The Salzachöfen (Salzach gorge) in Golling is located in the middle of the Tennengau, at the junction between the Tennen and Hagen mountains. Only a few steps away from the historical Pass Lueg (this pass used to be one of the most important alpine transit routes), an almost 2 kilometer long and very imposing gorge reveals itself. A real spectacle of nature where you can experience the unbridled power of water.
The Salzachöfen in the Salzburgerland are considered an insider tip among the Austrian gorges. The gorge, which can be up to an incredible 90 meters deep, is only a few meters wide at its narrowest point. The Salzach gorge was formed within the last 10,000 years since the last ice age by the mountain river Salzach digging itself further and further into the calcareous rock.
As early as the 19th century, the Salzachöfen were opened up for tourism with elaborate paths and climbs, and even today the gorge is well visited. Although not nearly as much as other gorges in Salzburger region.
The path to the gorge is quite good to walk, but still unsuitable for people with limited mobility, strollers or flip-flops. You should already wear good walking shoes and also a flashlight can be very helpful – especially if you are on the road in the late afternoon. Especially if you want to go into the dark cathedral. But more about that later.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
The Salzachöfen Gorge – Our experiences
From the top of the pass at 552 meters above zero, we go directly pass the Hotel Pass Lueg* and pay at the ticket booth the entrance fee (3€ per person) and then go directly down a rather steep, but well secured stairs into the gorge. After walking a few hundred meters through the beautiful mixed forest and the path becomes slower and more impassable we reach a special viewing platform.
Here, a platform about 5 meters long was built directly above the Salzach gorge from which you can see very well the course of the Salzach to the south. The deeper we descend into the gorge, the louder the sound of the river below us. Huge boulders in the rock walls next to us testify to the violence of the water. We come to the place where fallen boulders cover the Salzach river, forming the “Dom” in the Salzach gorge.
The dome is virtually a small cave formed by the boulders, but you can also descend into it. But before that you have to cross the river over a narrow bridge to get to the other side of the Salzachöfen. Here we have another great view of the gorge below us.
Immediately after that we turn into the so-called Dom. The path becomes increasingly narrow, slippery and also much darker. We go down deeper and deeper and you almost have to squeeze between the rocks to get further. At the end we find ourselves on a small balcony in the middle of the Salzachöfen under a huge dome of stone. Below us is the roaring Salzach, which at this point is rushing through the gorge at breakneck speed.
You can’t imagine that sometimes even canoeists pass through here on daredevil tours. I would never do that, says Sabrina. And I silently agree with her when I look at this only a few meters wide, but very rapid river from above. A truly impressive natural spectacle. There is no similarly large river in all of Austria that has to struggle through such a narrow gorge. Totally impressed we start the arduous way back up to the hotel. But it will not have been our last visit to this special gorge.
Salzachöfen: Arrival | Parking
Getting to the Salzachöfen adventure gorge in Salzburger Land is very easy. Because the gorge is located right next to the beautiful Hotel Pass Lueg, whose parking lot you can then also use if you want to hike to the gorge. Here is the exact location on Google Maps.
If you drive from Golling on the main road 159 in a southerly direction, then shortly before the tunnel at Pass Lueg, there is a small turnoff that leads to the left up to the hotel and also to the Salzachklamm gorge. Right next to the hotel you can park your car and walk the few meters to the ticket office.
Salzachöfen: Opening Hours | Entrance Fee
The Salzachöfen are actually open 24 hours a day, but the official opening hours are from 09:00 – 17:00. At these times, the ticket booth is also manned, where you have to pay the 3 Euro entrance fee. But since there is no entrance gate or fence that would close off the area, you can also visit the gorge outside opening hours. You should come back the next day and pay the small entrance fee, so that the paths can be maintained.
Hotel Recommendation at the Salzachöfen in Golling
We had originally planned to stay only 3 nights at the Hotel Pass Lueg*, but it turned out to be 5. We just felt right at home in this small, family-run guesthouse. The hotel is located directly in the mountains and is the starting point for various hikes. Also, the entrance to the gorge of the Salzachöfen is right next door. While you can strengthen yourself in the morning with a delicious breakfast with many homemade treats, you can relax after the hikes in the free wellness area in the sauna or steam sauna.
The cozy Hotel Pass Lueg at Booking*
The Flying Fox in the Salzachöfen Gorge
You want to add another unforgettable adventure on top? Then you can also take advantage of the Flying Fox, which runs right through the middle of the Salzachöfen Gorge. Flying Fox is a wire rope several hundred meters long that is stretched through the entire gorge, just a few meters above the water surface. You are attached to it in a kind of sling and then race at breakneck speed to the bridge several hundred meters away, where you will have solid ground under your feet again.
This can also be called ziplining. Unfortunately, we didn’t try this in the Salzachöfen due to lack of time, but we have done something like this before in Croatia and had a lot of fun. If you want to do such a ziplining tour, you can check out the following website: www.erlebnisschlucht.at/home/