This hike near the Großvenediger, one of the highest mountains in Austria, invites walkers to explore a fascinating world of glaciers and permanent ice. It begins at the Johannishütte, a hut on the southern side of the mountain. This hut can be accessed either by taxi or – for hikers with very good fitness – on foot. After leaving this hut, the next stop is another hut, the Defreggerhaus at 2,964 metres above sea level. This serves as an important base for mountaineers wishing to climb the Großvenediger. Our route does not take us up onto the mountain hut instead leads on to what is known as the Schartl, a ridge just above 3,000 metres above sea level with fantastic views of the Mullwitzkees glacier and the surrounding Hohe Tauern Mountains. The ridge is the highest point on this hike but does not require special glacier equipment and is relatively easy to climb.
Johannishütte, Dorfertal Valley
Defreggerhaus, Schartl ridge
Johannishütte, Dorfertal Valley
Total hiking time
- Wheelchair-accessible Hiking Route
- Circular hike
intermediate (red mountain trails)
Elevation uphill 940m
Vertical metres downhill 940m
Best time of year
* These are approximate values and recommendations. Please take your personal fitness level, technical ability and the current weather conditions into account. Tirol Werbung cannot guarantee that the information provided is correct and accepts no liability.
Gasthof Islitzer, Hinterbichl
Places serving food & drink
- Johannishütte (mid-March until early May, mid-June until mid-October)
- Defreggerhaus (late June until middle or end of September)
- Gasthof Islitzer (Hingerbichl)
This hike begins at the Johannishütte (2,121 metres), a hut which can be reached from the settlement of Hinterbichl in the Virgental Valley (1,340 metres) by walking through the Dorfertal Valley (two-hour walk) or by takingt he "Venedigertaxi" shuttle service from the start of the valley all the way to the hut. Hikers wishing to complete the entire route on foot will need very good fitness – the whole thing takes around 10 hours from start to finish. Walk past the hut on the right-hand side and take the small wooden walkway over the Zettalunitzbach stream. Continue for a short while to the signposts. There, turn right and follow the very well-signposted trail heading in a north-easterly direction. The hike then continues through open pastureland to the Dorferalm hut before entering the Hohe Tauern National Park with its more rocky and rugged terrain at the foot of the Großvenediger mountain. The closer you get to the Defreggerhaus hut, the more glacial the landscape becomes. There may be patches of snow here well into late spring and summer. Walk past a waterpool and a small shelter (you will reach these two things after around 1 ¾ hours of walking). From there, the trail winds its way up steeply in switchback corners heading into the National Park. Below a rocky outcrop the route heads across to the Defreggerhaus (2,964 metres). There has been plenty of uphill already, but you will need to dig deep in your energy reserves for the final push (15 minutes, 80 vertical metres) up to the Schartl ridge (3,042 metres) with its fantastic views of the glaciers around the Großvenediger. The ridge is the highest point of the hike, but you don't need to be an expert and no special equipment is required. Return the way you came back down to the Defreggerhaus and take a break there, for example by sitting down on one of the benches in the sun. This hut is owned and run by the Austrian Tourist Club and is one of the oldest and highest mountain refuges in the Eastern Alps. The hut is named after the famous Austrian painter Franz von Defregger.
Return along the way you came back to the starting point.