Ötztal Nature Park
Understand, appreciate & protect
The Ötztal Nature Park comprises all protected areas of Ötztal, stretching from the bottom of the valley to the high Alpine terrain formed by glacier ice. The mountain villages of Vent and Obergurgl or Niederthai/Umhausen and Gries/Längenfeld are perfect starting points to explore the magnificent Nature Park. Ambitious nature fans can also participate in a year-round event program incl. also guided walking tours and workshops focusing on the natural history of Ötztal.
Protection: but how? Tasks and goals
The Ötztal Nature Park umbrella organization comprises the most valuable nature areas in Ötztal: the Achstürze-Piburger See nature reserve, the European Natura 2000 and the Tirolean nature reserve Engelswand near Umhausen, the Ötztal Alps and Stubai Alps protected Alpine area, the natural forest reserves in Windachtal near Sölden, the natural monument of Obergurgl's Stone Pine Forest and the former UNESCO biosphere park Gurgler Kamm.
Two principles stand above all facts and figures of the Ötztal Nature Park: sustainability and participation of the local population. Also the goals are clearly defined. They can be divided into the following 5 topics: conservation of nature and landscape, promotion of recreation and sustainable tourism, promotion of (environmental) education, research and regional development.
- Nature Park since 19 Sep 2006
- Size: 510 km²
- Tirol's second biggest in size
- Austria's third biggest in size
- 95 km² of glacier surface
- 67 glaciers
- 100 km of high Alpine mountain trails
- 6 theme trails
- 152 mountains higher than 3000 meters
- 48 mountain huts and pastures
- Tirol's biggest waterfall
Nature Park House and Info Points
Several info spots and stations throughout Ötztal focus on natural history and cultural peculiarities as well as potential relationships.
All details about the single info points are available here www.naturpark-oetztal.at.
Ambach Info Point
In the pavilion of the tourist information office the Nature Park presents a landscape relief on a scale of 1:20,000. On a touchscreen visitors can select terms and view more than 70 particularly interesting natural history spots directly on the three-dimensional Ötztal miniature (including additional information).
Niederthai Info Point
At the Horlach car park in Niederthai an approx. 4 x 5 meter bronze information panel focuses on the surface topography of the area. A centrally located wood model on a scale of 1:10,000 shows the Tauferberg area which was shaped by the massive Köfels rockslide that happened more than 9000 years ago. Information boards and graphics provide more detailed facts.
Längenfeld Nature Park House
From the 2019 spring, the new Nature Park House in the center of Ötztal valley will be the operational center of the Nature Park and the centerpiece for visitors interested in natural history. On a 270 m² exhibition area multimedia devices show Ötztal's unique nature in all its facets by extending the contents of the peripheral information points.
Gries Info Point
Hohe Mut Info Point
At 2670 m high Hohe Mut Alm near Obergurgl an interactive exhibition presents fascinating facts on the subject of "Glacier - Climate - Research". Selected exhibits on the high Alpine flora and fauna, stones from Obergurgl, real glacier ice and a multimedia table make you understand easily what high Alpine research in Ötztal is about.
Vent Info Point
In the parish house of this mountain village a multimedia exhibition on about 50 m² presents exhibits and background information on the Alpine habitat around Vent. Audio stations provide animal sounds or field names in Ötztal dialect. Using touchpads you can, for example, scroll through the guest book of Franz Senn - founder of the Alpine Club.
The "Natue Juwels" quality seal distinguishes the 5 Tirolean nature parks & Hohe Tauern National Park, which provide high-quality offers for guests under the motto "more valuable than ever".
The Ötztal Nature Park and Ötztal Tourismus have put together a varied hiking program which makes the Alpine flora, fauna and lifestyle a great experience for all the family. Only certified nature guides accompany walkers on easy to difficult hiking tours to the most beautiful spots and vantage points of Ötztal. Guided nature watch tours, lectures (in German) and varied workshops can also be found in the interesting event calendar.