"Daddy, daddy look at that!" Jonah (5) sounds fairly excited with his bright and clear voice in the warm morning air. My son lies on the small wooden footbridge on the banks of lake Winkelbergsee near Längenfeld - staring upside down into the water as if electrified. He discovered the trout frolicking in the emerald green, shallow lake. While I reach my son on the footbridge, my daughter Alma (7) is already getting rid of her shoes and stockings. Intrepidly she wades from the shore into the crystal clear, cold water and shouts: “Huh, that's cold! But refreshing!"
Natural jewel Winkelbergsee lake
Emerald green magnet
We went on a trip to Ötztal on one of those warm late summer days. It only takes about 30 minutes from Innsbruck by car, therefore Ötztal always makes a popular option for our family weekend and holiday calendar thanks to its countless lakes, waterfalls and easy hikes. The starting point of our short hike was a parking area next to the bridge over Ötztaler Ache near the hamlets of Au/Winklen. Following the signposts, we soon left the village behind us and walked past grazing cows and goats into the forest. The forest is pleasantly refreshing and looks like an enchanted world: granite boulders as high as a house pile up between the pine and spruce trees. The forest ground and the stones are partly covered with thick moss pillows, providing the whole scenery with a quite fairytale-like atmosphere. And quite unexpectedly, surrounded by shady trees, we reach scenic Winkelbergsee mountain lake and its three small islands. Crystal clear and glittering water in the sunlight.
Geology theme trail about historical roaring
The kids play happily on the lakeshore in the shallow water. In the meantime, I have made myself comfortable on one of the wooden benches, soaking up the sun. I am trying to go back to the time around 10,000 years ago, when the hugest rockslide in the Central Alps took place here in Ötztal. With an unimaginable roar, a 3000 m high mountain near today's Umhausen fell down in a matter of seconds. Where the Stuiben Falls reach a height of 159 m today, the geological scarp can still be seen. As a result of this rockslide, the giant boulders formed a meter-high dam across the entire valley. Initially, the waters of Horlachbach dammed up here to form a huge lake. When the dam broke, it left behind the fertile basin of Längenfeld. Today a geology theme trail leads from Winklen along the waters of Ötztaler Ache via Winkelberg and Winkelboden to scenic lake Winkelbergsee. On 11 info boards you can find out more about mountain water, groundwater and geological highlights in Ötztal. Since the walking time is about 1.5 hours, I decided to take the direct route to the lake.
Princes & water wheels
Blinking dreamily towards the sun, I hear another excited shout. Alma has discovered a little frog that she proudly presents to me. While we are still debating whether it might be an enchanted prince, Jonah stumbled over a water wheel on the little brook that supplies the lake with fresh mountain water. We quickly pack our things and follow the little explorer. Above scenic lake Winkelbergsee we reach an idyllic water playground. A number of water wheels and other activity stations on the topic of Alpine water immediately catch the children's attention. After extensive exploration and plenty of playing time, we make our way back. But not before the children have made me promise to come back very, very soon.
Author: Julian Sprengel
Born in Hamburg, he is Managing Director of an advertising agency in Innsbruck and loves to spend his free time together with his family in Tirol’s unspoilt outdoors.