Hittisau, Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg.
no restrictions, be careful in winter.
|Dimension:||L=565 m, VR=15 m, A=753-768 m asl.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Engenlochschlucht, Tourismusbüro Hittisau, Platz 370, 6952 Hittisau, Tel: +43-5513-6209-50, Fax: +43-5513-6209-35. 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.
|1905||first natural bath created, path constructed.|
The Engenlochschlucht is a nice gorge cut by the river Bolgenach into the Nagelfluh. Nagelfluh is the local name for conglomerate, which is a clastic sedimentary rock formed by the cementation of rounded to subangular gravel-size clasts. In other words, rounded pebbles are deposited somewhere, and groundwater percolating through the gaps deposited minerals which glued the pebbles together. This process is called consolidation and lithification. This rock looks like a sort of natural concrete. The Nagelfluh forms a sort of band along the northern edge of the Alps and was formed during the ice age. Crystalline rocks, limestones, and sandstones from the Alps were transported to the foot of the mountains by the glaciers and deposited where the glaciers melted. You might call them a moraine. Those pebbles were converted into conglomerate by limestone from the surrounding limestone mountains which was dissolved in the water. In other words the Nagelfluh is quite young, less than 2 Million years old.
The gorge is younger and was formed by the melting water from the glaciers at the end of the last cold age and the begin of the current intermediate age. So it was actually formed only about 10,000 years ago. For a few thousand years enormous amounts of water rushed through the gorge and deepened it quite fast. That's actually the reason why it is so narrow, if the water has more time it eats away at the sides and widens the gorge. And this is what will happen in the future, the gorge will widen and become a normal valley.
And one comment about the name of the river, which is called Bolgenach or better Bolgen-Ach. All rivers in the area are named Ach, which is quite confusing. It seems the locals were not very creative when they named the rivers. Fortunately that's not as confusing as it could be, because they always added a sort of adjective to the name. Often those rivers are named after colours or important cities at the shores, for example the Ach flowing through Bregenz is called Bregenzer Ach. The Bolgenach is a 30 km long left tributary of the Weißach (Weiß-Ach or white ach) which springs at the western summit of the Besler called Schafkopf in Germany. It crosses the border to Austria, flows into the Weißach and finally into the Rhine.
The gorge is part of the Hittisauer Wasser-Wanderweg (Water Trail Hittisau) which has explanatory signs about water use. Beneath the Engenlochschlucht gorge there is another one nearby which is called Kommaschlucht or Kummaschlucht. The trail also has numerous historic wooden bridges, the Kommabrücke was first mentioned in 1514 but was rebuilt in 1720. Nearby is the Gießenbrücke from 1792 and the Liessenbachbrücke from 1855, which is also known as Branderaubrücke or Branderauerbrücke. All those bridges are covered bridges, which means they have a roof and walls, which are primarily intended for the protection of the wood. The bridges were built for use with horse drawn wagons, and are stable enough to allow modern cars. The maximum weight given by the road sign at the bridge is 7.5 tons.