Sigmund Thun Gorge
Excursion destination with the power of water
Over 30 metres deep and 320 metres long cuts the Kaprun Ache its way through the Kaprun Valley. And cutting is really the right term here. Relentlessly forces the Kaprun Ache its way from the glaciers high above the Kaprun Valley toward the valley. Steep drops and altitude metres accelerate the speed and release the pure force of the water. Nothing will stop this force, neither rock nor stone. It is this force with which the Kaprun Ache has shaped the Sigmund Thun Gorge just outside the town of Kaprun. The stream has cut the gorge into the rocks, shaped distinctive smooth sections and created potholes and scours. This process continues to this day and documents the latest period of the Kaprun Valley's history of origins.
"Roaring and powerful rushes the torrent toward us"
This is what Count Sigmund von Thun, a historically important governor of Salzburg, said originally. The sight of the gorge made him say these words, and he was right. The mass of water in the Sigmund Thun Gorge reaches powerful dimensions especially during the thawing period in spring. A fabulous water world opens its gates to visitors, families and fans of real natural spectacles once the winter closure of the gorge is over. You explore the gorge and immerse yourself in the history of origins of this natural spectacle on specially created boardwalks and bridges. Around 14.000 years ago, the Kaprun Valley was covered by a mighty glacier. Moving slowly down toward the valley, the glacier worked the hard limestone rocks of the Maiskogel and the Bürgkogel. As the glacier melted it left a valley cut through which the Kaprun Ache run down toward the valley while shaping today's Sigmund Thun Gorge.
The development of the gorge
In 1890, the Kaprun pioneer Nikolaus Gaßner was commissioned with the development of a roadway from Zell am See to the Mooserboden high above Kaprun. This is when the touristic development of the Kaprun Valley began. Thanks to its impressive valley tiers, the valley has become one of the most popular Tauern Valleys in the Pinzgau District. In 1893, the gorge was made accessible by a system of boardwalks according to plans by Nikolaus Gaßner and became an attraction under the name it is known today. The gorge was named after the Salzburg governor Sigmund Count of Thun. On his first visit to the gorge, he was so impressed that he said the now famous words "Roaring and powerful rushes the torrent toward us". The gorge became a natural monument in 1934. In 1938, the system of boardwalks was closed down as the use of Kaprun Valley's hydropower for the generation of electricity became more important. Today there is an association which is specialised in the development of tourism facilities in Kaprun. In the early 90s, this association started to reconstruct the old system of boardwalks in the Sigmund Thun Gorge along the route that was closed down in 1938.
The Sigmund Thun Gorge is now one of the most important attractions in the region and is a must on your list of excursion destinations and sights you don't want to miss on your holiday in Zell am See-Kaprun! You can also enjoy a walk around the so called "Klammsee" behind the gorge.