Rocky Road To The Tree Line

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Beyond the Tree Line of the Alps

For most of us lowlanders, the tree line is a fairly abstract notion. We know – well, most of us do – that trees not only refuse to “grow until they reach the sky” (to paraphrase a German proverb) but that they, at a certain elevation, simply refuse to grow at all.

To reach this tree line in central Europe, you have to take the road to climb up to heights of around 2000 metres or 6000 feet.

There is only one place in Europe where you can do that: in the Alps.

"A view of a road at the edge of a tree line in the Alps while hiking"

A walk on the road at the very edge of the tree line is a unique experience.

On one side, you have the world as you know it: green and lush, and on the other – well, not yet quite the desert as there is still plenty of grass, but you feel that you are beginning to enter the hostile territory of the high mountains.

"The edge of the tree lin in the Alps along a hiking trail"

And if you dare to take this mountain road and walk on – and higher up –, you may reach the Alps’ “final frontier” that even grass cannot breach.

"A hiking road leading beyond the tree line in the Alps"

At elevations of 3000 metres or 10,000 feet, the world consists of nothing but roads lined with rocks and patches of eternal ice.

"The rocks at the summit of Gaislachkogl in Soelden Austria"

3 comments to Rocky Road To The Tree Line

  • Calogero Mira

    Have you ever hiked in Salzburg? I know a wonderful path which I cannot describe completely from a geographical point of view. No secret, but I have in my mind only my impressions and I could reach this path only by being there…

    I went along the Salzach river by byke and, then, onwards either in a wood or “climbing” a quite high hill. Hiking with my byke with me! Wonderful moments in summer semestre 2000!

  • Billy Rayan

    Great pics, mind blowing hiking conditions it can fascinates any hiking lover. Such hiking conditions and beautiful natural surroundings, are best for hiking.

  • I’ve been above treeline many times. Right where it begins, I sometimes see examples of a German word I’m sure you’re familair with: Krummholz–crooked wood/stunted trees. Great photos!

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