Latest news for hikers in the World Heritage region of Hallstatt / Dachstein Salzkammergut: Due to the tremendous damage caused by a landslide, the Soleweg is closed in its entirety from Hallstatt to Bad Goisern until further notice! As an alternative, here you can find an overview of the most beautiful routes around Lake Hallstatt.
The historical Brine-Pipeline route is well known as one of the most beautiful routes in Austria. The route begins at Lake Hallstatt goes through the Inner Salzkammergut encompassed by majestic mountains and charming little villages the route follows the river Traun and ends up at Lake Traunsee. The trail from Hallstatt to Ebensee is along the world's oldest pipeline, established in 1607. To enable the brine to flow, the pipeline and path slopes slightly down, which makes the Brine-Pipeline Trail is an easy route to walk. The 40 km long walk (almost the as long as a marathon run) is split up in four 10 km long theme routes, each concentrating on different aspects of the local people’s lives and typical themes from the region
Salt stretches across the salt mine in Hallstatt (you can follow the historical path of 7000 years of salt mining in the display salt mine). This salt water (33% salt) is called “Brine“. The Dead Sea with (30%) has almost as much salt as brine. The brine is heated in a salt pan; the water evaporates leaving just the pure salt. In earlier times wood was required to burn the fires, wood was rare in Hallstatt so the salt was transported to the salt factory in Ebensee. To be able to transport the brine to the salt factory a brine–pipeline was made; in 1597 the pipeline required 13.000 tree trunks (pine and fir trees). The brine-pipeline was first put in to operation in 1607. This is the story of the oldest, still active pipeline in the world. Today the brine flows through plastic pipes. The track above it is called the Brine-Pipeline Trail, however the locals call it “the Strähn“.
There are countless ways to use salt. Besides the different uses in cooking, there are also salt stones for animals. Without salt we would have no books: Salt is needed to produce paper. We would have no soap, lipstick or other cosmetics without salt. No new modern materials without salt. Aluminum, leather and rubber are made using salt. Cars would have no petrol, as the drill holes wouldn’t be as steady without salt. Nowadays more than 200 million tons of salt is produced worldwide. Over 250 millions of years we have produced as much salt as there is in the oceans. If you were to spread the salt out across the oceans and evenly over the mainland you would have a salt layer of approx. 100 meters high
You can get to the Rudolf´s Tower with a funicular from Hallstatt from where you have a spectacular view on the whole of the lake and surrounding landscape. From there, passing the prehistoric grave yard you find the salt mine entrance where you can take a tour and discover the history and fascinating world of salt miners. The path winds through the "Höll" passing rough rocks into the "Bannwald" forest. Along this path you will have a spectacular view onto the lake Hallstatt. You pass the Gosauzwang over a high bridge crossing the Gosaubach stream and passing the pipes in Steeg to Bad Goisern, the home of the "Goiserer", the world famous original handmade mountain shoe.
From the Goiserer Bridge you leisurely pass along meadows and little woods through the Bad Goisern valley. In Lauffen you can hear the roar of the "Traunfluss", a spot where many of the salt ships would capsize. After a hike through the beautiful woods you will reach the hunting statue of our emperor. Bad Ischl is well known for the healing qualities of the salt and “Salt prince“ because of the love story between the emperor Franz Josef I and his beloved "Sissy".
From the tourist information office in the centre the path leads past the train station across the Steinfeldbrücke Bridge to the right side of the river Traun through the estates Steinfeld and Brandenberg. You continue to walk for 2 kilometers on the bike track besides the main road. At this point the present day Brine-Pipeline heads below onto the main road. Crossing the Mitterweißenbach Bridge the path goes to the right side of the river Traun along a gravel road passing a small estate and through the woods to the Langwieser Steeg. Then crossing the Traun and the main road behind the former guest house you will find the feeder line to the original route and the 4th stage of the Brine-Pipeline Trail from Langwies to Ebensee.
Immediately after Langwies the Brine-Pipeline Trail leaves the main road continuing along the mountain onto Ebensee. The path passes romantic farms, meadows, small estates and several flowing brooks. Today, the salt factory is on the other side of the river Traun. There are benches on the route to stop for a break. The local history useum.ebensee is a must it’s at the end of the Brine-Pipeline Trail and was former seat of the salt works administration.