Welcome to the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Reserve!

With 1,893 metres, the Ötscher is the highest summit in the Mostviertel region.

In 1970, the area surrounding the Ötscher – visible even from a great distance – was turned into a nature reserve. Lackenhof-Gaming is one of the five nature reserve communities.

The word "Ötscher" is of Slavic origin and means "father mountain". This name was chosen for the mountain probably because of its majestic stature. From both the north and the south it presents itself like a broad, massive ridge. From the east, it appears as elegant as a pyramid.

The Ötscher-Tormäuer nature reserve stretches over 170 square kilometres– this approximately corresponds to the national territory of Liechtenstein – and makes it Lower Austria's largest natural park. Distinctive and exceptional features of the Ötscher region are the deeply incised valleys of the Erlauf river (the Vordere and Hintere Tormäuer) and especially those of the Ötscherbach brook – the Ötscher rifts (called “Ötschergräben”), also known as the "Grand Canyon of Austria".

The nature reserve extends to the communities of Lackenhof-Gaming, St. Anton an der Jeßnitz, Puchenstuben, Annaberg and Mitterbach am Erlaufsee. Starting points for the hiking trails are the entrances of the nature reserve with dedicated parking areas or the railway stations of the Mariazellerbahn.

An elevator ride up the Ötscher

In summer, you can reach the Ötscher mountain hut (“Schutzhaus”) at 1,410 metres sea level with the double chair lift "Großer Ötscher" starting from Lackenhof. From there, the hike to the summit takes about 1.5 hours. For operating times, see www.oetscher.at.

Ötscher Limestone Cave

The Ötscher limestone cave is 575 metres long and 54 metres deep. Geological measurements revealed that the cave must be between 12,000 and 1.8 million years of age. Impressive rock formations bear names like "Hoher Dom" (high dome), "Halle der feurigen Zungen" (hall of fiery tongues), "Märchenhalle" (fairy-tale hall) and "Zaubergang" (magical corridor). At the deepest point there is a lake measuring more than 100 square metres. Access by car is possible via Kienberg, Gaming or Lackenhof, and the climb starting at the snack-bar Schindlhütte via the experience trail to the cave takes about 45 minutes. Guided tours in German take place every Saturday, Sunday and on holidays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from May 1st through October 26th, and in addition, during the Lower Austrian school summer holidays every Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Registration, information and special tours:

"Naturfreunde" Kienberg-Gaming
Johann Scharner: t +43 7485/98559 or +43 664/4064154
Hans-Peter Wahl: t +43 664/88433893
e hoehle@gaming.co.at

"Holzknechtmuseum" (lumberjack museum)

Tools of the wood industry (wood felling, wood bringing and wood processing) and pictorial representations of life and work in wood felling and the drift on the Erlauf can be seen in the Holzknechtmuseum in the former elementary school in Trübenbach (3223 Wienerbruck). Opening hours are from 1st May to 26th October. Combine your visit with a snack at the "Alte Schule" inn, which is also an ideal starting point for hikes into the Ötschergräben.

All destinations and the most beautiful tours in the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Reserve are listed at www.naturpark-oetscher.at.

Website Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Reserve (german)