Great efforts offer rich rewards: A long but scenically stunning trek to Mendling Valley
The standard version of today’s trek leads via the Moaralm cabin: Starting out from the Stiegenwirt inn (your accommodation in Palfau), you follow hiking path no. 284, walking along the forest road (which also doubles as a mountain bike touring route) until you reach the Moaralm cabin. Here, the mountain bike track turns off to the right, while you keep going straight along the forest road towards the ‘Naturfreundehütte’. After just 100 metres, you enter trail no. 284 towards the Moarhochalm alpine pasture (situated at an altitude of 1550 m), which is set between the peaks of the Gamsstein and Hasenfuß mountains.
From the Moarhochalm alpine pasture, you follow the signs for Niederscheibenberg/Sandgraben/Hollenstein. Your trail (no. 64) takes you downhill to a forest road. Now head towards Sandgraben/Hollenstein, until you reach the Niederscheibenberg alpine pasture. Follow the first sign towards Sandgraben/Hollenstein, after which you keep to the signposts for mountain bikes, marked ‘Große Scheibenbergrunde 76’.
After a brief stretch leading steeply uphill, you will spot another mountain-bike signpost on the crest of the forest road. Turn right towards ‘Gamssteintour neu’; at the next signpost, you walk straight on, once again following the sign for ‘Gamssteintour neu’. This stretch, which takes you along the forest road, is long but very pleasant. On hot summer’s days, the woodlands offer plenty of welcome shade. When the forest road joins a paved road, you keep left in order to cross a bridge, and then follow the flow of the stream until you have reached the ‘Erlebniswelt Mendlingtal’ educational trail: the last leg of the journey takes you across the theme trail “Auf dem Holzweg” through the gorge of the Mendling river (entrance fee is charged on site), with informative displays along the way offering insights into the historical practice of timber logging on the Mendling river.
Duration: 7 hrs 30 min
Distance: 21.9 km
Ascent: 1152 m
Descent: 1017 m
If the previous stages of the Luchs Trail have left you with some energy to spare, you might like to complete this last stage on a more demanding, alternative route. This variation runs via the summit of the Gamsstein mountain – adding another hour to your journey, but rewarding you with the most stunning scenery.
Starting out from your accommodation in Palfau, you head West through the village until you reach a bridge (situated east of the village church). A narrow, gently ascending road will take you up to the ‘Bergbauer’ farmstead, where you follow the signs for the ‘Naturfreundehütte’ (an infrequently occupied mountain hostel), which you reach after a short while. Now continue through some wild woodlands (even trees that have previously fallen in a storm have not been removed in order to maintain the forests’ natural cycle). Next, you embark on a steep ascent through creeping pines and over grassland pastures, until you have reached the Gamsstein summit (1770 m) – where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Totes Gebirge, Gesäuse, Hochschwabmassiv and Dürrenstein mountain ranges. For your ascent, you follow the signs for Hollenstein, hiking first along the ridge, then in between patches of creeping pine, all the way down to the Moarhochalm alpine pasture (1550 m). The rest of the way – leading to Lassing – is identical to the standard route (see above).
Duration: 8 hrs 15 min
Distance: 22.3 km
Ascent: 1357 m
Descent: 1222 m