Sigmund Thun Gorge
After our day exploring Hallstatt, we decided to head towards Innsbruck, stopping somewhere in the middle of the drive for the night. I left the planning up to Shane for the day, and he found this amazing gorge. When he initially showed me it, I’ve got to say, I wasn’t overly impressed by it, but we headed over anyway as we didn’t find anything better to do haha!
It actually took me by surprise – we had a great afternoon and it was SO much more interesting than I thought it would be, so if you’re ever in the Zell Am See area (during summer), you’ll have to give this place a little explore! Though it’s only a small attraction, you can easily spend an hour or two there if you incorporate it with a walk around the lake.
At over 30 metres deep and only 320 metres long, there’s a lot to see in such a small area. The Kaprun Ache river flows through the Sigmund Thun gorge which was created over thousands of years by the melting of the glacier that once stood there, cutting through the solid rocks, shaping them into smooth (and rough) surfaces, little pools and plenty of waterfalls. Entry starts at the powerplant and costs €6pp entry (or it’s free if you have the Zell am See – Kaprun Card). You start by crossing a bridge, and then the boardwalk starts, leading you up and through the gorge.
It’s crazy to think that even back in the 1800’s this was a huge tourist attraction in the area! In 1890, a road was created from Zell am See to the Mooserboden – a reservoir high up in the mountains, and in 1893, the first boardwalks were created through the Sigmund Thun gorge for tourists to explore. In 1938, the boardwalk through the gorge was closed down as use of the area for hydropower was more important. Luckily, in the early 1990’s, the boardwalks were recreated and tourism through the gorge could continue again.
During the summer, on some evenings they have walks through the gorge where they light it up in an amazing colourshow. You can see more info about visiting the gorge here. Sigmund Thun Gorge is open Mid-May to Mid-October each year from 8.30am-5pm (7pm in July + August).
The Sigmund Thun gorge is a one way route, which takes you from the entry point, along the boardwalk and then out to the wall of the dam for the river which has created a small lake. The walk through the gorge takes roughly 30 minutes if you’re stopping to take photos. At the exit point, you can either take the circular path back to the carpark, or you can continue the walk around Klammsee Lake which is only 1.8km long, and then head back to the carpark so it’s well worth it if you have time.
The walk around the lake is fairly flat, though you do come across some stairs towards the dam on each side, but it’s easily accessible for a pushchair and small kids too. The water was the most amazing blue green turquoise we’ve seen – and with the leaves just starting to turn for autumn, it created a lovely contrast. Sadly, you can’t swim in the lake (though I’m not sure you’d really want to – it was freezing), but you can dip your feet in the river. There’s also a restaurant there at the far end, and another carpark if you only want to visit the lake. All parking is free.