This stage takes hikers with plenty of stamina from the Sensory Water Park in Bad Kleinkirchheim onto the Kaiserburg towards the Waldtratte mountain lodge. The route leads via the mighty double peaks of the Wöllaner Nock to the geographical centre of Carinthia in the municipality of Arriach – and maybe deep inside yourself too.
The trail starts from the tourist information office in Bad Kleinkirchheim and initially leads through the Kurpark, through the Sensory Water Park and past the Maibrunnbahn chairlift, following hiking trail 1 and for some of the time the road as far as the Waldtratte (1,380 metres). This is also the location of the middle station of the Kaiserburgbahn cable car. Still following hiking trail 1, and again for some of the time going along the road or the hiking trail, the route leads via the Rossalmhütte lodge onto the Kaiserburg (2,055 metres) (also the mountain station of the Kaiserburgbahn). The hiking trail firstly leads through the fields and lush green meadows in Bad Kleinkirchheim, then continues through first a spruce forest and then a light larch forest to the Rossalmhütte lodge, where it changes to open Alpine meadows. A little way above the Kaiserburgbahn mountain station you come to the intersection of the three districts of Spittal an der Drau , Villach-Land and Feldkirchen . From here the route follows the long-distance hiking trails 109 (the “Salzsteigweg”) and the “Weg des Buches”, which cross Austria from north to south. After a short hike following a hill path or trail you will effortlessly reach the mighty summit of the Wöllaner Nock (2,145 metres), where you can enjoy the glorious all-round view of the entire province of Carinthia . From here you can either follow trail 109 towards the Walderhütte lodge or hike along summit trail 164 in the direction of the Vorderer Wöllaner Nock (2,090 metres), on which you will catch sight of the village of Arriach (the municipality which is the central point of Carinthia) for the first time. Following trail 164 you will come in a short time to a distinctive point, the “Plagrast” at approximately 1,760 metres above sea level. Once you have got here, you can choose between making a short detour to the nearby Geigerhütte lodge, going to the “Plagrastplatz” resting place , or following trail 109 from here along the road again going southwards until you reach the turnoff for the central point of Carinthia (information board). From here the Alpe Adria Trail separates from trail 109 and you will follow the Mittelpunktweg trail (road) to the geographical centre of Carinthia , where you will have an opportunity of sending a photo to your nearest and dearest back home via the webcam. Continuing to follow the road you first reach a fountain with crystal clear, dextrorotatory drinking water, and then after a few minutes’ walk the panoramic rest area and the farms of the small village of Laastadt . From here you follow the information signs on the Hofwanderweg (farm hiking trail) across very attractive meadows and forest paths as far as the first houses of the village of Berg ob Arriach. Here you will also catch sight of the largest evangelical church in Carinthia , and after a few minutes’ walk along the village road you will come to the centre of Arriach.
Places to eat: Waldtratte, Bergrestaurant Kaiserburg and Geigerhütte.
From the tourist information office the trail leads us through the Sensory Water Park , where we can get in the mood for this tour at the different stops on the trail. We start at the Maibrunnbahn valley station and follow hiking trail 1, which leads partly along an asphalted road to Hotel Kirchheimerhof. From here we go along the gravel path to the Waldtratte and follow the road as far as the Kaiserburg. On the way we repeatedly have the option of cutting out the hairpin bends by using signposted hiking trails. And if you want to spend a bit more time in your hotel or in Bad Kleinkirchheim, you can always choose the comfortable option and travel up onto the Kaiserburg by means of the cable car. Once we reach the summit of the Wöllaner Nock we have a wonderful 360 degree view as far as the border of Carinthia ,
to the north ( Nockberge National Park with the Turracher Höhe), to the west ( Hohe Tauern National Park with the Grossglockner ), to the south ( Julian Alps and Steiner Alps), and to the east (Koralpe).
Directions from the Kaiserburg via the central point of Carinthia to Arriach.
Having reached the Kaiserburg we change to long-distance hiking trail 109 (Salzsteigweg) in a southerly direction to the summit of the Wöllaner Nock. We then continue along hiking trail 164 in a southerly direction as far as the subsidiary summit of the Wöllaner Nock, known as the Vorderer Wöllaner Nock. This is followed by a descent on trail 164 eastwards to the Plagrast, where we meet up with hiking trail 109 again. We descend further in a southerly direction on trail 109 to the intersection with the Mittelpunktweg trail (information board). We follow the Mittelpunktweg eastwards to the geographical centre of Carinthia . From here we take the hiking trail to the village road in Laastadt, where we meet the Hofwanderweg trail. We continue to follow the signs past the farms of the village of Laastadt along maintained paths and roads to Berg ob Arriach and then reach the centre of Arriach.
The route is well signposted and marked. An easy to moderate stage, but stamina is required!