About Grawa Waterfall
The Grawa Waterfall was an impressively big waterfall, where the Sulzbach Creek tumbled over a height of 100m (though I’ve also seen 180m reported) with a width of 85m spilling into the Stubaital Valley. The waterfall’s breadth at peak flow in Summer (I went in late July 2018) apparently made this the widest waterfall in the Eastern Alps. Situated about 1km before the Stubai Glacier, it was clear to me that melting snow and ice were this waterfall’s primary drivers of its volume.
Luckily for me, this was a very easy waterfall to visit given the moderate to heavy rain when I did it. Indeed, my visit only took around 30 minutes though most of that time was spent trying to take pictures and wiping the camera from all the moisture from both the rain and the intense mist that was spraying a footbridge right at its base.
I managed to score parking near the Grawa Alm (see directions below) where I was already getting roadside views. Then, I went down to the alm where there were more sweeping views across the valley. Further upstream beyond the alm, there was a short trail that descended to a bridge over the Ruetz Brook (where I saw a separate cascade) before joining up with an easy path descending to the valley floor eventually reaching the footbridge at the foot of the Grawa Waterfall in another 5-10 minutes.
There was a rough path that continued before the footbridge towards another lookout. Unfortunately given the slippery conditions and the heavy rain, I opted not to do it. As a result, the time that I spent here easily could have doubled.
When I returned to the alm, I managed to get a different view of the waterfall after driving over to the long term car park closer to the Stubai Glacier. The trail that left from that trailhead ultimately met up with the same trail I took earlier near the bridge over the Ruetz Brook.
Finally, in terms of how this waterfall has been referenced in the literature, I’ve seen it referred to as the Grawafall as well as der Grawa Wasserfall (or Grawa-Wasserfall).
The Grawa Waterfall was in the Stubaital Valley, which was not far from Innsbruck. There were actually three trailheads that I’m aware of, and I’ll cover those in this section. And since I started the drive from Innsbruck, that is how I’m going to describe the directions.
So from Innsbruck, I made my way south along the B182 following the signs for the A13 autobahn via Leopoldstraße. Eventually, the B182 would lead to the on-ramp for the A13 heading south. This ramp was roughly 3.5km from the traffic light at the B174 and B182 intersection.
Once on the A13 autobahn, I went south for about 7km to the exit 10 (Schönberg), which was just outside the south end of a tunnel (or shelter). As soon as I was out of the autobahn, there was a toll station, where I had to pay 3 euros (as of my visit in 2018) to get through to the L232.
I then followed the L232 for about 26km towards the Grawa-alm car park, which was shortly after a tunnel. The Grawa-alm car park was my preferred spot as the waterfall was already visible from the road at this spot. Plus, the hiking was as short (if not shorter) than the Sulzenauhütte car park (which I’ll explain shortly) and I’d argue it was more scenic going this route as well.
Note that right before the tunnel, there was a larger pay-and-display Raffein Car Park. The distance to hike from Raffein to the base of Grawafall was said to be about 3km round trip. For a more immersive experience (or if the other car parks lacked parking spaces, then this is a suitable alternative.
Finally, beyond the Grawa-alm car park, another 300m to the west on the L232 was the car park for the Sulzenauhütte. The hike from here to the base of the Grawafall was on the order of 10-15 minutes or so. A sign in German at the Grawa-alm suggested that people parking long term should leave the car here instead of the Grawa-alm.
Overall, the drive from the Innsbruck City Center to the Grawa-alm took me about 45 minutes. It’s also worth noting that when I left the Stubaital Valley to get back on the A13 autobahn, there was another 3 euro toll to get back on the motorway.
For geographical context, Innsbruck was about 62km (under an hour drive) east of Imst, 65km (under an hour drive) east of Umhausen, 77km (about an hour drive) east of Landeck, 61km (under an hour drive) west of Zell am Ziller, 40km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Brenner Pass, Italy, and 64km (about an hour drive) southeast from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
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