Hiking through the Echern Valley

Back to the nature

A hike that everyone can master, and which will hold the hiker spellbound at all seasons with its beautiful landscapes. Three paths, the Echerntalweg, the Kohlstattweg and the Malerweg, all lead us to our destination. I will decribe the route via the Malerweg, which artists and poets of the previous century, such as Ferdinand Waldmüller, Adalbert Stifter and Professor Simony have taken. It was here that Stifter was inspired to write the works "Der Nachsommer" (Late Summer) and "Bergkristall" (Rock Crystall).

he route begins at the Gasthof "Grüner Anger". We pass the wood-workers' boarding school and reach the Gasthof "Hirlatz" and the sports ground. In ten minutes we reach the turn-off from the forest road toward the Dachstein, and the Gasthof "Dachsteinwarte". We pass over the junction and enter the lovely Waldmüller-Malerweg. It's a very gentle climb, and we always have the rushing Waldbach (Forest Stream) next to uns on our right.

 On our left, in the so-called "Märchenwald" (Fairy-tale Woods), we encounter the Runenstein (Rune-Stone), so named by Prof. Simony. Those wishing to finish here can take the first bridge and again find their way back via the Echerntalweg. But if we carry on, we cross the Dürrenbach bridge and then reach the last of the bridges over the thundering Waldbach. Slightly before, on the Waldbachleite (cliffs) to the left, begins the famous Gletschergartenweg (Glacier Garden). It is still about 30 minutes on the steep path to Waldbachstrub Waterfall. Out of a mighty 90-metre-high gorge, which is divided into three stages, the masses of water drop foaming and tossing into the depths. A bench invites us to rest and enjoy the natural wonders, always within hearing of the roar of the waterfalls.

The Power of Water

As a return route we suggest the Echerntalweg, which begins at the last bridge and leads along the left bank of the river. Those with enough time could climb the Felsenweg up the famous Gansteig, which begins about five minutes below the waterfalls. One can then hike further over the Salzberg or down the forest road, over the stone bridge and back to Hallstatt. When we leave the first piece of woodland on the Echerntalweg, we come to a wide meadow. Take a look to the right, to the Hirlatz-Wand (Hirlatz Rockface-Wall): there on the west ridge you will see the "Bischofskopf" (Bishop's Head - 1,484 m), which nature has created out of the living rock. From the Echernwand, the Spraderbach drops sheer over 100 metres as a "Schleierfall" (Veil Falls). A beautiful promenade leads us through woods and out to the Gasthof "Dachsteinwarte". If wei remain on the Echerntalweg we reach a small wood, after crossing a meadow, in which the massive Kreuzstein (Cross Stone) is to be seen. At the end of our hike we reach the office buildings of the Hallstatt

Magical Spots between Mountains and Lakes

From the Kalverienberg in Gosau, which offers visitors fantastic panoramas of the Gosau Valley, the romantic Koppenwinkel Lake in Obertraun with its absolute tranquillity, to the incomparable charm of the “Goiserer Seeplatzl”, the numerous enchanting locations of the UNESCO World Heritage Region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut wait to be discovered. We’ve compiled a list of the most beautiful natural settings between mountains and lakes just for you—and new ideas are continually added!

Information at a glance

  • Hiking time: 3 hours (approx. 7 kilometres)
  • Elevation: 610 metres
  • Start point: Hallstatt-Lahn / Malerweg (Grüner Anger Inn)
  • End point: Valley station of the Salzberg Mountain funicular railway (car park P2)
  • Special Features: Waterfalls, glacier garden
  • Equipment: Sturdy shoes (hiking boots); recommended: backpack with rain gear, drinks and snacks, mobile telephone.