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Long-Distance Hiking recommended route

Die Karnische Milchstraße - ET04 Rattendorfer Alm - Zollnersee Hütte

Long-Distance Hiking · Carnic Alps
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  • Photo: Nassfeld - Pressegger See,
"The Carnic Milky Way" as the best of the Carnic Highway and the Constellation Hikes is "Hiking in New Dimensions". 
Distance 16.2 km
5:42 h
927 m
711 m
2,015 m
1,492 m
The Carnic Alps - an adventurous and fantastic mountain landscape, which is offered to the hiker. Above, ridges of peaks like bizarre limestone reefs that seem to rise directly from an invisible sea, and below, a hidden peaceful world of lush green mountain basins with a magnificent flora and fauna. Right through the middle, the famous Karnische Höhenweg (KHW 403). And right in the middle, the Kasmacher with their cheese cauldrons, in which all the beauty and variety of the landscape is processed into a wonderful and tasty product, the Gailtaler Almkäse. In each cauldron, a world of its own, a different world awaits you.

Each cauldron has its own story, but all cauldrons together are mysteriously connected with their own and common stories: Like the stars on the Milky Way, the alpine pastures are strung together along the Karnischer Höhenweg: The cauldrons, alpine pastures and mountains thus form a special Milky Way, namely the Carnic Milky Way. The picture of the Carnic Milky Way is completed by the "constellations".

Author’s recommendation

On these day hikes you can immerse yourself deeply into the history, nature and culture of the hiked landscape.
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Nassfeld - Pressegger See
Update: October 15, 2021
Highest point
2,015 m
Lowest point
1,492 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Rest stops

Rattendorfer Alm
Straniger Alm

Safety information

Technically, the Carnic Milky Way has moderate difficulties. Sure-footedness on rooty and stony hiking trails in alpine terrain is an absolute requirement.

All stages run on mountain paths with a red dot, so they are classified as moderately difficult mountain paths according to the classification of the Alpine Club. >> see here.

By definition, paths categorized in red are "predominantly narrow, often steep and can have passages that are dangerous to fall. There may also be short insured walking passages (e.g. wire rope)".

Even if the terrain does not present any major technical difficulties, you will still often move above the tree line in an alpine region with altitudes of up to 2,200 m. You should therefore have alpine hiking experience for the Carnic Milky Way, have orientation skills for finding your way and be able to deal with the dangers of sudden changes of weather in the mountains.

The Carnic Milky Way is more demanding in terms of stamina: individual stages have ascents of up to 1,000 meters in altitude, descents of up to 1,400 meters in altitude and/or 20 km of trails. This means pure walking times up to 7 hours per day. As always, the walking times are calculated with the (however, quite fast) Outdooractive formula. Therefore, an appropriate physical preparation is recommended.

For children, the Carnic Milky Way is suitable from 12 years of age with good physical condition.

Long-distance hiking and trekking routes are little or not suitable for people with reduced mobility due to their requirements. In order to clarify individual cases (degree of reduced mobility), it is recommended to contact the Trail Info & Booking Center before booking.

More information about the classification of the trails and the technical and conditional preparation of the tour can be found here.

Tips and hints

Plan your journey along the Carnic Milky Way with the help of the experts.

The Carnic Milky Way - Book your Trail


Rattendorfer Alm (1,534 m)
46.582752, 13.199057
46°34'57.9"N 13°11'56.6"E
33T 362021 5160374


Zollnersee Hütte

Turn-by-turn directions

Wide mountain pastures and one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the wide surroundings on the way to the heavenly Zollnersee Hut

You start a few meters on the previous stage towards Rattendorfer Schneid and keep right at the turnoff. Follow this hiking trail until you reach a crossroads near a hunting lodge. Keep to the left here and follow the hiking trail up to the wide saddle of the Rattendorfer Schneid and don't follow the hiking trail along the crest, but take a short loop over the Lanzenboden, the lovely alpine pastureland above the Lanzenalm. At a crossroads keep to the right - the left path offers a detour via the "constellation" hike "Red Planet" down to the managed Lanzenalm (additional time needed for the return 50 min) - and return in a loop to the Karnische Höhenweg between the ring wall and the miniature peak Cima di Lanza.

Now on a very nice path below the wall and the Schulterkofel to a ridge between Straniger Kopf and Schulterkofel. Go down to a cross and turn right (north) until you reach the small peak of the Gugel, where you will find a fantastic geological panorama. Turn left and follow the Karnischer Höhenweg KHW 403 over a forest road to the farmed Straniger Alm. If you want to strengthen yourself then this is the ideal place.

After a rest you choose the right of the two uphill hiking trails (KHW 403) and walk along it up to a crossroads.

Here you have the option to turn right as described below. At the original path of the Carnic Milky Way, however, you choose the left path at the crossroads above the Straniger Alm and shortly afterwards the left hiking path again, leaving the Karnischen Höhenweg. You ascend via the less pronounced Lodintörl to the summit of the Findenigkofel and cross it in succession on a beautiful crest. At the Lodinutpass you leave the crest and soon reach a crossroads with the Karnischen Höhenweg. You turn left into this path and soon you are walking through hilly terrain along the southern shore of the unbelievably idyllically situated Zollnersee.

At the above mentioned crossroads above the Straniger Alm you have the alternative to hike a variant via the Waidegger Alm and Achornacher Alm to the Zollnersee. It is not as scenic as the main route, but you will get to see more of the alpine life in the Carnic Alps. So you choose the right way here, which will bring you to a forest road shortly. Here you hike on the left side to the farmed Waidegger Alm and then on the forest road to the also farmed Achornacher Alm - you are quasi in the "core zone" of the famous Gailtaler Alm cheese.

Shortly after the Achornacher Alm you leave the forest road and ascend on a hiking trail to the Ochsenalm. Now ignore the alpine road and follow the hiking trail south until you reach the crossroads just before the Zollnersee. Here you meet the main variant again and hike as described above over it (and the KHW 403) past the Zollnersee to the Zollnersee Hut.

Public transport

By train: The following train stations are at your disposal: Arnoldstein and Hermagor, both accessible by S-Bahn from Villach main station. With the

Airplane: The following international airports can be recommended for travel by plane - Klagenfurt and Ljubljana.

By road

Arrival shuttle service - not included in the price: Brings you to the starting point of your trail journey and at the end of the tour back to the ideal train station or airport. The Trail Info & Booking Center will gladly organize this shuttle service.


With your own car: Parking is available at the respective starting points of the trail tour. Detailed information is included in the booking documents. Most of the parking spaces are free of charge and not monitored! The return transport will bring you back to your car.


46.582752, 13.199057
46°34'57.9"N 13°11'56.6"E
33T 362021 5160374
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


For the Carnic Milky Way, "normal" equipment is sufficient for alpine hikes on unpaved and partly stony paths in the southern limestone Alps. However, sturdy shoes with a good profile sole for unpaved paths are a "must" and the carrying of telescopic hiking sticks to relieve the knees on the sometimes longer descents is recommended. In summer, good sun protection and sufficient water are very important (there are not refreshment stops on every stage). Sufficiently warm clothing for possible weather drops is also important in midsummer. For all the refuges along the trail you should also bring a sleeping bag and a towel.

Click here for the detailed equipment list of your trail trip.

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16.2 km
5:42 h
927 m
711 m
Highest point
2,015 m
Lowest point
1,492 m
Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Flora Fauna


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