Between Bruck an der Mur and Graz. 90 minutes walk to the entrance of the gorge.
MAY to OCT daily 7:30-16.
Closed during bad weather conditions.
Adults EUR 5, Children (6-16) EUR 3.50.
ÖAV Members: Adults EUR 4, Children (6-16) EUR 1.50.
Groups (30+): Adults EUR 2.60, School Pupils EUR 2.
Bärenschützklamm, ÖAV - Mixnitz, Grazerstraße 10, A-8131 Mixnitz, Tel: +43-664-1009408, Fax: +43-3867-20097.
Tourismusverband Pernegg - Mixnitz - Bärenschützklamm, Kirchdorf 16, 8132 Kirchdorf, Tel: 03867-804411, Fax: 03867-80444. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1901||first developed by the Grazer Alpenclub.|
|1948||Grazer Alpenclub united with Österreichischer Alpenverein (Austrian Alpine Club, ÖAV), gorge now maintained by the ÖAV Sektion Mixnitz.|
|1978||declared a Natural Monument.|
|1997||massive destruction during a storm and reconstruction.|
|2020||closed for reconstruction due to a rockfall.|
|2021||Naturwelten Steiermark opened to the public.|
The Bärenschützklamm is probably the most impressive and the best developed gorge in the Steiermark (Styria). It was cut into 400 Ma old limestone and has 200 m to 300 m high vertical walls by the Mixnitzbach, which flows down from the Teichalm, a high pasture at about 1200 m asl to the Mur river at 450 m asl. The trail starts at the town Mixnitz, at the parking lot Bärenschützklamm and follows the Erzherzog Johann Lehrwanderweg. This trail is dedicated to Erzherzog Johann (*1782-✝1859), the brother of Emperor Franz I.. For half a century he was quite important for the Duchy of Styria, he was a promoter and moderniser of industry, agriculture and railways, as well as culture and education. After one hour ascent on the educational trail the entrance of the gorge at the Hans-Kerl-Hütte is reached.
The main section of the gorge is developed with 109 wooden bridges and 51 wooden ladders with 2,500 steps between Hans-Kerl-Hütte (750 m asl) and the Almgasthaus Guter Hirte (1,100 m asl). The walk through the gorge takes 1.5 hours, so the total is about 2.5 hours. Even if its faster going downhill, one should plan 5 hours for the whole trip. On the way down you can go through the gorge again or take the nearby Prügelweg. Many visitors decide to make a day tour and climb one of the peaks above the gorge, for example the Hochlantsch (1,720 m asl). While there is a fee for children six years and older, and there are actually no age restrictions, the experienced mountaineers of the ÖAV recommend a minimum age of eight.
The area is karstified and shows karst springs, caves, lapies and stone forrests. The lapies are called Karren in Austria, actually this old scientific term is of Austrian origin. The river bed has numerous dolly tubs. The gorge is also a refuge for numerous plants and animals. During the last Ice Age the area was home to cold loving plants and animals, but after the Ice Age the climate warmed substantially, and warmth-loving species migrated from the south and southeast into the area. The gorge is rather cool, the high wall does not allow much sunlight into the gorge, and as a result, both kinds often grow right next to each other in the Bärenschützklamm.
The gorge is like all gorges always subject to rockfalls and flooding during storms or snow melt. Normally the gorge is closed at such events and nobody is harmed. A rockfall happened in 1997 during a storm and reconstruction took a year. In 2001 the centenary was celebrated. Despite the long walk the gorge is quite popular, and in 2019 the high number of busses and the resulting numbers of visitors resulted in concerns about safety. If something happens inside the gorge, it takes some time for the Bergwacht (mountain rescue) to reach the site of the accident. And in Juli 2020 such an accident actually happened. Around noon a part of the gorge wall collapsed, created a rockfall, right at a popular photo spot. Two women and a man died and nine other people were injured, some seriously. Nearly 100 staff and a helicopter were involved in the rescue.
The accident caused the immediate closure of the gorge which is currently closed . The cause was investigated by the public prosecutor, who discontinued the investigation due to the existence of an "unavoidable natural event". The Alpine Club Section Mixnitz then developed a safety concept based on climbing and drone photo flights. It includes the relocation of sections of the path and four protective grids above the path. This concept was also discussed with the landowners and the regional geologist and submitted to the municipality of Pernegg in summer 2021. The construction costs are estimated at € 650,000. The gorge was maintained by the Alpine Club with voluntary work, the entrance fees only covered the ongoing maintenance of the paths. So the financing of the works cannot be done by the non-profit Alpenverein. So far no institution has provided the funds. "If the effort and liability for us volunteers becomes too high, you have to consider whether you still do it" the head of the executive board of the Alpine Club Section Mixnitz, Gerhard Jantscher, said in an interview. As soon as the money is available, works are carried out and the gorge will be reopened in the following year. However, in the worst case, if no funding is found the gorge will remain closed. And after all, such gorges are definitely not profitable as a venue.
The area around the gorge has numerous other nature related sites. The oldest and most well known is the Drachenhöhle (Dragon Cave) which is only 1 km from Mixnitz. The newest is the Naturwelten Steiermark (Nature World Styria), a modern museum which was opened in 2021. It has 2.5 ha outdoor area and 1100 m² exhibition space and shows local natural history, forest and hunting. The last topic seems a bit off, but hunters in Austria see themselves as stewards of the game population and corresponding training and examinations are required by law. The museum was actually financed by the Steirische Jägerschaft (Styrian Hunters' Association). It also contains an indoor climbing hall which is operated by the ÖAV.