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.
The Peace Trail
World War I earthworks and remains
The landscape and views
Plants and wildlife
How hard is the walk?
Selecting an itinerary
Getting to and from the route
When to go
Accommodation and food
What to take
Safety and emergencies
Using this guide
Stage 1 Arnbach to Obstanserseehütte
Stage 2 Obstanserseehütte to Porzehütte
Stage 3 Porzehütte to Hochweißsteinhaus
Stage 4 Austrian route: Hochweißsteinhaus to Gasthof Valentinalm
Stage 4A Italian route: Hochweißsteinhaus to Rifugio Marinelli
Stage 5 Austrian route: Gasthof Valentinalm to Zollnerseehütte
Stage 5A Italian route: Rifugio Marinelli to Plöckenpass
Stage 5B Italian route: Plöckenpass to Casera Pramosio
Stage 5C Italian route: Casera Pramosio to Zollnerseehütte
Stage 6 Zollnerseehütte to Nassfeld
Stage 7 Nassfeld to Gasthaus Starhand
Stage 8 Gasthaus Starhand to Arnoldstein
Appendix A Route breakdown
Appendix B Accommodation
Appendix C Useful contacts
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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. The veteran of numerous long treks in the Alps, Spain and the Himalayas, John has written extensively for walking and trekking magazines. John first visited the Karnischer Höhenweg in 2012 while on the Via-Alpina. He walked it again in 2015 and 2016.View Articles and Books by John Hayes
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