The „Filz & Moor“ Picture Book Trail in Filzmoos

Or: How to fill 2 hours with 600 metres of hiking (and still have fun)!

The next time you're looking for a family outing where even the youngest hikers will have fun and the parents have a great time too, then the "Filz & Moor Picture Book Trail" on the Rossbrand in Filzmoos is just the thing for you.

Filzmoos, a picturesque little village in Austria, is easy to reach by car. Just follow the signs that say "This trail leads to adventure and fun" (okay, maybe that's not exactly what it says, but it should be!)

As soon as you leave the motorway in the direction of Filzmoos, you get a foretaste of the idyllic mountain village that awaits you. The gushing stream amid lush green, alongside which we drive the entire route, awakens an anticipation of the mountain landscape - and makes my 5-year-old son Elias ask: "Are we there yet?" (For the first, but certainly not the last time that day.)

If you are using public transport, the nearest train station is in Eben im Pongau (11 km distance), from where you can easily reach Filzmoos by public bus.

"Filzi the dragonfly": hiking entertainer with tips for parents

Once we arrive at the Papageno cable car, we buy our tickets. As we board the gondola, Engelbert, the "lift operator", greets us with a friendly "Hi there, have a good day on the mountain”. The genuine warmth of the staff immediately makes us feel welcome.

And off we go up the Rossbrand in comfort. During the approximately 10-minute journey on the Papageno cable car, we have an indescribably beautiful view of the village, the Bischofsmütze mountain, and the Dachstein range. The cars on the road that leads through Filzmoos look like ants. Something moved in the spruce tree - is there really a squirrel sitting there? Or was it just a particularly acrobatic branch?

We read through the greeting from Filzi, the dragonfly from the moor, who smiles at us from the brochure – which also contains some great tips on how parents can make hiking more exciting for children - a must for all those who have more questions than answers along the way.

Off we go

Once we reach the top at 1600 metres, we breathe in the clean, mountain air. The scent of lush herbs and the coniferous forest brings back childhood memories - the hikes with my parents were always my favourite adventures as a small child. Elias sniffs the fresh air and calls out full of anticipation: "Mum, that's where we're going!" He's spotted the start of the picture book trail already.

I'm sure this is the perfect place for me and my son to have the same wonderful adventures as I did back then and bring him a little closer to nature at the same time. Who knows, maybe he'll spot a squirrel or two himself.

Filzmoos: Where nature becomes an adventure playground

So that you can experience your own picture book adventures, I won't give too much away but this much about the duration and difficulty of the hike: We took our time to put the seven stations (including start and finish) through their paces and had a lot of fun doing it.

The hiking trail, which sometimes leads over wooden planks and steps, is child-friendly (but not suitable for pushchairs) and is also suitable for parents who haven't run a marathon for a while. With lots of "Mum, take a look" breaks, it took us about 2 hours to complete the 600 metre-long picture book trail. Yes, you read that right - 600 metres in 2 hours! But with so many natural wonders in such a small space, you simply can't hurry. A found stick becomes a sword and a stone glistening in the sun becomes the treasure that the brave knight must guard. The fact that up here you can let your imagination run wild and not just play in nature, but with nature, makes me savour this certain light-heartedness and forget space and time.

Pure nature and Kaiserschmarrn (chopped pancake dish) – A perfect day in Filzmoos

Afterwards, we stopped for refreshment at the Schörgi Alm. There we not only had the world's best Kaiserschmarrn, which Elias ate almost all by himself (a growth spurt sends its regards), but also a great view of Filzi's nature playground, where my little "big" explorer tried out to see if he can climb as well as the squirrel that he actually discovered and observed.

Spoiler alert: the squirrel had competition! I smile as I sit here in the warm sunshine, drinking my coffee and preparing for the drive home with the next "Mum, are we there yet?" and ponder when we’ll have time to explore the "Filz & Moor" moorland trail on the Rossbrand and get our bog researcher's diploma - but that's another story.

photo credits: Angela Jäger - Filzmoos Tourismus, Anja Prommegger - Bergbahnen Filzmoos