Nature experience Glasenbachklamm

Prehistoric and geological trail in Elsbethen near Salzburg

As early as 1965, the first nature trail through the approximately 3 km long gorge was created.

In 1987, our Glasenbachklamm, through which the Klausbach flows, was designated as a "Protected Landscape Area" because of its beautiful rock formations, the abundance of fossils and the rich vegetation.

Since 2016, work has been done in stages to redesign this natural jewel. Rest areas, Kneipp fountains, balancing courses have been created and now the primeval times and geo show path has also been completed. This was designed in cooperation with the sculpture class of the HTL Hallein and is presented for the first time.

360° view Glasenbachklamm

Let us surprise you with everything there is to discover:

All the facts about the Glasenbachklamm:

The Glasenbachklamm gorge is not really a gorge in the original sense, but a notch valley that was formed by today's Klausbach stream after the last ice age.  The brook has cut into the subsoil piece by piece and thus exposed the view of a good 250 million years of earth history.

In 1987, the Glasenbachklamm was designated as a protected landscape area due to the particularly beautiful rock formations, the abundance of fossils, but also due to the rich vegetation. In 1965, the first nature trail through the approximately 3 km long gorge was laid out.

In the Museum zum Pulvermacher you can find a rich exhibition about the fossils from the Glasenbachklamm, an image of the so-called Elsbethner "Gypsy Cave" as well as interesting facts about powder making, which was carried out in Elsbethen until the 19th century.

The Klausbach drains the Egelseen high moor and flows into the Salzach after about 7 km. Originally, the stream was called "Glasbach", named after the Elsbethn district of Glas. Due to its use for wood drifting, it was renamed "Klausbach" in the course of time.  Klausen are weirs that dam up the stream water. Logs are placed in the dammed water and after opening the cloister they are washed down the stream with the water. The logs were intercepted in the area of today's rake inn with the help of a wooden rake and transported further with horse-drawn carts. Most of the wood was taken to the salt works in Hallein, where it was used to fire the brew pans.

Until 1954, the Klausbach was also used for energy production. The first mill that stood on the Klausbach was the so-called Höllmühle around the year 1300. At that time, narrow, dark ravines were called hell. A ball mill built in 1792 produced about 40,000 balls a year, which were used as ballast for shipping. From the 16th century, a factory canal was diverted from the Klausbach, the so-called Pulvermühlbach. It fed with its water power a flour mill, a blacksmith's shop, a sawmill and 6 powder mills. In front of the Rechenwirt, the mill canal was discharged into the Klausbach again.

The Glasenbachklamm is part of the Osterhorn group, which also includes the Gaisberg, for example. It is thus still part of the limestone Alps; to the north, the gentle hills of the flysch zone adjoin it. The rocks found in the gorge are sedimentary rocks. This means that they were deposited in lakes and seas over millions of years and were rearranged by continental drift, erosion or, for example, seaquakes. Therefore, in the Glasenbachklamm, a wide variety of rock layers lie next to and on top of each other. Geology tries to explain the formation of today's landscape by observing the dynamics of today's landscape formation and thus drawing conclusions about past events.

The geological nature trail tells about the rocks that can be found along the trail. In addition, a geological nature guide was published, which can be purchased at the local museum in Elsbethen.

Early on, man has used the gorge and its natural resources for himself. In the so-called "gypsy cave", which was inhabited by the Stone Age people, arrowheads, knife blades, chisels and scrapers were found, which were worked from radiolarite. Radiolarite is a very hard, brittle rock found in the gorge.

The Lettenbach got its name from the whitish turbid water (the "Letten") that it carries. The turbidity comes from the marl into which the stream cuts piece by piece. The marl is a clayey rock consisting of clay and lime. In the past it was used, for example, for the construction of stoves.

The Glasenbachklamm was also for a long time the most important connecting route between Elsbethen and the villages of Schwaitl, Hinterwinkel and Ebenau. Today's Schwaitl Landesstraße was first built in 1959 as a goods road and later upgraded to a state road. If you wanted to go down into the valley, you had to use the road through the gorge. This was particularly difficult in winter and sometimes not possible at all. Namely, when a flood had washed away one of the many bridges.

Today, the Glasenbachklamm is a popular recreation area for bathers, walkers or hikers.

In the gorge, very special conditions prevail for the flora and fauna: due to the high walls and the orientation from east to west, comparatively little sunlight reaches the gorge during the course of the year. In addition, there is high humidity, which is also caused by the Klausbach stream. Under such conditions, so-called slope and gorge forests form with typical tree species such as sycamore and Norway maple, ash, alder or mountain elm. At the foot of the slope, the very dense vegetation is noticeable, indicating a good nutrient supply. Typical for such sites are stinging nettles, burdock, blackberries, cabbage thistle or touch-me-not. About one third of the ferns found in Austria are also found in the gorge. They inhabit the rock crevices, trees or the ground. For example, the deer's tongue fern occurs as a protected fern species.

A very special plant can also be found in the gorge, namely the wolfsbane. Its real name is "yellow wolfsbane" because its flowers are yellow in color. It is one of the most poisonous plants found in Austria. In the past, its root was used to boil a decoction in which meat bait was soaked to kill the wolf.

For wildlife, the Glasenbachklamm offers a variety of habitats: Birds, mammals, fish and a variety of insects feel at home here. While walking, you can observe the dipper diving into the water and searching for insect larvae under the stones. In the brook you can also see brown trout, which are resting in the water. Close above the water flies the yellow colored wagtail through the stream bed. If it is still very humid in the morning, you can observe the fire salamander, which leisurely walks its way, while in the forest above deer or sometimes even a chamois can be seen. Especially at night foxes, marten and badgers are active.