Cascata di Parcines (Wasserfall Partschinser)

Merano, Bolzano - Alto Adige (Bozen - Sudtirol) Province, Italy

About Cascata di Parcines (Wasserfall Partschinser)


Hiking Distance: 1.5-2km round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2013-05-30
Date last visited: 2013-05-30

Waterfall Latitude: 46.69331
Waterfall Longitude: 11.05022

Cascata di Parcines (Parcines Waterfall; also Wasserfall Partschinser in German) is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Alto Adige region of Italy (also known as Südtirol or South Tyrol) at 98m.

Given the precipitous nature of the Dolomites mountain range spanning Northern Italy and Southern Austria, calling something the tallest might be a bit of a bold statement to make.

Parcines_069_20130530 - Cascata di Parcines
Cascata di Parcines

But academic trivia aside, we thought it was a very beautiful waterfall, and the alpine scenery around it certainly made it one of the more memorable waterfall excursions we’ve done in Italy.

Like many alpine waterfalls, the Cascata di Parcines was a tall mountain cascade with high volume and an uninterrupted drop comprising most of its overall height.

On the drive up to the town of Parcines (or Partschins in German), we could see the impressive waterfall backed by tall snowy mountains with another cascade perched further up the mountain from it.

It was too bad we couldn’t find a suitable place to pull over for a photo of the scene from driving up because such scenery underscored the beauty of the waterfall’s surroundings.

Parcines_127_20130530 - Looking down towards Parcines and Merano from near the top of the Cascata di Parcines
Looking down towards Parcines and Merano from near the top of the Cascata di Parcines

We were able to experience the waterfall both from its base as well as from a lookout near its top.

Experiencing the bottom of Cascata di Parcines

From the trailhead near the Gasthaus Birkenwald (see directions below), we took a short path on gravel road towards a bridge.

Just before crossing the bridge, there was a signposted narrow footpath that followed alongside the stream on which the Cascata di Parcines flows.

After a few minutes of uphill hiking, we were then on a grassy hill where the trail forked in two directions.

Parcines_020_20130530 - Direct look at the Cascata di Parcines from near its bottom
Direct look at the Cascata di Parcines from near its bottom

To the left, the trail descended right towards the base of Cascata di Parcines.

To the right, the trail stayed on the knob of the hill heading towards a bench and some signs.

The lower trail reconverged with the upper trail primarily near the bench, but there were other informal trails linking the two paths.

Nonetheless, it was from this grassy hill that we were able to get the best frontal views of the falls.

That said, we were fortunate that there were enough clouds to keep the afternoon sun from being directly in our line of sight above the falls.

Experiencing the top of Cascata di Parcines

Parcines_137_20130530 - Back-angled view of the Cascata di Parcines as we climbed higher towards the top of the waterfall
Back-angled view of the Cascata di Parcines as we climbed higher towards the top of the waterfall

Beyond the bench and sign, the trail continued up more steps alongside another creek.

This trail benefitted from the shade of more tree cover as it ascended towards the Gasthouse Wasserfall (Waterfall Guesthouse).

Like the Gasthouse Birkenwald, this place featured a restaurant and some rooms.

There was a trail that continued to ascend past a shrine then up a sloping path leading right up to the near top of the Cascata di Parcines.

Parcines_122_20130530 - The view from near the top of Cascata di Parcines
The view from near the top of Cascata di Parcines

From up at this vantage point, I was able to enjoy a grand view of both the towns of Parcines (or Partschins) and Merano below me.

Meanwhile, picturesque snow-capped alpine mountains towered over the developments.

Looking in the other direction, I was able to see alpine mountain chalets perched high up the mountains in the near vicinity.

I also noticed another cascade (which looked like it was man-modified) spilling right towards the Gasthaus Wasserfall right below it.

Overall, we spent about an hour away from the car, which was parked at the sanctioned spot just uphill from the Gasthaus Birkenwald.

Parcines_130_20130530 - Looking back towards the Gasthaus Wasserfall backed by attractive snow-capped mountains and a small cascade as seen from near the top of Cascata di Parcines
Looking back towards the Gasthaus Wasserfall backed by attractive snow-capped mountains and a small cascade as seen from near the top of Cascata di Parcines

It’s worth noting that I did see a shuttle van make its way up to the Birkenwald (and possibly higher).

So it’s conceivable that there might be some kind of service between the town of Parcines (Partschins) 2-3km below and the falls itself.

Otherwise, I’d imagine you’re looking at about 90 minutes of uphill walking from town to the waterfall.

Authorities

Cascata di Parcines (Parcines Waterfall or Wasserfall Partschinser) reside near the town of Parcines in the Bolzano-Alto-Adige Province of Italy. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the Merano Tourism Board website.

Parcines_140_20130530 - View of Cascata di Parcines from the car park just uphill from Gasthaus Birkenwald
Parcines_007_20130530 - The walking path that started right across from Gasthaus Birkenwald en route to the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_009_20130530 - Julie on the trail right before the road bridge. We went up this ascending signposted path to get up to Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_011_20130530 - A minor cascade spilling right before the road bridge seen on the way up to the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_014_20130530 - Looking back at the road bridge and some of the mountain scenery beyond while on the way up to the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_015_20130530 - Julie continuing to ascend the footpath to the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_017_20130530 - Julie on the trail getting closer to the Cascata di Parcines while sharing the experience with a few other hikers
Parcines_027_20130530 - Julie taking the lower path to get to the base of Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_046_20130530 - Direct frontal view of Cascata di Parcines from near its base
Parcines_051_20130530 - Looking uphill towards the Gasthaus Wasserfall backed by attractive snow-capped mountains
Parcines_060_20130530 - Looking back at the Cascata di Parcines with some people standing before it for a sense of scale as seen while I was making my way towards its top
Parcines_081_20130530 - While I was on my way up to the Cascata di Parcines, Julie was on her way back down to the car
Parcines_090_20130530 - The trail climbed some more alongside another creek on the way up to the top of Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_093_20130530 - Just beneath the Gasthaus Wasserfall, this linking path also featured some minor cascades making the hike to the top of Cascata di Parcines pretty well worth the effort
Parcines_094_20130530 - The Gasthaus Wasserfall, which was on the way up to the top of the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_096_20130530 - A shrine on the way up to the top of Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_097_20130530 - Context of the trail leading higher above the Gasthaus Wasserfall on the way up to the lookout near the top of the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_098_20130530 - On the ascending trail to the lookout near the top of the Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_108_20130530 - The view towards Parcines and Merano from the lookout near the top of Cascata di Parcines
Parcines_112_20130530 - Looking back at the context of the Gasthaus Wasserfall and the snow-capped mountains above it with the trail connecting the guesthouse and the lookout where I took this picture from
Parcines_155_20130530 - This was the view of Merano as we were driving back down the mountain through Parcines

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We drove up to Cascata di Parcines from the city of Bolzano so we’ll describe the route from there.

From Bolzano, we drove on the SS38 bound for Merano for about 32km.

After passing by Merano and several tunnels, we exited the SS38 at a signposted turnoff for Parcines (Partschins) to our right.

Parcines_144_20130530 - Looking back over the town of Parcines with Merano in the background as we drove up through town to the Cascata di Parcines
Looking back over the town of Parcines with Merano in the background as we drove up through town to the Cascata di Parcines

Then we drove the uphill road into town, then we continued following signs for the waterfall on our way past the town.

There were very steep and narrow one-way streets we had to take as the Wasserfallweg (waterfall way) got progressively steeper and remained narrow.

Beyond the town of Parcines, the road became Via Cascata.

We followed it steeply uphill for another 2km as we would eventually get past the Gasthaus Birkenwald and onto the sanctioned car park for Cascata di Parcines.

Parcines_002_20130530 - Context of the Cascata di Parcines and the Via Cascata Road leading up to the closest car park
Context of the Cascata di Parcines and the Via Cascata Road leading up to the closest car park

Given the limited space of parking up here, we did notice there were other parking spaces further down the mountain as well.

Moreover, if driving the narrow and steep road would be too risky or scary (especially since it’s very easy to stall with a stick shift while waiting for opposing traffic to pass), it’s possible to park inside the town of Parcines.

If you do that, you’d have to walk all the way to the Cascata di Parcines.

This drive took us around 45 minutes to cover the distance between Bolzano and the car park above Gasthaus Birkenwald.

Parcines_141_20130530 - Looking back down at the Gasthaus Birkenwald as we made the steep drive up to the Cascata di Parcines
Looking back down at the Gasthaus Birkenwald as we made the steep drive up to the Cascata di Parcines

For additional context, Bolzano was 61km (under an hour drive) north of Trento, 269km (2.5-3 hours drive) northwest of Venice (Venezia), and 280km (over 3 hours drive) northeast of Milan (Milano).

Right to left sweep starting with farms and guesthouses then panning across the falls before ending downstream


Right to left sweep from near the top of the waterfall following the watercourse before panning over to the trail and the hamlet behind it

Tagged with: merano, bolzano, bozen, trentino, alto adige, sudtirol, italy, dolomites, dolomiti, waterfall, partschinser, parcines, south tyrol



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Johnny Cheng

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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