Fragrant Swiss pine forests, idyllic alpine pastures, adventurous peaks and flowery mountain meadows – the Karnisch High Trail is one of the great long-distance hiking trails in the Alps. You can expect diverse alpine landscapes combined with magnificent views of the Sesto Dolomites, the Julian Alps, the Hohe Tauern and the Gailtal Alps as you climb countless smaller summits.
In eight day-long stages, you will hike from Sillian in the west to Thoerl-Maglern in the east, following the main Carnic ridge along the Italian-Austrian border. In total, you will cover 93 miles (150 km) and climb an unbelievable 24,934 feet (7,600 metres) in altitude on this historic trail. The main crest of the Carnic High Altitude Trail was a highly contested border area during the First World War and you will alternate between Italy and Austria during your hike. Numerous information boards offer you more background knowledge about the military cemeteries, bunkers and fortified positions along the path.
Every evening, you can look forward to a cozy mountain hut or an alpine inn and enjoy the mountainous panorama. On the way, however, there are very few opportunities to stop for refreshments so make sure you pack sufficient provisions in your rucksack. Contact the huts in advance to see which can supply you with packed lunches.
If you are short on time but would like to dip your toes on the Karnisch High Trail then you can divide it into two sections. The first section from the Leckfeldalm to the Plöckenpass unveils barren mountain landscape and is the most popular part of the trail. Starting from the Plöckenpass, the second stage is quiet and secluded. You can take a bus from Kötschach station to the start of the second section.
You can reach the starting point of the Karnisch High Trail at the Leckfeldalm by foot or by taxi from Sillian. Situated on the railway line between Bolzano and Lienz, Sillian is easily reached by train. You can also return from Thoerl-Maglern by train in the same way.
The Karnisch is one of the six most beautiful long-distance hiking trails in Tyrol, the so-called ‘Great Walks’. All routes promise you three things: escape from your everyday, beautiful alpine landscapes and real adventure. As well as the Karnisch High Trail, the Tyrolean hiking trail elites include the Berlin High Trail Lechtal Mountain Trail, the Stubai High Trail, the Eagle Way, and the Inntal High Trail.
Majestic hiking along the Eagle Way – Great Walks
Discover the Zillertaler Alps on the Berlin High Trail:
Follow eagle wings on the Eagle Walk East Tyrol:
Hike at high altitudes on the Stubai High Trail:
Follow the picturesque Inntal High Trail in six stages:
Hut-Hopping on the Lechtal High Trail:
Your first stage on the Carnic High Trail leads you from the green slopes of the Drau Valley up to the barren mountain meadows of the Carnic Ridge. Your companion on today's hike: the picturesque view of the rocky peaks of the Sesto Dolomites.Your hike starts at the Alpengasthof Leckfeldalm. From here, it first goes on a wide gravel …
With a distance of less than twelve kilometers, the second stage is the shortest hike on the Carnic High Trail. That's a good thing, because on your tour today you can expect the most exciting and challenging sections of the entire long-distance hike. A special highlight: the crossing of the rubble below the Great Kinigat.At the beginning of the …
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Today, a real tightrope walk is on the program: almost the entire route of the third stage runs directly over the summit ridge of the Carnic ridge. In the constant up and down you hike over rocky paths and then across wide mountain meadows to the numerous peaks along the way.Your third hiking day begins at the picturesque Porze …
On the section between the Hochweisssteinhaus and the Wolayersee hut, the Carnic ridge is extremely rocky, steep and exposed. Therefore, the Carnic High Trail leads you safely through the picturesque Val Fleons, an untouched high valley on the Italian side of the ridge. You can enjoy the view of the rocky peaks towering above you at all times.From the …
The fifth stage of the Carnic High Trail is the transition from the rugged high mountain landscape of the western section to the quiet alpine landscape of the eastern part of the long-distance hiking trail. First, a long descent to the Plöcken Pass awaits you. From there it goes parallel to the main ridge on the slopes of the Angerbach …
The sixth stage takes you across the picturesque mountain meadows that characterize the landscape of the eastern Carnic main ridge. Although no steep ascents and descents await you, there are a few vertical meters on the long route of almost 24 kilometers. Just plan enough breaks on the hike so that you arrive at the destination with sufficient energy reserves.
The Carnic Main Ridge runs from Nassfeld and it is no longer as clear to follow as in the rockier west. Instead, a landscape of open valleys, extensive, quiet mountain forests and small mountain pastures awaits you. Most of the time the Carnic High Trail leads you through the valleys and over flat passes today.A first ascent awaits you …
The eighth and last stage of the Carnic High Trail is really tough again. Most of the time you hike on good and comfortable paths across the broad ridges and through quiet mountain forests, but the long descent from the Göriacher Alm to the stage goal of Thoerl-Maglern can cause trembling knees. Take a break here and enjoy the fantastic view of the Klagenfurt basin.
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