8132 Pernegg an der Mur
Gaze down the torrents on an exciting trip to Bärenschützklamm gorge. Past roaring waterfalls, bizarre rock formations, rare flora and fauna, the route surges on through one of the longest active gorges in Austria. The exciting ascent involves 164 wooden bridges and ladders along 1300 metres. This involves conquering 350 metres of altitude and, with the aid of illustrative wayside presentation boards, offers the opportunity to get to know about the exhilarating gorge’s fascinating vegetation.
As for its geological composition, the Bärenschützklamm consists of limestone, dolomites and conglomerates that were formed around 400 million years ago and were subsequently pushed up with the Alps. The swirling waters of the Mixnitzbach stream have gradually eroded the limestone so that today the valley is dominated by sheer vertical walls rising up to 300 metres. In the middle section of the gorge, the Great Waterfall plunges down to the depth of nearly 50 metres. Broad-leaved lindens grow out of crevices; some plants have survived the last ice age, e.g. the Yellow Monkshood or the Styrian Pasque Flower with its blue hairy bell. Trail No. 745 through the Bärenschützklamm gorge is also an informative nature trail on the flora and fauna of the area. The trail starts at the restaurant "Gasthof zum Bärenschütz" near Mixnitz. After about an hour's ascent through a forest you will reach the entrance to the gorge. Previously, only experienced climbers were able to tackle the climb. In 1901, some members of the Graz Alpine Club erected a wooden path making the natural wonders of the gorge accessible to the wider public. It is worth noting though that climbing ladders for about one hour is fairly demanding, both with regard to fitness and to concentration. However, you are duly rewarded by the most wonderful natural surroundings and a restorative hearty meal at the "Gasthaus zum Guten Hirten" which you can reach within 20 minutes of leaving the gorge. Through forests and meadows, the "Prügelweg" trail then leads back to the entrance of the Bärenschützklamm.
The greatest respect must go to those who put themselves at risk whilst installing the trail through the Bärenschützklamm gorge and to those who over the years have repaired and maintained it, particularly after repeated and often disastrous floods (the last one in 1997) to ensure the safety of the visitors.
By the way:
To this day it remains unclear just where the name of the gorge "Bärenschützklamm" comes from. It is more likely to derive from a Slavic word rather than from the German literal translation "bear hunter". Surprisingly, though, there is a complete absence of any legend surrounding the name ...
The walk in total (Gasthaus zur Bärenschützklamm - gorge - Gasthaus "Guter Hirte" - Prügelweg - Gasthaus zur Bärenschützklamm) takes approx. 4.5 hours.
Sturdy shoes highly recommended!