The Lackenkogel and the Lackenalm belong to one of the most popular excursion and hiking destinations in the Salzburger Sportwelt. Situated high above Altenmarkt and Flachau, you’ll find everything you need for a successful day out. Family-friendly footpaths, lush meadows, cosy alpine huts and a mountain, that seems to watch over everything. When you finally reach the peak after your ascent, then you’ll be rewarded with a 360 degree panoramic view, that even bestows a glimpse of the Hohe Tauern. So what are we waiting for? Put your rucksack on, tie up your walking boots and let’s head for the Lackenkogel …
Even though I really enjoy being on my own in the mountains and have the feeling of experiencing wonderful nature and moments at a more intensive level that way, I’m really glad to have company today. As just before I reach my goal to conquer the ‘7 most beautiful peaks in the Salzburger Sportwelt’ on holiday, my family has agreed to accompany me to the Lackenalm and then up to the Lackenkogel. For a change, it’s not quite so sunny and the odd cloud bathes the mountain scenery in a surreal, even magical light. But it’s warm and dry – therefore ideal mountain weather. Our meeting point is the Berggasthof Sattelbauer in Flachau. There you can park your car, and after a hard day’s effort – the tour to the peak, you can stop for refreshment and be pampered with Pongau specialities. But we haven’t got that far yet. Our group consists of a number of adults and some children too, so we pace ourselves according to the slowest. To start with, the well-marked path, no. 73 leads us alongside a dry river bed steeply uphill. You could also decide to take the forest trail running parallel, which is suitable for pushchairs and mountain bikers, but we give it a miss today. We’re in the mood for proper hiking, and for pure nature.
At the idyllic Lackenalm
The Lackenkogel is not a particularly difficult mountain, however you should possess a certain degree of sure-footedness. By the way, it gets its name from the deep-black ponds, the ‘Lacken’, lying below the peak. After a good hour our path meets up with a knoll in the forest trail, which we follow for another three long drawn-out bends until we reach the Lackenalm at 1,630 m, thus reaching our first destination for today. The 210 hectare high plateau is popular amongst locals and guests alike and can easily be described as an oasis of calm in the mountains. Quaint alpine huts, lush meadows and peacefully grazing animals – it’s bearable. On the terrace of the busy Hinterkuchlberghütte we find a table and enjoy freshly-made farmers‘ doughnuts and cool drinks. The younger ones soon find friends amongst the other children and there’s no rush to carry on hiking for the moment. However, I really want to go up to the peak, so we split up for the next few hours and arrange to meet up later at the Sattelbauer Farm. Rucksack back on, water bottle filled up and off we go.
The three of us leave the hut behind us and follow the signs for the path up to the Lackenkogel. The whole time this seems to be so near you could reach out and touch it, as its peak it right above us, guarding over the alpine pasture. At a sparsely wooded wind gap we finally see the ponds, around which approx. 70 cows mingle and quench their thirst. Many locals lovingly describe the ponds as a ‘trick from heaven’ as strictly speaking they shouldn’t even exist. The reason is, up here on the whole alpine pasture there is no spring water and despite this they never dry out. Not even in the hottest summer. Wherever they come from, they are particularly important for supplying the animals with water. And you can see that! At the wind gap we turn off to the left and hike over another sparsely covered mountain ridge quite steeply uphill. As pleasant as the tour was up till now, this part is sweat-inducing.
Arriving at the peak
As we approach the peak step by step, the sun periodically winks from behind the low-flying clouds. Creating a mystical atmosphere, which you don’t see very often. And I’ve experienced a great deal since arriving here in the Salzburger Sportwelt around a week ago. It wasn’t that long ago that I heard about the ‘7 most beautiful peaks’ in the region and I was fascinated straightaway. Seven peaks, all different, and yet linked in their natural beauty – I had to see, no, experience them for myself. And so I’m here. Shortly before my sixth peak and not far from achieving my goal. After the Lackenkogel then comes the absolute highlight, the Bischofsmütze, and then that’s it. Animated laughter tears me away from my daydreams. “Come here, it’s really spectacular, you can see the mountains all around. Let’s take a selfie in front of this signpost.“ We quickly put our heads together and press the button. The turn-off we have just reached is extremely scenic and gives us a clue what the panorama, waiting at the peak to our left, is going to be like. Off to the right the path leads down to Zauchensee.
Up until now the path led us mainly through larch forest and mountain pine fields, we’re now hiking on grassy and partly rocky ridge. Many a spot requires a certain degree of sure-footedness and we’re pleased we left the children playing safely down below in the playground. There’s one last rock to circle, then the peak with its pretty cross is right in front of us. Some other walkers are already there, sitting in the meadow, taking photos and simply enjoying the view. Grossglockner, Ankogel, Hochgolling, the Schladminger Tauern, the Dachstein and even the Bischofsmütze – all seem so close you could reach out and touch them and offer a panorama, that takes our breath away. We hug each other, take a sip from our hip flasks we brought with us and take our peak photos. Before we set off back down again and meet up with the others at the Sattelbauer I step aside and throw a glance at the Bischofsmütze. “Soon I’ll be up there“, I think to myself, turn around and follow the other two.
What I take with me from the Lackenkogel:
- The Lackenalm is a paradise for people and animals
- The mountains of the Salzburger Sportwelt are wonderful even if it’s cloudy
- Signposted turn-offs are excellent for taking selfies
- Hiking on your own has its appeal, yet it’s more fun with company
Photo credits: Salzburger Sportwelt/Christian Schartner, Peter Zeitlhofer