The Ötztal Nature Park comprises all environmentally protected areas in the southern Ötztal Valley. The protected area stretches from the valley floor up to high Alpine glacier regions. The mountain villages of Vent - cradle of the Alpine Association, and Obergurgl - Tirol's highest parish make a perfect base for mountain exploration. Covering some 500 square kilometers, the Ötztal Nature Park is Austria's third largest Nature Park with the biggest number of glaciers, 171 to be precise.
Its highest point is Ötztal's Wildspitze peak at 3768 m above sea level, 114 other summits are higher than 3000 meters. Many almost untouched, high Alpine regions were already used as cattle grazing and hunting grounds after the last Ice Ages about 10,000 years ago. This highly interesting fact was proven by the finding of Ötzi, the world famous glacier mummy, close to Tisenjoch saddle in the Italian Tyrol. The giant 100 km long high Alpine hiking trail network travels towards lush pasturelands, flower-strewn Alpine meadows, ancient stone pine forests, rushing mountain brooks and mighty ravines. Among the undisputed highlights for nature enthusiasts rank the Stone Pine Forest of Obergurgl, the mighty Vernagtferner Glacier near Vent or the pristine Horlachtal Valley close to Niederthai.
The 5 main aims of the ÖTZTAL NATURE PARK are to protect nature, preserve unspoilt landscapes, increase recreational values and promote scientific and cultural research in the whole region.
- Officially protected area since 19 Sep 2006
- Size: 510 km²
- Tirol's second largest Nature Park
- Austria's third largest Nature Park
- 95 km² glacier-covered terrain
- 67 glaciers
- 100 km of high Alpine hiking trails
- 6 theme walking routes
- 152 mountains higher than 3000 meters
- 48 mountain huts and pasture inns
- Tirol's biggest waterfall