Kalkalpen National Park is located in the northern limestone Alps of the north-central part of Austria. The national park encompasses an area of 80.4 square miles (208.23 sq km).
Kalkalpen offers a variety of picturesque landscapes with forests accounting for the largest (81%) of the park's area. This beech forest is a significant representation of beech forests of the Alps and this triggered the UNESCO World Heritage recognition. It is central Europe’s largest forested area.
The park features two mountain ranges which include Sengsengebirge and Reichraminger Hintergebirege. There are gorges tucked into the mountain ranges and home to some of the many rivers.
The elevation of the park ranges from 1,263.12 feet (385 m) to 6,440.28 feet (1,963 m) above sea level. There are 124.27 miles (200 km) of stream beds that meander throughout the park. The park's covering of forests, combined with the abundant number of rivers and streams, makes this is a haven for wildlife.
Wurbauerkogel is 69 feet (21 m) high lookout tower that provides panoramic views of the region. It can be accessed by chair lift or different trails that reach the tower. It provides views of 21 different peaks that reach heights over 6,600 feet (2,000 m).
Here is the breakdown of the makeup of the rest of the park:
- Mountain pine 8%
- Alpine meadows 6%
- Rock and scree 5%
The wildlife of the park is diverse with 50 species of mammals and 80 species of birds. There are around 1,000 species of flowering plants with 42 of them being wild orchids.
The summer months are the best time to explore the wilderness the park affords to travelers. The winter months give way to winter activities including skiing and snowshoe hiking.
Trails of Kalkalpen National Park
There are multiple trails that help visitors experience the wilderness of the national park. Almost all trails experience some type of elevation change. The trails range from easy to difficult with most being moderate.
Hiking to the Wurbauerkogel lookout tower and ascending it to the top is a breathtaking highlight with stunning panoramic views that will leave you speechless.
Gasthaus Polsterluckn – Schiederweiher: This is an easy 3.24-mile loop trail with only a 225-foot elevation change. It takes about an hour and a half to complete.
Dr. Vogelsang-Klamm-Hofalm: This is a difficult 9.76-mile loop trail that takes about 6 hours to complete. It features a 2,725-foot elevation change.
Dr. Vogelsang-Klamm: This is a moderate 6.21-mile loop hike with an elevation change of 2,275 feet. This takes about 4.25 hours to complete.
Dumlerhutte-Gleinkersee: This is an intermediate 4.5-mile loop trail that has an elevation change of 2,175 feet.
Ausblick – Schiederweiher: This is a moderate 7.5-mile loop trail that features a 1,050-foot elevation change. It takes about 3.5 hours to complete.
Grunburgerhutte: This is a 3.42-mile moderate loop that delivers a 1,175-foot elevation change.
Stoderer Dolomitensteig: This is a 5.8-mile loop of moderate difficulty that travels up 2,275 feet before coming back down. It takes about 4.5 hours to make the loop.
- Wurbauerkogel lookout tower
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- Global Nature Fund, Kalkalpen National Park, https://www.globalnature.org/en/eco-karst-danube/kalkalpen-national-park retrieved October 2019.
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- National Parks Austria, Kalkalpaen, https://www.nationalparksaustria.at/en/pages/kalkalpen-61.aspx, retrieved October 2019.
- National Park Kalkalpen, https://www.kalkalpen.at/en/National_Park, retrieved October 2019.