Nockberge-Trail – Long-distance hiking in the Carinthian Nockberge
Among all mountain groups in the Eastern Alps, the Nockberge mountains with an age of 60 million years are the oldest. You cannot fail to see: while the Hohe Tauern in the west, the Karawanken and Karnische Alpen in the south exude an almost youthful brusque, the Nockberge mountains rest like wise giants with their gently rounded mountains and knolls.
This gentleness, combined with peak heights of almost 2,500 meters and a landscape majesty, largely free of technical infrastructure, give the Nockberge a very special magic. Therefore, it is clear why nature conservation pioneers fought to preserve this natural jewel as early as the 1970s. Thanks to them, today one of three UNESCO biosphere reserves in Austria protects this harmonious Alpine landscape for the next generation.
So what could be more appropriate than to hike through this trail paradise on a scenic high-altitude route? On the first five day stages, the hiking trail follows its famous brother of the same name, Austria’s first online bookable ski touring trail. Due to the many enthusiastic reviews of many long-distance hikers, who literally couldn’t get enough, the trail has now been extended by three more day stages (starting with the 2021 hiking season). The Nockberge-Trail leads over lush green mountain pastures, through shady stone pine forests, on breathtakingly scenic ridges, from one peak to the next. The start is in the north at the Katschberg and leads in eight enchanting hiking days across the UNESCO Biosphere Park Nockberge to the finish in Seeboden at Lake Millstätter See in the south where a dive into the turquoise blue lake is the reward.
The Nockberge-Trail impresses with its captivating unique landscape, the seemingly infinite panoramas, the charming alternation of comfort hotels and cosy huts in the stage locations and the attracting destination of Lake Millstätter See. It is certainly the right choice for long distance hikers who prefer technically moderate trails without exposed passages, in order to enjoy a completely relaxed hiking experience. However, day hikes of up to seven hours, which require a certain amount of stamina, are also possible. Whoever accepts overnight stays in huts as a rustic exception and prefers to stay in more comfortable accommodations will also appreciate the Nockberge-Trail. Let yourself be enchanted by the archaic tranquility and scenic diversity of this region, while the awarded team of Trail Angels in the Official Nockberge-Trail Booking Center will provide you with the best possible service before and during your independent hiking tour.
Nockberge-Trail – the quintessence of long-distance hiking. Cross the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Nockberge in 8 varied daily stages and experience one of the most harmonious mountain groups far and wide.
Long-distance hiking from the mountains to the lake
- UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Nockberge
- Largest stone pine forests of the Eastern Alps
- Countless summit ascents along the trail
- Boundless views
- Accommodation: Comfort hotels as well as friendly guest houses/huts
- Destination Seeboden at the turquoise-blue lake Millstätter See
The best season for a trail trip on the Nockberge-Trail in the Carinthian Nockberge mountains extends from the beginning of June to the beginning of October and is dependent on the snow conditions and the opening dates of the accommodations.
- Summer: June, July, August: June, July and August are all highly recommended hiking months for the Nockberge-Trail: In June, you will be enchanted by the ever greener and blossoming nature. By contrast, in the months of July and August, the Nockberge-Trail is ideally suited for avoiding the hot temperatures in the valley due to its altitude – it leads almost continuously between 1.500 m and 2.350 m above sea level.
- Autumn: September, October, November. Crystal-clear air, color-turning forests and pleasant temperatures. Hiking in autumn (September to early October) is an insider tip on the Nockberge-Trail – No wonder, that the photo sessions often take place in September. Later in the fall, winter onset can make a visit difficult or even impossible.
- Winter: December, January, February. The stages of the Nockberge-Trail are not accessible in winter, as the paths are under snow. This is the season for its namesake – Austria’s first online bookable ski trail
- Spring: März, April, Mai. In den Monaten März und April liegen die Wege noch unter Schnee, daher ist der Trail noch nicht begehbar. Auch im Mai sind die Abschnitte in den höheren Regionen – der Nockberge-Trail führt bis in eine Seehöhe von 2.350 m – teilweise noch mit Schnee bedeckt, sodass der Trail in diesem Monat oft noch nicht empfohlen werden kann.
On the Nockberge-Trail you travel as an individual hiker (without the guidance of a mountain guide) on marked mountain paths, partly in high alpine mountain regions with altitudes of up to 2.300m. For the Nockberge-Trail you need alpine hiking experience, which includes not only the correct self-assessment of the technical and physical requirements for the points listed below, but also experience in orientation in the terrain (including reading topographical maps) and in how to react in case of bad weather. You will be well looked after and supported by our organisation on the Nockberge-Trail. Nevertheless you are on your way as an independent hiker (unless you optionally book a mountain guide). We would like to point out that despite our tour organisation you are on your personal responsibility on the Nockberge-Trail.
Technical requirements: Moderate
From a technical point of view, the Nockberge-Trail shows moderate difficulties: The stages follow moderately difficult mountain trails with red dot. Classification Austrian Alpine Club
- Difficult parts of the path are mostly narrow and often steep.
- There may be short passages secured by ropes.
- Due to weather conditions or short-term extreme weather events, hiking trails may be in a poorer condition (e.g. slippery) or less visible due to fog.
In order to be able to manage this as a mountain hiker without problems you need to be:
- free from giddiness
Conditional requirements: More demanding (on 3 stages: demanding)
The Nockberge-Trail is a bit more demanding in terms of condition (on some stages it is demanding):
- Ascent performance depending on the stage up to 1.200 meters of height difference
- Descents depending on the stage up to 1.450 meters of height difference
- Path length up to 22 km depending on the stage
Even if all three maximum values never come together at one stage, this means a pure hiking time between 4 and 7 hrs 15 min. The calculation of walking times is based on the Outdooractive formula (Outdooractive is one of the world’s largest suppliers of tour documents and market leader in the German-speaking world). This includes brisk walking times, which correspond approximately to the average speed of a well-trained mountain hiker.
Attention: All data are pure walking times, i.e. breaks have to be added. Appropriate conditional preparation is strongly recommended. Our tip: As you are on a multi-day tour here, you should have already hiked a day tour with similar fitness requirements. You can also plan a rest day in between, on which you can regenerate yourself.
- The Nockberge-Trail is suitable for children from 12 years of age with very good physical condition.
- Long-distance hiking and trekking routes are little or not suitable for people with disabilities due to their requirements. In order to clarify individual cases (degree of reduced mobility), it is recommended to contact the Trail Info & Booking Center before booking.
- It is often difficult to personally assess whether a trail is suitable for you. If you are unsure about this or if you want to know which stages are best for you, just contact us. We will gladly advise you. However, this does not release you from the responsibility of your own self-assessment.