The Karnischer Höhenweg - an English language guide

Cicerone have published my third guide  - “The Karnischer Höhenweg”. It is thinner than my first two!
The Karnischer Höhenweg

My walks seem to be getting somewhat more 'normal' in length. After writing about a trek that takes two months (Spain's GR1), and then  Munich to Venice which takes one month, the Karnischer Höhenweg is altogether a more 
modest affair. It can be completed in two weeks and fits perfectly into a holiday schedule.
Looking west along the ridge into the Dolomites

Walking the Karnischer Höhenweg is a special experience. It's a ridge walk following a narrow range of mountains, the Carnic Alps, from west to east for 170 kms. The views of the Hohe Tauern to the north and the Dolomites to the south are amazing, but the Karnischer Höhenweg offers more than just brilliant scenery.
Hochgränten Pass

First World War reminders everywhere

What makes this walk unique is its location. Following the border between Austria and Italy, it tracks the First World War frontline. Trenches, tunnels, and mountain roads are still there to be walked along and explored.
Refugio Marinelli - the best mountain hut in the Alps

Thankfully the barbed wire, much of it still where it was left over a hundred years ago, no longer acts as a barrier but interestingly the border is still somewhere where things change. Within a distance of 100m you can move from a mountain hut serving sauerkraut, beer and apple strudel to one serving fresh pasta and vino. Although the Austrians tend to walk on the northern side of the border and Italians on the south, the rest of us happily get the best of both worlds.
On the Sentiero Spinotti

The Hoher Trieb

Like the rest of the Alps, walking in the Carnic mountains is well organised. Accommodation is plentiful and good value, and it's easy to find your way from one place to the next. In particular, the paths are well defined, the waymarking is excellent and, with occasional steel ropes and ladders,  the average walker can go to places that could be off limits in other parts of the world.
Open Air War Museum

There is a lot to see. What I've tried to do with the guide is provide the information needed for people to make their own choices. These include which of the summits along the route to go up; how much time to spend walking through the Open Air War Museum; and the relative merits of Austrian versus Italian routes around the spectacular Mt Coglians, the highest point on the ridge.
Sharing the Große Kinigat with new friends

I’ve walked this special part of the Alps three times, so if you want to find out what happened on my trips delve into the trip diary section of this blog. Alternatively have a look at the article on Cicerone Extra, which of course looks wonderful. Better still buy the guide, either electronically or in hard copy by going to the Cicerone website.

If you have any questions please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.


  1. Hi John,

    I just wanted to leave a note of thanks. If it wasn't for your blog and book, I wouldn't have heard of this fabulous route. I walked it in 12 days at the start of Sept. I had glorious weather throughout. Your book was a great asset and I took the Italian options to make a 2 week trip out of it. I particularly enjoyed my stays in Rif. Marinelli and Casera Promosio. The Austrians I met were all intrigued by my guide book as theirs didn't have the Italian legs. The information in the guide on the history of the trail added to my enjoyment. Although it must be said that the fortnight of sunshine helped too.

    Thanks for bringing this trail to my attention

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    2. Thanks for such a lovely comment and so pleased that you enjoyed the walk and found the guide helpful. I'm always looking for first hand accounts from recent hikers. Would you be interested in answering a few questions which I could use for a blog. Could you reply to if at all interested.

      Many thanks