Canyoning in the Auerklamm gorge, Ötztal Valley, © Area47
Canyoning in the Auerklamm gorge, Ötztal Valley, © Area47

Canyoning in Tirol

Thundering waterfalls, strong currents, huge rocks blocking your path. No way through? Think again! Tirol is the perfect place to try the exciting sport of canyoning, where particpants must slip, slide and jump their way through some of the region's most beautiful watercourses.

Canyoning is the perfect summer adventure. It usually involves a variety of activities including abseiling through waterfalls, jumping into rock pools, sliding down water chutes, swimming, wading, scrambling and sometimes even diving.

Tirol has many outdoor centres offering canyoning courses for all abilities, from total novices to experienced experts. Popular areas include the Ötztal Valley and the western section of the Inn Valley around the town of Imst. As well as the fun factor and the adrenaline kick, canyoning is a great way to build team spirit and strengthen trust betweem members of a group.

Experienced guides lead each group and provide all the necessary equipment. This includes a wetsuit, helmet and climbing harness. Most canyoning activities are open to everyone with a decent level of fitness. However, participants must be sure-footed, have a good head for heights and be able to swim.

1 · Auerklamm & Rosenklamm: Austria's Most Well-Known Canyoning Area

"Acapulco Hotline" canyoning adventure in the Ötztal Valley, © Area47

The Auerklamm is a gorge near Taxegg, close to the entrance to the Ötztal Valley, which is widely considered Austria's most well-known canyoning area. As soon as you arrive there you will soon see why! Slides of up to 18 metres in length, 40-metre-long abseiling sections and a 16-metre jump into the water await those with a head for heights and strong nerves. This area is rated intermediate to difficult, so participants should have previous experience of canyoning. Nevertheless, there are a selecte few adventures in this gorge open to novices with a good level of physical fitness. The nearby Alpenrosenklamm gorge is a little less wild but just as beautiful. It also offers lots of rock pools, waterfalls and slides. This area is considered more suitable for beginners.

2 · Rosengarten Gorge: Canyoning Adventures for All Abilities

Rosengarten Gorge in Imst, © Imst Tourismus

The Rosengarten gorge near Imst, including the Schinderbach river and the Blue Grotto, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful canyoning areas in Tirol with its easy climbing sections, small slides and jumps into deep rock pools. Easier than many other canyoning areas, the lower section is ideal for families with children wishing to try out this fun and exciting sport. The upper section of the gorge, on the other hand, is more challenging. It includes abseiling sections of up to 45 metres. Canyoning adventures last anywhere up to four hours.

3 · Lech Valley: Wildwater Adventures in a Nature Park

Lechtal Valley, © Peter Neusser

Of the many rushing rivers cascading down through the Lech Valley, some have carved a path through the rocks to create gorges ideal for the sport of canyoning. The most popular canyoning rivers here in the far west of Tirol are the Sulzbach near Stockach, the Hölltal in Elmen and the Roßgumpenbach in Holzgau. Those with nerves of steel can look forward to 20-metre-high abseiling sections, jumps into deep rock pools and cold waterfall showers. An unforgettable experience! The area offers adventures for all ages and abilities, from novices to experts.

4 · Tiroler Ache: Canyoning for All Ages

© Tirol Werbung / Bernd Uhlig

Abseiling next to waterfalls, swimming across rock pools and jumping into plunge pools. The Tiroler Ache in the Kaiserwinkl region of Tirol is a haven for canyoning enthusiasts. Families with children of all ages will find plenty of options here.

5 · Frauenbach: Turquoise Pools & High Jumps

© Sam Strauss Fotografie

This area is not for the faint-hearted! Accessible via a long series of steps cut into the rock, the Frauenbach gorge near Lavant in East Tirol is only for experienced  canyoners. It features 26 abseiling sections and jumps of up to eight metres into  shimmering turquoise plunge pools. All in all the canyoning section in this gorge is 1,100 metres in length with almost no walking. The best comes last in the form of two abseiling passages parallel to 30-metre-high waterfalls. The canyon has two emergency exit points along the way. Access to it is closed during times when the Austrian Army is carrying out live shooting exercises in the nearby military training area (for more information call +43 4852 6695545).

6 · Zemmschlucht: Whirlpools and Whitewater in the Blue Lagoon

Canyoning in the Zillertal Valley, © Zillertal Tourismus / Christoph Johann

Strong nerves are required for the ten-metre jump into the "Big Bath", the nickname given to one of the largest natural rockpools in the Zemmschlucht canyon. It is this most challenging part of an otherwise relatively easy route through the Blue Lagoon in the Zillertal Valley. It takes its name from the shimmering blue plunge pools dotted throughout the canyon. Great fun for all those who love slipping, sliding and swimming!

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