A cave of records

The cave Hirlatzhöhle in the Dachstein mountains

In 1971 Hirlatz Cave was put under special conservation because of its special scientifi cimportance. It offers an excellent view of underground karst water passages. These can often be followed for longer distances in many parts of the cave. The formation of clay can frequently be observed in the cave. Due to the low temperatures in underground passages close to the cave entrance Hirlatz Cave turns into an attractive ice cave in the winter months. Further cave exploration is becoming increasingly time consuming due to the large distances that have to be covered underground. The presently known passages extend from the level of Lake Hallstatt up to 1.600 metres above the lake. The cave leads deep into the plateau; it stretches from Rauerkogel in the east to Grünkogel in the west. Cave explorers of the local caving club Hallstatt-Obertraun have spent altogether more than 18,000 hours in the cave in the last half century. As a result Hirlatz Cave is Austria's longest cave with more than 95 kms of surveyed underground passageways.

The Dachstein mountain - Cradle and Centre of Austrian Cave Exploration

The Dachstein massif with its 320 presently known caves is one of the biggest limestone areas in Austria. It is from here that important impulses for cave documentation and scientific speleology have come. Drawings (at about 1800) and copperplate prints (1649) of Kessel and Hirschbrunn - two karst springs on the southern shore of Lake Hallstatt - show an early interest of the local population in springs and caves.

The Hirlatzmassif

The Hirlatzmassif is the furthest northern part of the gigantic Dachsteinmassif. The whole mountain mainly consists of triassic Dachstein limestone. The peaks of the Hirlatzmassif reach a height of almost 2000 metres above sea level.

Hirlatz Cave

The entrance to Hirlatz Cave can be seen clearly from the Echerntal in Hallstatt. It is situated 400 metres above the valley. The cave was first explored in 1949 by Karl Pilz, Georg Lackner and Franz Voggenhuber from Hallstatt.

Entdecker, Künstler, Wilderer – Entdecken Sie den....

Themed trail Hallstatt Echerntal

Echerntal | Hallstatt: The unique natural landscape in the Hallstatt Echerntal has always captivated both artists and scientists. Let us accompany them on their discoveries.

» Themed trail Hallstatt Echerntal

Out and about on historical paths

During a holiday, you might want to see more than just the famous tourist sites. Sometimes it’s exciting to search out and discover the smaller and more subtle points of interests! A great example are the popular themed trails in Hallstatt. On these paths, you will discover the origins of the history-rich UNESCO World Heritage Region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut. Follow in the footsteps of famous painters and acclaimed writers through the wild and romantic Echern Valley or take a historical walk—with or without an audio guide—through the picturesque lanes of Hallstatt. The many themed trails offer the opportunity to combine a long, enjoyable stroll with learning about the historical background of the region. Better yet, the trails can be explored regardless of the season and in most weather conditions. We look forward to seeing you on the popular themed trails throughout the World Heritage Region!

Information at a glance