Hiking along Austria's Rivers & Lakes
Austria's legendary hiking trails provide plenty of opportunity to encounter natural waters along the way, from tranquil rivers and lakes to captivating gorges, canyons and waterfalls.
Vorarlberg - Tirol
This 125 km (77 mi) hiking trail along the River Lech leads from its spring near the Formarinsee in Vorarlberg (one of Austria's most beautiful spots) through Tirol to the Lechfall in Füssen, Germany. The Lech, with its beautiful, turquoise water, is the last wild river in Europe, offering an extraordinary nature experience.The European Hiking Association certified the Lechweg as a Leading Quality Trail. You can do the hike in sections and try other incredible routes in the Arlberg region.
Get to know the different facets of the River Bregenzerache with a 2-day Bregenzerwald hiking package. Flowing upstream from Sulzberg to Au, the Bregenzerache is the most important river of the region. It rises above the village of Schröcken at an altitude of 2,400 m (1.5 mi) and flows into Lake Constance after 80 km (50 mi). The river is gentle in parts, and is great for bathing. The Bregenzerwald region is known for its unique wooden architecture and the cheese makers that dot its landscape. Combine this hiking trip with a culinary tour of the area, or an architecture walk in the villages!
Kesselfall and Bürs Gorge
The Kesselfall is a set of waterfalls in the Brandnertal Valley, created by the Alvier torrent, roaming though a 40 m (131 ft) deep ravine. This natural attraction can easily be reached by hiking from the village of Brand. From the village of Bürs, located at the beginning of the valley, you can also visit the Bürs Gorge, which is well worth a visit. There are plenty of other things to do in Brandnertal. Despite its modest size, visitors can e-bike, swim in Alpine lakes, and explore the nearby town of Bludenz, which hosts a chocolate festival every summer.
Gorge Route in the Saalachtal
The Gorge Route leads to numerous, impressive cultural and natural monuments. Within a radius of just 2 km (1.2 mi), the Pinzgauer Saalachtal is home to 3 extraordinary natural monuments known as the "Saalachtal Natural Wonders": the Vorderkaserklamm Ravine, the Seisenbergklamm Ravine, and the Lamprechtshöhle Cave. At the foot of the Loferer and Leoganger Steinberge Ranges, along with outliers of the Steinernes Meer massif, nature has created bizarrely shaped rock formations, thunderous waterfalls, and one of the biggest caves in Europe featuring a subterranean watercourse, all just a short distance apart. There are guided trips available for this route, which takes a 5-night stay to complete, with 95 km (59 mi) and 31 hours spent on the trail.
The Liechtenstein Gorge in St. Johann im Pongau is not only one of the longest and deepest accessible wild water ravines in the Alps, but also one of the most beautiful. There is a one kilometer (0.6 mi) long wooden trail leading throughout. Get unbelievable views from the secured trail that you wouldn't otherwise see. The trail takes you deep into the gorge, where the interplay of water and rock make for a mystical experience.
Schladminger Tauern Peak Trail
Even though the long distance Schladminger Tauern Peak Trail is a high Alpine route leading from hut to hut and providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, it is nonetheless rife with opportunities to encounter wild waters. On the 72.6 km (45 mi) long trail, requiring a hiking time of about 6 to 7 days, you will pass numerous of the more than 300 beautiful mountain lakes in the area, and also some waterfalls and torrents. You certainly need to be an experienced hiker to complete some of the sections. Early in the season some paths might be covered with snow, so make sure to check the weather with local authorities.
The Bärenschützklamm is one of Austria's most beautiful water gorges, declared a natural monument in 1978 due to its unique natural wealth. Untamed waterfalls, craggy cliffs, and countless steps lead up to the mountain pasture region. 100 years ago, the Alpine Association made the gorge accessible using the first free-hanging gorge ladders. The trail can feel like a small adventure at times, but it is family friendly and appropriate for many fitness levels. In the summer months, the gorge provides welcome refuge from the heat, with a constant cool breeze from the water.
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Waterfall Trail Hintertux
The magnificent natural spectacle of waterfalls thundering down the mountainside into the valley below is a sight not to be missed. Visitors will be captivated by the Schraubenfall and Kesselfall Waterfalls with their naturally formed granite bridges, caves, and ravines along the Waterfall Trail Hintertux. This circular trail only takes about 2 hours and is appropriate for intermediate hikers. It takes you past a river as well as the two waterfalls!
Water Walk Stuibenfall
The Stuibenfall in the Ötztal Valley is Tirol's highest waterfall. Hike up to the gushing water and marvel at Stuibenfall's raw force. Those who feel particularly adventurous can sport climb the fall next to the water. If you take a trip here you can also visit the Ötzi Village in Umhausen: an open-air archaeological park, which demonstrates the way of life in the Neolithic Age, the time in which “Ötzi the Iceman” was alive.
The legend says a maiden trying to escape from the devil ended up at the edge of a cliff. In her despair she jumped and - carried by angels – arrived on the ground without harm. Today, the wild waters of the Zopenitzen torrent roaring down the 130 m (427 ft) rock face combined with the name of the waterfall still remind us of this story: the Jungfernsprung (jump of the maiden).
The Ragga Gorge
At just 800 m (0.5 mi), the Raga Gorge is one of the shortest, but also one of the deepest ravines in the Alps. Open for visitors since 1882, it remains as fascinating today as it was back then. You descend down wooden stairs into the gorge, where a series of impressive waterfalls are waiting for you.
Dr. Vogelgesang Gorge
The longest gorge in Upper Austria and the second longest in the whole of the country, the Dr. Vogelgesang Gorge is more than just a beautiful natural attraction - it even holds a doctor’s title! This hike takes about 1.5 hours and is appropriate for beginner hikers and families. There is a cozy mountain hut at the ned of it so you will be rewarded with s delicious Austrian meal!