Full of variety: Hiking along the wild Salza river and through the Nothklamm gorge
Starting out from the Mooswirt Inn, you begin by retracing the last 15 minutes of yesterday’s journey, walking back until you reach a sharp left-hand bend (with a traffic mirror in its outer corner) leading down to the Enns Bridge. Instead of following the bend, you leave the main road and keep going straight onto a gravel road. The view of the river is blocked by some mixed woodlands with herbaceous undergrowth. Continuing on the gravel road, you pass first a large meadow on your right and then a farmstead. Eventually you reach a signpost for the ‘Gasteiger Rundwanderweg’ (Gasteiger Circular Trail), which you now follow. This comparatively long stretch of today’s journey is marked by delightful scenic diversity – taking you through woodlands and across meadows, with impressive downward views into the valley of the Salza river.
Keep to the ‘Gasteiger Rundwanderweg’ (marked by frequent signposts) until you reach the main road up at the Radstatthöhe saddle. Choose the main road for a couple of meters until you notice a forest road that leaves to the right. Walk along the forest road until the trail forks off to the left, and make your way down a steep, overgrown woodland path. Once you notice some houses on your left, be sure to keep right, crossing over a little stream before making your way through a forest aisle to an asphalted road. Turn left and follow the road for a very short time – almost immediately turning off onto a footpath on your right (if you reach the stream, you’ve gone too far), which takes you to another paved road. Turn right onto the paved road, walking across a bridge towards the ‘Akogel Aussicht’. Having passed the ‘Gsellmann’ horse stables, go left over a small bridge, heading towards the GEO Workshops. In a short while, you reach the entrance to the Nothklamm gorge (Entrance fee is charged on site), which was declared a natural monument in 1970. Carved deep into the hard limestone, the Nothklamm gorge is without doubt one of the most impressive natural features of the Styrian Limestone Alps. After an easy walk along the Gamsbach stream, you reach the 600-metre-long wooden walkway system that winds its way through the romantically wild gorge – first ascending, then descending. At the exit, you pass Styria’s only pebble mill. If you have enough time left, you might like to pay a visit to the nearby Kraushöhle cavern – the largest gypsum crystal cave in the German-speaking realm. Having left the Nothklamm gorge, ignore the Circular Trail (which would take you back to the entrance) and walk straight on until, just before a bridge, you see the left-hand turning for a hiking trail. Follow the trail to a meadow with a farmstead, and then on to the Reiteralm pasture, situated on a saddle between the Akogel and Grantenkogel mountains. At the end of the pasture, you follow a forest road through the Augraben and Püllgraben hollows, all the way to the main road near Palfau. Turn right to follow the main road in an easterly direction. After around 700 m, you turn left onto a small road, which takes you to Palfau in no time at all.
Level of difficulty: medium
Hiking time: 7 hrs 30 min
Distance: 22.7 km
Ascent: 904 m
Descent: 892 m