Großglockner – “King of the Alps” and the highest mountain in Austria

The Grossglockner, with an altitude of 3798 meters, is the highest mountain in Austria. Located in Tyrol, it is a popular trip for travelers staying in one of the diverse holiday destinations in the region. From the top of the Grossglocknerstrasse, one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world, which can be reached from Heiligenblut and Bruck an der Grossglocknerstrasse, you have splendid views of the “King of the Alps”. This mighty mountain is part of the Hohe Tauern national park. Grossglockner is often visited by day tourists, but lots of hikers and bikers explore the trails nearby as well.

About the Großglockner

Der Großglockner

The Grossglockner is the highest mountain in Austria with an elevation of 3798 meters. It is located in the Hohe Tauern, on the border of Austrian states Carinthia and East Tyrol, close to the Pasterze glacier. It was first ascended on July 28, 1800 after several failed attempts the year before. An expedition with 62 members succeeded: Martin Klotz, Sepp Klotz, Martin Reicher and Joseph Orrasch are often named as the first to have reached the summit.

Despite being in the Eastern Alps, the heavily glaciated rocky summit is often compared to the mountains in the Western Alps. Still, it’s not the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps. Both Piz Bernina (4049m) and the Ortler (3905m) are higher.

The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, leading from Zell am See to Heiligenblut via Bruck, has made the mountain a tourist attraction.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Grossglockner

The Grossglockner is Austria’s highest mountain standing at 3,798m above sea level and also the highest mountain in the Alps. The Grossglockner forms part of the Glockner Group which belongs to the Hohe Tauern range. It lies on the Carinthia-Tyrol border.

Best Time to Climb

The months of July through to September are ideal for ascents attempted on the normal routes. However, these routes are mostly crowded, so avoid the weekends if you can.

Climbing Routes

  1. The Normal Route

This route can be approached from Kals (west side) or Heiligenblut (east side). The two routes later join at Erzherzog Johann Hut where you will find one distinct route all the way to the summit.

If you choose the Kals route to Erzherzog Johann Hut, from Kalser Glocknerstrasse you will use a scenic route that leads to Lucknerhut. Make a left turn at the yellow signpost to get to Studlhut.

Once at Studlhut, proceed to the Kodnitzkees glacier which will be an easy trek. It is advisable to wear crampons and rope up at this point. Walk along the glacier onto a rocky ridge while watching out for crevasses until you reach Adlersruhe (3,450m). Scramble onwards to the Erzherzog Johann Hut.

If you choose the Heiligenblut route, proceed upwards to Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. The trail starts at the Glocknerhaus all the way to Margaritzen reservoir. The trail will be marked. Cross the wall onto the beautiful Leiter valley then descend to Stockerscharte. Via the Wiener Hohenweg you will reach Salm hut. From this hut, proceed onwards to Hohenwartkees, climb a few rocks to get to Hohenwartscharte. Then go across the Auserre Hofmannkees to Salmkamp. Proceed onwards to get to the hut.

Once you have reached Erzherzog Johann Hut, the walk will be easy across snow to Bahnhof, and then it becomes steeper as you get into Glocknerleitl. At the top of this point you will find Sattele. Continue upwards across a rocky ridge to reach Kleinglockner which is the fore summit at 3,770m. The route will then descend slightly onto Glocknerscharte. It is however very narrow and has steep drops on either side, so exercising caution is of importance. Further climbing will lead you to the summit cross.

Descent is along the same route.
  1. Mayerlrampe

This route is considered to be the best ice route on this mountain and less exposed to rock fall compared to Pallavicini-Rinne. Starting from Franz-Jozefs-Hohe (2,362m), pass the Pasterze and ascend onto the Glockner bivaouc. The route has many crevasses so you need to be roped up.

Once at the bivaouc, cross over the bergschrund to reach the actual Mayrelrampe. Proceed onwards applying proper alpine ice climbing skills through to Grogerschneid. From this point, head upwards to the summit via the North West ridge.

  1. Berglerrinne

Starting from Biwakschachtel, follow the ridge then head south till you get to the base of Berglerrinne. Cross the bergschrund at the base of this couloir. Proceed upwards amidst great difficulty and steepness onto a narrow couloir. Watch out for rock fall. After about 50m, you will reach a snow-ridge; follow it all the way to the summit.

Accommodation around the Grossglockner

The region where the Austrian states Salzburg, Carinthia and Tyrol join together is a popular holiday destination for active travelers. Not only are there many hikes around the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, but it is very close to the Hohe Tauern National Park. This offers great options for outdoor enthusiastics and active families. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Post Fusch is a premier Alps village, and an exceptional place for family holidays, adventure trips, a romantic gateway or group holidays. Fusch village, together with surrounding areas, offers endless activities and special events for you to enjoy on your free time. Hotel Post offers a variety of resources for guests - great hospitality, family atmosphere, comfortable leisure in an affordable price and perfect cuisine.

Hotel Nationalpark Lodge Grossglockner, formerly Hotel Glocknerhof, is located in the middle of the famous mountaineering village Heiligenblut am Großglockner. Where alpine history was written and where you breathe pioneering spirit everywhere. Nature experiences and mountain adventures are in Heiligenblut right on the doorstep.

Bergerhof is located on the sunny side of Kals , surrounded by meadows with a wonderful panoramic view . The guest area is reached through a separate entrance and staircase plus elevator and offers with a holiday apartment , three double bedrooms , a family room and a twin room , the ideal place for groups, families with children, couples, solo travelers and mountaineers.


Zell am See

In the state Salzburgerland, the traditional villages, Fusch and Bruck, are great options to stay. Bruck is a stop along the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, a panoramic mountain route. Besides going on a scenic drive, both villages are well-placed bases to go hiking in the mountains. However, the most famous village on this side of the Grossglockner is probably Zell am See, situated at the Zeller See. It has a classy reputation as a winter resort, but the traffic-free village center makes it also a pleasant place to be in the summer. Zell am See has plenty of options regarding restaurants, bars, clubs and sport facilities.


Heiligenblut is the best-known village in the Carinthia region and the end-stop of the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. The village is surrounded by the nature of Hohe Tauern National Park, making it a well-visited place for outdoor enthusiastics and families looking for some quality time in nature.


© Edgar Barany C

The Tyrolean side of the Grossglockner lures mountaineers and hikers with its 250 kilometers of trails. Kals is an idyllic village located at the base of the mountain. Despite being quite small, it has all the facilities such as a supermarket, restaurants, bars and even a bank. A cable lift takes tourists to a viewpoint at an altitude of 2000 meters, offering great views on the Grossglockner and surrounding peaks.

Stuedl Hütte

Situated at a mere 2802 meters, this is the most important mountain hut for climbs starting from Kals. It takes about two and a half hours to walk from the Lucknerhaus or four hours from the Taurer Inn. It has about 104 beds and is also a stopover for climbers taking on the Stuedlgrat.

website Studel Hütte

Erzherzog – Johann – Hütte

Mountain hut - Erzherzog – Johann – Hütte
Erzherzog–Johan –Hütte

The Erzherzog–Johan –Hütte is the highest mountain hut in Austria, located on a unique spot at the shoulder of the Grossglockner. The view from this hut can easily be compared to the view from the summit of a peak in the Alps. However, getting to the hut isn’t too easy as it requires gear for glacier climbs. The most popular route is from the Stuedl Hut which takes three hours. It requires you to cross the Koednitz glacier and a short steep scramble.


This historic inn served as an alpine hut, but is now located along the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse between Heiligenblut and the Franz-Josefs-Hoehe at an altitude of 2132m.


Mountain hut - Oberwalderhütte

Despite its location on the Grossglockner, this mountain hut is not a starting point for climbing the mountain directly since it lies on the opposite side of the Pasterze glacier. However, it is the biggest mountain hut in the region and an important meeting location for the Austrian Alpine Club. It is a great destination for hikers, starting at the Franz-Josefs-Hoehe, who take the Gasgrubenweg, a two and a half hour hike. In the winter season, the hut is a popular starting point for the famous ski trip around the Grossglockner.

Salm Hut

Mountain hut - Salm Hut
Salm Hut

The Salm Hut is the mountain hut from which the historic first ascent of the Grossglockner started. It is situated on the south side of the mountain and is still a recommended point on your way to climbing the mountain, as the route to the Erzherhog Johann Hut has no crevasse danger. The hut can be reached from Heiligenblut in 4.5h by following the Leiter Valley, or 3 hours from the Stuedl Hütte.


This mountain hut is located at the Edelweissspitze,the highest accessible point along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, about 2571 meters above sea level. You can enjoy culinary specialties of the region here while taking in the views of 37 peaks, reaching higher than 3000 meters, and several glaciers. The hut is owned by the descendants of Peter and Julianna Lederer, who built the hut in 1935.

Hiking around the Grossglockner

Austria is a popular destination for hiking holidays. The Hohe Tauern National Park is one of the most beautiful hiking locations in the country. It is the largest national park of Central-Europe, located on the border of Carinthia, Salzburg and OstTyrol. From the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe,you can make several walks, such as the Gamsgrubenweg that brings you to the Hofmannshütte in about half an hour, or the Pasterzen Rundweg to enjoy views on the glacier. Here are some of the best walks to do during your holiday in Tyrol.

Pasterzen Rundweg

This glacier trail runs from the Alpine center Glocknerhaus to the ecologically-important area in front of the Pasterze glacier, the largest in the Eastern Alps. It shows everything shaped by the last Ice Age, from rock formations and moraines to rock plates. You can hike to the glacier tongue, but be carefulas hiking on the glacier is not allowed due to crevasse danger. The hike takes about 3 hours.



This route circumnavigates the Grossglockner in seven days and allows you to sleep in the many mountain huts along the way. This hike was a project created by the Austrian Alpine Club and the German Alpine Club collaborating with the Hohe Tauern National Park. It has a high level of difficulty with a strenuous day stage, requiring good stamina.

Best season: July – August


For hikers who wish to enjoy a great panoramic view but don’t want to hike too far, the ascent up the Arlhöhe is a great recommendation. The route leads to the Osnabrücker Hütte and onwards to the Arlscharte (2252m), and further to the summit of Arlhöhe. Climbing up and down takes about 3.5 hours.

Nature trail Elendträler

A strenuous hike, but well worth the effort affordingpanoramic views over the Kleinelendtal and the Zwischenelendscarte. The route starts at the parking near Kölnbreinsperre at the end of the Malta Hochalmstrasse and takes about 7 hours to complete.

Things to do in the region of Grossglockner

The region of the Grossglockner offers a wide variety of hiking and mountainbiking trails. However, most tourists who visit OstTyrol intend to drive the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, an impressive panoramic route that leads to the best mountain views.

To gain access to this highest surfaced mountain pass road, a toll is assessed. Cars are charged €35 to drive the full 47.8 kilometers. The route starts at Zell am See at an altitude of 805m and ascends to 2504m, before descending again to Heiligenblut at an altitude of 1301m. It connects the regions Salzburg and Carinthia via the Hoge Tauern National Park where the Grossglockner is located, Austria’s highest mountain.

Along the way, you can make several stops to soak up the views, learn more about the route, or explore the area by taking a cable car. With views of 3000m peaks such as the Großglockner (3798 m), the Sonnenwelleck (3261 m), the Johannisberg (3460 m), the Fuscherkarkopf (3331 m), the Hohe Dock (3348 m), the Großes Wiesbachhorn (3564 m) and the Hoher Tenn (3368 m), it’s easy not to get bored.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with children often means you are looking for a short and easy hike. The route from Hüttschlag to Schödertal is a great option as it is not only short ( 1-2 hours), but it also offers the chance to see some wildlife. The trail ends near the Schödersee, a lake that is mostly dry in summer, but fills up in the spring with melting water. It starts at the information boot of the Talwirt National Park.

Another option is the hike to Krimml Falls. The 380 meter falls are the biggest in Central Europe and the sixth highest in the world. A hike to the upper falls takes about 1h15min and goes along some great viewpoints for a impressive nature experience.