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Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park

Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park

Altitude 430m–1,893m

The mighty Ötscher is surrounded by the largest nature park in Lower Austria, the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park. Covering an area of 170 km², it is approximately the same size as the Principality of Liechtenstein. With its deeply carved-out river courses, broad alpine meadows and steep rocky peaks, it truly is a hiker?s paradise. Here the beauty of nature cannot fail to enchant with its rare primeval quality. A strange wonderland surrounded by wild gorges, audaciously steep roads and bridges.
For a true adventure, visit the Ötscher dripstone caves. Hidden deep in the mountains is a 100 m² subterranean lake.
The nature park is a popular haven for hikers from spring to autumn. The Ötscher is a lovely ski resort in the winter, and also a firm favourite among ski tour fans and ice climbers.

Ötschergräben & Mariazellerbahn hike

  • Length 9.66 km
  • Time needed 3 hours
  • Ascent 423
  • Descent 430m

One of the favourite hiking paths winds its way through the wild, romantic, and sun-blessed Ötschergräben, Austria?s ?Grand Canyon? – quite literally a scenic highlight! Not such a challenge, yet unbelievably beautiful.
Tour through the biggest nature park in Lower Austria and you will discover strange cliff formations, impressive, shady gorges, gushing mountain streams and numerous small waterfalls. A whole range of rare plants grow here. The landscape, made up of rocky crags and mountain streams, looks like a setting for a western.
A trip on the historic and steepest narrow gauge railway in Austria (Mariazellerbahn) is a romantic railway experience for all – pulled by a steam engine that is over 100 years old, this train is one of the region?s best kept secrets.

Train times for the Mariazellerbahn can be found at
or by telephoning 0043 (0) 5 / 1717
The Mariazell region?s blog contains an article about the Ötschergräben by Fred Lindmoser (only available in German)!

Further details:, and
Experience the Ötschergräben hike

  • Demanding hike
From the R&R Residenzen approx. 20 minutes on foot (or by car/taxi) to the station in Mitterbach – take the Mariazellerbahn to reach Wienerbruck station in approx. 15 minutes – follow the banks of the reservoir for a short while – branch off to the left along the gorge – follow the paths and steep tracks past the Lassingfall up to the power station in Stierwaschboden – branch off to the left, following first the Erlauf river and then the Ötscherbach stream through an enchanting landscape of pools, waterfalls and rock formations to reach the Ötscherhias mountain hut (Wienerbruck Station–Ötscherhias approx. 2 hrs.)

>> Return route, option A
Continue up through the forest and along a forest road past the Hagengut private hunting area to Erlaufklause station – take the Mariazellerbahn back to reach Mitterbach Station in approx. 10 minutes – return to the R&R Residenzen on foot or by car (Ötscherhias to Erlaufklause Station approx. 1 hr.)

>> Return route, option B
Continue up through the forest and along a forest road as far as the Hagengut private hunting area – branch off to the right and follow a shady forest path along the southern bank of the Erlaufklause reservoir to Mitterbach (approx. 2 hrs.) – return to the R&R Residenzen on foot or by car (on foot approx. 20 minutes)

>> Return route, option C
From Ötscherhias continue along route 622 through the almost more impressive "hintere" Ötschergräben past the Mirafall as far as the Schleierfall – turn back on yourself briefly, then right up the Greimelsteig to the Vorderötscher mountain refuge– continue left along the Ötscherstraße to the Hagengut intersection– continue to the Erlaufklause station or along the reservoir to Mitterbach (approx. 3.5 hrs.) – return to the R&R Residenzen (on foot approx. 10 minutes)

Hiking time:
  • Wienerbruck – Ötscherhias: 2 hours
  • Ötscherhias – Erlaufklause: 1 hour
  • Ötscherhias – Mitterbach: 2 hours
  • Ötscherhias – Erlaufklause via Vorderötscher: 3,5 hours
Trail numbers: 622, 277, 206B

Wienerbruck, tel. +43 (0) 699 / 128 061 83, new construction of leisure facilities, completion by 2015
Ötscherhias – Ötschergräben, tel. +43 (0) 664 / 275 98 88)
Vorderötscher mountain refuge, tel. +43 (0) 664 / 736 79 019 or +43 (0) 38 82 / 2307
Traditional restaurants in Mitterbach

Mountain biking

Steingrabenkreuz Trail
  • length 21km
  • takes 2 hours
A wonderful trail at the base of the Ötscher. Official mountain bike tour, well signposted. The trail can be joined at various points.
The Ötscher dripstone caves are well worth a visit along the way.


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