MAY to OCT weather depending.
Lassingfallstubn, Wienerbruck, Tel: +43-699-12806183.
Jausenstation Ötscherhias, Tel: +43-664-2759888.
Schutzhaus Vorderötscher, Tel: +43-664-73679019, Cell: +43-3882-2307.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1937||Ötscherhias opened by Johann Mitteregger.|
|1939||cellar constructed for Ötscherhias.|
|1997||Ötscherhias managed by Andrea Teubenbacher and Gabi Salzmann.|
The Ötschergräben is not a narrow slot canyon like most others we listed on this website. But it is not a normal valley either. Actually its an impressive system of narrow canyons so big and diverse, it is often called the Grand Canyon of Austria. In 2011 this walk was elected the most beautiful walk in Austria by the Österreichischer Alpenverein (Austrian Mountaineer Club).
The gorge is part of the Naturpark Ötscher-Tormäuer (Nature Park Ötscher-Tormäuer). Or better: its the center of this park. It is formed by a rather small river, the Ötscherbach. It cut an impressive 10 kilometer long valley into the limestone of the Nördliche Kalkalpen (Northern Limestone Alps). The result is a canyon with an abundance of white cliffs, rapids and waterfalls.
About 3.5km from the lower end of the gorge lies the Stierwaschboden with a small dam. This is followed by a hydroelectric power station, which is rather strange if you think about it. Its not useful to build the power station uphill from the dam! The solution to the riddle is simple: the water originates from a side valley, from another dam in the village Wienerbruck, 1km to the east and 180m higher. To built the power station and the water tubes a funicular into the Ötschergräben was constructed, which is not working any more, but the ramp still exists.
The side valley to Wienerbruck formed by the Lassigbach is both an entry or exit point to the Ötschergräben and also a very interesting side trip with rock cut trails and waterfalls. Most impressive is the 90m high Lassingfall.
In the upper part of the valley lies a restaurant named Ötscherhias. The Austrian call this Jausenstation, which means a restricted menu, you get something to drink and eat, but probably few warm meals. Highlights are Palatschinken (pancake) with Schwammerlsauce (mushroom sauce). The name was given to Johann Mitteregger in 1937. Hias is the short form of Mathias, but in the local dialect "he is a Hias" means "he is stupid". So they told Johann Mitteregger he was a Hias, because he started to sell refreshments to people walking through this remote groge. They argued that he would never earn an income in such a remote place. Today the Ötscherhias has 40,000 visitors betwen May and October. It is a fine place to make a break before you continue into the upper part of the gorge. Here is again a side valley which allows access from the Forsthaus Hagengut.
The upper part of the gorge is named hintere Ötschergräben and is even more impressive than the lower part. The limestone cliffs are steeper and there are numerous rapids. The highlight is the Mirafall, a waterfall formed by a tributary.
There are no roads into this gorge, but walking trails through many side valley, so it is possible to walk through this gorge on numerous routes. A list of popular routes can be found on the website of the Nature Park. We recommend a simple walk from the lower end to the upper end. You can either leave a car at the upper end or use a pre-booked taxi for the way back. A nice means of transportation is the Mariazellerbahn, a historic railroad with stops along the gorge.