On a Sunday together with a few friends we decide to hike to the Tappenkarsee. I am especially looking forward to this hike, as I remember it as one of the most beautiful in my childhood.
The starting point of our hike
We do not start the hike at the popular destination, the lake Jägersee, but we follow the toll road passing the lake and continue to the parking place Schwabalm. We pay the toll-fee and the hike ist shortened on hour each way.
The trail to the Tappenkarsee
Our hike starts alongside a relatively flat path through the woods. Later the track turns into a winding road leading up the mountain, which presents a more and more beautiful view over the valley: at the last turns you can see the Jägersee, the starting point of the hike. Also the waterfall next to the track is fascinating. After about an hour the hiking path reaches the plateau of the mountain lake and continues through the wood. The view after the last meters pay for the trouble of the ascent: the Tappenkarsee spreads before us, surrounded by rocky walls which are still partly covered in snow. In the background we see the Tappenkarseealm and as we pass the rock we can see the real size of the mountain lake. Now the most beautiful part of the hike begins: the trail follows the lakeside with a rock-wall on the other side. At the Tappenkarseealm we enjoy the view over the lake and to the Tappenkarseehütte – our real destination of the hike. We continue hiking alongside the Tappenkarsee and after another short ascent, passing alpine roses and gentians, to the higher located Tappenkarseehütte. And to our well-deserved hut-snacks.
The legendary mountain lake
The Tappenkarsee is one of the biggest mountain lakes in the Eastern Alps. There are several legends and myths which cover the story of the Tappenkarsee – all of them deal with the Lindwurm, a kind of dragon, who is to live in the lake. One version of the story is written on the rocks next to the lake:
In ancient times, the Lindwurm came to the surface night by night and took his victims among men and animals. Finally some courageous fellows assembled, sewing a cow’s back out of cowhide, filling the inside with powder. Placed at the lakeshore the sculpture attracted the Lindwurm from the depths of the lake. Causing high waves, the beast crawled ashore and swallowed the bait. A terrible bang tore the air and the beast rolled around in his blood, but could drag itself back into the water and disappeared. Since then the Lindwurm gnaws at the rock, which limits the lake to the Kleinarl valley. One day it will have broken the wall and the floods oft he Tappenkarsee will flood the valley all the way to Wagrain
We make our way down the mountain
After enjoying the wonderful nature, the lake and the delicious snacks, we descent back to the valley rather late. The sun is setting and lightens up the stone-wall across the lake. The silence is impressive – besides the owners of the huts, only we and the Lindwurm are still up here. Winking, they give us a good advice: “Stay on the left side of the track so the Lindwurm cannot catch you.” Good to know!
Tips for a hike to the Tappenkarsee:
- The toll-fee for the road between the Jägersee and the parking place Schwabalm is € 4,80 (2017)
- Pure hiking time from the parking space Schwabalm is 1,5 hours
- Starting from the Jägersee: + 1 hour
- To the Tappenkarseealm: + 15 minutes
- To the Tappenkarseehütte: + 45 minutes
- Refreshments are available at the Tappenkarseealm directly at the lake and at the Tappenkarseehütte, which is located above the Tappenkarsee – a wonderful view across the mountain lake is guaranteed on both huts!
Photo Credit: Eduardo Gellner