Impressions from hiking in Obertraun on Lake Hallstatt  - © Kraft

Hike to the ice cave in Obertraun on Lake Hallstatt

© Dachstein AG | Wanderung zur Eishöhle

Growing in popularity around the world

On this hike in the Salzkammergut, a truly wonderful world of nature opens up in the Dachstein Cave Park, which is one of the most cave-rich areas in the Alps. Year after year, the Dachstein Giant Ice Cave is the destination of hundreds of thousands of mountain enthusiasts and is becoming increasingly popular with visitors around the world. But only a few of them opt for an eventful mountain hike to the famous cave worlds in the Dachstein massif. However, we would like to invite you to approach one of the absolute must-sights in the Salzkammergut step by step on foot.
The choice is yours!

From Obertraun you can reach the ice cave either with the Dachstein Krippenstein cable car, where we use the first section to the Schönbergalm, or discover it on foot for almost two hours.

Get up there

As early as the 80s of the last century, the Austrian Federal Forests had made great efforts to make the mountain trail to the Schönbergalm safe for hikers. Nevertheless, remember, it is in alpine terrain! Good hiking boots, mountain experience, surefootedness are basic requirements for the hike to the magical cave systems of ice and rock in the UNESCO World Heritage region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut.

Layer by layer

In the Triassic geological age, the mighty mountain range was built up layer by layer during a sea flood caused by the limestone frameworks of dead organisms. The subsequent folding of the Alps caused such enormous tensions that cracks and joints formed in the rock, through which the rainwater could flow in, thus initiating a process of leaching.

The "Weather Hole"

The small water veins gradually became roaring cave streams, and so the Dachstein caves were formed over the course of millions of years. As the cave streams pushed further and further down, the upper parts of the cave, such as the Ice Cave and the Mammoth Cave, were formed. It has been handed down that the shepherds at the Schönbergalm knew centuries ago that eerie, cold wafts of fog often emanated from the so-called "weather hole" in summer.

Brave explorers

But it was not until 1910 that courageous explorers (cave pioneer Georg Lahner) managed to penetrate the interior of the cave and discover the ice miracle that amazed the world at the time. Enormous ice abysses, crystal clear icebergs and huge icicles came to light. A natural spectacle of fairytale beauty, the magic of which has captivated visitors ever since. In the winter months, the most bizarre ice formations are formed, which even the summer

Safety Tips for Hikers

Admittedly, the landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut is the absolute pinnacle for hiking fans, mountain enthusiasts and nature lovers—unforgettable tours to incredibly beautiful mountain lodges and meadows, panorama views as far as the eye can see and cherished moments that will last a lifetime! However, you should remember that while hiking you might find yourself in high-alpine terrain. We’ve put together some resources to assist you: how to best prepare for your tour, recommended items for your backpack and steps to take in an emergency situation. Remember to always play it safe and enjoy your hiking adventure in the Salzkammergut!

Warning: Closed trails
Better to know before you go

Hiking trails in the Salzkammergut can be closed for various reasons. To help you prepare for your hike, we have set up a page with current road closures in the region. This will help you get to your destination without any detours or stress. Click here to visit the page...

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Obertraun booking - Are you still looking for accommodation?

Hotels and accommodation providers in Hallstatt, Bad Goisern, Gosau and Obertraun offer the ideal room or apartment for your holidays, no matter what your tastes. Aside from establishments rated according to the international "star" scale, you will also find around Lake Hallstatt in Austria businesses that have been awarded two to four "edelweiss". The more flowers, the greater comforts you can expect. Whether you eventually find your cozy nest in an elegant 5-star luxury hotel, at comfortable guesthouse, a family-friendly apartment, or on a traditional farm, the choice is always entirely up to you.