Hiking in Schladming in Styria: Dachstein, wild waters and Lake Duisitzkar

Many adventures await you in Schladming in Styria and this holiday area has many attractive opportunities for the active holidaymaker in store: From light hiking tours on the Wild Waters theme trails to challenging alpine tracks and via ferratas. And even the Dachstein glacier offers various attractions with the Treppe ins Nichts (steps to nowhere), the Sky Walk and the Ice Palace. For those of you who prefer a less stressful time, will find themselves in the right spot at lake Duisitzkar with the two farmed pastures Fahrlechhütte and Duisitzkarseehütte. We, too, were amazed by this wonderful landscape.


Our journey begins near Schladming, within the Untertal town centre. For us, this is the beginning of one of all together six possible stages of the Wild Waters trail, one of the “world's most extraordinary theme hiking trails”. The Mühlen trail, an easy hiking trail, leads us along the beautiful Untertal stream. Especially during hot temperatures, this part of the trail is highly recommended. The trees provide you with shaded protection and the river with its countless springs and balmy breezes offers some much needed cooling.


The last remaining mill in the Rohrmoos Untertal

Our first destination is the almost enchantedly located Old Mill. It is the last remaining of formerly 40 mills in Untertal. The functional building, also known by them name of Gföllermühle, was destroyed by a flood in 1874 and rebuilt in 1875. Once, mills were ones of the most important buildings on the farms in the Rohrmoos region. Powered by mostly two water wheels, they were working day and night.

It was not until 1945, when American occupying soldiers came to Untertal Rohrmoos and the introduction of pasteurized milk that mills would stop being used. But the mill wheels of the Old Mill went on until the 1970s and processed corn to fine flour. Today it is relic from old times and a popular destination for hikers.


Up to Lake Riesach via the alpine trail through “hell” (Höll)

After a short break at this peaceful place, we continue our journey deep into the Rohrmoss Untertal. There, the imposing Riesach waterfall awaits us. Crystal clear, calm and gentle or raging, foamy and loud - the deluge of water paves its way through the gorge all the way down to the valley. In various facets of nature, the waterfalls amaze visitors.

Our ascent leads us past steep steps, ladders and a 50 m long pendant bridge up to Lake Riesach. We stop there for a little break at the Gföller pasture and enjoy the wonderful view over the gently embedded lake Riesach. The following decent on the simpler forest road, we gain more insights in the breathtaking mountain landscape and the fauna of the Dachstein region.


Dachstein - Styria's highest summit

After the Wild Waters theme trail destination in Untertal we now venture on to a higher located place. We take the cableway to reach the top station of the Dachstein at approx. 2,700 metres. Sitting on the balcony of one of the two cableways it is, no doubt, an unforgettable and breezy highlight.

Once we reach the top, we can see the summits of the mountains Torstein, Mitterspitz, Dirndln as well as of the Dachstein to our left. The latter being the highest summit in the whole Dachstein mountain range, reaching up to 2,995 metres. The mountain range lies within the border area between the two states of Styria and Upper Austria. Near the top station, we find several options on experiencing the glacier and the surrounding area closer:


No giddiness at an altitude of more than 2,700 metres -- Sky Walk and the Treppe ins Nichts (stairs to nowhere)

From the Sky Walk we first gain an overview of the surrounding summits and valleys. The panorama platform lies on the south side of the top station and overtowers the 250 m sloping rock face. In front of us, the mountain panorama of the Alps spreads out - amongst it are the High Tauern with the Großglockner and Großvenediger. In the nearby Ice Palace of the Dachstein sculptures and pillars of ice and snow await us.

The Treppe ins Nichts is directly connected to the Ice Palace. The pendant bridge was opened in July 2013 and lies directly at the Dachstein massif. Those brave enough can find an extraordinary thrill there. At the end of the 14 steps, there is a platform made of glass and below the platform is a free view 500 metre down into the abyss. In addition to these breathtaking attractions, the Dachstein glacier offers even more with ski slopes and via ferratas for the sporty ones


Lake Duisitzkar – saving the best for last - crystal clear and calm

After these varied hikes over the past days, we now want to find strength and peace in nature on our last day. It is a steep way up, with a wonderful view and small spots that invite you to rest. Very much under the motto: Relaxation is everything - relax body, mind and soul, forget about everyday life. And this is exactly what this hike to Lake Duisitzkar is all about. Far away from hurly-burly and tourism, dreamily in harmony with nature.


by Michael Klotz