On the peak | © BMA Thorsten Günthert
  • Outdoors

Hike to Spielberghorn

A scenic hike for those who are not scared of heights!

For me, personally, the Spielberghorn is one of the most rewarding summits to conquer in Saalbach Hinterglemm. I just love the rugged face of the peak and the magnificent views on offer at the altitude of 2,044 metres. Easy accessibility makes the summit a highlight for hikers. The majority of the mountains in and around Saalbach Hinterglemm come under the category of “Grass Mountains”, one of which is the Spielberghorn. It’s visible and relatively free-standing location ensure that the mountain is recognisable from afar.

On this occasion, we start our hike to the Spielberghorn directly from the centre of Saalbach. As the Kohlmais lift is to be replaced by a new high-performance 10-seater gondola this summer, hikers will not be able to use the lift for part of the ascent this season. The Schönleiten lift is operating as the fourth lift this summer season. We make our way from Saalbach to the Spielberghaus. For an easy-going start, we take the Spielbergweg for the first leg of our hike. The forest path offers an excellent start to this tour and an opportunity to warm up. Our goal, the Spielberghorn, is clearly visible from this point. The craggy flank of this spectacular mountain always amazes us. It’s hard to imagine that one can reach the summit without having to climb with the aid of safety ropes.

From the Spielberghaus the forest path turns into a narrow hiking trail. We pass the Spielberghaus and the owners Bine and Walter Höll and make a mental note to make a stop there on our way down this afternoon. From here there is a steady incline along the route to the Spielbergtörl, although there is still time to pause for breath and have a chat, or one can simply stop and silently take in the magnificent views. From the Spielbergtörl the route becomes steeper as we ascend towards the summit. Although the route is well signposted a head for heights and surefootedness are required in some points. After a steady uphill ascent, the trail takes you to the left flank of the summit ridge. Our tip: One should definitely take a short break here! The views to the peak and down to the valley are simply stunning. The route continues over the grassy ridge – and remains steep, but less exposed in the direction of the summit.

At the summit

The exposed location of the Spielberghorn makes the summit a true panoramic highlight. In all directions, there are sweeping views. Besides the Leoganger and Loferer Steinbergen, the views of the Wilder Kaiser and the snow-capped peaks of the Hohen Tauern are also captivating. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was not too good for our hike, and our time on the summit was limited to half an hour. As forecasted just as we left to start our descent, the sun disappeared behind the clouds. Nevertheless, we decided to take a slightly different route back down towards the Spielberghaus. At the Spielbergtörl we head towards the Maisereck. After a short time we reach the Barnkogelhütte situated on the border of the woodlands – in fact, it is a small shelter. During this break, we evaluate our tour to the summit.

Delicious treat on our way back

From the Barnkogelhütte it isn’t too far to the Spielberghaus, and it seems we are there in a flash. We walk along a pleasant path, which meanders partially through the woods and partly on lush mountain pastures. The Spielberghaus is a popular destination for both hikers and bikers. Whenever we take a break here, we always order the delicious Kaspressknödelsuppe (Consommé soup with cheesy dumplings)! We enjoy a lengthy break at the Spielberghaus and forget all about the weather. In the meantime, dark clouds have gathered, and the first raindrops have started to fall. Thankfully, the route from the Spielberghaus back to Saalbach is easy to negotiate even in bad weather. For our descent, we opt for the Pascherweg. The rugged and romantic trail meanders through the woodlands back to Saalbach. As we have packed functional rainwear with us, the weather doesn’t bother us. We eventually return back to the starting point in Saalbach a little wet, but happy and smiling.

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