Wild Facts about the Ötscher Region

The Ötscher is known above all for its numerous hiking routes. But the Mostviertel mountain massif has a lot more to offer.

A long drawn-out howl pierces the Ötscher in the Mostviertel. Is it the friendly spirit of the mountains or the Ötscher witch, who is said to be up to mischief here? We don’t know. But one thing we do know for sure -this colossus of a mountain is not always what it seems at first glance.

The area around the Ötscher is certainly not just one of dreamlike views and wonderful hikes. If you look a little deeper, you will also notice the things that are in and around the Ötscher. There are fascinating cave systems, wild animals and the last remnants of primeval forest in Central Europe. So let yourself now be inspired by things you don't yet know about the Ötscher

#1 Light pollution? No thanks!

Observing the stars, seeing the Milky Way - it doesn't just sound beautiful,  it is! It is especially beautiful at the Ybbstalerhütte because it is located near the wilderness area of Dürrenstein-Lassingtal - one of the least light-polluted regions in Austria, which also boasts its impressive fauna and flora during daylight. Nights here are still really dark - and, with a view of the star-filled skies, also really romantic. If you want to get to the bottom of the fascination of the heavens, take a hike along the Planetary Path in Puchenstuben.

#2 In a land before our time...

...not quite. Something better - some land before our time! What does that mean? It means that there is a very special, very special old piece of land near the Ötscher - one of the last and largest primeval forest areas in Central Europe. You didn't know that, did you? And this primeval forest, the Rothwald, is a strictly protected home to several species of animals, fungi and plants. Get closer to wild nature on guided tours or in the House of Wilderness and learn about unknown species.

#3 The High & Low of the Ötscher

With its 1,893 metres, the Ötscher stands stoically as the highest mountain in south-western Lower Austria. It is not only its height that is impressive, but, above all, how far you can see over large parts of Austria from its summit. You can also find the Taubenstein on its plateau, the Kleine Ötscher (small Ötscher) about two kilometres to the south-west, and the most difficult ascent to the summit - the Rauhe Kamm (rough crest)- to the east. But enough of the magnificent views; we want to look a little deeper. Namely, into the monumental Ötscher Dripstone Cave (575m x 54m!). According to geological measurements, the cave has up to 1.8 million years under its belt and, as if that were not enough, a lake at its deepest point.

#4 The highest waterfall in Lower Austria

Enough about air and earth - now to the element of water. The Trefflingfall is hard to beat in terms of magnitude! Its drop makes it not only one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park, but also one of the highest in the country. The water plunges over 120 metres in several cascades into the crystal-clear Erlauf River. A natural spectacle all year round, but especially beautiful in spring. Hungry? Then head for the Trefflingtalerhaus inn!

#5 The Ötscher: a refuge for wild animals

"Tracking lynxes and listening to deer rutting" is how this trail should actually be titled. Because that's exactly what you can do on the Ötscher - observe wild animals up close. The deer like to stop by at the Vorderötscher mountain hut, and you can follow the tracks of the shy wild cats on the lynx trail. This trail leads 210 km through three large protected areas. And for those who like listening to flora and fauna at night, we recommend the "Sounds in the dark” night hike.

#6 The two mountain lakes around the Ötscher

A dip in the only natural lake in Lower Austria? Then head for the Lunzer Lake, surrounded by fantastic mountain scenery and located in the only mountaineering village in Lower Austria. The second mountain lake - the Lake Erlauf - is located at the foot of the Gemeindealpe at 827 m and 4 km north-east of Mariazell. What makes it so special is not only its spectacular colour, but also that a national border runs through the middle of it. Want to swim from Lower Austria to Styria? No problem. Go ahead!

#7 Electricity for one of the first electrified railways in the old Austria-Hungary Empire

When nature and innovation meet, they make one thing - history! The Mariazell Railway was once a real sensation. It was the first railway in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to be powered by electricity, which was generated in the Wienerbruck power station by water from the gorges of the Ötscher. What's more, both the power station and the Mariazell Railway still exist today! You can combine a walk with a visit to the power station, which is located not far from the Ötscher Base in Wienerbruck. The railway still brings passengers on a narrow gauge from St. Pölten to the region around the Ötscher.

#8 The last functioning logging camp in Central Europe

Perhaps a brief explanation of the term is needed. A logging camp is a historical facility for log driving, i.e. transporting timber on waterways. And exactly such a facility can still be seen here in the Mendlingtal Valley near Göstling an der Ybbs:  logging trails and the so called “Klausen” (narrow passages or gorges through which logs were transported in the past), mills, sawmills, paths carving their way through the wilderness and crystal-clear streams! On the 3.5-km-long theme trail along the Mendlingbach stream, visitors are vividly taken back to the history of lumberjacks, charcoal burners and journeymen blacksmiths.