The Gesäuse gives you strength
Covering 110 km² in the eastern Austrian state of Styria lies the Gesäuse National Park, the youngest national park in Austria, established 2002. Styria is called the “Green Heart of Austria” where hiking, cycling, mountain biking, canyoning, kayaking, white-water rafting, skiing and cross-country skiing predominate.
The Gesäuse gets its name from the German word ‘sausen’, meaning the roaring of water. The National Park is laced with precipitous limestone peaks, while the snowmelt carves at the rock to create gorges flowing from the torrential emerald coloured water of the rivers Salza and Enns. Over millions of years the waters of the rivers deeply eroded the mountain range creating a gorge with steep walls 1,800 metres high. With its stunning geological features, the park is declared a Geopark by UNESCO.
The hiking trails in the Gesäuse National Park lead through forests and meadows to eventually arise in the high mountain peaks. Many of the trails involve sections of via ferrata, so the hiking is not for everyone. The park is one of my favourite places in Austria for excellent ascent trails with stunning views.
The Gesäuse National Park has numerous peaks and hiking trails. In this post I am featuring the hike I did on the trail which leads to the Buchsteinhaus and the Grosser Buchstein (2,224m).
My hike was 17km return with 1,500m of elevation gain. I did not make it to the top of the Grosser Buchstein (2,224 m) due to bad weather on the day I went, so expect the hike to be longer if you go.
The trail begins on the Ennstal Bundesstrasse in Gstatterboden. From the Gstatterboden station (577 m), you follow path no.641 as it slowly travels uphill through think forest and numerous switchbacks to the Buchsteinhaus at 1,546m. The shelter was built by the Naturfreunde local office in Steyr, and has been offering accommodation for mountain enthusiasts since 1924.
Above the hut the trail continues on now above the treeline as you see the towering Großer Buchstein peak above you. The summit has steeply sloping rock walls composed of Dachstein limestone:
You are then met with these amazing views looking back across the valley towards Hochtor and its surrounding peaks.