In Summer the Gastein area is a paradise for hikers.
One of the best aspects of this valley is that there are many chairlifts and gondolas to take one up on the mountains, and from the highest stations, most of them at about 2000 metres above sea level, it is possible to follow paths with breathtaking views.
Equipment: Hiking shoes, and of course clothes that can face the sudden weather changes that are so frequent in the mountains.
The walk into the Kötschachtal is rather long but easy, in a beautiful, scenic landscape. The footpath from Grüner Baum to Prossau follows the course of the Kötschachbach through meadows and woods. Part of it is inside the area of the Hohe Tauern Natural Park. The destination is the Gasthof Prossau, where a good meal can add further pleasure to the walk. I said it is an easy walk not only because it is on a wide gravel path, but also because the difference of level between the starting point and the destination is only 210 metres, over a distance of 8 km, so there are no steep ascents requiring great efforts.
The path to the Bockhart Seen is one of those that depart from Sportgastein and one of the most scenic you can imagine. The path is rather steep, because it reaches in a very direct way the Bockhartsee Hütte, at an altitude of 1933 metres above see level, whereas the starting point is at 1589.
At the Hütte you will find food, a panoramic view of wonderful mountains, but espcially you will see the Unteren Bockhartsee (the lower lake) which is a man-made one, created by an artificial barrage.
The hike could end here, but I recommend to go on, on the path along the southern side of the lake, and proceed until you reach the Oberen Bockhartsee, at an altitude of 2076 metres. This one is a natural alpine lake, small but beautiful. This part of the path is very rocky but not steep, and goes through an area populated by marmots.
Equipment: This type of path requires proper hiking boots.
I saw many people with the nordic walking sticks, but they did not use them in the right way.
Nordic walking can very good for health, but it must be done in the correct way. It is good to have an expert trainer to teach the fundamental steps. At least one lesson.
Beginners should do their first experiences on easy paths. The trick to find them in the Gastein region is to take from the Information office the free map "Wander - Lift & Bike Information" and search the paths that are marked "Laufstrecker", it means that they are good for running, so they are good also for nordic walking.