The journey up to the Kaprun reservoirs is almost as spectacular as the destination Itself !
The first part of the journey starts at the Kesselfall Alpenhaus and takes you by bus on a winding road and through some tunnels to the start of the 'Lärchwand Schrägaufzug' (an inclined lift - see pictures). This lift is Europe's biggest one of this kind. The lift is like a huge 'container' where quite a lot of people can get in. The rails are put against the slope of the mountain. This slope gets quite steep at some point, with a maximum inclination up to about 80%. But still it's a smooth ride up. When you're at the top of the lift you're up to part 2 of the bus ride, again on winding roads but with fantastic views ... You'll pass the reservoir Stausee Wasserfallboden along the way.
Once you're all the way up, you're next to the reservoir Stausee Mooserboden.
There's a restaurant 'Mooserboden' here.
In front of the restaurant is a lottle playground.
UPDATE: the lift will be closed for maintenance during the summers of 2012 and 2013. The entire journey up will be done by busses, in a total travelling time of 45 minutes (one way). The lift will be available again as of summer 2014.
For the rest of the info on the reservoirs, have a look at my next tip.
This gorge makes a nice visit when in the Kaprun area.
A glacier covered the Kapruner valley about 14.000 years ago. When the glacier disappeared, it eroded the Maiskogel and the Burgkogel mountains, leaving behind a gorge for the river called the Kapruner Ache. Smooth sides and swirling water is what you can see, while the the limestone cliffs are still being further eroded today.
This gorge is now known as the Sigmund-Thunn klamm.
The gorge is up to 32 metres deep and about 320 metres long.
Part of the road is semi-paved, part is of course made with the well-known wooden stairs, typical for the gorges. At the end of the gorge you reach the Klammsee. The area around this lake is frequently visited as a picnic and resting area. There are some picnic tables and a small playground.
The Klammsee is part of the power plant Kaprun. This website gives you some more info on this power plant.
You can either return through the gorge or take a path through the woods ... we always go for option 2 ...
If you walk the klamm and return - when you reach the Klammsee dam wall - either through the forest or back through the klamm, you'll be back in about 35 minutes.
If you walk the klamm and afterwards walk the entire tour of the lake Klammsee with it's 'study trail', it'll take about 1h45 unil you're back at the entrance.
The gorge was first opened in 1893 by the build of a wooden path. In 1934 it was declared as a national monument. In 1938 the development of the gorge and the paths were pressed to the background because of the growing importance to develop the vallay as a source of hydroelectric power.
This remained until 1991, when the society VSF-Kaprun decided to re-open the gorge for tourists.
Nowadays the gorge, the path around the Klammsee and the exhibiton on hydroelectric power attrack many tourists year after year.
The words by the man this gorge thanks its name to (earl Sigmund von Thunn) can be perfectly understood after you've visited this gorge:
Tosend und mächtig eilen uns die Fluthen entgegen - Turbulent and powerful the waters rush towards us
- daily from 9.00h - 17.00h
- the gorge is closed in winter (+- end of september until mid may)
adult without guest card: 3,90 €
adult with guest card: 3,50 €
kids (6-15 y.) without guest card: 2,80 €
kids (6-15 y.) with guest card: 2,50 €
family without guest card: 9,50 €
family with guest card: 8,50 €
valid for 2 adults and their children up to 15 y.
If you have the Salzburgerlandkarte you get unlimited free access to this gorge.
The Kaprun Hochgebirgsstauseen (high mountain reservoirs) are a wonderful visit.
Since you are quite high up in the mountains (around 2.000 m), it's of course best to visit them on a day without rain ... you'll have a wonderful view over the surrounding mountains of the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern.
These 2 huge waterreservoirs and their dams provide the powerplant of water for electricity.
The first 120 metres high wall (Limbergsperre) was finished in 1951 and the operation of the powerplant was a fact. The total storage capacity of the Mooserboden and the Wasserfallboden reservoirs is about ... 2.000.000 bathubs !
Nowadays the plant is one of the major providers of Austria's electricity.
To see and do
You can walk on the wall of the dam, but there are course also a lot of marked hiking routes in the surroundings.
When crossing the dam wall, you'll reach the rocky 'Hohenburg'. When you go all the way to the top there, you'll have a spectacular view.
Below the Hohenburg there's the exhibition Erlebniswelt Strom und Eis (Electricity & Ice Adventure World) (no extra entrance fee). Here you can discover the world of a glacier and its eternal ice. There's also an interesting exhibition on the building of the reservoirs and the dams. Here you can also find a little restaurant with shop and toilets.
Inside the dam walls: you can also take a guided tour inside the walls of the Mooser dam (Mooser Sperre). The dam is 104 metres high and 494 m long. This tour takes you to the inside of the dam while a guide tells you about the history and the operation of the dam and the plant.
This tour isn't included in the ticket. You can buy the ticket for this tour at the kiosk at the Mooserboden restaurant. The tour takes about 45 minutes and leaves every 45 minutes between 10.00h and 15.15h.
ascent and descent
adults: 19,50 €
kids 6-15 y.: 12,00€ (kids up to 5 years are free of charge)
family ticket: 39,00 €
guided tour of the Mooserboden Sperre
adults: 5,50 €
kids 6-15 y.: 3,00 € (kids up to 5 years are free of charge)
Opening hours 2012
The reservoirs are open for visit fron 2 June until 14 October 2012.
Daily 8.10h – 16.45h (last ascent 15.30h)
Try to imagine 14,000 years ago when the Kaprun Valley was covered by a glacier slowly moving down the valley, carving away the hard limestone, slate and mica cliffs of the Maiskogel and Burgkogel. When the glacier melted, it left behind the deep gorge which the Kaprun Stream flowed through into the valley.
This is the Sigmund-Thun Gorge, that's in some places 32 meters deep. The force of the water has in some places smoothed rocks and etched whirlpools and deep holes into the rocks.
This is where we are going for a look at today.
FIRST, BE AWARE THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF STEPS, SO NO GOOD FOR UNFIT PEOPLE AND ONES WITH WALKING PROBLEMS!
ADMISSION IN 2012........ADULTS 3.40EU CHILDREN 2.30 EURO
THE GORGE IS CLOSED DURING WINTER
Usually open between May & September from 9 - 5pm
View from 3029 meters, highest point you can reach in Kaprun with the cable car, on the Kitzsteinhorn