Water sports in Defereggen valley

In Defereggen, a valley in the East Tyrol which has retained much of its original elements, water characterises the unique Alpine landscape. Alpine lakes, waterfalls, mountain rivers, glaciers, springs, moors and even healing waters from the depths of the earth - a legacy of primordial oceans – they all breathe life into the natural area in the middle of the Hohe Tauern National Park region.

 

For many people who come to Defereggental to relax and unwind, the water is the definitive feature of this relaxing landscape. All the drinking water here comes from the best spring water, the ‘House of Water’ educational centre in the Hohe Tauern National Park is headquartered in Defereggental and the source of Deferegger healing water is here too.

Whether it is on the wonderful St. Jakob i. Def. water adventure trail, at the spectacular Stallerbach waterfall path or on the Hopfgarten water adventure trail – there are unforgettable experiences to enjoy on the water everywhere. On many hikes, whether it is to Obersee, to the water energy space ‘Pfauenauge’, at the thunderous Trojeralmbach or on a walk along the Schwarzach – you will encounter crystal clear, refreshing, Alpine water treasures all over. The Hohe Tauern National Park and its unique mountainous backdrop, envelops the water treasures in Defereggental.

Our water resources

Tourist attractions in the mountain water paradise Defereggental

Water is an ancient symbol for strength, regeneration and health. There is barely any other valley in the Alps that offers so many pleasure-filled, adventure-packed and relaxation options based around water as Defereggental in the Hohe Tauern National Park. It is not without good reason that in our holiday region: ‘Here, I am a person – here is where I can ‘be’.

Gritzer Seen
Hirschbichl

Zollwirt – water relaxation point

Coming from St. Jakob i. Def., at the Rinderschinken junction, head for Maria Hilf; on the right-hand side, next to the road, you will come across a lovely water relaxation point. The clear water, the fish, the babbling of the nearby Schwarzach and a stone circle with stone seats let your senses wonder. An ideal place to just switch off.

Wasserruheplatz Zollwirt

Zollwirt – water relaxation point

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Talschaftsmuseum

During a walk through the town of St. Jakob i. Def. a trip to the Talschaftsmuseum ‘Zeitreise Defereggen’ ought to feature too. The contemporary exhibition presents historic documents and finds from Defereggental, from the mid-Mesolithic era to the Middle Ages and the time of the Napoleonic wars, right through to the present day. Particular highlights include the dugout boat from Obersee and finds from the mining era.

Talschaftsmuseum

Holzermühle

In this beautifully restored water-driven mill in Bruggen, in the St.Veit district, grains are milled every week in the summer. Starting from the car park in Bruggen hike slightly uphill to the mill. It is the first station of the themed trail: ‘Life on the steep slopes’, which then proceeds out of the valley across the sunny mountain slope into the remote town of Gassen.

Holzermühle

Holzermühle

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Deferegger healing water

Europe’s oldest healing water rises up from a depth of 1850 metres. This precious mineral water concentrate has matured for millions of years in the depths of the Tauern. The iodine-containing sodium chloride salt water spa successfully combats skin, bronchial and joint problems. On guided tours in the Heilwasserhaus you find out everything about this ‘primordial ocean legacy’ discovered in 2004. A legend-filled place and Kneipp fountain tempt you to spend a bit of time at this energy-filled place.

Deferegger Heilwasser

Deferegger healing water

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Reimmichlbrunnen

Sebastian Rieger was born in the little mountain village of St. Veit in Defereggen in 1867 and would later become well-known as pastor and writer, under the synonym Reimmichl. Reimmichlbrunnen on the village square in front of the local church was to honour him. The life-size bronze sculpture of the poet was created by sculptor Georg Planer, another of the town’s famous sons. The ‘Reimmichl garden’ is soon to be set up in the town, a place where the great local poet’s work will be especially in evidence.

Reimmichlbrunnen

Fountain "Reimmichlbrunnen"

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Blosbrücke water relaxation area

At the historic Blosbrücke, a wooden bridge built by master carpenter Josef Veider between 1941 and 1943, there is a station of the water hiking trail. Here, coming from the Kulturhaus in Hopfgarten, you get to really relax at a small, cosy rest area next to the Schwarzach, before continuing on the route to the Auentümpfl.

Wasserruheplatz Blosbrücke

Blosbrücke water relaxation area

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Böckn Mühle

There were at one time 6 mills on the Zwenewaldbach in Hopfgarten to process grain. One of them, Böckn Mühle, dating from 1917, has been preserved. It is located right on the Hopfgarten water theme trail. In the summer months the mill is operated every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The freshly milled wheat and rye flour is also available to purchase.

Böckn Mühle

Böckn Mühle

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Nepomuk-Brunnen

To mark the regeneration of the village in 1999 a new village fountain made from natural stone was set up on the square in front of the church. It is dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk, the patron saint of the parish. This saint was martyred in 1393 in the Vitava river. Since that time he has been regarded as a popular water saint, providing protection from flooding. It is best to park at the entrance to the town next to the main road and enjoy a short walk through this contemplative village.

Nepomuk-Brunnen

Fountain "Nepomuk-Brunnen"

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Mountain lakes

Once you get to a mountain lake you will experience tranquillity, expanse, frugality and mysterious depths. In the middle of the mountains in the National Park which are continually changing due to the cold, erosion and glacial ice, a lake is a magical anchor of calm. After a long ascent the cold water of the lake unleashes undreamt-of energy. The tranquillity of the lake transforms uncertainty into trust, mobilising the buried strengths of intuition.

Obersee circular hike

The hike around idyllic Obersee is easy and lovely. People stopped off here even in the Mesolithic Age, as archaeological findings at the banks of the lake reveal. One particularly noteworthy find is a 5 m long, 1000 year old dugout canoe made from Swiss pine which was recovered from the bottom of the lake. The boat can be seen in the archaeological museum ‘Zeitreise Defereggen’ in St. Jakob i. Def.

Calpengasthaus Oberseehütte

Obersee circular hike

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Bödensee

 

This lovely mountain lake is located at 2586m, in the midst of the Lasörling group in the biggest conservation area in Austria. The hike proceeds from St. Jakob i. Def., heading through Trojeralmtal up to Durfeldalm, and from there via the Rudolf-Kauschka altitude path to the Neue Reichenberger Hütte, which is located close to Bödensee.

Mountain lake "Bödensee"

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Gritzer Seen

Nesting in the Lasörling group are the Gritzer Seen, which are easily accessible from the Speikbodenhütte. The hiking trail in the middle of the Hohe Tauern National Park proceeds across Alpine pastures up to the three cirque lakes, which, nestling in troughs, connect with one another when the water levels are high. On the grassy areas on the hills around the lakes there are wonderful rest points, which have superb panoramic mountain views.

Gritzer Seen

Mountain lakes "Gritzer Seen"

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Glaurit waterfall, Geigensee

From Bloshütte, which is accessible on foot via Zwenewaldtal or via the lodge taxi, the route initially proceeds to the impressive Glaurit waterfall, continuing from there to the tranquil Geigensee, which gets its name from its shape which is similar to a violin (Geige = violin). With the Großglockner in the background, it is probably one of the loveliest hiking destinations in the region.

Geigensee

Glauritwasserfall, Geigensee

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Mond- & Schwarzsee

From the car park at ‘Urleiten filling station’ hike on a forest road into the valley to the Innerbachalm in Grünalmtal. Here the hike proceeds to Gumplalm, continuing to the elevated plain of the Ochsenalm, where the Grünalmbach unfolds impressive meanders. After crossing the hollow of the valley you get to the foot of a waterfall, to the side of which the next ascent begins. After around 45 minutes of walking you come to two fantastic mountain lakes.

Mond- & Schwarzsee

Mountain lakes "Mond- & Schwarzsee"

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Nassfeldsee & Spitzeck

From the car park at ‘Urleiten filling station’ hike on a forest trail into the valley until you come to Außerbachalm in the Grünalmtal. From here a steep hiking trail proceeds to the Nassfeldalm continuing to the Spitzeck. However the effort is well worthwhile. The location at an intersection of three valleys provides a spectacular 3D panoramic view, from a bird’s eye perspective. To the north into Iseltal towards Matrei; to the south towards Lienz and into Drautal in Carinthia; to the east into Kalsertal and west into Defereggental.

Nassfeldsee & Spitzeck

Nassfeldsee & Spitzeck

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Waterfalls

Waterfalls pulsate, impart energy, liberate. They energise when you feel jaded and restricted. In the spray and in the thundering falls you feel water’s vital power. The atomized, ionised drops of water are what create this effect, say scientists. From their studies they have come to the conclusion that there is a proven health effect from waterfalls on stress and burn-out. Even a three-day, one-hour session at a waterfall significantly improves psychological stress parameters and increases subjective well-being.

Stallebach Wasserfall in Maria Hilf
Wasserfall in Oberhaus

Waterfall at Oberhaus

The waterfall and the Schwarzach – two attractive water features – are accessible from the car park at Alpengasthaus Oberhaus, which in the future is set to become even more impressive and will provide more of an experience, since the Hohe Tauern National Park is planning to build a viewing tower here.

Wasserfall in Oberhaus

Waterfall at Oberhaus

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Stallebach waterfall path

Walking via the ‘Water Theme Trail’ in St. Jakob i. Def. to Stadtner Mühle, in a short space of time you come to an impressive viewing platform that ‘hovers’ above the waterfall. The power of the water and the spray of the cool mountain stream leave lasting impressions. Alternatively, you can drive to Maria Hilf and park at the pilgrimage church, from where it takes around 20 minutes to hike to the viewing platform and on to the snack station on the Alpe Stalle.

Stallebach waterfall path

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Zotten waterfall

This lovely waterfall forges a path near Zotten, part of the district of St. Veit (next to the Landesstraße), from the shaded side of the mountains into the valley. From the high located St. Veit town centre you are looking right at waterfall. Those who want to get a bit closer should bear left of the Landesstaße into the town of Zotten, before the ‘Maria Heimsuchung’ chapel and proceed left, across the Schwarzachn. From here, after a short walk, you get to experience the spray from the thundering masses of water.

Wasserfall Zotten

Zotten waterfall

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Glaurit waterfall

From Bloshütte, which is accessible on foot via Zwenewaldtal or via the lodge taxi, the route initially proceeds to the impressive Glaurit waterfall, continuing from there to the tranquil Geigensee, which gets its name from its shape which is similar to a violin (Geige = violin). With the Großglockner in the background, it is probably one of the loveliest hiking destinations in the region.

Glauritwasserfall, Geigensee

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Water adventure trails

On the routes in Defereggental mountain rivers are a constant companion. Through them you learn that the only constant thing is life is change. Stream courses change, erode and end. Everywhere there are strata, islands and remnants of the last floods, as well as exposed vestiges of the past. The angular edging of the rocks yields to rounded, flowing features, smoothly polished. Sitting at a mountain river, your feet dipped in the cool water, you can sense change. It is here that surface crusts are polished away and the hidden comes into view. The river bank is where you feel connected with life.

Hirschbichl
Gewässer am Wanderweg nach Gassen

Pfauenauge: Energy-filled water area

From the car park in Oberhaus a well signposted trail proceeds to the nearby Oberhausalm and continues through the Swiss pine forest and a gorge, heading for Seebach- and Jagdhausalm in the Hohe Tauern National Park. It is here that ‘Pfauenauge’ is located, somewhat off the beaten track, high up. The little mountain tarn, surrounded by sedge thickets, presents a popular photo opportunity.

Wasserkrafort Pfauenauge

Pfauenauge. Energy-filled water area

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Hirschbichl "cult" site

Even 8000 years ago Stone Age hunters realised that the Hirschbichl, and its lovely mountain lake, was a place to be cherished, as corroborated by archaeological finds. Ibex, chamois and marmots were hunted here. These days it is not just the history which impresses, the breath-taking panoramic views and the tranquillity of the area do too.

Hirschbichl

Hirschbichl ‘cult’ site

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

St. Jakob water adventure trail

This easy and informative half-day hike starts to the east of the town centre of St. Jakob i. Def. and proceeds along the Schwarzach into the valley, passing wetlands, waterfalls, sources and rivers. Information points invite you to stay for a while and relax. Also ideal when the weather is wet. Tip: Rangers in the Hohe Tauern National Park offer exciting guided tours. From May on request; weekly in July and August.

St. Jakob water adventure trail

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Gassen-St.Veit hiking trail

From St.Veit town centre proceed on the shady forest paths into the valley, passing little waterfalls to the hamlet of Gassen at 1568m altitude, where information boards recount the at one time difficult life in this mountain farming settlement. The return leg proceeds via the road to the junction, where you then follow the signposts back to St. Veit. The birth-house of the renowned Tyrolean poet Sebastian Rieger, alias Reimmichl, is located on the route too.

Gewässer am Wanderweg nach Gassen

Gassen-St.Veit hiking trail

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Water theme trail Hopfgarten

Hopfgarten water there trail starts at the Kulturhaus and highlights the significance of water for the district in several stations – waste water pumping station, watermill, hydropower station, flood protection, water level points and a water play area. The leisurely walk on the Schwarzach is very suitable for children, mobility-restricted people and wheelchair users.

Wasserwanderweg

Water theme trail Hopfgarten

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Family friendly activities in the mountain water paradise Defereggental

Experience the most beautiful hours in the mountain water paradise Defereggental.

The Defereggental fully reflects the water and invites families to experience the extensive element. The eldest Alp in Austria in the heart of the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern with its nature lake „Pfauenauge“, the „Deferegger Heilwasser“, the Obersee at the Staller Sattel, the water adventure trails,…. these destinations and walkingtrails are intrinsically linked to thundering waterfalls, rushing and calm waters and peaceful mountain lakes. If it drizzles, you’ll find a comfy dry atmosphere in the house of the water. Enoy wonderful hours with your kids at the big adventure play ground in St. Jakob. If the Obersee is not too cold for you, you can enjoy yourself while taking a swim in the lake.

Wassernaturspielplatz in St. Jakob
Grillplatz Kohlgrube in Hopfgarten

Ochsenlacke – a water legend

Ochsenlacke near the Mooseralm in the Brunnalm ski area in St. Jakob i. Def. will soon provide an attractive excursion destination for all the family. On the circular route around the reservoir are the ‘water custodians’ – ‘experience’ stations in the guise of ‘activity-based’ aquatic animals. This excursion destination is easily accessible by gondola and the chair lift to the Mooseralm.

Water adventure park Ochsenlacke

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

House of Water

To the west of the town centre of St. Jakob i. Def., in Oberrotte, is the ‘House of Water’. It is here that rangers from Hohe Tauern National Park teach children and teenagers aged between 9 and 17 about the water – water analysis is on the agenda, so too are flow capacity measurements, various experiments with water and identifying aquatic creatures in the mountain streams. Guided ranger tours are available throughout the year!

House of water

Haus des Wassers
Oberrotte 110
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 6642516140
[email protected]

Natural water playground

An extensive natural water play area right next to the Schwarzach – which has a small tributary running from the main river - spans the southern edge of the town of St. Jakob i. Def. Swings, slides, digging, balancing, splashing around or just collecting stones – children know no bounds here.

Wassernaturspielplatz in St. Jakob

Natural water playground

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Trojeralmbach water adventure

At its upper reaches, the Trojeralmbach creates an impressive natural meander. It is here that a rare trout - the Urforelle – lives, having been re-introduced by the Hohe Tauern National Park. A play area with the theme ‘natural hazards’ is in the planning stage. Starting point is the Trojeralm snack station. From there, a gravel path proceeds into the valley to the meanders of the Trojeralmbach. Tip: The route into the valley passes an area of blocking debris which protects the area from natural hazards. From here there is a superb bird’s eye view of the entire village!

Wassererlebnis Trojeralmbach

Trojeralmbach water adventure

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Kohlgrube barbecue area

On the Hopfgarten water walking trail, just before Schmitt’n Kirchl (Antonius chapel), the covered and well-equipped Kohlgrube barbecue area provides a lovely ambience for a barbecued snack at the river, in the midst of verdant surroundings. The shortest access area proceeds from the ca park at Schmitt’n Kirchl in Plon, heading out of the valley.

Grillplatz Kohlgrube in Hopfgarten

Kohlgrube barbecue

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

Auentümpfl water play area

Along the Schwarzach water hiking trail, coming from the Kulturhaus, you get to a small pond after about 30 minutes, fed from Bichl’s Almbach, before it winds its way into the Schwarzach. The lovely, naturally designed rest and play area enables you to enjoy a risk-free encounter with the cool waters while also observing the trout and the ducks.

Wasserspielplatz Auentrümpfl

Auentümpfl water play area

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

The Schwarzach – or, the Talbach

The Schwarzach, also known as the Talbach, is the lifeline of the Defereggental. It rises up to 2480 m at the foot of the Schwarzachkees, spanning a length of 43 kilometres and some 1600 metres altitude, before flowing into the Isel near Huben. On its route it takes in 34 tributaries and drains an area as big as Munich. In the upper reaches up to the Maria Hilf, the Schwarzach is in the outer zone of the Hohe Tauern National Park, where it still continues to flow, unaltered by people. Yet the Schwarzach is a natural water body too. Fly fishers, canoeists and people who are looking for relaxation prize its outstanding water quality and its beauty. The name of the river (‘Schwarzach’) and that of the valley (‘Defereggen’) have more in common that might initially be apparent. In Slavic the word ‘Duberach’, a variation of the early Celtic word ‘Dubaricon’ (‘dubar’: Schwarz - black) is discernible in the joint origin of both names.

Schwarzach expansion

Right next to Defereggental’s Landesstraße, beneath the House of Water, is the Schwarzach, the main river in the valley, which after successful renaturation, is once again a natural mountain river. Signboards provide information about the surrounding area and the project. A little tarn is a habitat for lots of different aquatic creatures, such as dragonfly larvae, tadpoles, grass frogs and many more. Access to the water is expressly permitted!

Aufweitung Schwarzach

Schwarzach expansion

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]
Hopfgarten water gauge

Hopfgarten water gauge, which continually measures the level of water in the Schwarzach, is another station on the water hiking trail. Interactive information boards provide facts about the water level and the temperature of the river and also about the flood protection measures which were recently made to protect the town and the measures taken to give the Schwarzach back its natural features.

Pegel Hopfgarten

Hopfgarten water gauge

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

360° natural hazard panorama

Right on the Defereggental Landesstraße at the entrance to the town of Hopfgarten, a spectacular viewing platform is being planned for the Kulturhaus. It will provide panoramic views to the many measures taken for wild river and avalanche barriers, which protect the inhabitants of the valley from natural hazards such as floods, mudslides, rock fall and avalanche.

Naturgefahrenpanorama 360°

Panorama dei rischi naturali a 360°

Tourismusinformation Defereggental
Unterrotte 44
9963 St. Jakob in Defereggen
T. +43 50 212 600
[email protected]

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