Pöllau is a small historic town in Austria. It is called as the „Pearl of Styria”. Not only the town is beautiful but its surrounding, too.
In 1983 Pöllauer Tal (Pöllau Valley) was awarded the rating "Natural Park" by the province of Styria. This award was presented for the beauty of the landscape, the traditional and careful farming of the land and the way traditions and customs are kept alive in the region. With this title, the region commits itself to demonstrating exemplary sustainable development in the areas of nature conservation, recreation, education and regional development. The Naturpark Pöllauer Tal covers a 124 km2 area.
There are many excellently developed and signposted hiking trails in the Pöllauer Tal natural park. You can explore them with trained natural park guides or on your own. The hiking trails that has their own names are listed here:
- Hirschbirne pear hiking trail
- Pilgrim's path
- Adventure trail in the wood
- The park of natural ENERGY (NaturKRAFTpark)
- Forest nature trail on the Masenberg mountain
- Schönegg nature trail
- Natural park adventure loop hike.
There are many other hiking trails, too. But they don’t have own name – they are just numbered and marked trails.
The highest point of the Naturpark Pöllauer Tal is the mountain called Rabenwaldkogel, with its elevation of 1280 m. Rabenwaldkogel is the highest point of an approximately 17 km long mountain ridge stretching from north to southeast, so from the saddle called Gschaid (807 m) down to the village Kaindorf. Not the whole area of Rabenwaldkogel belongs to the Natural Park. The boundary of the Natural Park is on the ridge of the mountain, and so only the eastern slope of the mountain belongs to the park. And really there is some difference between the eastern and the western slopes. While the eastern slope is covered by meadows and by dense forest of spruce on higher elevations (with a total of 220 different plant species), on the western slope – beside meadows and forests – there is a mining area, too. It’s an open-pit talc mine. Talc mining started here in 1820. The following minerals have been identified there:
Adularia, Albite, Anatase, Antigorite, Apatite, Brookite, Calcite, Chabazite, Chalcopyrite, Chlorite Group, Diopside, Goethite, Grossular, Hematite, Kyanite, Magnesite, Melanterite, Phengite, Prehnite, Pumpellyite, Pyrite, Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Rutile, Siderite, Sulphur, Talc, Tremolite, Vanadinite, Vesuvianite, Wollastonite and Xenomite.
Though there is a high variety of minerals here, the mountain is basically built of gneiss. It is rarely seen on the surface because of the soil and vegetation, but near the summit there are some rocky pyramids made of this stone. The highest of these rocky pyramids forms the peak of Rabenwaldkogel.
Classification of the Alps by SOIUSA:
Wechsel-Joglland Range (that belongs to the Pre-Alps of Styria)
o Wechsel (1743 m)
- Rabenwaldkogel-Wildwiesen Group (1280 m)
- Masenberg Group (1261 m)
According to this source Rabenwald is the highest point of Joglland – in addition to being the highest point of the Naturpark Pöllauer Tal. But according to other sources the Wechsel mountain belongs to Joglland, too, and if we accept this, then the highpoint of Joglland is in the Wechsel mountain.
Rabenwaldkogel is on the eastern-southeastern perimeter of the Alps. There are no higher summits east to it or south-east to it. The nearest higher point east to Rabenwaldkogel is in Romania, in 520 km distance. The nearest higher point south-east to Rabenwaldkogel is in Bosnia, in 360 km distance.