Hiking Dachstein Guide: Five Fingers Lookout and More!
Interested in hiking Dachstein but not sure how to do it? This article is going to help you out!
We suppose you have seen the beautiful photos, or heard about the magic of Dachstein, and hence you want to hike your way in the Dachstein mountains.
Not only is it a great place for exploring the mountains, it will leave you with lasting memories that you will relive over and over again.
What will be covered in this post
- What is the Dachstein mountain range?
- How to get to Dachstein mountains?
- Cable car station at Dachstein Krippenstein
- What to do in Dachstein mountains? Hiking Dachstein activities
- High Mountain Hiking in Dachstein
- Final thoughts about hiking Dachstein
- Logistics before visiting Dachstein
What is the Dachstein mountain range?
For those who want to have some information about the Dachstein mountain range before climbing it, it is essentially a mountain range located within the Northern Limestone Alps, between Upper Austria and Styria.
Not to forget, it is part of the Salzkammergut region which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is filled with activities for family outings to adventure seekers, and boast some of the most stunning views over the valley below where Hallstatt is located.
Read more about Hallstatt here!
At its highest point is where you can find Hoher Dachstein (Dachstein Mountain), which soars 2995 metres above sea level.
Within this mountain range, you can find ice caves, Dachstein glaciers and lots of cute mountain huts. There are also numerous skiing routes for when winter sets in.
How to get to Dachstein mountains?
The nearest major city to Dachstein mountains is in Salzburg, from which you can easily make a day trip.
However, if you wish to spend more time on the mountains and also get to visit Hallstatt, a fairy tale like village just a short distance from the mountains, you should consider staying a night in Hallstatt.
Get detailed instructions from our Hallstatt post about getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg.
Or are you in Vienna? Read about how to do a day trip from Vienna to Salzburg here!
From Hallstatt, the bus service 543 will take you to Dachstein Krippenstein, where you can get tickets for the cable car up to the mountains.
Here is a short summary of the how to get to Hallstatt from Salzburg:
- Take bus service 150 from the Salzburg bus bay in front of the Main Train Station’
- Transfer to bus service 542 at Bad Ischl
- One more transfer at Gosaumuhle to bus service 543
- Dachstein Krippenstein is the stop AFTER Hallstatt
In all, the journey will take you about 2 hours 45 minutes from Salzburg, or just 15 minutes from Hallstatt.
Cable car station at Dachstein Krippenstein
Upon reaching the stop at Dachstein Krippenstein, you will find the ticketing office of the cable car that will bring you up to the mountain range, where exciting trails and spectacular views awaits you.
This is your starting point to get up to the Dachstein mountains to hike!
Over here, you can find a small shop to get any last minute supplies, including water and snacks before you make the ascent to the top.
You will find a few options available to you:
- Panorama ticket, $32 per adult
- Eis/Mammut Hohle (Ice/Mammut Cave) ticket, $36.30 per adult
- Hohlen Kombiticket, $42.60 per adult
- Dachstein Salzkammergut ticket, $45.70 per adult
- All inclusive ticket, $48.20 per adult
As you will see in the photo below, each type of ticket grants you access to the different attractions found here.
The most basic type, Panorama ticket, is the one you should choose if you are only interested in the hiking trails.
It includes usage of the cable car to ascent and descent the mountain, up to the highest section, which is section 3.
Take note though, you can only use it one time, meaning you cannot go from one section to another section multiple times, so make sure to plan accordingly to avoid any extra costs.
The second type of ticket here gives you access to either the Ice or Mammut Caves, and a guided tour.
The third type of ticket here gives you access to both the caves, plus the guided tour.
Point to note here is that option 2 and 3 only brings you up to section 1, where the caves are located.
You will need another ticket option if you wish to explore the higher parts of the mountain.
The fourth option enables you to go one section higher to section 2, but you have to choose either the Ice or Mammut caves.
And finally, the last option covers everything, and unlimited rides up or down the mountain.
Honestly, it seems the best one to choose is either the Panorama ticket or the All Inclusive, since the others are kind of restrictive.
If you are going for the All Inclusive ticket, make sure to cater a full day or you will not be able to make full use of it.
What to do in Dachstein mountains? Hiking Dachstein activities
You can opt for spending the whole day outdoors exploring the different trails, or visit a natural phenomenon, the ice caves.
In fact, before you even start your ascent, there is a hiking trail off the side of the ticketing office that will bring you to the Koppenbruller Cave ($13.60 per adult for guided tour), the youngest of the 3 caves in Dachstein.
Taking a scenic and easy route beside the Koppenbruller river, the walk takes you around 1 to 1.5 hours to reach the Koppenrast restaurant at the end of Obertraun, which is the start point of the guided tour.
Inside, you will get to see some impressive underground waterways of the Dachstein mountains.
Tip: Bring along some warm clothes when visiting this cave of the other two caves mentioned below. Temperatures in the Giant Ice Caves dips to -2 degrees Celsius, while the other two hovers at 3-6 degrees Celsius!
Dachstein Giant Ice Cave and Mammut Cave
Both the Giant Ice Cave and Mammut Cave are top attractions in Dachstein, and for good reason.
You get to transport yourself into a wild world, a subterranean wonderland to witness mega sized ice caves.
Crazy looking ice shapes are formed here by water leaking in under the Dachstein plateau, such as ice curtains, icicles and ice sculptures.
It is a natural wonder unlike others, and you got to see it to believe it.
Welterbespirale on Dachstein Mountains
A ship on top of a mountain? Yes that’s right!
One of many unique lookouts on the Dachstein mountains is the Welterbespirale, otherwise known as the World Heritage Spiral, and for good reason.
Located just 15 minutes from the mountain station, this lookout offers some of the best views across the Salzkammergut region, and provides the best opportunity to do some mountain spotting.
On a clear day, your eyes will feast on a stunning panorama of alpine mountains. at a height of 2100 metres!
As you walk towards this lookout, you will get to relax in sun chairs scattered right below it and if you are lucky, walk among the sheep grazing right on the alpine pastures!
One important advice: Watch out for their poop!
Fiver Fingers Lookout
By far our favourite spot on the mountains is the aptly named 5 Fingers Lookout point.
No prizes for guessing, but yes, they are shaped like five fingers and extend beyond the mountain side over a cliff that drops 400 metres to the valley below.
The five platforms each has a particular feature:
- A Baroque picture frame
- Clear glass floor
- Short platform with extended ‘diving board’
- Platform with a hole in the floor
- Platform with telescope
Starting from the evening, large spotlights are illuminated below the deck and you can see the Five Fingers lookout from a long way out, even as far as Hallstatt and Obertraun.
It is really something special and offers some of the best views of the entire region, and you can clearly see the village of Hallstatt right down in the valley.
Be warned though, stepping onto the fingers requires some nerves, and is not suitable for those with a fear of heights. Especially so if you decide to take a photo BEHIND the baroque photo frame.
In this area, you will also be able to spot the Yellow Billed Chough, an alpine bird that swoops around in the sky performing acrobatic moves. Really cool.
High Mountain Hiking in Dachstein
If you are looking for something more challenging, make sure to try out the different trails that leads you up to the highest points of Dachstein.
There are several options available, and most have side tracks that can bring you to Gjaid Alm, a cute little cottage style hotel.
Hike from station 2 to station 3 (highest station):
- Heilbronner Circular Trail (approximately 3 hours)
- Dachstein Nature Trail (8 kilometres, approximately 6 hours)
Hike starting from station 3:
- Dachsteinblick (3 kilometres, approximately 1.5 hours)
- Taubenkogel (7 kilometres, approximately 5 hours)
To get full information about the hiking available as well as guided hiking tour options, make sure to check out the Dachstein Salzkammergut Official site.
A word of advice here, Dachstein weather or in general weather in the Alps is extremely unpredictable.
- Take all necessary precautions
- Bring along water and snacks
- Be dressed in suitable attire, and come in sturdy shoes that has been broken in
Final thoughts about hiking Dachstein
When we visited, the weather was gorgeous, but a couple of hours later, the clouds changed directions and suddenly the air turned misty.
Next thing we knew was the rain coming down on the mountain.
We were already in the queue for the cable car ride to descend the mountains, and it operated as per usual.
However, a minute or two into the ride, the cable car stopped, dangling in mid air.
After what seemed like hours (it was more like 5 minutes), the passengers soon got a bit panicky, as we were dangling in mid air in the middle of a storm.
Apparently, the cable cars stop moving when it detects high winds or thunder.
Shouldn’t they suspend the ride totally then? Oh well, we survived to tell the story.
Despite that little hitch, we loved hiking in Dachstein mountains.
The views were sensational and we must have taken hundreds of photos up there.
The unique nature of the mountains gave us a special memory to bring home, and this is a place we would love to come back again.
Have you gone hiking in Dachstein before? What did you like most?
Make sure to check out our other articles for more travel inspiration!
- 19 Unique Places for your Travel Bucket List
- 50 Family Trip Quotes
- Travel packing checklist
- List of 21 Free Things you can do in any city
- Travel Itineraries
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Logistics before visiting Dachstein
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