Hiking in the Salzkammergut - from the Offensee to the Wildensee
The Salzkammergut is the favorite destination of our Austrian contributor Ralf Karlinger, when it comes to hiking with his family on weekends. He introduces a varied tour, that is well suited for families with kids.
Steeply uphill to the Rinnerhütte
Trailhead of the hike is the parking area at the Offensee (649m) in the community of Ebensee. From here, right in the middle of the lovely Salzkammergut, one heads in the direction of the Rinnerhütte.
You walk along the scenic Offensee on a cosy forest road and reach the head of the valley after approximately 25 minutes. From there you hike 800 meters uphill, which takes 2,5 - 3 hours - depending on how fast you walk or whether there are kids with you. This part starts with a sleep serpentine path that leads through the forest. Leaving this forest behind, you wander among creeping pines and screes in the direction of the Rinnerhütte. One can frequently enjoy the magnificent view on the origin of our hike, the sapphire Offensee, that is beautifully embedded in the mountains. Following this path you will find a waterfall on the wayside and nearby a cosy baiting-place under a massive beech. Certainly you have to marvel at that natural spectacle until we reach the Rinnerhütte.
Snack and bathing fun for hardy people
After this stage lunch break comes in handy. Now it is time to change the vests and indulge in the sun on the natural terrace. (Best wishes to Tom, the innkeeper!) Culinarily there is to emphasize the arolla pine schnaps, exclusively for adults, and the Kaiserscharrn for everyone.
Having withstood the exertions of the ascent, you continue hiking to the Wildensee (1535m) that you will reach in an unhurried half an hour along the Rinnerbach. The Wildensee is located idyllically underneath the Rinnerkogel (2012m) which you will easily climb in one day if there are no children with you. It also invites you to bathe (as long as you are no toe dipper) and dwell. In our opinion this wild and romantic mountain lake is one of the most beautiful places of the trail.
After an extensive break and lots of fun you return on the same route. Back at the Offensee you can have another swim - this time in warmer water.
Our bottom line: A truly pleasant hike, which causes great amusement, even for the kids.
How do you get to the Offensee?
The accessibility by car is easy. Follow Highway A1 until the exit “Regau". Take the through road B145 in the direction of “Bad Ischl“. After passing “Ebensee" you take the junction “Offense“ and there you are.