A family on a hike through Giglachkar cirque

4-day Hike in Obertal valley

moderate Water hikes · Schladming

Current Conditions
Elevated on 01/05/19
Obertal valley head - dogs not allowed

From the valley head at Eschachalm further into Obertal the landowners do not allow to bring along dogs.

Tour characteristics
Distance: 22.55 km
Duration: 10:0 h
Ascent: 1676 m
Descent: 1539 m
Best time of year
The tour

The 4-day hike in Obertal valley is a beautiful multiple-day hike for hikers who only want to walk shorter stages and really want to enjoy the time on the trail, at the lakes, and the chalets. The route is also possible for families with kids who alreay have some experience in alpine hiking. Along this route there are several lakes, historic sites, beautiful alps, impressive views, cragged mountains and cosy chalets. Highlights are the picturesque Landauersee Lake, Duisitzkarsee Lake, the Nickel museum right at the beginning of the tour, the historic miners' settlements at Vetternkar cirque or the summit of Rotmandlspitze.

Turn-by-turn directions

Day 1 - Up to Giglachseen Lakes

The first day of the 4-day hike in Obertal valley starts with the transfer to Obertal, which is best done with the Planai bus from Schladming or Rohrmoos. From the hiking trail head in Hopfriesen you follow the historic miners' route n° 776 towards Giglachseen Lakes. Right at the beginning you can make a 5-minute detour to the historic nickel smelting furnace, which is open as a museum nowadays (the museum is open Wednesday and Friday mornings).

From the smelting furnace you hike up a sunken road through clear forest and then pass by underneath a steep rock face, where you get a great view back to your starting point. A bit further you then pass by Lackneralm chalet (private only), where you again cross over Giglachbach creek and continue on alternating sections of hiking trail and forest lanes up to the "Knappenkreuz" waypoint near Landauersee Lake. Here, we recommend you make a detour to the picturesque lake.

From Landauersee Lake you hike back to the main trail and continue towards Giglachseen Lakes. Soon the ascent of the trail gets more flat and you hike through the beautiful Giglach alps. Along the creek you continue your hike, where you pass by the remains of miners' housing. Soon you reach the lower end of the larger Giglachsee Lake. Now your opportunities for an overnight stay are not far anymore: Ignaz-Mattis-Hütte chalet is situated above the lower, bigger Giglachsee Lake, Giglachseehütte chalet lies above the upper, smaller Giglachsee Lake.

Day 2 - on historic trails

A good start into the day is taking a loop around the 2 Giglachseen Lakes, which will give you new views on the lakes and the cirque with the surrounding summits. From the chalets at the lower end of the lakes you follow trail n° 702 into Vetternkar cirque and towards Rotmandlspitze. The trail ascends modestly at first and you enjoy the great view to the lakes and the summits of Steirische and Lungauer Kalkspitze.

Once you are in Vetternkar you reach a trail junction at the remains of historic miners' housing. A short side trip in the direction of Vetternscharte ridge brings you to the turquoise coloured Knappenseen lakes. Back at the trail junction you continue towards Rotmandlspitze - the trail now ascends quite steep on the East face of the mountain. You ascend via switchbacks through the red scree while enjoying great views of Giglachseen and Knappenseen Lakes.

On the summit of Rotmandlspitze (2,453 m) - also called "Rotmandl" - you have earned a break and can enjoy the view to the West into Giglachkar cirque and to the Duisitzkar cirque to the North. From Rotmandl you continue along the trail beneath "Sauberg" mountain. Through scree you reach Kruckeckscharte ridge, where the trail starts to fall a bit steeper. The quite steep and narrow path to Keinprechthütte chalet is the last part of the hike for this day. The mountains around the chalet used to be mining sites through several centuries. Cones of debris still remind of these times today.

Day 3 - a relaxing hike to Duisitzkarsee Lake

The 3rd day is a really relaxing one. From Keinprechthütte you start your way downhill to the Neualm chalets (no refreshment stop available) where you can enjoy the sun on the chalets terrace or next to the creek.

At Neualm you turn-off left towards Duisitzkarsee Lake. A steady up and down takes you through clear forest and fields of dwarf pines. More than once you get great views to the valley head of Obertal valley. An all-together short hike brings you to Duisitzkarsee Lake. Once you reach it, you know why it is one of the most photographed tarns in the Schladminger-Dachstein region.

At the lake there are two chalets available for an overnight stay - Fahrlechhütte chalet right next to the lake, and a few meters up Duisitkarseehütte lake. In summer the lake is good for refreshing your tired feet, while some even go for a swim on very hot summer days.

Day 4 - a short hike to the valley

On the last day only a short hike back to Obertal valley awaits you. The hike is only short and takes you around 1.5 hours. For the descent you can choose between a forest lane and a hiking trail. Once you reach the valley at Eschachalm, walk up to Eschachhütt'n inn from where the Planai buses take you back to Rohrmoos and Schladming. From Eschachalm you can also walk to Hopfriesen in about 40 minutes, and thus reach your starting point from the 1st day.

Getting there

From Schladming take provincial highway L722 (Rohrmoosstraße road) to Rohrmoos and at the roundabout continue on provincial highway L723 (Tälerstraße road) to the village of Untertal. In the village turn right on "Obertalstraße" road and continue to Wehrhofalm where you can park your car also for a couple of days. From Wehrhofalm it is a 30-minute-walk along the "Smelting Furnace Tour" to the hiking trail head "Hopfriesen", where the tour starts.

With the Planai buses from Schladming (Planet-Planai, Lendplatz) or Rohrmoos (Rohrmoos-Zentrum) to Obertal - bus stop "Hopfriesen". Back from "Eschachalm" in Obertal also with the Planai bus.


Parking is available at Wehrhofalm in Obertal valley.

Parking is also available at the valley terminal of Gipfelbahn Hochwurzen cable-car in Rohrmoos where you can catch the bus to the trail head.

Hiking trail head Hopfriesen, Obertal
Hiking trail head Eschachalm, Obertal

The 2nd day can be quite challenging for unexperienced hikers. The trail via Rotmandlspitze summit takes you to high-alpine terrain, ascending and descending via extensive scree. Take great care!

Changes in weather patterns, quick falls in temperature, thunderstorms, wind, fog and snow are some of the dangers that can be encountered on a hiking tour. Hosts of alpine huts and mountain refuges have a lot of experience in the mountains and can give good advice about weather and the trails. Poor equipment, overestimation of one's own capabilities, carelessness, poor personal constitution and/or wrong judgement  can lead to critical situations. In case of thunderstorms: avoid summits, ridges and steel ropes.

GPS data and orienteering

Available GPS data - just like hiking maps - is only a guidance for orientation and can never depict a trail exactly with all its details. Especially at dangerous spots it is essential to judge on site how to proceed.

In an emergency please call:

  • 140 - for Alpine emergencies (all over Austria)
  • 112 - European GSM emergency number

Weather forecast

in the morning
at noon
in the evening
Snowfall again and again. The strongest snowfall will occur around noon.
in the morning
at noon
in the evening
Dull throughout the day with light snowfall every once in a while.
in the morning
at noon
in the evening
Light snowfall ending in the morning, then slowly becoming sunny during the day.

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