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You can also choose at Dienten to continue east to Mühlbach and on to Bischofshofen by way of the Hoch Königstrasse. Though this is a lesser track even than a yellow road (the map shows it in white with gray borders) it is paved and well marked. It, too, is a lovely drive. Just before Mühlbach is an astounding view of the Hochknig, a 3000-meter peak. Despite its rugged and foreboding appearance, it is accessible by footpath. The hardy walker can even overnight on the mountain at the Franz Eduard-Matras Haus.

Between Dienten and Mühlbach are many places to park and hike up a few hundred meters through the meadows for a midday repast in the shadow of the mountains. Carry picnic supplies and plan such outings for summer our late April drive found some spots still with three to four feet of snow.

At Bischofshofen be sure to follow the Zell am See signs or you'll end up on the freeway to Salzburg or Graz. Once back on Red Road #311 heading west toward Zell am See, you'll soon see signs for the road south to Badgastein.

However one gets to the Gasteiner Valley, the overnight choices are the more up-to-date town of Bad Hofgastein on the valley floor, or venerable Badgastein, arranged in a horseshoe shape on the slope at the valley's end. It was once one of Europe's great spas and has many massive turn-of-the-century buildings.

When you wish to continue south, proceed on to the rail station at Böckstein, just above Badgastein. There you and your car take the train through the Tauern Tunnel to Mallnitz.

At Obervellach, turn west on Red Road #106, then north at Winklern and over the Grossglockner, #107. The toll is about $25 per car. Continue north to #311 and you have almost come full circle.