In the Realm of the Lynx: Hiking through the secluded Hintergebirge mountain range, to the rustic Laussabaueralm mountain hostel
There are many discoveries to be made on this next stage, so we recommend an early start. Retracing yesterday’s steps, you walk along the forest road before taking the turning signposted to ‘Hochschlacht’. This challenging trail winds its way downhill along a ridge to the Grosse Schlucht gorge, covering an altitude difference of 400 m (in wet weather, you might consider taking the nearby forest road instead). Along the trail, you can frequently enjoy spectacular views over the wild forests of the Kalkalpen National Park. In addition to a variety of woodland types, you will also spot some spruce populations affected by bark beetle infestations. In this dedicated wilderness area, ‘bark beetle trees’ are consciously left to wither, seeing that over 30 % of forest organisms (such as birds, beetles and fungi) need dead trees and wood debris in order to survive.
Directly at the Schleier Waterfall, the trail joins the Hintergebirgsradweg cycle path you encountered the day before. Turn left, so that you follow the cycle path in an upstream direction, until reaching the Weisswasser wild camping spot. From there, the route takes you along the beautifully constructed Knappensteig trail to the Blahbergalm – a mountain hut serving simple refreshments (restricted opening times). The area used to be a mining site for bauxite and jet – in fact, you might still spot residues of a goods ropeway, and the occasional buried tunnel entry. On weekends and bank-holidays in August and September, the Blahbergalm serves home-made bread, curd cheese, cured meat and sweet pastries.
The next stretch of the Luchs Trail follows hiking trail no. 475, which leads past the magical Sieben-Brünn springs, and via the Ahornsattel (‘acorn saddle’) to the Dörflmoaralm cabin. The magnificent scenery of the Totes Gebirge mountain range comes into view, followed by a gentle descent to the Hengst Pass (walking past the Zickerreith inn); once you have reached the pass, you take the gravel road to your right. Although you initially head towards the ’Egglalm’, you keep to the forest track and make your way down to the Red Cross chapel. Now the trail winds its way downhill along the Laussabach stream, taking you to your destination for the day: the Laussabaueralm, a mountain hostel set within a cluster of 300-year-old linden trees.
Time: 7 hrs
Distance: 21 km
Ascent: 805 m
Descent: 1009 m