Innergschlöss Glacier Trail and Matreier Tauernhaus in East Tyrol
Let’s venture into the Austrian Alps – somewhere so enchanting that you’ll swear you’re dreaming. It’s a place where glacier-melted waters tumble over mountains. Rivers, lined with wildflowers and rustic wooden cottages, snake their way across meadows. And, glaciated mountains of the Venediger Group tower above all else. This is Gschlösstal (also spelled Gschlößtal), a heavenly valley in Hohe Tauern National Park in East Tyrol (Osttirol). In summer, Gschlösstal is a spectacular destination for a hiking holiday in the Austrian Alps. Base yourself in the guesthouse Matreier Tauernhaus for a few days and you’ll have countless options for daily excursions.
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How to Get to Matreier Tauernhaus with Public Transit in Summer
The main transit hub in East Tyrol is the town of Lienz. So whether you’re coming from Vienna, Graz, or Klagenfurt, etc…, you’ll first need to take a train to Lienz.
Next, you’ll hop on bus #951 or #950x. The Lienz bus station is conveniently located just outside the Lienz train station. You can pay the bus driver directly in cash for your ticket. We paid 11.30 EUR one-way per person. Note: you can only pay with 20 EUR bills or smaller. Use this website to find out bus times.
From Lienz, take Bus #951 (Direction: Prägraten / Hinterbichl) to Matrei in Osttirol Feld. From here, switch to Bus #955 to Matreier Tauernhaus.
Alternatively, you can take Bus #950X (Direction: Kitzbühel Bahnhof) to Huben in Osttirol Ort and switch to Bus #955 to Matreier Tauernhaus. All transit is synced with Google Maps.
How to Get to Matreier Tauernhaus with a Car
From Lienz, drive in the direction of Matrei in Osttirol. Continue another 16 km (18 minutes) to Matreier Tauernhaus. Turn left onto Tauer, before the Felbertauerntunnel (Felber Tauern tunnel).
Parking in Gschlösstal
Overnight guests of Matreier Tauernhaus receive free parking during their stay. If you’re coming to Gschlösstal for a day trip, you’ll have to pay a parking fee. As of summer 2019, the fee structure is as follows:
- 1 Hour: Free
- 2 Hours: 2 EUR
- 3 Hours: 3 EUR
- 4 – 5 Hours: 5 EUR
- 6 – 12 Hours: 7 EUR
- 12 – 24 Hours: 9 EUR
- 2 – 4 Days: 14 EUR
- Over 4 Days: 14 EUR + 2 EUR per day
How does the Venediger Taxi Work
When you arrive, you’ll park your car in the large parking lot at Matreier Tauernhaus. A number of hiking trails extend directly from the guesthouse. However, if you want to tackle the spectacular Innergschlöss Glacier Trail, we recommend taking the Venediger Taxi (5 EUR per person, one-way) directly to Innergschlöss, where the loop trail begins. This will trim 4.4 km (2 hours) off your hike. The Venediger Shuttle Taxi operates every 30-40 minutes.
Hiking in Gschlösstal
There are many hikes you can undertake during your trip to Gschlösstal in Osttirol. If you have one day, you should prioritize the Glacier Loop Trail (Gletscherweg in German), which starts in Innergschlöss. With a few more days, consider tackling the loop trail to St. Pöltner Hütte (2481 m) and a series of alpine lakes: Grausee, Schwarzsee, Grünsee. Or, perhaps the steep trail to Löbbensee lake and Wildenkogel peak (3021 m). At Matreier Tauernhaus, there’s a large binder containing maps and trail info for all possible hikes in the area. The staff will be more than happy to help you select the right trail.
Hiking the Innergschlöss Glacier Trail in Gschlösstal
Here’s a quick overview of this spectacular day hike in East Tyrol. Expect fairy-tale like cottages, an imposing world of ice and moraine and countless waterfalls. You can either begin this hike in Matreier Tauernhaus (8-hour hike), or Innergschlöss (4-hour hike). If you want to start in Innergschlöss, hop on the Venediger Taxi (5 EUR per person, one-way) from Matreier Tauernhaus.
Trailhead: Matreier Tauernhaus (1,512 m)
Distance: 18 km
Altitude Difference: 777 m ascending
Time Needed: 8 hours. 2 hours from Matreier Tauernhaus to Innergschlöss. 4 hours for the Glacier Trail Loop. 1.5 – 2 hours return to Matreier Tauernhaus.
Where to Eat: Matreier Tauernhaus, Berghaus Außergschlöß, or Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus.
Part 1: Matreier Tauernhaus (1,512 m) – Außergschlöß (1,680 m) – Innergschlöss (1,689 m)
Distance: 4.4 km
Time Needed: 2 hours
Altitude Difference: 177 m ascending
From Matreier Tauerhaus, you can either walk up the road or hike up the trail to the small hamlet of Außergschlöß. You can navigate to the trail at Matreier Tauernhaus or Wohlgemuthsalm. Trail signs are ubiquitous. It’s 2.6 km and 170 m ascent to Aussergschlöss. You’ll find a storybook-like collection of wooden houses here as well as Berghaus Außergschlöß, a guesthouse, and a restaurant.
From here, the road and hiking trail flattens out. If you take the road from Außergschlöss to Innergschlöss (40 minutes), you’ll pass the rock chapel Felsenkapelle, which is worth seeing. Otherwise, the trail is very lovely. As you approach Innergschlöss, you’ll see a line of houses being dwarfed by the mountainous background. At Innergschlöss, wooden houses line the riverbank of Gschlössbach. Here, Alpengasthaus Venedigerhaus is the last place you can grab a bite to eat or drink before starting the Glacier Loop Trail.
Part 2: Innergschlöss (1,689 m) – Glacier Loop Trail – Innergschlöss
Distance: 9.1 km
Time Needed: 4 hours round-trip
Altitude Difference: 600 m ascending / 600 m descending
From Venedigerhaus in Innergschlöss, continue walking up the road for about 1.6 km (25 minutes). You’ll reach a signed intersection where there’s a gated bridge. Cross the bridge and follow Trail #921 in the direction of Gletscherweg Innergschlöss (4 hours). The loop trail begins here. You’ll first hike to the lake Salzbodensee (2,138 m) and then up to Auge Gottes (Eye of God), which is a small eye-shaped tarn.
Next, you’ll follow a gentle trail down to a bridge and cross the river Schlatenbach. Soon you’ll see an option to steer left in the direction of the Glacier Tongue signed “Rundwegzur Gletscherzunge.” If you take the trail, it’ll eventually loop-up to the lookout point. So, either way, you’ll end up in the same place. Following the Gletscherweg along Trail #921a, you’ll ascend to a spectacular lookout point (2,237 m) of the Keesboden Glacier and Venediger Group.
Try to spot Grossvenediger, Austria’s second-highest mountain. Hint: it’s not the black pyramid-shaped Schwarze Wand or Rainerhorn, which look like cat ears. From here, you’ll continue the loop and eventually descend along Trail #902B back down to the valley. Once you reach the valley, you’ll cross Gschlössbach river (more like several streams) to reach the road. Continue to Innergschlöss.
Part 3: Innergschlöss (1,689 m) – Außergschlöß (1,680 m) – Matreier Tauernhaus (1,512 m)
After completing the loop, you can either take the Venediger Taxi down or walk down.
Staying at Matreier Tauernhaus
We arrived in Matreier Tauernhaus after hiking the 6-day Venediger High Trail. The Glacier Trail and Gschlößtal valley were the undisputed highlights of our trek, which is why we decided to write this post. We recommend staying at least one night in Matreier Tauernhaus, so you can fully soak up the pristine surroundings of this Hohe Tauern valley. You could also stay in the town Matrei in Osttirol, but we always think it’s better (and more relaxing) to stay as close as possible to the trailhead.
Apart from the convenient location, we loved the hospitality, food and overall vibe of Matreier Tauernhaus. The staff was attentive, helpful and welcoming. The food was hearty and delicious. We did sufficient research: three meals plus the extra afternoon dessert.
Bonus: there’s also a comfortable sauna and newly renovated relaxation room, available from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day. So after a long day of hiking, you can treat your tired muscles to an infrared or Finnish-style sauna and then doze off in their quiet relaxation room. Our room was small but spotless and comfortable. And when it’s time to go, you can either hop back in your car or take the bus which departs directly from the guesthouse.
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