An experience report on the 7 stages of the Lungauer TAUERN KRONE

It was a Wednesday, and despite my morning grumpy attitude, I set off for Lungau early. More precisely to Mariapfarr, the starting point of our 7-day hike over the Niedere Tauern in Salzburg's Lungau. It starts directly at the town square. If you leave the town, you first climb moderately along a well-marked path to the first summit of the day. The Moserkopf summit cross is somewhat hidden in a clearing in the forest. We take a photo, check in using the QR code on the small board in the SummitLynx app and secure the first 5 points of the Lungauer Tauern Krone hiking pin.

Alternatively, the first day's stage can be shortened thanks to the nearby mountain railway, which takes hikers to the Fanninghöhe twice a week, even in summer.

We continue to the Kleine Gurpitscheck, a route that the faster among you can also walk, and to the steeply ascending Großer Gurpitscheck, where you should exercise some caution. At an altitude of 2526m above sea level. we enjoy a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The next section of the route is one of the most beautiful, as there are three mountain lakes where you can swim and relax. For the hungry among you, we recommend a fresh chive bread at the Toni-mortlhütte. Well fortified, we tackle the last kilometers of the first day and reach the quiet Granglerhütte in the early evening.

Day 2 begins with a leisurely ascending gravel road through a mushroom forest typical of the Lungau, always accompanied by the calming sound of the streams and the cheerful chirping of birds. After about 2.5km you reach the valley basin and are surrounded by a beautiful alpine landscape. Always on the lookout for cow dung, we cross the alpine meadow and eagerly await Lake Oberhüttensee behind the saddle. This is ideal for a short lunch break with a view of the mountain lake glittering in the sun, because now it's all over with comfort. I already know from a previous hike that the Akarscharte is tough and that you can only see part of the climb from below, with the hills behind it there as an added bonus. Since you have now exceeded the tree line, it will be a really hot climb, especially when the sun is shining; a short drizzle can provide a pleasant cooling effect. During the climb I begin to have doubts as to why I don't just lie on the couch with a good book, but when I get to the top I know why again. The all-round visibility is simply gigantic.

Once you have completed this section, you come down to the beautiful gig salmon lakes. There are 2 cozy huts available for overnight stays and offer homemade delicacies such as peach cake or burgers made from our own cattle.

Day 3, 8:00 a.m.: What a wonderful morning: surrounded by high mountain peaks, alpine meadows steaming in the morning sun, sparkling mountain lakes and the tinkling of sheep bells. There's no place in this world I'd rather be right now. We pass the Giglachsees and slowly wind our way up towards Rotmandlspitze, at least initially. The closer you get to the top, the steeper the path becomes and in my opinion it is not recommended for beginners. Even if there are no exposed areas, the path requires sure-footedness and should not be underestimated due to its steepness. Once at the top, you are greeted by a makeshift summit cross made from a tree trunk and branches and a spectacular view. The advantage of demanding stages: you don't have to expect overcrowded peaks but can experience the mountain for yourself.

Now a long descent awaits. The first downhill section is incredibly fun but requires caution, wobbly stone blocks can quickly cause a nasty fall. The second part is arduous and our legs are already tired, we work our way down with the Keinprecht Hut already in sight. Now there's a delicious cheese dumpling soup to strengthen you and a nice chat with the hut owner. He was probably very happy about the company of 3 young women. J At the fountain, the drinks bottles are filled with fresh mountain water (by the way, there are countless ways to top up your water supply along the entire route) and then we continue, a little surprised when I find out where we should go up now. A rest at the hut is highly recommended. Shortly after the hut we turn right and follow a varied, initially flat path across the pine floors. I regain my motivation. The climb to the Trockenbrotscharte, however, pushes me to my limits both physically and mentally and reminds me of the kilometers of hiking that are still missing this year (due to the operation). The pride is even greater when I reach the top, where the others are already waiting for me, cheering. And I'm so happy when I see that it's not far to the Landawirseehütte, today's destination. We toast our third stage destination with a schnapps.

Day 4: After a hearty breakfast, we start the day early, always towards the sun. The first uphill is tough and there are only a few mountaineers coming towards us, which may be due to the early time. We walk in silence and use the morning mood for a kind of meditative walking. Reunited at the top, we complete the following descent relatively quickly and reach the beautiful Gollinghütte, where we have our first refreshment and an excellent dessert. For anyone who wants to split this stage in two, we recommend staying overnight in the Gollinghütte with its friendly and helpful staff.

After this refreshment, we continue towards the Greifenbergsattel. A nice climb, not technically difficult but very steep. The subsequent downhill also requires concentration and sure-footedness. The reward for this demanding section of the route comes again in the form of sparkling mountain lakes, with Klaffersee being one of the most beautiful in Lungau. The last hour to the Laßhoferalm is no longer difficult, you can relax a bit here. We take the hiking bus to our accommodation in Lessach.

Day 5: The legs are getting a bit heavy and the motivation isn't quite as easy as it was on day 1, but as soon as we leave the forest road leading away from the alpine pasture and hike along the waterfall to the 3 Landschitz lakes lying one above the other, we'll be back into our flow and simply enjoy the landscape. These 3 mountain lakes are also beautifully embedded in the Lungau mountains, and the available picnic areas are ideal for a longer break. After a final climb to Hasenhöhe it goes downhill. This section is also ideal for trail runners, as it's great to run in the beautiful meadows and streams until just before the Sattelkogel. Then we go over a Jagasteig at the foot of the Preber back to the Grazer Hütte, our destination for today.

Day 6: The Preber is still hidden behind a cloud of fog when we set off along the beautiful mountain path to the Preber-Halterhütte and return to Salzburg's Lungau (part of the route is in Styrian territory). An easy descent of almost 400 m takes us to the Ludlalm at Prebersee, where we enjoy a second breakfast on the sunny terrace with a view of the lake. Now, after a few days, we briefly return to civilization. Initially it goes through a larch forest past rustic alpine huts, then along a forest road to the small town of Lessach. Since this section of the route is also marked as an official mountain bike route, we regularly come across bikers, but this is not at all annoying. We follow the signs in town and climb up serpentines on a forest road to the Wildbachhütte. If you are traveling with children, you can alternatively choose the family adventure hiking trail (steig) from the “Wildbachhütte” car park. We reach the hut in the early afternoon and enjoy our last stay in the hut with board games, homemade delicacies and good company.

Last day. We sit in silence at the breakfast table, wistful that it is actually over. In keeping with our mood, the first section of the route is called the “Path of Silence”, a beautiful forest path lined with countless blackberry bushes. It's not surprising if this part takes a little more time during berry season. We walk along the mountain ridge to St. Andrä, cross larch forests, enjoy the views to Tamsweg and Mauterndorf and stuff our stomachs with blackberries. There isn't much need to be said at this point. Alternating on forest roads and small paths, we finally reach Mariapfarr, our starting point 7 days ago. We fall into each other's arms, exhausted but overjoyed.

In total, we have now covered almost 108 kilometers and an impressive 8,000 meters in altitude and have earned the golden hiking badge “Lungauer Tauern Krone – Hike”. We collect our reward from the Tourismus Lungau Salzburger Land tourist association - Tamsweg information point, which will always remind us of our hiking adventure together.

In short: the Lungauer Tauern Krone is a wonderfully scenic tour and very varied, but due to its length, the altitude difference and the sometimes steep inclines, it requires a very good level of fitness and always sure-footedness. Since the valleys and thus the starting points of the individual daily stages can be easily reached from Tamsweg by valley bus, the stages can alternatively be divided into several attempts. You should definitely take time for the beautiful nature, the crystal-clear mountain lakes and the hospitable huts.