Looks beautiful in spring and tastes good in late summer.Älgbert Elgson
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The cherry blossom hiking trail is located in the Obst-Hügel-Land nature park in Upper Austria’s Hausruckviertel. The region, also known as the „Eferdinger Basin“, is very fertile and therefore numerous types of fruit and vegetables have been grown there for many years. In the communities of St. Marienkirchen, Polsenz and Scharten, traditional orchards and rows of fruit trees characterize the landscape. On the 11.3 km long circular route you can enjoy wonderful views of these orchards and the surrounding landscape. A visit is particularly worthwhile at the time of the fruit blossom – an annual natural spectacle.
The trail of history
More than 100 years ago, cherries were grown in the climatically favored region around the small community of Scharten. At that time, tall trees adorned the roadsides and were an essential livelihood for the farmers in the region. As a valuable asset, they were even guarded to prevent theft by humans and flocks of birds. For this purpose, small huts, so-called „Kerschwachterhäusl“ (cherry guard’s house) were built at certain intervals, in which someone sat and chased away uninvited guests. Today only two huts of this type remain.
Scharten became known above all through the annually returning visitors to the surrounding cities of Wels and Linz, who liked to buy the fresh fruit and vegetables and thus made Scharten the largest cherry growing area in Austria with over 50 hectares.
Today, the Obst-Hügel-Land Nature Park aims to increase the number of traditional cherry varieties and to preserve them sustainably, because the biodiversity has decreased over the years, so that only 13 varieties of the cherry varieties grown at the beginning are still available.
The cherry blossom hiking trail is 11.3 km long and leads past numerous fruit growers. While the hikers enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding region up to the Alpine foothills, nature park specialties can also be tasted and bought directly from the farm, as numerous farmers offer homemade specialties such as fruit juices, cider, pastries, breads and other typical delicacies along the way.
All those for whom the hiking trail is too long have other options available to shorten or modify the circular trail. A visit in spring, when the fruit is in bloom, is particularly worthwhile. Depending on the weather and the variety, the cherry blossom can be admired from mid to late April, and the harvest then takes place from mid June to early August.
If you don’t want to go hiking right at the time of the cherry blossom due to the large number of visitors, the time before or after is also suitable, because the apple and pear trees usually bloom a little later than the cherry, namely from the end of April to mid-May and the apricot trees for a short time before the cherry.
A visit in summer is also recommended, when the fruit is harvested and can be bought fresh. At selected farms there is also the possibility of self-harvest, but here you should always contact the owners and get their consent.
Along the trail, the enormous importance of the bees for fruit growing is pointed out, which are brought to the orchards every year for a rich harvest. A short bee adventure trail along the cherry blossom trail also takes up this topic.
The hike is suitable for wheelchair users and prams. Most of the path leads over dirt roads and through a small piece of forest, so good tires or a helping hand are certainly an advantage on the respective vehicle, but can also be driven on without.
How to get there?
Scharten is approx. 30 minutes by car from Linz and 15 minutes by car from Wels. Public travel is possible by bus, but due to the length of time we would generally recommend traveling by your own vehicle. There are enough marked free parking spaces on site – parking along the street or directly in front of the neighbors‘ houses is therefore absolutely not necessary and is sometimes even penalized by the police.
A long but beautiful hike with a varied landscape over the slightly hilly fruit-growing area. Along the just over 11 km route there are always public toilets and refreshment stops. Unfortunately, especially at the time of the fruit blossom, there are a lot of people out there and the few seats along the route are always occupied. You should plan around 3-4 hours for the circular route.