and from country to country for professional reasons since time immorial; the same is true for pilgrims who used to pilgrimate or “hike” to the sites of mercy; as well, mountain guides can be considered “original hikers”.

What is a long-distance hiking trail and which ones are available?

Based on the general definition, a long-distance hiking trail should be at least 300 km long and border on at least three federal states. In addition to a large number of regional hiking trails, four national long-distance hiking trails lead from east to west (01 to 04) and are crossed by fiver long-distance hiking trails leading from north to south (05 and 07 to 10). The pilgrimage trail system Mariazell 06 leads from the cities of Vienna, Graz, Klagenfurt, Linz, Eisenstadt and Nebelstein in the Waldviertel region to Mariazell. By the way, pilgrimages have gained increasing popularity in recent years.

Which long-distance hiking trails are leading through Mallnitz?

The Austrian long-distance hiking trail 10 “Rupertiweg” leads through Mallnitz; its estimated length is 560 km and part of it coincides with the regional hiking trail “Reisseck Summit Trail” (OEAV trail no. 579).

The Rupertiweg trail was made public in 1979; it leads through the federal states of Upper Austria, Salzburg and Carinthia and extends from Bärenstein in the Bohemian Forest to Naßfeld in Carinthia. On the Reißeck summit trail, it reaches almost 2,800 m above seal level. Therefore, surefootedness and no fear of heights are required in some parts along with good orientation skills in case of fog.

Through Berchtesgaden county and Rocky Sea (Steinernes Meer) to Pinzgau and Hohe Tauern: From Salzburg, the trail ascends to Untersberg (1,853 m, nature park), extends across Berchtesgaden Hochthron (1,772 m) and descends to Berchtesgaden and Lake König. From St. Bartholomä it continues along the ancient pilgrimage trail up to Lake Funten (1631 m) in the Rocky Sea and finally up to Riemannhaus (2177 m) and down to Maria Alm. It continues on to Hundstein (2,117 m) and back down into Salzach Valley to Taxenbach (776 m). From here it passes the wild romantic Kitzlochklamm to Rauris (949 m) and across Seebachscharte (1,915 m) to the renowned health resort Bad Hofgastein (859 m). It continue to Lake Bockhart, and up to Mallnitz Tauern (Hagen cabin, 2,448 m) along the Alpine divide and finally down to Mallnitz (1,191 m).

Across the Reißeck mountain range into Drau Valley as well as Gail Valley and Eastern Carnic Alps: From Mallnitz, the trails ascends to Arthur-von-Schmidt-Haus (2,275 m) and along the Reißeck summit trail mentioned above (with favourable weather conditions only!) across Kaponigtörl and Zwenbergtörl (2690 and 2,780 m) to the Reißeck cabin (2,287 m). From there it leads across Roßalmscharte (2517 m) into the Gmeineck region and to the county seat Spittal on the Drau River. Then across Goldeck summit (2142 m) which offers a magnificent view, Gusenalm (1740 m) and Gaiacher Alm (1422 m) down to Lake Weißen (945 m) and across Naggler Alm (1324 m) on to the county seat Hermagor (602 m). It ascends once more through the wild romantic Garnitzenklamm, across Kühweger Törl (1914 m) to Watschinger Alm (1625 m) and finally down to Naßfeld (1532 m).

Rupertiweg trail 10 is also a part of the European long-distance hiking trail E 10. It connects the national parks of Berchtesgaden and Triglav and conincides with Via Alpina between St. Bartholomä and Maria Alm.

Tauern summit trail

The Tauern summit trail begins east of Obertauern in relatively flat terrain and extends westward until it reaches Großvenediger mountain. Hikers almost exclusively spend their nights in cabins.

Mallnitz’s share of renowned trail 502 leads from Ossnabrück cabin across Großelendscharte to Hannoverhaus. From there, the trail goes on to Minden cabin and Hagen cabin. From Hagen cabin underneath Geisel peak it continues across Feldseescharte to Duisburg cabin at Mölltal Glacier.

How are they marked?

Long-distance hiking trails are exclusively marked red-white-red with the respective trail number written in the white field. The traversed mountain range is indicated in hundreds. The sections of the alpine associations responsible for the respective part of the long-distance hiking trail are in charge of marking and labeling the long-distance hiking trails. So-called “Hiking brochures” have been published for all long-distance hiking trails. They provide information about the route, distance and hiking times along with sketches and diagrams to make it easier for the hiker to locate the trail. These guides are available from the respective section (and some in book stores). If you like, you may obtain a beautiful badge after hiking through each of the long-distance hiking trails.

Is long-distance hiking healthy?

With respect to the health-related aspects of mountain and long-distance hiking, sports medicine specialists agree that long-distance hiking is among the healthiest types of sports overall, aside from cross-country skiing which is somewhat related. Hikers can determine the speed, daily distance and duration of the long-distance hike, depending on their personal and physical condition. The gradual ascents of the daily hikes and the hiking speed strengthen the whole organism with respect to endurance and performance. It is scientifically proven that endurance sports – including far-distance hiking – are excellent for the heart and circulation. At the proper dose, mountain and long-distance hiking is certainly capable of having a positive impact on high and low blood pressure, narrowing of the coronary vessels as well as diabetes. And we should not forget the positive effect on the vegetative nervous system and the psychological recovery. In other words, endurance sports (such as long-distance hiking) can extend your life and improve your quality of life. Please make sure that the weight of your backpack is not too heavy for multi-day tours, to prevent the joints from being strained excessively. As recommended by leading sports medicine specialists, the so-called two pole technique (usually using telescopic ski poles) is helpful to relieve the stress on all joints.

Economic factor and mind

Due to the length and duration of the tours, long-distance hikers are generally unable to bring along sufficient amounts of food. For this reason, we would like to point out the generally neglected economic factor associated with “long-distance hikers”. They exclusively rely on the supply from cabin and inn keepers. It goes without saying that the costs associated with long-distance hikes compared to day hikes are higher for the mentioned reasons; but the enhanced experience will more than compensate you for the financial expenses. Because long-distance hiking is considered “individual hiking”, the peace and relaxation long-distance hikers experience on their tours will have a positive effect on their spirit and mind.