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Ötscher - Gemeindealpe


Ötscher - Gemeindealpe (Lower Austria) Zur deutschen Version dieser Webpage
: Highway A1 Exit St. Pölten, B26 to Mariazell. To the start of the hike go by train (Mariazeller Bahn) to Erlaufklause (railway station).
Altitute difference:
Erlaufklause-Ötscher 1200m, Ötscher-Kl.Ötscher 270m, Kl. Ötscher - Gemeindealpe 500m
Difficulty: easy-medium, Rauher Kamm (ridge) some easy climbs and steep views into the valley.


   Equipment:  Profile:




 - Large drinking water reserves
Hiking sticks may disturbe at the Rauhe Kamm section

Sleeping bag for the hut


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The Oetscher is one of the most remarkable mountains the Alps of Lower Austria - and yes indeed (this is for my friends in Washington State), Bernhard compared this mountain also with Mt. Rainier in the US: "The Ötscher is the Mt. Rainier of Lower Austria". On clear days you can see this mountain from the Danube valley or from the Waldviertel high plateau in Northern Austria.

The most famous descent to the summit is trough the Rauhe Kamm (Craggy Ridge) but it is half as difficult as many people say. There are a few easy climbing parts and some steep views into the valley, but all in all it is really not a big problem for a typical hiker.

The classical Ötscher tour is from the small village of Lackenhof trough the Rauhe Kamm to the summit of Ötscher and down to the Ötscher Schutzhaus (mountain refuge), where you can take the chair lift down to Lackenhof. We decided to make not this tour, but instead a two day tour to all famous sights of this region.

We parked our car at the railway station of Mitterbach, and took the train to Erlaufklause. From the railway station we went down to Ötschergraben (a small canyon). In one hour we reached the little mountain hut of Ötscherhias inside the canyon. From there we went through Mirafall (cascade) to Jägerherz Alp and to the two caves of Geldloch (money hole) and Taubengrotte (pigeon grotto). If you want you can went into these cave labyrinths, but only with the right equipment. From there it is not far to the Rauhe Kamm and after one hour easy scrambling you are at the summit of Ötscher (1893m) (all in all about five hours from the railway station).

After a rest at the summit, we went down to the mountain refuge Ötscherschutzhaus, where we ate Schweinsbraten, a typical Austrian dish. From there it is 1,5 hours to Kleiner Ötscher (Little Ötscher, 1552m), where we decided to sleep this night.

The next day we went through old forests and nice meadows to Gemeindealpe (1626m). After two hours of walking we reached Feldwiesalm, an alp where you can eat good and cheap. From there it is again two hours to Gemeindealpe. From Gemeindealpe you can went down directly to Mitterbach, or you can choose the way through Erlaufsee, one of the most beautiful lakes in East Austria (1,5h).

The Ötschergräben (canyon)

The Ötschergräben are small canyons near the famous town of Mariazell (pilgrims place). The offer nice day hikes and a fantastic scenery. A very nice tour is from Erlaufboden (railway station Gösing) to the mountain hut of Ötscherhias and up to the railway station Erlaufklause (5 hours*) from where you can go back by train to Gösing. If you want you can shorten this round by going through Lassingfall (cascades) to Wienerbruck (railway station) (3h).

From Ötscherhias, you can make a walk to Mirafall - a nice waterfall (1h).

This hiking tour is also ideal for children. There are many possibilities to take a bath in the river and short before the power plant (near Lassingfall) there is a small cave, which is not dangerous to explore.

* the times are walking times (without rests) with children

photo: Ötschergaben near Ötscherhias



For topo map go to


First view of Mt. Ötscher.

We startet at the Erlaufstausee (reservoir) near the railway station of Erlaufklause.

Renovated water mill at the way to Ötscherhias.

Reaching the canyon of Ötschergraben with the mountain hut Ötscherhias at the bottom of the photo.

At the way to Mirafall.





(c) stefan eisenbach | | stefan [at]