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Hiking to the source of the river Mur

Discover the source of the river Mur! Sure, it’s not like finding the source of the Nile, but a very easy and pleasurable hike in the Austrian Alps. Experience from expeditions is not necessary. Just good shoes!

I have visited numerous places along the River Mur, which flows 348 kilometres through Austria, before continuing through Slovenia and Croatia. This is one of the main rivers in the state of Styria and it flows through its state capital and Austria’s second-largest city Graz. Hence, it was time to see where it all starts and find the source.

Where it all starts

The source of the River Mur (Murursprung) originates at an altitude of 1898 meters in Muhrtal, SalzburgerLand. Hiking to the source can be done on long, medium, or short hikes. Choose a route that suits your situation and fitness level. Moreover, several of the routes combine gravel roads and trails which don’t require mountaineering skills. Here are 3 different route suggestions that all lead you via the Sticklerhütte at 1767 meters, from where you embark on the last stage to the source.

The Long Route

The first stage of the longer route starts from the free parking lot by the Hohe Tauern National Park station at Rotgüld. It saves you € 5 by not using the toll road and gives you more time in nature. You start hiking at 1360 metres above sea level and work your way up to 1567 metres along 3.9 kilometres, to the end of the public road and the last parking lot. This should take you about 1 – 1 ½ hours. As the road winds its way deeper into the valley the landscape gets wilder. Moreover, the scenery is nothing less than stunning, as you are surrounded by mountains that peak at over 2000 metres above sea level.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

The Medium-Long Route

The start of medium-long route begins at the end of the road that is open to the public. From the car park at Muritzen (1567 metres) you hike for another hour or so. Simply follow the gravel road that keeps climbing 3.4 km through the valley, until the Sticklerhütte at 1767 metres. On the way, about 600 metres from the car park, you reach a crossroad by the Hubertuskapelle. From the small chapel, you have a great view of a side valley. Nonetheless, stick to the road continuing to the right.

The Short Route (last stage)

You’ve got about an hour or hour and a half to the source of the river Mur. You don’t have to worry about getting lost as the trail takes you along the Mur all the way. Beyond the mountain lodge, you continue hiking on trails. More often than not well-trodden by cattle rather than by humans. If you have been hiking up from any of the car parks, the Sticklerhütte is the perfect watering hole before you venture into nature again. At the Sticklerhütte you have arrived more or less above the treeline, and the landscape opens up for great views of the surrounding mountains.

The river Mur

The source, marked with the usual Austrian yellow hiking sign, is right below a rock, where water trickles out. The river Mur originates at 1898 metres and flows about 295 kilometres through Austria before continuing through Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary where it after 453 kilometres empties into the river Drava and its waters finally ending in the mighty Danube.

Coordinates: 47° 7′ 48″ N, 13° 20′ 50″ O

The shuttle bus option
This option is not meant for the avid hiker. However, the shuttle bus option is a good opportunity for seniors who are not too steady on their feet anymore or if you bring young children with you. Moreover, if you’re too tired, running late or hit by bad weather, the shuttle bus offers a comfortable return. It runs on schedule 4 times per day in the summer but makes additional runs on demand.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.