Magnificent mountains and dramatic rock faces dominate the landscape of the Gesäuse. The limestone peaks rising to over 2,300 m are an important characteristic of the National Park, which is dominated by rock and stone. The landscape is dominated by two impressive massifs, which are separated by the River Enns: the Buchsteinstock to the north of the river and the Hochtor Range to the south. The Johnsbach stream separates the latter from the Reichenstein Range, which also forms part of the National Park.
An important feature of the Gesäuse National Park, and one that sets it apart from all other national parks in Austria, are its rugged limestone peaks that rise up to over 2,300 metres. The Hochtor Group and the Buchstein Massif, which are separated by the River Enns, are among the most prominent and impressive peaks in the Gesäuse and are home to a multitude of flora and fauna.
The steepness of the mountains in the Gesäuse National Park and the relatively rapid weathering of the limestone, and in particular of the dolomite, result in a very high dynamic in the areas surrounding the numerous ravines. After heavy rainfall, large amounts of material are washed down towards the valley.
Avalanches count as one of the most landscape-shaping natural processes in mountain regions and there are clear examples to be seen here in the Gesäuse. These gravitational processes are triggered by the spontaneous, sudden shift of larger amounts of snow on a steep slope. Avalanches are usually categorised according to the type of fracture line, i.e. slab avalanche (well-defined fracture line) and loose snow avalanche (irregular fracture line), or according to the form of movement (flowing snow avalanche and powder avalanche).