Austria is an abundance of scenic hiking trails, and the trail to Tappenkarsee is no exception. The trail is known for its turquoise lakes, breathtaking views to forested mountains, alpine waterfalls and streams. In other words a must see for nature lovers.

You find the trail in the valley of Kleinarl that stretches 20 km from the village of Wagrain to the Radstädter Tauern mountains. Here the trail meanders through the valley from lake Jägersee up to lake Tappenkarsee flanked by the forested Alps on both sides. On a large part of the trail you’ll be accompanied by the river Kleinarlbach linking the two lakes together.

Facts about the hike to lake Tappenkarsee

  • Duration: 5 – 6 hours
  • Length: Roughly 2 x 7.5 km
  • Best season to hike there: June to September
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Vertical metres: app. 700 m

How to Get There

The easiest way to get to the trail is by car. Follow the road B311 Pinzgauer Straße to St. Johann, and then via Wagrain to Kleinarl (lake Jägersee). At the lake you find a parking lot, where you may park your car and start your hike. Alternatively, you can drive to the parking lot at Schwabalm (app. 4 km) if you want to shorten your hike. Note that the road leading to Schwabalm is a Mautstrasse which means that a fee is charged for driving there.

1. stage: Kick-off at lake Jägersee (4 km)

Jägersee on the Trail to Tappenkarsee
Lake Jägersee

At the parking lot lake Jägersee (1.114 m above sea level) welcomes you with its dazzling turquoise water. If you can resist the temptation to take a swim in the lake right away you proceed on the Mautstrasse to Schwabalm. This stage is quite flat and the trail broad allowing you to enjoy the amazing Alps surrounding you while hiking to the next stage.

2. stage: Ascent to lake Tappenkarsee (3.5 km)

View from the trail to TappenkarseeView to the valley of Kleinarl and Jägersee from the trail to Tappenkarsee

At the end of the Schwabalm material rope way the actual ascent to lake Tappenkarsee begins. From this point the terrain changes dramatically. At first the trail is narrowed and guides you through light stretches of woodland. Then the terrain opens and you will now be walking in moderate steep serpentines. The open terrain lets you enjoy the spectacular view to the valley of Kleinarl and Jägersee where you started the hike. Expect also to pass waterfalls inviting you to stop for a photo shooting.

Eisbrunnen waterfall on the trail to TappenkarseeNicklas at the Seebrunnen waterfall


Lena Højfeld, hiking woman in the AlpsYours truly crossing a stream on the way to the top

Mission accomplished: Lake Tappenkarsee


As you approach the top the landscape levels out and eventually leads you to a small bridge crossing the river Kleinarlbach. This is the gateway to your destination: lake Tappenkarsee (1762 m above sea level). Proceed following the trail running parallel to the lake to the other side.

Lake TappenkarseeNicklas at lake Tappenkarsee

Halfway you will meet the restaurant Tappenkarseealm at the bank of the lake.  Why not take a break on the outdoor terrace and enjoy a nice meal while indulging in the breathtaking view to the lake and the mountains? The restaurant serves delicious Austrian dishes and desserts, e.g. Kaiserschwamm and apfelstrudel. A perfect treat for an unforgettable moment in the Austrian alps before you head back to your starting point at lake Jägersee.

Restaurant TappenkarseealmView to the Alps from Tappenkarseealm


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