Snowshoe hiking is a special way of experiencing nature, far from the modern world. here are the best places to try it in Austria.
Have you heard of the “big five” of the Alps? Trudging through the deep mid-winter forests of the Hohe Tauern National Park in East Tyrol, it is quite possible that the national park ranger will point one of them out to you. Although the ibex, golden eagle, snow grouse, chamois and bearded vulture show themselves only rarely in winter, the ranger knows exactly where and when these shy creatures are most likely to be seen.
An Exhilarating Feeling
The ranger knows the national park like the back of his hand, including the names of the many three-thousanders whose jagged peaks stretch into the dark-blue sky. Almost everybody generally remembers the Großglockner and the Großvenediger, the two highest mountains. One delightful side effect of this exciting and varied snowshoe adventure: That wonderful feeling as the stress and cares of your everyday life fall away.
More athletic nature lovers can experience the most beautiful uphill and downhill runs and the most fantastic views, on the tour up the Langschneid for example. The fact that the very best “Kaiserschmarrn” in the area awaits you at the rustic Eggenhütte hut is just the icing on the cake.
A Very Special Hut
Those who want to explore St Jakob and the surrounding countryside at a more leisurely pace can try some cross-country skiing alongside the Schwarzach. At the Oberweissenhittl hut, one of the typical timber-built houses along the trail, you’ll encounter a different kind of challenge: inn-keeper Albin has created a host of complicated puzzle games for his guests. Some of them have ended up making their way home by the light of a forehead lamp!
Snowshoe hiking in Lesachtal: Explore slopes covered with snow, picturesque winter landscapes and snowy mountains and peaks – either on your own or accompanied by a local guide.
The Villach region also has ideal conditions for snowshoeing.
At the border triangle with Italy and Slovenia, at the Gerlitzen Alpe and at Dobratsch nature park you’ll find guided snowshoe hikes.
In Bad Kleinkirchheim, there are culinary snow shoe hikes that include tobogganing.s
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In Lower Austria, the Rax plateau as well as the Wechsel, Schneeberg, Semmering and Hohe Wand mountains provide ideal snowshoeing conditions.
In Orth an der Donau, you can follow in local animals’ tracks and learn about their survival strategies at Donauauen National Park.
The Mostviertel region is a great place for snowshoe aficionados: You can find guided tours, included full moon hikes and night hikes – in St. Aegyd am Neuwalde, in Lunz am See and in the Ötscher region.
In the Rauris valley, guided snowshoe hikes with a National Park ranger are offered twice weekly throughout the winter season.
The Lungau region also has a wide variets of off-piste winter activities, including a dedicated Nordic Walking Park featuring 119 km of trails on 15 routes.
In Filzmoos, you can book a bespoke winter adventure with mountain guide Edi, from full moon snowshoe hikes to winter mountaineering.
Forstau (german only) offers weekly guided snowshoe hikes to otherwise inaccessible idyllic places.
In Zell am See-Kaprun, snowshoe hikers, Nordic walkers and those simply looking for a leisurely winter stroll will find a wide variety of trails and routes.
In the Saalfelden-Leogang region you can go on a snowshow hike by yourself or make use of one of the weekly guided hikes (including night-time hikes). Snowshoe hire is available.
The Hochkönig region offers great hiking and snowshoeing options. If you have never worn snowshoes before, you can learn how to snowshoe on the snowshoe path in Mühlbach.
In the Wildschönau region, you can hike by yourself or take part in one of thrice-weekly snowshoe hikes or winter walks.
In the Seefeld region, you can take advantage of signposted snowshoeing routes or join a guided group.
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The Bregenzerwald region is a great destination if you’re looking for guided hikes including a crash course on how to correctly walk in snowshoes.
In the Kleinwalser valley, you can take part in the weekly snowshoe tours and winter hikes – some of them free with the local tourist pass. One amazing option is the snowshoe hike to the Gottesacker plateau with an altitude of 2,000 m (1282 ft).
The Brandnertal valley, Bludenz and Klostertal valley offer 150 km (93 mi) of signposted hiking and snowshoeing trails. One local favourite is a 7 km (4 mi) hike from Sonnenkopf to Muttjöchle, and on to the panoramic restaurant at Muttjöchle.
Tips for Your Snowshoe Adventure
Wear the right shoes
Snowshoes work best with sturdy climbing or mountaineering boots featuring a treaded sole.
What kind of snowshoes should I wear?
The bigger the snowshoe, the less you’ll sink into the snow. If you’re planning a tour in steep terrain, you should use smaller snowshoes. Walking will be less strenuous with narrow snowshoes.
The binding should be easy to open and close – even when wearing gloves. Bindings allowing for sideways tilting movement put less strain on your ankles. Adjustable binding mechanisms can be used for a variety of different shoes.
Telescopic, length-adjustable poles with large baskets are ideal.
- High UV protection sunscreen
- Non-breakable thermos
- Mobile phone
- First-aid kit with emergency blanket
- In Alpine terrain: Avalanche shovel, avalanche probe, avalanche transceiver and bivouac sack
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