Winter Walking Trails in Alpbach, Austria

On our last day in Alpbach, we cut our time on the slopes short so that we could do a little hiking before the sun went down. Not knowing exactly where to hike, we stopped in the tourism office where they gave us a gigantic, color-coded map (much like the ones handed out for the ski runs) detailing over 40 different cross-country trails, toboggan runs, and winter walking trails in Alpbach that we could take. Distances for the trails ranged from under 1km to over 15km, with varying levels of difficulty.

We didn’t have proper footwear for the cross-country trails, so we chose the Ausserland/Hausertal winter walk starting in Alpbach’s village center and taking us through nearby farms and forests before ending back in the village. Our map told us it would take around an hour and a half to complete, so we set out in the fog and rain so we could complete the trail before sundown.

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

The first part of our trail was completely uphill, and after three days of skiing, I was definitely feeling the burn! The path took us along the paved roads through the streets where all the guest houses are. As we moved out of the village and were walking higher up, we were able to see the town from a distance – it’s actually much smaller than it appears when you’re staying in it! We used the church as a landmark to find our own guest house. I wish I had a decent picture, but the village was heavily covered in fog and the one I took didn’t turn out.

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

After we left the village, the trail wound through Alsten Farm. The smell of cow patties filled the air, and I smiled as I breathed in the familiar scent. After three years of running through farms every morning, I’ve learned to actually like the way cows smell. It reminds me of home. Considering we were walking in a cloud and couldn’t see the mountains, we could just have easily been walking through Tennessee farmland as similar as the two looked!

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

When we reached the uppermost point of the trail, there was a look-out where cars could pull off and admire the view. On a clearer day, I’m sure the view would be outstanding, but when we went, the mountains were still very much covered in fog. We’d only occasionally catch glimpses of what was underneath the clouds when they’d part momentarily. It wasn’t particularly cold, so we stayed up there for a good while waiting to see if the rain would pass so the clouds could move on, but they were being stubborn. We eventually gave up and continued walking, accidentally taking a small detour along the way that ended up being my favorite part of the walk.

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

If we’d followed the map, we would have made our way through a small section of woods before heading back into the town, but instead we continued to climb higher, up what could have been someone’s extremely long private driveway for all I know. We didn’t pass a single person after leaving the village, so it didn’t seem odd that we didn’t see anyone on this portion either. A gravel path took us through areas so thick with fog that we could barely see the trail in front of us. I loved it! After about half a kilometer, we came across a stream running through the forest, and as we looked up higher and couldn’t see any end in sight to the trail we were walking on, we decided we’d taken a wrong turn and agreed to head back.

I was sorry it had to end. It was so wonderful to be back in the outdoors again. I’m outside a lot in London, and certainly do my fair share of walking, but being outside in the city doesn’t compare in the least bit to being outside in nature. I’ve missed it tremendously. The last time I hiked in the mountains before Austria was a year and a half ago when we hiked in the foothills of the Himalayas. It had been far too long! Considering how lousy I was at skiing, this is what I should have been spending my time doing in Alpbach!

If you’re planning to check out some of the cross-country trails and winter walking trails in Alpbach, the map we were given at the tourism office is also online – you can find the Alpbachtal Seenland map here. Happy hiking!

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Winter Walking Trails In Alpbach, Austria

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  • Emma
    December 8, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Wow.. I’m just taking a look through your blog now, this looks so beautiful it makes me want to visit Austria in winter and go hiking!

    • Sarah Shumate
      December 9, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      I was such a terrible skier that I wish I’d spent the whole time hiking and snow shoeing instead! The scenery in this part of Austria is so beautiful!

      • Emma
        December 9, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        Haha really? I’ve never been skiing before so I’d love to give it a go, but something tells me I’d be the same as you and I’d prefer hiking the whole time :)

  • Irene @ Away from Tenerife
    April 8, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Beautiful photos! I love the photos of naked trees and they look even prettier in the fog.
    It seems like a really nice walk and you look so happy in the pic with your daughter. Seems like hiking and outdoors are a good thing for soul :) (I should do i more often too, it’s also been a yearsince the last time I went hiking, I think!)

  • kayleigh maryon
    March 20, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    The pictures are so beautiful. There is something so peaceful and magical about foggy days.

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    March 18, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Can you tell I’m really behind in my reading?! Well, it looks like you had a great time on your ski trip in Austria, looking through the posts!! Do you plan to ski again??

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 19, 2014 at 8:16 AM

      We did love Austria! I still have posts to share about Innsbruck, but I’ve finished covering the ski part of our holiday. I don’t think we’ll be taking another ski vacation anytime soon – the costs are just astronomical compared to how we normally travel. We’ll be staying close to home for the rest of the year, I think!

  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    March 18, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    Austria…the cold fog…such a dream. I love dreary weather. Absolutely beautiful.

  • Connie Weiss
    March 18, 2014 at 3:17 AM

    What a beautiful place for a hike! I’d love to hike somewhere where I wouldn’t run into anyone. That rarely happens in Colorado.

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 18, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      I bet you could find some! My sister and her husband live in Fort Collins, CO and are always taking pictures on their hikes, and it looks completely deserted to me! Although, they are sort of “mountain people” so maybe they’re hiking in areas meant for really experienced hikers.

  • Anna R
    March 17, 2014 at 1:24 AM

    Love your photos! I actually tried to go hiking in NY last week… we didn’t think about the fact that all the trails were still covered in snow!

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 17, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      That happened to us one time in North Carolina! We didn’t realize the trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains would still be snowy in March! Hopefully you still had fun! :o)

  • Melanie Fontaine
    March 16, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    The picture of you and Lexie is adorable! :) The last time I was hiking in the Alps was when I was younger than Lexie… crazy! I obviously go hiking all the time in Norway, but I do want to go do the same in the Alps one days soon! :)

  • rorybore
    March 16, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Gorgeous. just gorgeous – even without perfect mountain views. this is the perfect walk. I could be outside in Nature like this every day.

    If I could just get my temperature to get on the other side of zero. :)

  • Tammy Chrzan
    March 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    The views are just beautiful… I think I would have froze my whatsits off!!

  • Sara Louise
    March 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    I think it’s wonderful that you felt so at home walking through that farmland because it reminded you of Tennessee :)

  • Rebecca
    March 15, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    Even though it was foggy, your photos are gorgeous! What a wonderful vacation you had! You’ve gotten to do some amazing things and been to some fabulous places since you’ve been over there!

    PS. Lexie is getting so tall, they grow so fast, Kailyn’s almost 2 and talking away! We’re having so much fun! Kate’s got 2 months till she graduates, time is flying by!!

  • Katrin
    March 14, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    I love hiking so much! And these pictures are fantastic, even with the fog! You are such an adorable family by the way! And aww, a kitty! :) This post makes me happy!

  • Sammy @ Days Like This
    March 14, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    Great photos lady! The one of Cory and Lexie is really cute! You are super woman for doing a hike AFTER 3 days of skiing. Dayum!

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Haha, thanks! It wasn’t a very long one, so I managed! :o) But I was pretty proud of myself for taking those hills like a champ!

  • Emmymom
    March 14, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Oh love love love the picture of the single tree and the path in the fog. Looks like it should have some famous quote, or just be a big piece hanging somewhere.

  • Mar
    March 14, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Gorgeous pictures! Taking a walk in the fog can be eerie, but it creates some beautiful photos. I think my favourite is the one of the evergreens surrounded by the fog.

  • Stacie Stamper
    March 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I would not be able to pick a favorite out of these pictures, they are absolutely breathtaking! The clarity of the steeple against the fog is magical.

  • Susanne
    March 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    The weather doesn’t look the best, but in foggy weather you get some really spooky-looking and particular photos. I love the picture with the pine trees, and the one above it. I also love the idea of hiking on foot like that. I walk a lot when I’m at home, and would love to do some longer walks when we travel as well. Maybe it will happen this summer, we’re going on a whisky trip to the isle of Islay.

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Oh, that sounds nice! That’s Scotland, right? I can just imagine the lovely walks you could take there!

      We walk a lot when we’re at home and when we’re traveling, but neither are normally through nature – we’re always in the city. I loved being able to walk in the woods and get away from other people. Ha! I really would like to do that more often!

      • Susanne
        March 15, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        Yes, it’s an island outside of Scotland, home of the peated whisky.

  • Keith Wynn
    March 14, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Absolutely spectacular pictures. The fog just adds to the beauty of the scenery. And I love that church!

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    March 14, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    such eerily beautiful pictures. it makes me miss snow so much!

  • Robert Wareham
    March 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Beautiful photographs! I love the fog, it gives them a sort of eerie, intriguing feel. Like you really want to know what’s shrouded in the mist, just out of sight :)