The 110 km² Gesause National Park is one of Austria's 6 national parks. In terms of size, Gesäuse is the third in line, but in terms of age, it is the youngest. The region is located in Styria, where the Enns River played a decisive role in its formation. It also got its name from the river, as Gesäuse means "roaring" in German.

Mountains cover more than 30% of the area, so silence and tranquillity will be guaranteed. Its highest point is the 2,369-meter Hochtor. The park consists of three mountains:

  • Ennstal Alps
  • Hochtor group
  • Buchstein massif

Quick Details

Gesause National Park Details
Country Austria
Location Enns valley, Alps
Province Styria
Local name Nationalpark Gesäuse
Distance from Vienna 3 hours / 220 km
Visitor centres Admont, Weng im Gesäuse
Highest point Hochtor (2,369 m)
Area 110 km²
Mountainous area 30%
Website Gesause

Where is Gesause National Park?

The national park is located in Styria, Austria. It lies roughly halfway between Salzburg and Graz. The nearest big city is Leoben. It is part of the Northern Limestone Alps (the Alps). It will be joined by two settlements: Admont and Hieflau.

  • Distance from Vienna: 3 hours / 220 km
  • Distance from Leoben: 1 hour / 60 km
  • Distance from Graz: 2 hours / 120 km
  • Distance from Salzburg: 2 hours / 190 km
Gesause National Park map - Vienna distance

Map

Map off the national parks in Austria (Gesause)
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Tip: The neighbouring Kalkalpen National Park is just 30 minutes away by car!

Gesause map | Wikimedia commons

The park is divided in two by the river Enns (its best-known tributary is the stream Johnsbach). Hochtor, the highest point of the area, lies in the south. The area also includes parts of the municipal areas of Johnsbach, Weng, Landl and Sankt Gallen.

Tourist centres

There are two tourist centres in the park, where you can request information, maps and brochures at these points.

#1 Infobüro Admont

  • City: Admont
  • Address: Hauptstraße 35, 8911 Admont, Austria
  • Opening hours: 09:00 - 17:00 | closed on Sunday | on Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

#2 Pavilion

  • City: Weng im Gesäuse
  • Address: Gstatterboden 10, 8913 Weng im Gesäuse, Austria
  • Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00 | closed on Mondays

More about the park ...

The protected park is dominated by two defining elements: water (mainly the river Enns) and mountains, cliffs and rocks. Local attractions try to lure you into the water or onto the mountains with most outdoor programs.

When visiting here, it is a must to try rafting on the Enns river, or if you leave the park a little further north, you will find the fabulous Salza river. Both locations are popular for beginners and advanced whitewater paddlers.

Gesäuse Mountains

Gesäuse is a mountain range less typical of Eastern Austria, consisting mainly of Dachstein limestone - which gives bizarre karst forms are characteristic of the landscape. At the base of the rock walls, the easily cracked and brittle so-called Wetterstein dolomite comes to the surface.

Attractions & Things to do

#1 Hochtor

Hochtor, 2369 meters high, is one of the proudest mountains of the Alps. Just like the surrounding peaks, it is wild, sharp and steep - with walls up to 1,000 meters high. It is a perfect climbing and hiking area with many well-maintained hiking trails. The trails are mostly in the medium and difficult category.

Hochtor, the highest point of Gesause
  • GPS: 47.56220°N 14.63270°E
  • Climbing season: summer, the first half of autumn
  • Distance from the city of Weng: 12 km by car + hike

#2 National Park Center Willow Dome

Weng distance: 13 km

One of the largest living willow structures in Europe is located on the banks of the river Enns, right next to the village of Johnsbach. Here you can find a research laboratory, various playgrounds, and varied programs. Flora lovers can admire the seasonal flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in the farm garden.

We recommend visiting the Dome for those who want to relax and study a little. You can't go on a long hike here. Instead, go for a walk, swing, have a picnic, etc. The impressive outdoor theater not only offers a spectacular view, but is also used for interesting performances and cinema programs (mostly in German) in the summer.

  • Opening hours: 0:00 - 24:00
  • Prices: free
  • Distance from Weng: 13 minutes / 9 km
  • The dome does not have a separate address, so it is worth using the inn next to it! Krumau 97, 8911 Admont

#3 Rafting

The tourism management of the park itself emphasizes that the beauty of the park can best be admired by following the river with a raft. An average group rafting tour costs between 40 and 50 euros. The minimum age for family rafting is 8 years, so you can try it out with children. You have 2 options for this:

#4 Burgruine Gallenstein

Weng distance: 16 km

The Gallenstein castle ruins are no longer in the park, but rather further away, about 20 minutes from Weng.

The castle is open every day during the summer season. The noble von Gallenstein family once lived in the fort, but it is now uninhabited. The partially ruined castle hosts many concerts, exhibitions, and the annual St. Gallen Festival.

  • Opening hours: 06:30 - 17:30
  • Address: St. Gallen 86, 8933 St. Gallen, Austria
  • Distance from Weng: 17 minutes / 16 km

#5 Wasser Erlebnispark im Gesäuse

Weng distance: 14 km

Real summer refreshment awaits everyone at the Erlebnispark water park. In contrast to the usual water parks, the focus here is on nature - since it is a foresty, open-air park. The only thing better than the fabulous surroundings is that the adult ticket costs only 10 euros for the whole day.

  • The water park is north of Weng, slightly outside the park boundary.
  • Address: Bodenweg 64, 8933 St. Gallen, Austria

#6 Wasserlochklamm

Weng distance: 42 km

The Wasserlochklamm belonging to the city of Palfau is a real treasure and gem in the province of Styria. It is worth knowing that the gorge is not in the park, but approx. 30 km north.

A gorge bordered by huge rock walls surrounded by lush green forest everywhere. One of the highlights of the gorge tour is the suspension bridge over the deep ravine and the 5 waterfalls in the gorge.

  • Opening hours: April 1 - October 31 (09:00 - 18:00)
  • Weng distance: 45 minutes / 42 km
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The town of Palfau is a very popular tourist hub (since it is home to the Salza river and the Wasserlochklamm gorge). If you would like to try out rafting, you should visit this alpine village. Officially, it is not part of the park, as it is located slightly north of it. 

#7 Nothklamm Gorge

Weng distance: 35 km

Nothklamm is a classic alpine gorge with wooden bridges, next to the village of Gams bei Hieflau. The gorge route is part of the 5-kilometer educational trail consisting of 48 stations, presenting the area's geo-values (GeoPfad). The nature trail and the gorge can be found outside the park, a few kilometers to the north - next to Wasserlochklamm.

  • Opening hours: May - October (09:00 - 16:00)
  • Prices: approx. The adult ticket is 10 euros
  • Weng distance: 35 km / 40 minutes
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Tip: Walk the entire route with all 48 stations. It is also good to know that the Kraushöhle cave and the Wasserlochklamm gorge is not far from here.

#8 Kraushöhle

Weng distance: 35 km

Kraushöhle, located not far from the Nothklamm gorge, was named after its discoverer - Franz Kraus. In the underground world, you can not only cool off on a hot summer day but see interesting rock shapes and learn new stories. The tour lasts 1.5 hours and is available several times a day during the summer season.

  • Opening hours: May 1 - October 31 (every day)
  • Groups start: 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
  • Weng distance: 35 km / 40 minutes

#9 National Park Pavilion, Gstatterboden

Weng distance: 13 km

The Pavilion is a unique looking modern building almost in the middle of Gstatterboden.

Here you find a restaurant and a playground. It is not so much the building that is interesting, but the fact that several tourist routes start from here. If, for example, you want to hike to the Ennstalerhütte or the Buchsteinhaus, you have to start the hike from here.

  • Address: Gstatterboden 10, 8913 Weng im Gesäuse, Austria
  • Distance from Weng: 13 km / 20 minutes

#10 Johnsbach Valley

Weng distance: 16 km

Johnsbach was a separate settlement, but today it is part of Admont. The valley in the southern part of the national park takes its name from the river of the same name.

Johnsbach valley map

You can go hiking, mountaineering and cycling mainly. It once had more than three hundred inhabitants, but the divided area now has less than hundred. So, you don't have to expect a large crowd.

  • Distance from Weng: 20 minutes / 16 km

#11 Admonter Haus

Weng distance: 2 km

The Admonter haus welcomes hikers and mountaineers between May and October - with accommodation and a restaurant.

Admonter haus
  • Address: Am Grabnerthörl 36, 8913 Weng im Gesäuse, Austria

#12 Hesshütte

Distance to Weng: 21 km

Located at an altitude of 1,699 meters, the Hess hut is located near the Hochtor mountain and the Planspitz peak. The hut is one of the most important and best-known tourist lodges in the Gesäuse.

Hesshütte and the Hochtor

Hesshütte was built in 1893 and is named after the famous explorer Heinrich Hess, the first to write a guidebook about the Gesäuse and the first "tourist" to hike the Peternpfad and Wasserfallweg trails.

More tourist huts and cottages

  • Haindlkarhütte
  • Klinkehütte
  • Mödlingerhütte
  • Ardning Alm hut
  • Arzberghöhle
  • Badeanlage Wildalpen
  • Buchsteinhaus
  • Ennstalerhütte

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