This “Glockner Loop” segment of the Eagle Walk offers the best of Granatspitz Mountains as it skirts glaciers, summits a significant notch in the Hohe Tauern Range, drops down tussock slopes and delivers lake views, all while under the watchful guise of majestic snow and ice-crowned Großglockner Peak. From Sudetendeutsche Hut, the trail skirts Gradötz Glacier and ascends 2,848-metre Gradötz Notch, before dropping down into Dorfertal Valley to Kalser Tauernhaus Lodge. Once there, you either rest and play for the day, or, if you are up for the extra effort, take the one-hour detour for Dorfersee Lake, an aquatic gem wrapped in gorgeous scenery.
Großer Muntanitz is the highest peak of Granatspitz Range. Peak baggers may want to nab its pinnacle, but less adventurous souls will be perfectly content staying on the trail and watching it as it hovers at 3,232 metres. The way-marked access from Sudetendeutsche Hut is quite easy to negotiate in dry weather. If the weather is clear, you’ll have wonderful views of Großglockner to the east and Venediger Range to the west.
Although the Eagle Walk runs below Gradötz Glacier, it can be treacherous in snow or adverse weather conditions and intimidating to an unseasoned hiker. A section of the trail crosses the steep hillside of Gradötz Notch that can retain snow until late in the season; hikers without adequate gear and experience are better off waiting until the snow has melted down before tackling Gradötz Notch; so before heading out, be sure to check with innkeepers or local tourist information offices to make sure this route is accessible.
From Sudetendeutschen Hütte hike past the memorial cross and a little mountain lake which is close to the lodge via a grassy ridge and mossy trough up to the outlet area of the Gradötzkees, where a lake has built up and impressive moraines characterise the landscape. You finally get to Gradötzsattel (2826 metres), then head down to the Bloipalfen (2684 metres). Continue downhill afterwards via a section of pastureland and gorge-like rock formations. At some 2500 metres altitude the route branches off into Silesiaweg. It is a few minutes‘ walk on the rocky Muntanitzschneid, which provides wonderful views, staying on the Adlerweg trail, bearing right and finally reaching the Muntanitzbach, which is not so easy when there is considerable water flow to tackle – in particular the base. A section above the Ochsenalm area you walk around the ridge of the Muntanitzschneid. The route is very well developed here, in the lower section you walk on a small sharp bend and there is a rocky section. Continue down across the pasture slopes and head in a northerly direction through a small Swiss stone pine woodland. You eventually come to an information board at the bridge on the Stotzbach which the Loamesbach flows into. At the route signpost which is a bit further down opt for route 514 A, to Kalser Tauernhaus. Hike now on numerous narrow hairpin bends on the Wilhelm-Ernst trail between alders, ash trees and larch trees, zigzagging into the valley, past the National Park viewing turret, where a waterfall at the Stotzbach swirls down below to the depths via a trough shoulder created by glaciers from the Ice Age. Finally head to the Dorferbach, to the destination for this stage, the cosy Kalser Tauernhaus (1755 metres). Located in the lower section of the Dorfertal, just a short section beneath the point where the Stotzbach meets the Dorferbach.