The Karnischer Hohenweg
A 1-2 week trek on the Carnic Peace Trail: Austria and Italy
By John Hayes
English-language guidebook to the Karnischer Höhenweg, a 170km waymarked hut-to-hut trek along the border between Italy and Austria. Also known as the Carnic Peace Trail, it runs west to east along the Ridge of the Carnic Alps, the site of the WW1 front line. With information on planning your trip, accommodation and the history of the area.
SeasonsThe Karnischer Höhenweg is a high Alpine trek and can only be walked in the summer between mid-July and the end of September.
CentresA linear ridge walk, the Karnischer Höhenweg starts at Sillian in the west and ends near Arnoldstein in the east, and crosses major road passes at Plöckenpass and Nassfeld.
DifficultyThe Karnischer Höhenweg is a clearly waymarked and well-supported high-altitude trek. The key requirements for its enjoyment are a reasonable level of fitness, a sense of adventure and a head for heights. There are a few places where steel cables and ladders need to be negotiated but these don't require any special equipment or technical expertise.
Must SeeFirst World War remains; the open-air museum at the Plöckenpass; views of the Dolomites, Hohe Tauern and Julian Alps; the unique geology of the Carnic Alps UNESCO geopark; Monte Coglians - the highest summit in the Carnic Alps and home to the Peace Bell
This guidebook describes the Karnischer Höhenweg, a 170km long-distance walk through the beautiful Carnic Alps which straddle the border between Austria and Italy. Following a high Alpine trail along the main ridge, the route is clearly waymarked and requires a reasonable level of fitness, a sense of adventure and a head for heights, but no special equipment or technical expertise. It can be walked between mid-July and the end of September and takes up to a fortnight, though it is possible to devise shorter itineraries taking in the highlights.
The guide describes the full route of the Karnischer Höhenweg from Arnbach, near Sillian, to Arnoldstein, near Villach, and includes plenty of practical information to help you prepare for the walk. Each stage features comprehensive route description, clear mapping and fascinating insights into the history of the 'war in the mountains' plus other local points of interest. Accommodation listings and other useful contacts can be found in the appendices.
Also known as the Friedensweg ('Peace Trail'), the route follows the First World War front line, and reminders of the conflict are everywhere. But the trail isn't just rich in historical interest: this is Alpine ridge-walking at its best, boasting spectacular mountain vistas and views of the Dolomites, Hohe Tauern and Julian Alps. The guide covers two key variants of the trail, one on the Austrian side of the border, the other on the Italian side. Also included is an optional ascent of Monte Coglians, the highest peak in the Carnic Alps, and a visit to the open-air museum at the Plöckenpass.
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John Hayes is a retired management consultant with degrees from Liverpool University and University College London. Immediately after finishing work in 2011 he embarked on an epic 5,000km trek across Europe, walking from Tarifa in Spain to Budapest. John has written for numerous walking and trekking magazines, and has written four walking guides and a cycling guide for Cicerone.View author profile
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