- The laid-back 3
3 cool summit hikes for families
Reaching the top of a mountain under your own steam is a really worthwhile experience, not just for adults. Children will also be thrilled to have made it to the top without assistance. In this story, I present the experience of three families who tried out the family-friendly summit hikes.
Hiking is very much in vogue. Families, in particular, are increasingly drawn to the mountains to discover together the many "little things" that you can experience as a family when hiking. Even those parents, who have less fond memories of some hikes from their own childhood, are now enthusiastically hiking with the kids over hill and dale, to introduce their children to the advantages of this beautiful activity.
Three peaks, two lakes and numerous animals on the Schattberg
The first tour takes us towards the western part of the Schattberg. We ascend up the Westgipfel by gondola to an altitude of 2,096 m above sea level, and we are welcomed by the bleats of the sheep grazing next to the summit. Our first destination - the Stemmerkogel - is already in sight and, according to the signs, a good hour's walk away.
After a short downhill passage, two parallel (but very different) paths lead over beautiful Alpine meadows or a ditch, first slightly, then moderately ascending to the summit of the Stemmerkogel. After a short break at the summit, we descend towards the Seetörl. The descent is steep and requires some surefootedness. Hiking poles are recommended.
A short time later, you can either take the easy path to the Seetörl or like us take a turn at the fork and climb the Saalbachkogel. A summit which is well worth the effort - as is every summit on this tour. Enjoy magnificent panoramic views over steep, grassy mountains. The descent to the Seetörl is partly over loose rubble, so sturdy footwear and hiking poles are worth their weight in gold here too.
Besides the two peaks, the Hacklberg Lakes are the highlight of this tour. The idyllic lakes invite you to refresh yourself, and the benches invite you to sit down and reflect. We hike downhill in the direction of the Hacklberg Alm. After a small refreshment break, we take the panorama path in the direction of the western summit of the Schattberg. This leads through lush green bushes and Alpine meadows with an altitude difference of around 400 metres to the top station of the Westgipfel gondola.
Alternatively, you can continue from the Hacklberg Alm in the direction of the middle station. In this case, however, the more rewarding alternative is the ascent to the top station.
- Walking time: approx. 4.5 hours
Panorama tour on the Zwölferkogel
The second tour leads us to the Zwölferkogel. With the new 12-seater KOGEL gondola, we can easily reach an altitude of almost 2000 m above sea level. When you leave the top station, your gaze inevitably falls on the first peak: the Hohe Penhab.
After about 10 minutes on the forest road, the trail branches off to the right onto the Hohe Penhab. The path is quite steep and requires some stamina. Still, since the summit is always in sight (and the path is not too long), it encourages the children to remain motivated. The beautiful weather, of course, helps.
From the summit, you have superb panoramic views of the nearby and more distant mountain ranges of the Leoganger and Loferer Steinberge, the Steinernes Meer and the Hohe Tauern. The scenic path leading in the direction of Seekar is stunning, with views that are hard to beat. The path nestles itself on a mostly wide ridge, which blends into the landscape and rewards you step by step with impressive panoramic views.
Halfway along the way, an old snowfield from last winter has been preserved in a ditch - a welcome opportunity for the kids to cool off by sliding down the snow.
We especially liked the view of the Seekar lake, in which direction the hike continues. All around the lake - in winter, this area is a real highlight of the Skicircus, but at this time of year, you will find cows and horses grazing. An idyllic scene. At times you feel like you are in the Scottish Highlands - the landscape is sometimes confusingly similar.
We hike above the Seekar lake towards the Zwölferkogel top station and then take the Panorama Trail, which does not bear its name for nothing. About 20 minutes after Seekarsee, this trail branches off to the left of the tractor trail and later joins the path we already know from the start of the hike. Those who prefer to walk downhill can also hike from the Seekar lake via the Ellmau Alm to the middle station.
- Walking time: approx. 3 hours
A new trail on old paths
Our third tour is a newcomer in the Saalbach Hinterglemmer hiking offer: The Hochalmspitze hiking trail. In spring 2020 this new path was laid out by the path-makers. Since then, a circular hike with the Hochalmspitze as a summit is possible.
From the top station of the Reiterkogel gondola we walk along the forest path to the Rosswaldhütte and further on towards the Rosswald chapel, where halfway along the way the new trail - starting with a small bridge - branches off to the left. Through unspoilt woodland, the path leads you on a moderate ascent to a grassy hilltop. From here you can almost see the summit.
The very natural Hochalmsteig winds its way up the steep slope from the south. Once you arrive at the plateau, it is already possible to see the summit cross in the middle of the grassy landscape. On the day of our hike, the weather was changeable and the atmosphere at the summit resembled a scene from "Lord of the Rings" - only slightly off the beaten track and yet so mystical.
As the weather continues to deteriorate, we skip the Reichkendlkopf and descend over beautiful paths and trails towards the Rosswald Hut and walk back to the Reiterkogel gondola station.
- Walking time: approx. 3.5 hours
PS: We started each of the three hikes with a gondola ride, which saves a good part of the altitude difference. Thanks to the JOKER CARD, the use of the gondolas is free for guests of partner accommodations. Optionally, all tours can of course also be started from the valley. But in this case, you should be prepared for resistance from your little companions. ;)