I chose this hike on a whim and mostly because it was so close to where we stayed this September, but it turned out to be one of my favorite walks of my whole vacation. Expect everything from meadowlands to hilltop views and cool rock formations to shady forests. There’s even a small detour into a pretty gorge if you’d like to add an extra 10 minutes to your (typically 3 – 4 hour) hike.
The only trick? It can be a bit tricky to figure out which signposts to follow along the way. I’ll do my best to guide you:
This hike starts in a teeny parking area on Rosenkranzgasse in Bad Ischl (see location here on Google Maps). In the parking area, a very narrow path leads up to the right, almost immediately turning left and heading up a stone staircase into a shady forest.
Keep following the main trail until you get to a signpost. From there, you’ll head straight (toward Hoisnrad). Continue following signs for Hoisnrad and whenever you come to a fork in the road, follow the marked trail (in one case, there are no signs, but the wider part of the trail will be marked with red and white paint).
It took us two hours to reach Hoisnrad, with several stops to consult our directions at forks in the path. Once we did reach the top, we stopped at the pretty panoramic restaurant to take in the views and enjoy a homey lunch (I recommend the dumpling soup!). Pro tip: If you’re scared of clowns, stay away from the women’s bathroom. There’s a fountain in front of the restaurant where you can fill up your water bottles if needed.
To continue after the restaurant, head up the access road and follow the three-pronged signpost toward Perneck/Salzberg. Shortly thereafter, you’ll hit the highest point in this particular journey – a signpost with a small plaque that reads Gschwendtalm. From here, turn left and follow the narrow way down into the cow pastures and grasslands, past the wooden cabins.
Keep following the red and white markings (mostly on rocks along the way), cross over a logging road twice, and make your way slowly down past incredible rock formations. The path narrows in places and there’s a steep dropoff to the right.
As things start to level out and you can see where the trail opens back up out of the forest and onto a dirt road that passes some farms, you’ll notice a signpost pointing off to the left. You can follow this on a very short detour if you’d like a great view of the beautiful gorge you’ve been hiking beside. Check out the views from the bridge and then turn around and head back up to the main trail.
Back on the main trail, you’ll pop out onto a dirt road and then follow a small dirt track along a farm (if you’re lucky, the sheep will be out grazing beside you). This trail will spit you out on a small paved road (make a right) and that will shortly deposit you on the main road. If you turn left along the main road, in about five minutes you’ll be back at the trailhead.
Keep in mind this short walk along the main road is largely without sidewalks. It’s not super busy, but be aware of cars.
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Want to experience the hike for yourself? Here are some relevant details:
Hiking times and local transportation
This route took us about four hours, not including a half hour or so where we sat down for lunch at the cute Alpine restaurant overlooking Bad Ischl halfway through the hike.
Dogs on trails
Dogs are welcome on the trail.
Is the trail crowded?
No. We passed several people on the route and at lunchtime there were a handful of other couples at the restaurant overlooking Bad Ischl, but we had a lot of alone time on the trail as well.
What to bring
As always with hiking, wear good shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. There is one water fill-up option (at the restaurant halfway through this hike), but make sure to carry plenty of water.
For the dog, I always carry a small carrier backpack just in case. And because I love taking photos, you won’t find me on a trail without my camera (All the photos above were taken with my Sony a6000.)