Location: 45 minutes west of Innsbruck in Tirol, Austria
Whitewater rafting trips on the Oetz River begin in the village of Oetz and travel 7.5 kilometers until the confluence with the Inn River near Imst, then usually continue on another 7 kilometers on the Inn River until Haiming.
The Oetz is one of Austria’s more exciting rivers. Fed by the melting waters of two glaciers, it is a very high-volume river, with extremely fast currents and stopper waves that demand constant attention. The minimum age for rafting on the Oetz is usually 16 years old. Previous rafting experience is required by most companies, or in lieu of experience, a day of warm-up rafting on the Inn River beforehand.
The Canyon: Dense Alpine Forest, Waterfalls, and Towering Snowy Peaks
A relatively short river, the Oetz begins as the melting waters of the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers high up in the Tyrolean Alps. From there, it cuts a steep and impulsive course until joining forces with the River Inn, creating a name for itself as a mighty river regardless of its shorter length. A whitewater rafting trip on the Oetz starts out fast with rapids like the Slalom Cataract and the Constructa. Soon, rafts enter the “Waldschlucht”, which translates directly into “forest gorge” and is composed of 1.5 kilometers of huge rapids constrained in by narrow walls of dense Alpine forest. When not engulfed by evergreen woods, rafters can enjoy some of the Oetz River’s more grandiose scenery… The icy-cold waters cut a valley deep in the heart of some of the highest peaks in the eastern alpine range, with numerous waterfalls tumbling from hanging valleys left by the retreating glaciers.
Season: May through September
Although whitewater rafting trips are available on the Oetz from May through September, its icy cold waters make a better contrast to the warmer months of June through August.