Hike to the Gepatschferner Glacier Tongue

Gepatschferner Parking Lot - Search Nearby - Added by Cat Ekkelboom-White

This incredible five-hour hike leads you right in to the Austrian alps, bringing you face-to-face with the second largest glacier in the country, as well as some awesome wildlife.

Once you pass the toll station for the Kauntertal Glacier Road, you keep following the road past the reservoir and up to the waterfall and climbing garden. This is where you park the car and start the hike, following the signs for route 902 to the Rauhekopfhütte.

For the first hour, your are mostly ascending, with a trail that zig-zags up the mountainside. You'll need to cross the odd stream here so having waterproof, ankle-high boots is a must.

After around one hour the path evens out more into a more gradual ascent in the form of a panoramic trail. At every bend you get the feeling like the glacier will be right around the next corner, but the trail teases you for quite a bit longer yet.

As you reach the iron memorial cross on a slight plateau, you finally get the first glimpse of the breathtaking glacier tongue of the Gepatschferner, the second largest glacier in Austria.

From this point, you start to descend down back towards the valley floor and the ice that fills it. It's important to tread carefully here as there are a lot of loose rocks. 

As you get to the bottom you come face to face with the enormous glacier and the crevasses inside it.

For hikers with a mountain guide, or training in glacier hiking and the right safety equipment, it is possible to continue the trail further across the glacier and up to a mountain hut but since we didn't have either, we turned around and headed back along the trail we came down.

Since the trail is marked as being for experienced glacier hikers, the route was empty and we didn't see another person all day. The only other company we had on the route were some sheep, marmots and alpine chamois. 

*If you want to cross the glacier you'll also need specialist equipment such as a climbing harness, helmet, ropes, and crampons. You'll probably also want to hire a qualified mountain guide to take you across. 

Distance

4.2 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

1640.4 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

From $75/night

Outsite // Swiss Alps

11 Alte Bahnhofstrasse, Switzerland

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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