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The entire Harz region is a holiday destination with dense mountain forests, bizarre gorges and mystical caves, and in the midst of this beautiful nature you will find exciting attractions, enchanted lakes and large, inviting reservoirs.

The Oderteich in the Harz Mountains is one of the many reservoirs. The Oderteich was the largest reservoir in Germany until the end of the 19th century.

Just seven kilometres from St. Andreasberg, in the Harz National Park, mining was the driving force behind the construction of the Oderteich. The dam was built between 1715 and 1722 using granite blocks and granite sand. With a length of 166 metres and a height of 19 metres, the dam has remained unchanged ever since.

The building skills of the people have made the Oderteich into an important sight. The dam has been preserved in its original state to this day. To this day, the Oderteich also supplies the Rehburger Graben with sufficient water. While the power of the water was used to operate water wheels until the end of mining, drinking water supply is currently the main focus.

Oderteich nature reserve

Around the Oderteich, the forest is allowed to change according to its own laws. It is allowed to become a wilderness, a primeval forest, with all its facets. Dead wood makes way for young, fresh greenery, which can develop in a variety of species and structures. In order to prevent soil erosion and ensure a sufficient water level, the forest became a protected forest within a short time of the Oderteich being completed, in which deforestation was prohibited. This is why you can admire some of the oldest spruce trees in the Harz on the banks of the Oderteich.

The two streams, Oder and Rotenbeek, have their source in a moorland area and carry washed-out humic acids and proteins with them. This explains why the water is brownish in colour and occasionally carries foam flakes. So you don't have to worry that the water might be polluted. The opposite is the case.

However, you won't find any fish in the Oderteich. Fish cannot live in the boggy, acidic water.

In contrast, in the original, natural forests and in the deadwood, an invaluable wealth of different animal species has developed over many years. In order to guarantee the protection of these habitats, the route around the Oderteich must be strictly adhered to.

Oderteich circular hiking trail

You can walk all the way around the Oderteich pond on a well-signposted 4-kilometre hiking trail. Some of the path is over wooden planks. They lead you safely and dryly through a moorland spruce forest and across some open moorland areas. On the one hand, this protects the sensitive natural environment and, on the other, opens up wonderful views directly onto the shimmering surface of the lake. However, most of the routes are paved paths or bumpy root paths.

The deadwood forest looks almost ghostly and it is precisely this interplay of primeval forest, small bridges that lead over streams and sandy spots where you can swim that makes this hiking trail so unique and magical.

The place where the Sonnenkappe flows into the Oderteich is a wonderful resting place. The small, lively stream has its source between Torfhaus and Altenau and flows into the Oderteich after just a short section of the trail. It then joins the Oder and leaves the Oderteich again.

What would the Harz Mountains and the Oderteich be without its legends and myths? You will find a special legendary figure along the way, the carved figure of Frau Holle. According to an ancient legend, which is also described there, her tears for her lover feed the moors around the Oderteich. Frau Holle was so fixated on her beloved Odin that she forgot her work and angered God so much that he put a curse on Odin's soul. Since then, the soul has found no rest and wanders aimlessly. Once a year, however, Mrs Holle climbs up the mountains and weeps bitterly. Her tears flowed down from the mountain into the valley and the surrounding moors. However, those who catch her tears are richly rewarded because the tears turn into precious pearls.

Like every dam, the Oderteich also has a spillway to prevent large floods from overflowing the dam crest. The "large spillway" is located at the eastern end of the Oderteich dam. The large flood offers an impressive sight, especially after heavy rainfall. In front of it you will come across 10 granite columns. The obelisks are extremely important for the flood ditch. They protect it from unwanted ice formation and prevent ice from jeopardising the overflow.

Leisure and bathing fun at the Oderteich in the Harz Mountains

Directly behind the dam on the east and west banks of the Oderteich you will find bathing areas and sunbathing lawns. The Oderteich is one of the few reservoirs in the Harz Mountains where swimming is permitted. The bathing area is separated by swimming chains. Due to the flow of the Oder and Sonnenkappe rivers, there are cold and dangerous undercurrents in the lake. For this reason, it is vital to keep to the designated areas. The front shore area is designated for swimming in order to protect the rear part and the nature conservation area. The floating chains therefore also act as a barrier for swimmers.

Swimming in the open lake cannot be compared with swimming in an outdoor pool and enclosed pools. And the large sunbathing lawns offer plenty of space for sunbathing, playing or picnicking. Naturally, barbecues are not permitted. After all, you are in a nature reserve here.

Who would expect light-coloured sand in the middle of the Harz Mountains? That's what you'll find at the bathing spots and the roots of the pine trees, which have moulded themselves into gnarled shapes, provide an interesting contrast. There are also impressive spots by the pond, where blueberry bushes have found their special habitat among the roots, and again and again you look out over the tantalisingly cool water.

WatercoursesOder (Rhume)
Construction period 1715 - 1722
Crown height 22 m
Crown length 153 m
Reservoir area 0.30 km²
Reservoir volume1.668 million m³
Type of utilisation Service water supply
Power supply

37444 Sankt Andreasberg

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