Hohe Tauern Wilderness
The 6,728 ha Hohe Tauern Wilderness is located in the south-western part of National Park Hohe Tauern, Salzburg. The Hohe Tauern Wilderness is a landscape as it used to be all over the Alps after the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. It is a large contiguous piece of Wilderness and it includes several important habitats types, such as abandoned alpine pastures, bare rocks, glaciers and freshly exposed land after glacier retreat.
The preservation of alpine and glaciated Wilderness has been targeted as a priority and the natural rewilding is the main tool for the preservation of Hohe Tauern Wilderness.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The Hohe Tauern Wilderness was audited in 2015 and 8,456 ha met the Gold Wilderness Quality Standard of which now 6,700 was certified in 2017. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2025.
- Protected area: Hohe Tauern National Park, Salzburg
- Wilderness: Hohe Tauern Wilderness
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Gold
- Country: Austria
- Size of the protected area: 80,500 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 6,728 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2015
- Last audit update: 2017
- Wilderness Uniqueness: The large contiguous areas of glaciated and post-glaciated landscape with number of unique species like ibex, chamois, and golden eagle
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 1,350,210
- Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 15,000
In Hohe Tauern Wilderness you find high Alps mountain landscapes, natural complexes and areas of unique mixed and conifer forests, including a desolate wasteland of rock and scree. Nowadays, animals and plants are colonizing this new habitat only very gradually, especially species from the cold steppes of Central Asia, from the Arctic region and the Siberian tundra. The plant cover in alpine meadows is lush, but extremely patchy and limited to ice-free rocky outcrops in the upper nival zone. It consists of a handful of vascular plant species, mosses, lichens and algae. A specialised group of algae even thrives on the snow surface. In the sub-nival zone, the sparse vegetation is again dominated by mosses and lichens, with some interspersed vascular plants that grow in cushions and tiny carpets. In the lowest part of the alpine zone, shrubs like alpine rose, bilberry and cowberry invade the grasslands. Hohe Tauern Wilderness is home to mountainous animal species like chamois, ibex, bearded and griffon vultures, and golden eagle.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
Hiking from the valley up into the glacier-crowned summit region is a unique opportunity to experience in Hohe Tauern Wilderness. The experience is comparable with a trip to the Arctic – with all climate zones from Central Europe to the Polar region. It provides an unforgettable experience especially in summer with its high mountain Wilderness and peaks over 3,000 m, glaciers, glacial streams, waterfalls, mountain lakes, alpine grasslands and its centuries-old maintained pastures.