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Orth on the Danube

0 Orth on the Danube is one of the most expansive wetlands areas in the National Park and is traversed by numerous watercourses, including two side arms that have been reconnected to the Danube. Here, the river is freed to form natural gravel islands and new banks, and to wash driftwood up on the shores. Former channels are again filled with water and serve to replenish the backwaters which have long been cut off from the current.

A dynamic Danube helps expand the number and size of bodies of water in the wetlands. Rare species such as the European Pond Turtle and the Mudminnow are the chief benefactors of this development. The Schlossinsel grounds at the schlossORTH National Park Centre are the ideal place to see these wetlands inhabitants up close.

The small banks and islands near Orth are some of the most inviting natural swimming areas on the Danube. The current ensures that there is a steady supply of colourful pebbles of many different sizes and very fine river sand. In some places, the water parts to reveal the broad roots of the White Willow, and in the crowns of the White Poplar trees, mistletoe and lianas thrive, forming thick curtains of vegetation.

Covered by genuine primeval forest, these natural islands remain untouched by foresters.

Please heed our code of conduct and show respect for wildlife and other park visitors!

Orth on the Danube Walking Map

Download a sectional map of the Orth on the Danube area of the Donau-Auen National Park with all the walking trails described here.

Long Orth Circular Trail

Länge

5 km

Gehzeit

approx. 1.5 hours

Besonderheiten

A walk for all the senses, through many different wetlands landscapes.

Wegbeschaffenheit

This trail is impassable during times of flooding and high water. For your own safety, please do not walk on closed trails!

Starting point:
From the parking lot near the police station, cross the Fadenbach bridge, then proceed straight ahead past the football pitch, then on to the National Park entrance.
 

The first part of this trail runs through a sparse hardwood forest characterized by the presence of oak and ash and more arid soil, then across broad hay meadows before reaching the levee ("Marchfelddamm"). The forests now become less dry, and poplars and willows predominate. Parallel to the trail flows a side arm which is connected to the Danube for three-fourths of the year. While the water flows steadily in the spring and summer months, shallow gravel banks emerge in the winter, clear evidence of the powerfully shaping force of the water. Beavers inhabit their burrows on both sides, erecting steep slides into the waters and otherwise leaving tracks in the vegetation along the banks. The kingfisher assumes its favoured perch on fallen trees and partially submerged logs.
The trail continues along the southernmost edge of the Tierwiese meadow, where comfrey and other medicinal herbs bloom in early summer, then follows a broad forestry road until it reaches the Fadenbach creek. Following the path of the former river branch inland, the trail again reaches, then crosses the dam, then takes the left path back to the National Park entrance.

Fadenbach Creek Trail

Länge

2.5 km

Gehzeit

approx. 1 hour

Besonderheiten

Several boardwalks lead along a silted-up former river branch.

Wegbeschaffenheit

Sturdy and safe trail well outside potential flood areas.

Starting point:
schlossORTH National Park Centre, Schlossinsel.
 

The trail departs to the south from the Schlossinsel. A mighty Black Poplar marks the place where the trail enters the wetlands forest. After a few metres the Fadenbach Creek is crossed by way of a wooden footbridge. As dry as this former river branch may be in the fall and winter, it is replenished in the spring when Danube water levels are high, because the groundwater rises along with the river. In the summer, a thick carpet of duckweed spreads across the surface and is used as camouflage by frogs. Sunbathing European Pond Turtles may also be spotted here.
This circular trail continues along the Fadenbach Creek until it reaches the levee ("Marchfelddamm"). Views to the backwaters are enabled by other wooden boardwalks. In the spring the trail meanders through a sea of blossoms – first composed of the Snowdrop, Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem, violets, and a bit later, wild garlic. Despite the proximity of civilization, deer and rabbits may be seen, and the regal wood pigeon may announce its presence by its hoarse cooing.

Uferhaus Trail

Länge

2.5 km

Gehzeit

approx. 1 hour

Besonderheiten

This trail runs in part along the free-flowing Danube.

Wegbeschaffenheit

This trail is impassable during times of flooding and high water. For your own safety, please do not walk on closed trails!

Starting point:
 Parking lot near the Danube at the Uferhaus restaurant.
 

This trail leads along the towpath ("Treppelweg") to the Orth Islands, which were created between the jetties of the Danube. In places, these gravel banks are thickly covered by old willows and poplars, and various kinds of shells may be found among the rocks. After floods and high waters, the huge piles of driftwood and flotsam become a habitat for thermophilic organisms such as snakes, spiders and diverse beetles.
At about the height of the islands, the trail turns towards the woods, leading first across open meadows, then through a dense section of forest. Ground water emerges periodically from a trench crossing, and a bed of reeds indicates that this was once a river branch. Fresh wild boar tracks may be observed while following the trail in the forest. The trail continues along the Faden Creek, where the European Pond Turtle may be spotted floating or sunning on logs in the spring and summer months. Finally, the trail crosses two expansive meadows where the Autumn Crocus, the most poisonous plant of the Donau-Auen National Park, blooms starting in August. The last section of this trail runs along the Uferstrasse back to the Danube.

Old Wetlands Way – Old Shore Way

Länge

3 km

Gehzeit

approx. 1 hour

Besonderheiten

Short stretch that connects to other trails.

Wegbeschaffenheit

This trail is impassable during times of flooding and high water. For your own safety, please do not walk on closed trails!

Starting point:
From the parking lot near the police station, cross the Fadenbach bridge, then proceed straight ahead past the football pitch, then on to the National Park entrance.
 

The Old Shore Way cuts across all the diverse wetlands habitats. It begins in the arid hardwood riparian forest, first passing hedges, then proceeding on to stands of acorn, ash and black walnuts. It continues first across a broad field, then runs parallel to a former river branch; a deep trench can be crossed by way of a wooden footbridge.
After passing the dam, the softwood riparian forest begins. Poplars prevail here, and impressive mushrooms sprout from the remains of giant fallen trees, deadwood in name only. The vista opens up periodically for glimpses of backwaters where the European Pond Turtle may be spotted sunning itself on floating logs. Shortly before reaching the Uferstrasse, the route branches off to the right and runs along a trench of another former river branch. Herons and kingfishers hunt their prey here. Along the narrow forest path, Hop and Clematis wind around the low bushes and shrubs. The end of the trail is at the meadow adjacent to the Uferhaus and then the Danube.