Diversity and magic of the Ötztal Nature Park

Explore the Ötztal Nature Park with all your senses and be fascinated by the variety of scenic attractions, alpine flora & fauna and unique natural treasures!

Get close to nature in the diverse Alpine landscape of the Ötztal valley

The play of colours is fabulous! The quiet twinkling of the stars in the dark blue firmament is followed by the prelude to the morning alpenglow, which celebrates its brilliant climax with a fiery crown of majestic mountain peaks all around. The sight is breathtaking, the moment unforgettable. Who wouldn't want to experience the magical scenery of a sunrise on a 3,000 metre high peak?

Yes, it's possible - even without being a mountain fanatic. In the Ötztal Nature Park, high above Sölden, a guided, moderately difficult hike takes 4 hours from the Rotkogelhütte, where a shuttle takes you up to the summit of the Schwarzkogl (3,016 m). Suitable for adults and children aged 7 and over, the hiking route first leads to the Schwarzsee, a scenic jewel and natural history book. The deposits in the deep blue lake allow conclusions to be drawn about the climate over the past 10,000 years.   

The hike, which is considered an insider tip, is crowned by the summit experience - and culinary refinement with a regional mountain breakfast, which is included and taken to the magnificent rest area as a packed lunch in your own rucksack. This is just one of numerous hikes in the Ötztal Nature Park, where you can explore this diverse and extensive Alpine natural paradise. Over blooming mountain meadows and green alpine pastures, through idyllic forests and along crystal-clear mountain lakes up to the rugged peaks and cirques with their magnificent glaciers, you are greeted by an impressive, species-rich alpine landscape.

A network of 100 km of paths in high alpine terrain, 48 huts and mountain pastures and much more are waiting to be explored

With an area of 510 km2, Ötztal is the second largest nature park in Tyrol and the third largest in Austria. It also stretches over 3,000 metres in altitude - from the lowest point at the mouth of the Ötztal (770 m) to the Wildspitze (3,774 m), the highest mountain in North Tyrol and the second highest in Austria. 152 three-thousand metre peaks and 67 glaciers with a total area of 95 km2 belong to the protected areas.

The Ötztal Nature Park unites the most valuable natural areas of the Ötztal under one roof. This begins in the valley with the Achstürze-Piburger See nature reserve. Declared a natural monument back in 1929, the idyllic mountain lake invites you to swim or hike in a wild and romantic natural setting.

Equally impressive is the Tyrolean nature reserve and Natura 2000 protected area Engelswand above the hamlet of Platzl in Umhausen. The mighty rock face, which rises several hundred metres into the sky, is home to a great variety of species from the forests at its foot right up to the rocky outcrops.

The Ötztal Nature Park also encompasses a considerable part of the Stubai Alps tranquil area to the east of the Ötztal. Mountain ridges made of crystalline rock, striking peaks and wonderful high valleys such as the Windach, Sulz and Horlachtal valleys give the landscape a charmingly varied appearance. The adventure in the landslide labyrinth and the 4-lake trail are great experiences in Längenfeld.

The most extensive is the Ötztal Alps tranquillity area, which enchants with its wildness and unspoilt nature. It covers a large part of the main ridge of the Central Alps and is characterised by overwhelming rock and ice formations with its numerous three-thousand-metre peaks and the largest and longest glaciers. Rare botanical treasures, shy Alpine animals and cultural-historical sensations can also be discovered here. For example, on the "Arnica, Ötzi & Co ..." hike or on the Obergurgl archaeological circular hiking trail.

The Obergurgler ZIrbenwald natural monument is a worthwhile excursion destination from Sölden. The adventure trail leads through an approx. 20-hectare stand of stone pines, some of which are over 300 years old. An upland moor, fields of alpine roses and an impressive waterfall as well as the opportunity to stop off at the Hohe Mut Alm promise a wonderful experience of nature, with interesting facts about flora and fauna on 13 information boards.

The Windachtal natural forest reserve to the east of Sölden is also well worth a visit. Here you will find stone pines and larches up to 300 years old in a fascinating forest ecosystem untouched by man. Also known as the "quiet side of Sölden", this picturesque hiking paradise stretches from the secluded forests across magnificent alpine pastures up to the barren rocky peaks at 3,000 metres. Ambitious long-distance hikers can reach the Stubai Alps through the Windachtal valley and on to the Passeiertal valley in South Tyrol. The multi-day hike from hut to hut is very popular. It is part of the legendary Ötztal Trek, a route of superlatives.

There are a total of 13 themed hikes in the Ötztal Nature Park, ranging from natural history and archaeological trails to geological trails and Waal trails. The name of the latter comes from the watercourses that were once built to irrigate the fields - the so-called Waalen. A walk along the Mooserstegle irrigation channel trail in Sölden, where you can feel the power of the water, is a marvellous experience for young and old alike.      

Protect - understand - experience - and marvel at nature and the landscape

To get you in the mood and prepare you for your personal exploration tour(s), we recommend a visit to Längenfeld Nature Park House. As an information hub and centrally located competence centre, it presents Ötztal's unique natural diversity in all its facets: from plants and animals to special habitats, geology and the fascination of water. The multimedia "Nature EXPERIENCE Exhibition", temporary exhibitions and the shop with regional products are state-of-the-art.

The Nature Park House also offers lectures, workshops and seminars for those interested in natural history. In addition, 6 further info points, spread across the entire Ötztal, allow visitors to immerse themselves in the Nature Park for the first time. There, too, all senses are addressed by means of touchscreens, wall reliefs and much more - such as a real "mini glacier". The Sölden info point on the Windachtal habitat is freely accessible at all times. 

Tips & recommendations

  • With the Summer Card you can hike through the entire Ötztal Nature Park free of charge from June to September.
  • A great choice for travelling to the hikes (and elsewhere) is the excellent range of public transport options.
  • There are also excellent opportunities for climbing in the Ötztal Nature Park - such as "Le Miracle".
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