Walks which introduce all the different aspects of water in the Ötztal valley
The splendid long-distance Ötztal Trek allows hikers and mountaineers to experience Ötztal's highest regions and pristine natural beauty!
6 route sections comprise 22 hiking stages and 15 variations offering a total elevation gain of some 30,000 meters on a distance of 400 kilometers. The scenic Ötztal Trek travels from its trailhead in Ötztal-Bahnhof in eastern direction from hut to hut and across saddles, ridges and peaks to Obergurgl and Vent, before it heads back westwards along the Geigenkamm ridge to Ötztal-Bahnhof.
6 route sections with 2 - 5 day stages are just perfect for a memorable holiday at the Peak of Tirol, amidst the awe-inspiring Ötztal Alps. Of course, prior hiking experience is needed for all routes. The trails are signposted according to the "Tirolean Mountain Trail Concept": most of the routes are "black mountain trails" which are difficult and demanding while other sections have "red" trail markers and are of intermediate difficulty.
However, if a path leads across a glacier blazing and signs will most likely be missing. Knowing the weather forecast for the area where you are hiking and detailed tour planning are also essential. Proper hiking equipment is required for all tours: ankle-high boots with sturdy soles, wind and rain protection, sunscreen, possibly hiking poles, and a hat and gloves for the higher regions. First aid kits are vital pieces of hiking equipment.
Water in the Ötztal valley
Water, the element which has shaped the Ötztal valley
The glaciers are melted by the sunshine, releasing freshwater which feeds into the meadows and the Ötztaler Ache river which winds its way along the 65 km long valley. The Ötztaler Ache catchment area extends over 893 km² with an elevation from 700 to 3,774 m. This glacial meltwater fills the reservoir used by the local population and provides a supply of drinking water.
Glaciers store ¾ of the world’s freshwater reserves and therefore represent the biggest natural water storage in the world.
In 1770, the advancing ice dammed many of the big lakes here which triggered catastrophic flooding across the entire Ötztal and Inntal regions when they burst their banks. Natural hazards and disaster made people want to know more about and better understand nature, which also facilitated glacier research. The many facets of water in the Ötztal is not just of interest for scientists. The Ötztal glaciers are recreational destinations for locals and tourists alike. These ice worlds offer great hiking and skiing in surroundings of outstanding natural beauty. Crystal clear river waters swollen by icy glacier meltwater make for superb rafting, whitewater canoeing and other action-packed activities.
Some of the family-friendly circular routes have been labelled as premium trails by the German Hiking Institute. The criteria for receiving the German hiking seal are:
• A top quality experience
• Easy walking
• Attractive trails
• Pleasant surface coverings
• Very well marked footpaths
The water walks offer a wide range of fascinating footpaths at the heart of nature.