Kalkalpen National Park, located in the province of Upper Austria, is one of Austria's 6 national parks. The tree-covered Kalkalpen is the largest forested area in Europe. That's why you couldn't find a perfect place for fresh air, relaxation and active recreation.
Since Kalkalpen is not as well known and famous as the Hohe Tauern or the Gesause National Park, it gives it a charm. The experience is more relaxing because of the few tourists, and there will be no shortage of natural treasures and attractions.
|Kalkalpen National Park||Details|
|Year of foundation||1997|
|Distance from Vienna||220 km / 3 hours|
|Number of tourist infos||5|
|Closest major cities||Linz, Salzburg, Hallstatt|
|Level diff||385 - 1963 m|
|Highest point||Hohe Nock (1963 m)|
|Forest area||81 %|
|Gov. / private areas||89 % / 11 %|
Where is the Kalkalpen National Park located?
The park is located in Austria, in the province of Upper Austria. It is part of the Alps, almost in the middle of the country. The national park is approximately 3 hours by car from Vienna. The centre of the park is Mölln.
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- Distance from Vienna: 220 km / 3 hours
- Distance from Salzburg: 150 km / 2 hours
- Distance from Linz: 82 km / 1.5 hours
- Distance from Hallstatt: 134 km / 2 hours
It is good to know that the Enns valley, the Steyr valley and the Pyhrn-Priel region are also counted as Kalkalpen, even though these areas are not officially part of the national park.
Kalkalpen - cities, settlements
There are 3 more major cities in the national park area where you might want to stay. All three cities have their advantages.
- Windischgarsten: the largest settlement in Kalkalpen. Spital am Pyhrn and the Wurbauerkogel mountain is also very close. It is easily accessible by public transport.
- Mölln: slightly smaller than Windischgarsten, but also less touristy. You can find the settlement along the river Steyr. Mölln is the central city of the northern side of the park. You can approach it by car without any problems; it is a little more complicated to reach by public transport.
- Grossgraming (Großraming): the centre of the northeastern part of the park. If you want to hike non-stop day and night, this is the best choice, as the city is within easy reach of several gorges, canyons and forest hiking trails.
Excursions, hiking and cycling
Windischgarsten and Spital am Pyhrn, in the southern part of the park, are the two most popular cycling and hiking regions. The Stodar valley follows them. The area is part of the Alps, including the Sengsengebirge mountain group. The highest member of the group is the Hohe Nock. Wherever you look, you will find endless opportunities for excursions and hiking.
The Kalkalpenweg is an 11-day hiking trail with a total length of 150 km, which is the longest trail in the national park. The tour's starting point is in the Enns valley, and the end is in Hinterstoder, above the Totes Gebirge.
|Kalkalpenweg hiking trail||Details|
|Highest point||1 611 m|
|Lowest point||365 m|
|Trails||Forest, rubble, asphalt|
|starting point||Reichraming, Enns valley|
The Kalkalpenweg (Kalkalpen National Park and surroundings) connects the Enns valley with Hinterstoder. The first three sections are located outside the park; hence some hikers start from section 4, which joins the park at the northeast.
Your journey will take you through valleys and mountains with many wooded areas. During your trip, you will see such natural treasures as the Tote Gebirge mountain range, the Gamsstein and Kleinerberg mountains, the Gowialm valley, the Dr Vogelgesang gorge and the Strumboding waterfall.
|Kalkalpenweg trail||Starting point||Distance||Duration||Elevation||Level drop||Endpoint|
|Section 1||Grossgraming||12 km||5.5 hours||1 077 m||205 m||Grossgraming|
|Section 2||Grossgraming||16.8 km||7.5 hours||1 145 m||1 418 m||Grossgraming|
|Section 3||Grossgraming||14.6 km||6 hours||990 m||897 m||Reichraming|
|Section 4||4581 Rosenau am Hengstpaß||18.3 km||7.5 hours||937 m||1 405 m||4580 Windischgarsten|
|Section 5||Windischgarsten||11.5 km||4 hours||730 m||-||4582 Spital am Pyhrn|
|Section 6||4582 Spital am Pyhrn||13.3 km||5.5 hours||576 m||1 283 m||4582 Spital am Pyhrn|
|Section 7||4582 Spital am Pyhrn||16.1 km||6 hours||1 120 m||301 m||Roßleithen|
|Section 8||4575 Roßleithen||8.6 km||4 hours||652 m||618 m||4574 Vorderstoder|
|Section 9||4574 Vorderstoder||12.2 km||4.5 hours||781 m||920 m||4573 Hinterstoder|
|Section 10||4573 Hinterstoder||15.6 km||5.5 hours||526 m||1 298 m||4573 Hinterstoder|
|Section 11||4573 Hinterstoder||12.4 km||4 hours||329 m||417 m||4572 St. Pankraz|
Kalkalpenweg, section 1
The first section leads from the Großraming national park visitor centre deep into the forest of the Kalkalpen mountains in Upper Austria to the Reichraminger Hintergebirge mountain range. The road leads through the heart of the former "Eisenwurzen", the former iron manufacturing industrial area, to the cozy Ennser hut.
Kalkalpenweg, section 2
The second stage of the trail is mainly intended to present cultural values. The trail leads from the Gamssteins viewpoint (1,275 m) through the idyllic Gschwendtalm pastures to the isolated logging village of Brunnbach in the Anlaufalm pastures.
Kalkalpenweg, section 3
The third section of the varied trail could also be the motto of "Water, forest and wilderness". You will hike through the Reichraminger Hintergebirge mountain range, which leads to the hospitable Ebenforstalm pasture.
Kalkalpenweg, section 4
You will enter the park in the fourth stage. At the eastern end of the Sengsengebirge mountain range, dense forests surround the area of the "Krumme Steyrling". You can enjoy the best view of the entire region by reaching the 21 m high panoramic tower of the Wurbauerkogel above the Windischgarsten valley.
Here you will have a view of 21 peaks that are 2000 meters high. It is also worth visiting the fascinating "Fascination Rock" exhibition.
Kalkalpenweg, section 5
On the fifth day, the itinerary presents the details of the Austrian Alpine world. On the way up to the Gowilalm pasture, at the foot of the Little Pyhrgas mountain, you will find interesting geological details. You can discover the petrified undulating traces of ancient coastlines. Gowialm also offers culinary delights!
Kalkalpenweg, section 6
Over mountains and into gorges! After walking along the most beautiful "alpine balcony" in Upper Austria, the second longest passable gorge in Upper Austria follows. You will go to Spital am Pyhrn through the Dr Vogelgesang Gorge.
Kalkalpenweg, section 7
During the seventh section, you will make quite a large loop. The tour goes from Spital am Pyhrn to Roßleithen through the varied countryside.
Kalkalpenweg, section 8
The eighth section of the Kalkalpen trail will take you past Lake Windhager near Vorderstoder to the Zeller Hut. The Zeller alpine hut is located in the northern part of the Warscheneck mountain. The area is home to more than 80 species of birds.
Kalkalpenweg, section 9
The ninth stage is a favourite among hikers. This section of the Kalkalpenweg offers a great view of the Tote Gebirge, Kleine Priel, Gross Priel and Spitzmauer peaks. You can swim in the Schafferteich lake or have lunch in the Steyrsbergerreith hut. Vorderstoder, one of Upper Austria's highest alpine villages, is the final destination.
Kalkalpenweg, section 10
Stage 10 leads from the Hutterer Böden down through the Weißenbach valley past the Polsterlucke and Schiederweiher to Hinterstoder. A modern Alpine museum will also be waiting here.
Kalkalpenweg, section 11
The final section of the Kalkalpenweg leads along the Flötzersteig in the Stoder valley. The hiking trail takes you along the river Steyr to St. Pankraz. There is a unique poaching museum next to the Steyrbrücke country inn. The Kalkalpen trail ends here.
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