On a trek from the valley to the highest peaks of the national park, you traverse altitudinal belts which correspond to all climate zones found from Central Europe to the Arctic.
In doing so, one treks through vegetation levels which you can make out thanks to the climatic conditions that change with increasing altitude.
The first level is the montane level, consisting mainly of beech and spruce forests. Next comes the subalpine level at around 2,200 to 2,300 m, where larch and Swiss pine forest is prevalent, joined by a belt of dwarf shrubs. Above the subalpine level comes the alpine level. This is located above the treeline and gives way to mainly grass fields growing here. The last level is the nival level, or snow level, where plants are few and far between.
Varying climatic conditions in the Hohe Tauern are not only the result of different altitudinal belts. Slope direction and inclination, as well as shady and sunny sides give rise to diverse climatic conditions. These also differ at the north and south sides of the Alps, with the treeline reaching further up in the south than in the north.