• Trekking

Osttirol: the Eagle's Path

The stunning views of the East Tyrol, with pastures, parks and beautiful high altitude trekking. The tenth anniversary of the route through the Austria’s highest peaks and the MTB paths in the Lienz Dolomites

Marco Trabucchi

Osttirol: the Eagle's Path

The eagles nest here and fly free among the peaks of the Alti Tauri National Park, in the Osttirol Austrian province (East Tyrol), between Italy and Austria. Spot them is not difficult and it is a unique opportunity for those who love trekking at high altitude, passing by beautiful pastures, postcard views to which Tyrol has accustomed us.

There are many pastures to visit. They are 350 those around the highest peaks of Austria, the famous Großglockner (3798 m.), the queen of the mountains, with its evocative moving ice, and the Großvenediger (3657 m).

Exactly here starts the famous Eagle's Path, a 280 km long route with different stages (including the alpine variants) of various lengths and difficulty.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of its opening and to celebrate the anniversary all the paths have been completely redone to easily allow hikers to admire this beautiful bird of prey. The Eagle’sPath in Osttirol consists of 9 stages, from Ströden, at the foot of Großvenediger, to the Stüdlhütte refuge on the Großglockner, for a total of 100 km.

Complete the entire route means to deal with a difference in height of nearly 8,000 meters, but you can even cope with some stretches, retracing the footsteps of the great pioneers of the Alps, with the added convenience of staying in some beautiful mountain huts at high altitude.

The pastures of the Alti Tauri Park

This park deserves a note, with its 27 thousand hectares, is the largest park in Central Europe. Here the pasture is crucial, being a source of livelihood of the local farmers, who have chosen with foresight to follow the traditional techniques, without using pesticides or industrial fertilizers.

Among the must-see attractions in this area stands the Jagdhausalmen village: nestled at 2000 meters of altitude  in the Defereggental region, with its stone houses of the thirteenth century, it is the oldest pastures settlement in Austria, classified as a national heritage .

To get there you cross the Zirbenwald Oberhauser, a 200-hectare forest, one of the largest in the Alps. From the small town, the route then leads to Pfauenauge, a small lake nestled in the mountains. There are also other six traditional pastures chosen by Milka (chocolate brand), including Hofalm (1824 m) and Arnitzalm (1848 m); in the latter one you can taste cheeses and dairy products that five farmers produce every day.

Mountain bike trails in East Tyrol

The Eagle’s Path is not the only reason to head to the East Tyrol: in the Bike Arena of the Lienz Dolomites there are 40 mountain bike trails, a third of the total 120 mapped with GPS traces and signs throughout the region, for a total of over 1,000 km.

A recommended route is the climb that from Ströden leads to Matrei, up to the impressive Umbal Waterfalls.

Among the most iconic ones, is also the "Nature’s Force Path" at the top of which you can see up close one of the last free flowing glacial streams, the Großglockner (3798 m), and finally walk the last 20 kilometers along the river Isel, mostly downhill.