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Untersberg: an Amazing Adventure Hike

Reaching the Starting Point of the Hike from Salzburg City Centre

You can easily get to the hike’s starting point within minutes from Salzburg. Bus line 21 leaves every 15 minutes on weekdays, and every 30 minutes on Sundays and public holidays; the first bus is approximately 5.40 from Hanuschplatz. For Arrival by car take the tauern motorway A10, exit Grödig, then direction Fürstenbrunn, in Glanegg to the car park.

Make sure to bring enough cash for the parking at the Untersberg from the Austrian side. Experienced hikers can reach the summit on foot via the signposted hiking trails or by taking the Untersberg cable car, which takes you to the top in 9.5 minutes.

Legends About the Untersberg Mountain

There are also numerous legends about Salzburg’s local mountain. For example, it is said that Emperor Charles V lives in the 1,973 m high Untersberg and rules over the “Untersberger Mandln” – small Untersberg inhabitants. Supposedly he sits at a table around which his beard has already grown twice in length. As soon as his beard is long enough to wrap around the table three times, the emperor will come to life, and the world will come to an end. Apparently, the Dalai Lama comes every year to meditate on the mountain because it is considered the “heart chakra of Europe” by many. Nature at its best.

The Schellenberg Ice Cave on Untersberg Mountain

The Untersberg ice cave, which is just under two hours from the mountain station, is an impressive and magnificent outdoor adventure in spring. The Schellenberg Ice Cave is already on the German part of the Untersberg and can be reached via the Toni Lenz Hütte route in a good 1.5 hours. A guided ice cave tour, which is definitely worth a visit, takes about 45 minutes.

Ascent Dopplersteig or Reitsteig from Glanegg

Your starting point is the car park in Glanegg, from where both the Reitsteig and Dopplersteig start. Both routes require surefootedness and a head for heights. Although the Reitsteig is considered the easier route, it is relatively steep right from the start, as there are 1,340 metres of altitude differences to overcome. The walking time is about 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take the cable car back down to the valley.

It should be said beforehand: If you don’t like climbing steps, you should avoid the ascent via the Dopplersteig or Reitsteig; you also need a head for heights, surefootedness and a good level of fitness.

On the Dopplersteig route, the trail initially leads through the forest and along the Rosittenbach stream, which flows down in a deep cut in the rock. Only rarely does it get a little flatter. After about 3/4 of an hour, you reach open terrain and are faced with the so-called “Himmelsstiege”, an open staircase that leads you steadily upwards.

Once you have passed this, you continue more leisurely for a short while. After another hour, you come to a junction where you turn right over the Dopplersteig to the Zeppezauerhaus and left over the Schellenbergsattel to the Toni-Lenz-Hütte.

Here comes the most strenuous part of the hike – the steep steps of the Dopplersteig, which are carved into the rock. Sure-footedness and a head for heights are absolutely necessary here because the path goes steeply downhill to the right. Numerous small plaques remind us of hikers who have fallen here and also warn us to be careful. It is hazardous here when it is wet, but even in good conditions, you must not become overconfident under any circumstances.

After about 15 to 20 minutes, you have overcome the steep section; the rest of the way to the Zeppezauerhaus and then on to the summit is easy and takes about another 3/4 hour. You can stop for refreshments directly at the summit in the Hochalm near the cable car or in the Zeppezauerhaus and, of course, in the Toni Lenz Hütte.

Food on the Peak of the Hike

When reaching the peak of the Untersberg, you can enjoy food and drinks at the Zepperzauer Haus. A traditionally Austrian restaurant or “Wirtshaus” as we call it, offers the best dishes that Austrian cuisine has to offer. Nothing better than enjoying some dumplings paired by a Radler while having a fantastic view over the entire city of Salzburg.

It is important to note that the Zeppezauerhaus is closed during the winter, since it is also not recommended to do the Dopplersteig under bad weather conditions due to safety risks. However, the restaurant can also be reached with the cable car – hint for all those wanting to enjoy the views and the cuisine without having to do the hike itself. At the cable car station, there is another restaurant which is equally as good as the Zeppezauer haus.

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