A garden of stone
There are sights in the UNESCO World Heritage region of Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut, which are off the usual tourist tracks, but are still worthy of being discovered: This certainly includes the unique Glacier Garden at the end of Echern Valley in Hallstatt. This incredible natural wonder is not just a relic from the last ice age, but also a fantastic excursion tip for the whole family. Not only on bright summer days!
How do you reach the glacier garden?
Starting from the P2 car park, adjacent to the valley station of the “Salzbergbahn”, head along the left side of the “Waldbach” stream along the “Malerweg” through the small settlement in Echerntal and follow the signs to the “Simonyhütte” and the “Wiesberghaus”, along the left side of the valley. The Glacier Garden is also marked on many of the yellow trail signposts. Past the start of the “Echerntaler Thematic Trail” and Echerntal car park you will reach a barrier. Here begins the gravel road up the “Salzberg”.
Right at the beginning of the forest road you will see the Simony monument. Slightly uphill, the asphalt road leads you in about 20 minutes directly to the upper “Dürrenbach” bridge, the highest point of the Glacier Garden (700m).
Stony contemporary witness
From the left side of the bridge you can already see the “Riesenkessel“ (giant cauldron) with its 5m diameter. From the bridge looking downstream you can see more "pots", near which you can reach a trail and stairs along the left side of the stream. A board informs about the whole site, for example: the "giant snail" (685m).
From glacier rock pools and giant snails
When the water levels of the Dürrenbach stream are low enough, from a platform, you have a view of the chamber of this interesting formation, which was created by the erosion activity of the glacier water over the millenniums. The water plunges spirally 10m into the depth in order to escape at the "Felsentor". Continue to the vent of a "giant snail". The magnificent layers of rock allow you a unique insight into the glacial monument of the "glacier mills". The glacier garden path then leads you steeply down to the “Waldbach” stream, into which the “Dürrenbach” flows.
Return to Hallstatt
From here you can choose the direct route back to Hallstatt along the “Malerweg”, which leads you past the remarkable “Runenstein” where you finally end up at the so-called "Babylon" a wooden pavilion, at the foot of the forest road. Or you cross a whitewater bridge and on to the “Echerntalweg”. Back to Hallstatt-Lahn via the "Binder meadows" and through a romantic forest. For the whole tour, which you can do in any weather, you should calculate 2 to 3 hours.
Our tip: Why not combine a hike to the Hallstatt Glacier Garden with a comprehensive circular walk through the wild and romantic “Echerntal”. Whether on your own paths, on the well-signposted "Thematic Trail" or as a detour to the impressive "Waldbachstrub" waterfall, the historic remnants of the ice age are worth visiting almost every season.