Nock Mountains National Park is located on the western side of Austria just north of where the borders of Italy, Slovenia, and Austria all meet. The park covers an area of 71 square miles (184 sq km).
The Nock Mountains are part of the larger western Gurktal Alps. These mountains stretch from Low Tauern mountains in the north to Lake Ossiach in the south. The western side is set apart from the Mur River.
The national park is located in the central part of the larger Gurktal Alps known as the Nock Mountains. Millstatter Alpe at 6,893.05 feet (2,101 m) and Rosennock at 8,005.25 feet (2,440 m) are the foundation of the mountains in the park. Rosennock is the highest summit in the national park.
The national park intertwines the living of humankind, vegetation, domestic animals, and wildlife. The landscapes reflect the natural and cultural facets found within the park. Pinewoods, spruce larche, and a collection of diverse vegetation across the meadows serve as a wonderful ecosystem to support both the domestic and wild animal life that is present throughout the park.
Domestic animals that you may witness include horses, cows, goats, and sheep. Some of the more popular wildlife species include deer, chamois, groundhogs, marmots, dotterels hares, and the rare lynx. The alpine salamander is a unique find as well.
The national park is the epitome of the tranquil rolling mountains that are covered in green grassy meadows that are painted with wildflowers. The area is refreshing and inviting while fostering engagement with nature or relaxation. The enchanting nature of the area is the highlight for most people.
For those that enjoy history and culture, the old rustic lodges and quaint farmhouses nestled amongst the rolling green meadow-covered mountains are a highlight for many.
Nockalm Road is a scenic drive that traverses through the majestic terrain of the Nock Mountains. The scenic road was constructed in 1979 as a way for visitors to witness the stunning views of the pristine landscapes.
The scenic drive meanders through the alpine meadows that blanket the rounded rolling Nock mountains. The drive may deliver views of alpine roses, larch forests, and enchanting rustic lodges and old farmhouses.
The road is filled with “S” turns and switchbacks that provide different views and perspectives of the exquisite landscapes as you wind your way through the park. This is one of the best ways to capture a comprehensive view of what the park has to offer.
Nock Mountains National Park Trails
Hiking is one of the most popular activities of the national park. There are abundant trails and hiking opportunities scattered throughout the national park as well as the neighboring mountain and surrounding area. There are over 1,030 hiking opportunities of which 34 are identified as long-distance hikes. Of the 863 hiking trails, 76 of them are recognized as pilgrim walks.
Arriach Farm Trail
This is 7.64 miles (12.3 km) trek that experiences 1,509 feet (460 m) of elevation gain while traveling through stunning landscapes and enchanting old farmhouses. It is an opportunity to engage nature and the outdoors while also experiencing old Austrian heritage.
This is a trek that covers a distance of 7.33 miles (11.8 km) while ascending up 2,283.5 feet (696 m) to the top of Palnock Mountain. There are a number of hiking detours off and around the summit area.
This is a hike around the Gerlitz area. It covers a distance of 4.41 miles (7.1 km) with an elevation gain of only 623.4 feet (190 m). The loop journey takes a little over 5 hours to complete.
Bad Kleinkirchheim Trail
This trek is a full-day outing that takes about 6 hours to complete. The journey traverses the area over a distance of 4.41 miles (22.9 km). It is rated moderate. The landscapes are the attractions with rolling mountains and green meadows serving as the foundation of the beautiful area.
Pfannock Circuit Trail
This is a mountain hike ascending to the summit of Pfannock which sits at 7,395 feet (2,254 m). The trail is rated moderate and covers a distance of 4.60 miles (7.4 km), and it takes about 4 hours to complete.
Nock Mountains National Park was created to protect the ecosystem and pristine wilderness of the Nock Mountains. The meadows, forests, and other vegetation are vital for the thriving wildlife species in the area. The lynx is one of the species that has become rare in the area and protection is essential for its survival.
The park also protects the cultural heritage of the farming communities scattered across the area. The citizens and the Austrian government are committed to protecting this area for future generations of Austrians and international guests to enjoy.
Nock Mountains Highlights
- Nockalm Road
- Enchanting farms
- Almdorf, Nock Mountains Biosphere Reserve, https://almdorf.com/biosphaerenpark-nockberge/?lang=en, retrieved September 2020.
- Holiday on the Farm, Nock Mountains Region, https://www.farmholidays.com/holiday-destinations/carinthia/nock-mountains, retrieved September 2020.
- Nock Resort, National Park Nock Mountains, https://www.nockresort.at/en/sport-hotel/national-park-nock-mountains.html, retrieved September 2020.
- Outdoor Active, Discover the Best Nature Trails in the Nock Mountains on our Interactive Map, https://www.outdooractive.com/en/nature-trails/nock-mountains/nature-trails-in-the-nock-mountains/8874093/, retrieved September 2020.
- The Familiental, Nochalm Road in the Nocky Mountains Biosphere Reserve, https://www.familiental.com/en/discover-familiental/nature-and-adventure/panoramic-roads/nockalm-road-in-the-nocky-mountains-biosphere-reserve/325.html, retrieved September 2020.
- UNESCO, Salzburger Lungau & Karntner Nockberge, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/europe-north-america/austria/salzburger-lungau-kaerntner-nockberge/, retrieved September 2020.