Squeezed between the glaciated peaks of the Hohe Tauem and the limestone spires of the Dachstein, the landscape of the Niedere Tauern is a gorgeous district of lakes and tams set in rounded mountains and plateaux veined with rivers and streams, reminiscent of Scotland. The Hochgolling, a great stone giant of a mountain, just out at the end of the range at a height of 2863 m (9390 ft), towering over the mountains around the old Styrian mining town of Schladming in the Upper Enns Valley.
Better known as a cross-country ski resort, Schladming is also a great place to come in the surruner. Surrounded by nature reserves, it is superb walking country - pastoral mountain scenery of rivers, pastures and woods with tumbling streams and a network of over 500 km (300 mi) of hiking trails. The 12 km (7.5 mi) Wild Waters Trail leads from the town up through the steep Untertal valley, passing a quaint old mill and through a nature reserve, alongside a river that flows in intermittent bursts of rippling cascades. It is fed by two creeks: the Steinriesenbach, from the direction of Hockgolling, and the Reisachbach.
Following the course of the Reisachbach, the valley gets ever steeper and narrower until you reach the Reisach, the longest waterfall in Styria - a violent avalanche of water that pounds down through a cleft in the rocks and drops a distance of 140 m (460 ft) over two steps. After watching this dramatic spectacle, it is worth summoning the energy to continue climbing. Carry on up the steps of Holl, a steep mountain path, and across a perilous suspension bridge to the Reisachsee, a tranquil alpine lake where you can sit and relax, admiring the silver peaks of the Dachstein Mountains in the distance.
WHEN TO GO
May to June - to see the waterfall at its most dramatic.
TIME IT TAKES
Four to five hours
Views of the Dachstein Mountains.
Holl Suspension Bridge.
Reisachsee - alpine lake.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
This is quite a strenuous but not too difficult walk for anybody reasonably fit, including children.