Looking for the prettiest hike in the area around Bad Ischl? This is one of my contenders for the title. Sweeping views? Check. Rocky trails? Check. Cool otherworldly landscapes? Double check.
From the gondola station, signs for the hike point up and to the right (if you are exiting the gondola station; to the left if you are facing it). Five minutes up the trail, a heart frame for photos sits at a fork in the red. I took the left fork (and would recommend doing so, as the trickiest portion of the trail is to the left and I’m guessing it’s easier to navigate it going uphill rather than down).
From there, the trail switchbacks up the mountain with a steep drop-off to your left. There are some sections where you’ll need to scramble up rocks and some with a cable bolted into the mountain to hang onto as you hike. This is the narrowest portion of the trail, and while I thought it wasn’t too narrow, I would not recommend it to anyone with an intense fear of heights.
The trail eventually levels out a bit, taking you through low piney shrubs, over gnarled root systems, and up more chalky white rocks to several viewpoints before it starts to descend back toward the cable car station.
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Want to experience the hike for yourself? Here are some relevant details:
The hike starts at the top of the Katrin cable car and is well signposted.
Hiking times and local transportation
Signs estimate the hike will take 2.5 hours, and that tracks with my experience (including some downtime snacking at the prettiest viewpoint). To get to the hike, you’ll either need to hike up to Katrinalm or take the Katrin cable car (22 euros per person round trip or 15 per person one-way – less if you have a tourist discount card). There are other routes up the mountain, but I haven’t hiked them myself (and I’m told they take longer than the steep trek up from the cable car station).
Dogs on trails
Dogs welcome! Luna and I passed multiple other dogs on the trail. Keep in mind that there are portions where you’ll be scrambling up rock. Luna is easy to carry (and I had her backpack, just in case). I’m not sure how I would have navigated the trail with a heavier dog (though you could always take the path to the right both up and down and avoid the rock scramble portion).
Is the trail crowded?
Moderately. I did this hike on a Tuesday in mid-September and it was still pretty hopping, especially toward the end of the route. If you crave solitude, go early. I didn’t pass nearly as many people in my first hour on the mountain.
What to bring
As always with hiking, wear good shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Parts of the trail are in the sun, so good sunscreen is a smart packing choice. And there are no water fill-up stations along the way, so make sure you’re carrying enough 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.)