Water, woodland, pasture and rock are the formative elements of the Gesäuse National Park. They have been incorporated into the National Park's logo in the form of blue, green and grey stripes because of their special significance in the landscape.
Starting down in the valley of the 'blue' Enns, as the hiker strides on through the altitudes, he reaches the zone of the 'green' woods and pastures, stretching on upwards to the region of the alpine meadows, which are encircled by the 'grey' ring of towering Dachstein limestone rocks.
The Gesäuse is largely composed of limestone and dolomite rock from the primordial ocean. Ice age glaciers shaped the landscape, giving the national park its current form. Even today, the geological history is clear to see for anyone hiking or climbing in the area.
Like the whole of western and northern Austria, the Gesäuse is influenced by a mild and damp central European/oceanic climate. It is characterised by prevailing westerly winds that bring fronts of heavy rain from the Atlantic Ocean.
In the realm of rock and stone we find ourselves in the border zone of life for both animals and plants. Only specialists and well adjusted 'survival artists' can exist here. They colonise rock crevices and scree in the Hochtor Group and on the Buchstein or migrate down into the valley along rocky gullies.
The woodlands in the Gesäuse National Park are characterised by their diversity. The remarkable differences of altitude and the steepness of the terrain have also helped to preserve their natural condition. Between the floor of the Enns valley and the peak regions there is an altitude difference of almost 1800 meters.
Rivers and Lakes
The Enns forms the delicate backbone of the Gesäuse National Park. It rises in the province of Salzburg (Radstätter Tauern at the foot of the Kraxenkogel, 1,735 m) and collects water along a length of 254 km in a catchment area of 6.080 km². Between its source and its estuary on the Danube River, the Enns transcends a drop in altitude of 1,497 m.