The High Tauern (pl.; German: Hohe Tauern, Italian: Alti Tauri) are a mountain range on the main chain of the Central Eastern Alps, comprising the highest peaks east of the Brenner Pass. The crest forms the southern border of the Austrian states of Salzburg, Carinthia and East Tyrol, with a small part in the southwest belongs to the Italian province of South Tyrol. The range includes Austria's highest mountain, the Grossglockner at 3,798 metres (12,461 ft) above the Adriatic.

High Tauern
Panorama of the Venediger Group
Highest point
Elevation3,798 m (12,461 ft)
Coordinates47°04′30″N 12°41′40″E / 47.07500°N 12.69444°E / 47.07500; 12.69444
Length130 km (81 mi)
Width50 km (31 mi)
High Tauern is located in Alps
High Tauern
High Tauern
Location in the Alps
CountriesAustria and Italy
StatesSalzburg, Carinthia, Tyrol and South Tyrol
Range coordinates47°10′N 12°30′E / 47.167°N 12.500°E / 47.167; 12.500
Parent rangeCentral Eastern Alps
Age of rockPaleozoic
Type of rockGneiss and Schist

In the east, the range is adjoined by the Lower Tauern. For the etymology of the name, see Tauern.



According to the Alpine Club classification of the Eastern Alps, the range is bounded by the Salzach valley to the north (separating it from the Kitzbühel Alps), the Mur valley and the Murtörl Pass to the east (separating it from the Lower Tauern), the Drava valley to the south (separating it from the Southern Limestone Alps), and the Birnlücke Pass to the west (separating it from the Zillertal Alps).

Its most important subgroups along the Alpine crest are (from West to East):

High Tauern subgroups

The eastern end of the High Tauern is formed by the Hafner massif of the Ankogel Group, which includes the easternmost three-thousander peaks in the Alpine chain.

Further parts of the High Tauern south of the main crest of the Alps are (from West to East):

High Tauern National Park

The national park area

Along 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the main chain stretches the High Tauern National Park (Nationalpark Hohe Tauern), to which the Austrian Alpine Club as freeholder and the three states of Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol have contributed territory. With an area of about 1,834 square kilometres (708 sq mi), it is by far the largest of Austria's seven national parks as well as the largest nature reserve in the Alps.[1] It is divided into a core zone of 1,198 square kilometres (463 sq mi) including the Grossglockner and Grossvenediger massifs, with complete prohibition of agricultural use, and a fringe zone of 638 square kilometres (246 sq mi) used for forestry and alpine-meadow farming. Five special nature sanctuaries are protected from any human disturbance.

The park of the IUCN II category comprises the Pasterze and numerous further glaciers, the Krimml Waterfalls, several glacial valleys and alluvial fans, as well as extended tundra areas and forests. Among the flora of the Alps, especially Swiss Pines grow along the tree line; above subshrub, mainly alpenrose but also the endemic Saxifraga rudolphiana, up to nival level at about 2,800 m (9,200 ft). The fauna includes chamois, Alpine ibex and red deer, as well as griffon vulture and the golden eagle. The formerly extinct bearded vulture and the Alpine marmot have been successfully reintroduced.

The park was established according to a 1971 declaration signed by the participating states at Heiligenblut, it nevertheless took until 1981, when the first parts around Großglockner and Hochschober in Carinthia were put under protection. The adjacel finally joined in 1992. [[Touriut has become less harmful to the environment. A particular emphasis is pution and the maintenance of traditional ways of life in the Alps.


The Großglockner from the south
The Dreiherrnspitze from the west in the year 1890
The Hochgall in winter from the west
The Hochalmspitze from the south

The main peaks of the High Tauern are:

Peak Group Elevation (m/ft) Prominence (m/ft)
Großglockner Glockner 3798 12,461 2423 7,949
Großvenediger Venediger 3666 12,028 1199 3,934
Großes Wiesbachhorn Glockner 3564 11,693 477 1,565
Dreiherrnspitze Venediger 3499 11,480 591 1,939
Rötspitze Venediger 3496 11,470 653 2,142
Johannisberg Glockner 3453 11,329 277 909
Hochgall Rieserferner 3436 11,273 1148 3,766
Hoher Eichham Venediger 3371 11,060 325 1,066
Hoher Tenn Glockner 3368 11,050 335 1,099
Malhamspitze Venediger 3368 11,050 319 1,047
Hochalmspitze Ankogel 3360 11,024 942 3,091
Großer Geiger Venediger 3360 11,024 293 961
Schneebiger Nock Rieserferner 3358 11,017 542 1,778
Fuscherkarkopf Glockner 3331 10,928 489 1,604
Keeskogel Venediger 3291 10,797 373 1,224
Schlieferspitze Venediger 3290 10,794 513 1,683
Petzeck Schober 3283 10,771 802 2,631
Roter Knopf Schober 3281 10,764 556 1,824
Ankogel Ankogel 3264 10,709 570 1,870
Hocharn Goldberg 3254 10,676 678 2,224
Großer Hornkopf Schober 3251 10,666 456 1,496
Hohe Fürlegg Venediger 3243 10,640 385 1,263
Hochschober Schober 3242 10,636 438 1,437
Großer Muntanitz Granatspitze 3232 10,604 717 2,352
Hocheiser Glockner 3206 10,518 577 1,893
Glödis Schober 3206 10,518 370 1,214
Kitzsteinhorn Glockner 3204 10,512 439 1,440
Durreck Venediger 3135 10,285 626 2,054
Hoher Sonnblick Goldberg 3106 10,196 271 889
Lasörling Venediger 3098 10,164 490 1,608
Großer Hafner Hafner 3068 10,066 868 2,848
Hoher Prijakt Schober 3064 10,052 470 1,542
Weisse Spitze Villgraten 2963 9,721 920 3,018
Mölltaler Polinik Kreuzeck 2784 9,134 1580 5,184

Tunnels and passes

The Grossglockner toll road

The High Tauern are crossed by three tunnels:

The best-known mountain pass road of the High Tauern is the scenic Grossglockner High Alpine Road inaugurated in 1935, including a tunnel at an elevation of 2,505 metres (8,219 ft) under the Hochtor Pass (2,573 metres (8,442 ft)). East of it, the Katschberg Pass (1,641 metres (5,384 ft)) on B 99 Katschberg Straße highway parallel to the Katschberg Tunnel links Sankt Michael and Rennweg. Another road crosses the Staller Sattel between Sankt Jakob in Defereggen and Rasen-Antholz at 2,052 metres (6,732 ft).

Beside there are numerous bridle and footpaths, in part used since ancient times:

Mountain pass Location Type Elevation (m/ft)
Riffeltor Kaprun to Heiligenblut snow 3051 10,010
Bockkarscharte Ferleiten to Heiligenblut snow 3046 9994
Sonnblickscharte Rauris to Heiligenblut snow 2979 9774
Vörder Umbaltorl Prägraten to Ahrntal snow 2928 9607
Obersulzbachtorl Prägraten to Wald im Pinzgau snow 2926 9600
Untersulzbachtorl Innergschlöß to Wald im Pinzgau snow 2865 9400
Schwarzkopfscharte Innergschlöß to Bramberg snow 2850 9351
Prägratertorl Prägraten to Defereggental footpath 2846 9338
Glodistorl Lienz to Kals snow 2832 9292
Antholzerscharte Rein in Taufers to Rasen-Antholz snow 2820 9252
Krimmlertorl Krimmler Achental to Obersulzbachtal snow 2814 9233
Goldzechscharte Rauris to Heiligenblut snow 2810 9220
Kalsertorl Lienz to Kals snow 2803 9197
Ober Tramerscharte Rauris to Döllach snow 2802 9193
Kleine Elendscharte Bad Gastein to Gmünd snow 2739 8987
Kleine Zirknitzscharte Rauris to Döllach snow 2719 8921
Mallnitzerscharte Mallnitz to Gmünd snow 2677 8783
Große Elendscharte Mallnitz to upper Maltatal snow 2673 8770
Unter Pfandlscharte Ferleiten to Heiligenblut snow 2665 8744
Bergertorl Ferleiten to Heiligenblut footpath 2650 8695
Kaprunertorl Kaprun to upper Stubachtal snow 2635 8645
Virgner or Defereggertorl Defereggental to Virgen footpath 2617 8586
Backlenke or Trojerjoch Defereggental to Prägraten footpath 2613 8573
Felber Tauern Matrei in Osttirol to Mittersill bridle path 2540 8334
Kalser Tauern Kals to Mittersill footpath 2512 8242
Hohe Tauern Bad Gastein to Mallnitz bridle path 2463 8081
Niedere or Mallnitzer Tauern Bad Gastein to Mallnitz bridle path 2414 7920
Fuschertorl Ferleiten to the Seidlwinkeltal footpath 2405 7891
Klammljoch Defereggental to Sand in Taufers bridle path 2291 7517
Arlscharte Gmünd to Sankt Johann im Pongau footpath 2251 7386
Kals Matreiertorl Kals to Matrei bridle path 2206 7238
Stanz Bad Gastein to Rauris footpath 2103 6900

See also



  1. ^ The largest nature reserve of the Alps ... at Accessed on 10 Jul 2011.