Off to Jägersee and Tappenkarsee

Two of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps

Two lakes of unbelievable charm, separated by a steep cliff wall and highly differing altitudes yet still looking like they have been cast out of a single mould. A hike from lake Jägersee to lake Tappenkarsee is one of the most beautiful experiences one can enjoy during the summer in Pongau. To me, it is certainly one of the absolute highlights here in SalzburgerLand. You ask why? You will certainly find all the ingredients of this place elsewhere. The lakes, rocky walls, high peaks and waterfalls, where the water thunders dramatically into the depths. But where else do all of these things come together to form such a harmonious scene that could not be more beautiful?

Hiking is a delight! I love to take my hiking boots out of the closet, pack my backpack, and march out into nature up into the mountains. Step by step, I leave my everyday life behind; I let my thoughts soar and in good spirit, l look forward to everything that this day may have in store for me. The destinations of my hike today are two lakes: lake Jägersee and lake Tappenkarsee, one of the highest and most beautiful mountain lakes in the Eastern Alps.

At the idyllic lake Jägersee

From Kleinarl in the Salzburger Sportwelt, my path leads me ever further back into the valley and finally to lake Jägersee. There I park my car and hike along the lake towards the end of the valley. It is still rather flat here and I can take in all the beauty the lake has to offer. Fishermen sit in their barges, with their fishing rods deployed and waiting to make the catch of the day. Every now and then I meet other hikers, we greet one another with a smile and then continue on our way. As if the lake was not already imposing enough, a steep cliff dominates the scenery further back and adds the necessary drama to the idyll. The waterfall, rushing thundering down into the deep, contributes the rest that one has to shake its head with amazement and rapture. Slowly but surely I leave the lake behind me as the path takes me through green, dense forest and along the Kleinarlbach river. At a small unpaved parking lot, I take a short rest, drink a sip of water and help myself to a small apple. You could also drive by car on the toll road up to this place and then leave it here. But not for me because I would not want to miss the impressions the hike has already provided in this first hour.

© SalzburgerLand Tourismus, Peter Zeitlhofer – On the Jägersee Lake

I continue through the forest, the sound of the waterfall now really increasing, and the rock wall, which I can already get a glimpse of through the treetops, is already dominating before me. It cannot be that much further. A last bend, and suddenly I’m climbing just uphill. Madness! So that is where the lake Tappenkarsee is. If you look at a map of the region, you might think that the two lakes are directly adjacent to each other. The fact that they are separated by this wall and a great difference in altitude, you can only truly experience when you are really here for yourself.

Up to lofty heights

Serpentine after serpentine, the way leads up the wall and offers an impressive view down into the valley. Again and again, I catch a glimpse of the waterfall, which seems to follow me at every step and will be my constant companion over the coming hour. The impressive thing here is that the path is very pleasant to walk, although you really have to cover a lot of altitude and the wall is not exactly the lowest. On a particularly beautiful bench, I then take a second rest, again drink a few sips of water and grab one of my sandwiches. It never hurts to refuel with a healthy bite. Next to me, water masses plunge into the depths and moisten the air with tiny water droplets, which cover my skin to a cooling effect. My curiosity regarding the lake, which is one of the most beautiful in the Alps, quickly reminds me of my departure, and so I march on a few minutes later. After about an hour later I finally reach a place where the path abruptly levels off. The tough bit seems to be behind me. After I take another look at the map, I realise that the lake, the destination of my hike, cannot be too far away.

The Tappenkarsee – the destination of the hike

I am always delighted by the first glimpse that my eyes get from a place I have never seen before in my life. And it is the same today, when I can already smell the Tappenkarsee lake before I see it. On a wooden bridge, a few cheerful girls are passing by, and then suddenly, as if out of nowhere, it lies in front of me. The lake glittering in the sun, surrounded by imposing mountains that seem to form a horseshoe around the lake, blessed with a beauty that one does not get to see too often. The climb helped me work up quite a sweat and the sun does its best to make sure that I follow the example set by a few guys and go for a swim. It is so wonderful after such physical exertion to feel crystal-clear mountain water tingle on my skin. After a few laps, I get back out of the water, lie down in the warm meadow and dry off in the sun. What a blessing, if one can experience such an unforgettable moment. Once dry, I put on my hiking gear and stroll slowly along the path along the lake towards the Tappenkarseealm mountain hut, where a splendid lunch awaits me. At least that was what the nice hiker told me who had asked me about the temperature of the water. Well, I am already hungry, and so I order an excellent Kaiserschmarren and finish it off with some steaming coffee. I think I have earned both of these things today.

© SalzburgerLand Tourimsus, Peter Zeitlhofer – The Tappenkarsee Lake is definitely one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the Alps

Hike from lake Jägersee to lake Tappenkarsee

Difficulty: easy to medium
Equipment: sturdy footwear
Duration of the trip there and back: approx. 5-6 hours
Arrival: A 10 Tauernautobahn, exit Flachau, at the roundabout take the 2nd exit to Wagrain, from Wagrain on to Kleinarl stopping at parking lot at lake Jägersee
Best hiking time: June to October
Refreshments: Tappenkarseealm, Tappenkarseehütte and Gasthof Jägersee


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