From St Johann im Pongau follow 311 20 km to Taxenbach, turn left first possibility. From Zell am See follow 311 16 km to Taxenbach, turn right after Shell gas station. 1 km to the parking lot, signposted.
22-MAY to SEP daily 8-18.
OCT to 26-OCT daily 9-16.
Adults EUR 8, Children (6-15) EUR 5.50, Children (0-5) free.
Gästekarte or Familienpass: Adults EUR 7, Children (6-15) EUR 5, Children (0-5) free.
Salzburgerland Card or Hohe Tauern Card: free.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 7, Children (6-15) EUR 5.
|Dimension:||L=1,500 m, VR=100 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Kitzlochklamm, Kitzlochklamm-Straße 15 a, 5660 Taxenbach, Tel: +43-6543-5219, Tel: +43-6543-5252. 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.
|1553||mine tunnel dug by miners in search of gold.|
|1833||gorge developed with a trail by k.k. Pfleger Johann Zehentner.|
|1877||path was improved and extended through the entire gorge by Anton Embach.|
|1903||Flusskraftwerk Kitzloch put into operation.|
|1904||Flusskraftwerk Kitzloch extended.|
|1954||Flusskraftwerk Kitzloch modernized.|
|29-JUL-1974||tragic accident and gorge closed.|
|1976||reopened with newly built bridges and trails.|
The Kitzlochklamm is formed by the Rauriser Ache, a tributary of the Salzach. It was named after the young goats (Kitz in Austrian) which were hiding from the sun in the cool gorge during summer. The narrow canyon is crossed on an elevated trail which was cut into the vertical walls or fixed at the wall like a balcony. It is high above the ravine, above the frequent floods. There are also several bridges, historic wooden bridges and a modern steel bridge.
A mine tunnel in the gorge was dug by miners in 1553 in search of gold. It was not successful, so it was soon abandoned. It is called Ritzstollen, ritzen means to scratch, it was a search tunnel.
In 1833 the gorge was made accessible by a trail, by the k.k. Pfleger Johann Zehentner. The title k.k. Pfleger needs some explanations, k.k. is the shortcut for königlich-kaiserlich and is a synonym for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Pfleger is the German word for carer, in this case it is the title of a senior official. During the construction of the path through the gorge, iron tools of Roman origin were found. Its unclear if they actually entered the gorge, or if they were washed into the gorge from above.
In 1877 the path was improved and extended through the entire gorge by Anton Embach. He started with the construction at the right bank of the Rauriser Ache, where it flows into the Salzach. The first section to the gorge was horizontal, to the beginning of the gorge. Then the trail went up to the middle of the cliff face and followed the gorge. This section was called Hohe Embacher Stiege, because it was high above the water and built by Anton Embach. In the next year the upper section was replaced by a new trail in serpentines, making access to the Tropfsteingrotte (stalactite grotto) much easier. From this cave the path follows the gorge and out on the other side. The Embacher Schreckbrücke (Embacher bridge of fear) was constructed to allow a view on the imposing waterfalls. Soon the gorge became quite famous and was visited by tens of thousands of visitors.
Today there is a hydroelectric power plant named Flusskraftwerk Kitzloch at the lower end of the gorge. It was constructed around 1900, inaugurated in 1903 and extended in 1904. It is located on the opposite side of the river of the parking lot. There are two pipelines bringing water from above, one starts at the upper end of the gorge and the other higher up on the mountain. The pipelines are mostly in tunnels. The power plant was built by the Aluminium-Industrie-Aktiengesellschaft Neuhausen from Switzerland. It was built to provide electricity for the only aluminium smelter in Austria in nearby Lend. The power plant is operated by the Achen Kraftwerke AG in Lend. It produces 90 Million kWh per year.
On the upper end of the gorge there are several small caves. One is called the Tropfsteingrotte (stalactite grotto) and is located right at the trail. Despite the dramatic name it is only a small grotto. After the serpentine section a trail branches off to the left, which leads to another cave, which is called Einsiedelei (hermitage). Despite the name there is actually no known history with a hermit, its just the name of the small cave. After this cave the trail goes through the 30 m long Ritzstollen, and then to an outlook named Embacher Rast. This little diversions is very rewarding, but it is helpful to have a torch with you for the tunnel.
In July 1974 there was a tragic accident in the Kitzlochklamm and the gorge was closed. At the instigation of the teacher accompanying them, a group of 30 German schoolgirls had gathered on one of the footbridges for a souvenir photo. It collapsed under the weight and took the whole group - except the teacher - down with it. The Taxenbach rescue workers, including the then district physician Dr. Harald Matter, went into the torrent to rescue the children. Eight girls died, many others were heavily injured. Later several court cases lead to the sentence of the teacher and the district administration expert who was responsible for the safety control of the bridge. It seems the bridge should not have collapsed at that weight, but actually there were rules about how many people were allowed on the bridge, which were ignored by the teacher. During the next two years the trails were renovated and made safer. As a consequence of the accident the safety standards in all gorges in the province of Salzburg were generally raised. In 1976 it was reopened with new bridges and trails.
The gorge is normally crossed without guides. On certain times guided tours with a typical local snack afterwards are offered. During July and August every Tuesday evening a so-called Lichtwanderung is offered. The gorge is visited in the evening, and it is lighted by LED lights. Another event is the Fackelwanderung where every visitor gets a real, burning torch and the guides tell local legends and mysteries. And there is a via ferrata in the gorge, high above the trail, which may be used self-guided or with a guide. However, no matter if you attend a tour or go on your own, you have to wear helmets which are provided at the ticket office.