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Carnic High Trail: The Peace Trail and its memories of past conflicts

The Carnic High Trail, also known as the Peace Trail, is a hiking trail steeped in history through the majestic Carnic Alps. Its magical blend of alpine tranquillity, impressive vastness and historical significance is unique. You embark on an unforgettable journey across the peaks and valleys of this breathtaking mountain range, experiencing the silent history of the past that is anchored in this landscape. Remains of fortifications and trenches from the First World War are reminders of past conflicts. I thought the tour was fantastic. Chapeau!

hiking in austria

Contents

1. Arrival

2. Route

3. Accommodation

4. Weather and best time to travel

5. Further information

6. Recommended stages

7. Packing list

8. GPX and map information

9. Conclusion


The Carnic High Trail (trail no. 403) is a hiking trail in the Carnic Alps, which runs along the state border between Italy and Austria in several variants in large parts at the height of the Carnic main ridge. It touches nine mountain huts and has a total length of around 155 km. I don't think there is a comparable high-altitude trail in the world that runs so stringently along the summit ridge. A real treat!

karnischer Höhenweg

Arrival

By train: Sillian is well connected to the rail network. You can take a train to Sillian and then walk from the station to the starting point of the Carnic High Trail. I started the tour at the main square in Sillian.


By car: You can drive to Sillian by car. Note that there can be traffic jams in high season, especially in the summer months when many hikers and tourists visit the region. There is free parking at the train station.


By plane: The nearest airports are Innsbruck Airport (INN) and Klagenfurt Airport (KLU). From there you can get to Sillian by public transport or rental car.


As always, I recommend my video about the tour:

Route

There are different variants and sections of the Carnic High Mountain Trail, depending on your fitness level, your preferences and the time you have available. Below I show you the most popular variants:


Classic Carnic High Trail: this is the main route of the Carnic High Trail and stretches for around 150 kilometers from Sillian in Austria to Arnoldstein. You have to conquer around 10,000 meters in altitude.


Alpine section: The alpine section of the tour is from Sillian to the Plöckel Pass. After that, the high trail largely loses its alpine character. However, this does not make it any less beautiful!


Variants with summit ascents: There are also variants of the Carnic High Route that include ascents of peaks such as the large Kinigat or the Rauchkofel. These routes require more time, planning and, in some cases, mountaineering experience.


Day 1: You start in the small village of Sillian at the main square. I was very taken by the atmosphere there, you see hikers, mountaineers and mountain bikers everywhere. A great feeling! Your adventure begins with a hike uphill to the Sillianer Hütte mountain hut, where the first magnificent view of the Sesto Dolomites awaits you. Follow the Heimatsteig 403 via the Leckfeldalm.


Don't forget to take an emergency bivouac with you. It consists of an emergency blanket that is cold-resistant, a whistle and a mini compass. It should be in your rucksack on every hike anyway.

As the old Scottish saying goes: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!"

Day 2: The sun was already high in the sky when I started my hike on the Carnic High Trail. The cool mountain air surrounded me as I set off from the Sillianer Hut. The view back revealed the majestic panorama of the Alps, their peaks embraced by golden light at dawn. You are then in for a day of adventure. The path, lined with rugged rocks, winds its way over the mountain ridge. On your way, you pass remnants of times gone by. Lonely bunkers and weathered tracks remind you of the history of this area, which was once marked by the turmoil of the First World War. A haunting sense of connection with the past pervaded me as I imagined what stories these mountains might have to tell. At the end of the day, I sat in front of the Porzehütte and let my mind wander into the distance. The silence of the mountains surrounded me and I felt at one with nature.


Due to the long distance and the sweaty altitude difference, I would like to recommend my ultra-light hiking gear at this point:

I would also like to recommend my beloved Salewa trekking shoes because of the mountain and jungle scenery and the challenging mountain trails:

"Only where you have been on foot have you really been". Quote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
austria trekking

Day 3: From the Porzehütte, the trail climbs steadily up and down to the Hochweißsteinhaus. The trail takes you through picturesque landscapes, from green alpine meadows to rocky heights. With a bit of luck, you might even have an animal encounter with the horses, as I did. During the ascent, you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. There were a few steep passages, but these were well secured with ropes. As there is hardly any shade on the entire Carnic High Trail and you are exposed to the movement of the air all day long, I recommend my beloved "Piz Buin Mountain" sun cream, as well as my ultra-light sun cap and wind blocker.

Sun cap

"The sun also shines behind the clouds." Quote from Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander

The Hochweißsteinhaus not only offers accommodation, but also a place of peace and relaxation as well as Alpine cuisine, characterized by regional traditions and ingredients that thrive in this mountain region. Here you can experience the beauty of nature and the tranquillity of the mountains. A worthwhile destination for hikers who want to enjoy an alpine environment and the hospitality of the mountain huts.

Day 4: From the Hochweißsteinhaus, the journey leads down to another jewel of the Wolayerseehütte. The trail winds its way back through the picturesque mountain world, which is characterized by wild flower meadows and rugged rocks. During the descent, you can admire the panorama of the surrounding peaks and enjoy the fresh mountain air. The Wolayerseehütte welcomes you with rustic charm and warm hospitality. Here you can recover from your day's hiking and let yourself be tempted by the culinary delights of Alpine cuisine. From hearty soups and homemade bacon dumplings to tempting desserts - the Wolayerhütte offers authentic dishes prepared with regional ingredients.

trekking austria

Day 5: From the idyllic Wolayerseehütte hut, the trail leads over a short ascent of a saddle down to the Plöckenpass. The alpine section of the Carnic High Trail ends at the Plöckenpass. However, you can extend your hike to Arnoldstein. There is still a beautiful mountain world to marvel at in Nassfeld. However, you can also take the bus at the Plöckelpass at around 11:30 am.

trekking austria guided mountain hiking

Accommodation

There are various huts and accommodation options available to hikers along the Carnic High Mountain Trail. Here are some of the huts along the Carnic High Mountain Trail:


Here is my recommendation:

Day1: Sillianer Hütte

Day2: Obstansersee hut

Day 3: Porze hut

Day4: Hochweißstein hut

Day5: Wolayersee hut


The alpine part of the Carnic High Trail ends when you reach the Plöckel Pass.


Day6: Zollnerseehütte

Day7: Straniger Alm

Day8: Alpenhof Plattner

Day9: Egger Alm


Tip: Most huts must be reserved online, as there are only limited sleeping places are available! On https://www.alpenverein.at/huetten/finder.php you will find all the Alpine Club huts and their contact details.

There is no luggage transfer available on the long-distance hiking trail.


Wild camping: Is generally prohibited in Austria.


I recommend the workouts on my YouTube channel for optimal preparation for any tour:

Weather and best time to visit

The summer months from mid-June to mid-September are the most popular time to hike along the Carnic High Mountain Trail. At this time, the days are at their longest, the temperatures are milder and the snowmelt has largely cleared the hiking trails. The huts along the trail are open and you can enjoy the full splendor of the alpine landscape. Be aware, however, that the summer months are also the most touristy time, and the huts can be fully booked. It is advisable to book in advance.


Caution: Remember that conditions in the mountains can often change quickly. Regardless of the time of year, it is important to bring appropriate hiking equipment, weatherproof clothing and sufficient provisions.

If we want to travel far, we must first cross the near; if we want to ascend, we must start at the bottom. Konfuzius 551 BC - 479 BC
austria hiking

Further information on crossing the island

Cash: Only cash is accepted at the huts. For an overnight stay with half board and packed lunch, you should expect to pay approx. 80 euros per day as of 2023.


Water: Unfortunately, you won't always find it. Make sure your water container is always well filled. I usually had around 3 liters with me. Especially in the mountains, the water is significantly less. However, you should definitely take a Water filter with you. No matter how clear the water may be, it can still contain impurities such as animal excrement or dead animals. However, you can also boil the water.

Wildlife: There is a wide variety of wildlife in the mountains, including animals such as mountain goats and marmots. Keep a respectful distance from the animals and bear in mind that they are wild and can react unpredictably.


Solitude: Parts of the Carnic Alta Via can be remote and take you away from civilization and communication. Make sure you communicate with other hikers or hut operators and inform them about your plans.


Alpine experience: The Carnic Alta Via has challenging sections with steep climbs, exposed paths (rope-insured). Experience in mountain hiking, orienteering and safe walking in challenging terrain is necessary.


Surefootedness: To be safe on the trail, sure-footedness and the right footwear are the most important factors - after all, falls due to tripping and slipping are the most common cause of accidents when hiking. So remember: the right footwear and the right walking technique are therefore incredibly important. You are sure to find the right footwear in the article below!


Weather conditions: The weather conditions in the mountains can change very quickly. Sudden weather changes, fog, thunderstorms and drops in temperature are possible. It is important to pay attention to the weather forecasts, take appropriate clothing with you and react accordingly in the event of bad weather.

Please note: Snowfall can also occur in the summer months, albeit only rarely.


Carnic High Mountain Trail most beautiful section: The most beautiful section of the Carnic High Mountain Trail is certainly the alpine part from the Sillianer Hütte to the Plöckelpass. The trail winds along the ridge for long stretches.


Long-distance hiking trails in Europe: 90 routes, all countries

Wild & adventurous: these are the most beautiful long-distance hiking trails in Europe.


Safety advice

All the safety rules of mountain sports also apply to hiking and trekking! You can find the safety rules in the link below:

austria hiking trails

Recommended stages for the Carnic High Trail

Variant 1: 6 stages (Alpine section for connoisseurs)

  1. Sillian - Sillianer Hütte: ca. 8km und 1344 hm

  2. Sillianer Hütte - Obstansersee-Hütte: ca. 10 km und 505 hm

  3. Obstansersee-Hütte - Porzehütte: ca. 13 km und 1060 hm

  4. Porzehütte - Hochweißsteinhaus: ca. 17 km und 1300 hm

  5. Hochweißsteinhaus - Wolayerseehütte: ca. 17 km und 1000 hm

  6. Wolayerseehütte - Plöckenpass: ca. 7 km und 250 hm

Variant 2: 9 Stages (155 km)

  1. Sillianer Hütte - Obstansersee-Hütte: ca. 10 km und 505 hm

  2. Obstansersee-Hütte - Porzehütte: ca. 13 km und 1060 hm

  3. Porzehütte - Hochweißsteinhaus: ca. 17 km und 1300 hm

  4. Hochweißsteinhaus - Wolayerseehütte: ca. 17 km und 1000 hm

  5. Wolysersee-Hätte - Untere Valentin Alm: ca. 2,5 Std.

  6. Untere Valentin Alm - Zollnersee Hütte: ca. 6,5 Std.

  7. Zollnersee Hütte - Straniger Alm: ca. 3 Std.

  8. Straniger Alm - Alpenhof Plattner: ca. 6,5 Std.

  9. Alpenhof Plattner - Egger Alm: ca. 4,5 Std.

  10. Egger Alm - Gasthaus Starhand: ca. 3,5 Std.

Variant 3: 5 Stages for sporty

  1. Sillian - Sillianer Hütte: ca. 8km und 1344 hm

  2. Sillianer Hütte - Porzehütte: ca. 23 km und 1600 hm

  3. Porzehütte - Hochweißsteinhaus: ca. 17 km und 1300 hm

  4. Hochweißsteinhaus - Wolayerseehütte: ca. 17 km und 1000 hm

  5. Wolayerseehütte - Plöckelpass: ca. 7 km und 200 hm

karnischer Höhenweg

Packing list

Here I recommend the most important hiking equipment that I own, have tested myself and have also bought myself. I pay a lot of attention to the weight and especially the quality of my equipment. The equipment should simply feel good on longer tours and also be light. I can recommend the equipment for women because my wife uses it and it is basically the same as the equipment for men.


Note: Please keep in mind that the packing list is general and you will have to adapt it depending on the season and your needs!


Advertising note: These product links are affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, I will receive a small commission without you having to pay more. This is for the maintenance of my blog and you support me with my project, for which I am very grateful. Thank you very much!


Clothes

Hiking boots

Hiking shorts


Long hiking pants


Functional shirt


Hybridjacket


Fleece-jacket


Rain jacket


Functional underwear


Hiking socks


Other hiking equipment:

Sun cap


Hiking backback (approx. 60 litres or as required)

by EXPED - unfortunately not available on Amazon.

Backback - Ospray (was my old one and is also good)


Technology and orientation:

Compass

• GPS device or GPS watch if necessary

• Binoculars if necessary


Catering:

• Sweets to keep up morale :)


Health & first Aid:

First Aid (small and light)

Tape

Bivouac

• Toilet paper


Other:

• Passport/Insurance certificate

• cash

• Gas cartridge


Film equipment:

Drone

Tripod

Clip

karnischer Höhenweg

GPX and map information (Karnischer Höhenweg GPX)

The GPX files can be downloaded from the following providers.


Outdooractive: https://out.ac/3va4ft




Here is the route on the map (Karnischer Höhenweg):

karnischer Höhenweg GPX

Conclusion

With a length of almost 155 km, the Carnic High Trail is a fantastic long-distance hiking trail that offers an incredible amount. It shows a cross-section of the beautiful Carnic Alps. I really enjoyed the tour! It's one of my favorite tours.en I wish you a great time and good luck ;)


As always, I would be delighted to receive feedback via one of my channels.



You are also welcome to leave me a comment here.

 
Hikingfex

Hello, I am Christian, the chief globetrotter of this Site and an enthusiastic adventurer, hiker and filmmaker. I love to explore new paths and inspire people with them, and I love to share my hiking knowledge with you! You can also find my videos on YouTube! On my blog you can find tips for beginners and professionals on the greatest and most beautiful hiking tours there are. I want to encourage people to explore the world as a hiker, whether in the countryside, through the forest or in the mountains. True to the motto: If you haven't hiked, you haven't seen the world,


On my blog, I also write about hiking gear, the right summit training and nature conservation, as well as tips and information about hiking.


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