Grawa Waterfall

Grawa Alm / Neustift im Stubaital, Tyrol (Tirol), Austria

About Grawa Waterfall

Hiking Distance: about 700m round trip
Suggested Time: 30-45 minutes

Date first visited: 2018-07-21
Date last visited: 2018-07-21

Waterfall Latitude: 47.01213
Waterfall Longitude: 11.18806

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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.

Grawafall_035_07202018 - The path leading down to the base of the Grawa Waterfall
The path leading down to the base of the Grawa Waterfall

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).

Grawafall_019_07202018 - Right off the bat, I was able to get nice views directly across the valley from the Grawa Waterfall at the Grawa-alm car park
Grawafall_022_07202018 - Contextual view of the Grawa Waterfall and some neighboring farm
Grawafall_023_07202018 - At first, it seemed like you had to go through the Grawa-alm in order to get onto the trail on the other side (it was closed so that wasn't possible), but it turned out there was a walkway that went to the right of the alm (hidden by the shed on the right) to continue on the hike
Grawafall_067_07202018 - View of the Grawa Waterfall from the Grawa-Alm
Grawafall_027_07202018 - Descending to the bridge crossing the Ruetz River after passing the Grawa-Alm
Grawafall_029_07202018 - Looking upstream from the bridge over the Ruetz where it looked like there was another cascade in the swollen river given the rains
Grawafall_037_07202018 - Descending towards the base of the Grawafall, which could be partially seen above the trees along the trail
Grawafall_039_07202018 - This wide open area along the trail ensured that I was going to be wet given the lack of tree cover from the rain
Grawafall_043_07202018 - When I made it down to the bridge across the misty base of the Grawa Waterfall, I noticed these poles sticking out. These were supposed to support a lookout with picnic tables, but it was not meant to be during my soggy visit
Grawafall_046_07202018 - This was the misty footbridge going across the Sulzbach Creek right in front of the Grawa-Wasserfall
Grawafall_048_07202018 - I had to fend off the spray as much as I could in order to get this photo of the Grawa Waterfall from the bridge
Grawafall_051_07202018 - Another look from the misty bridge at the Grawa Waterfall in the lousy weather
Grawafall_054_07202018 - I tried to use the tree to shield myself from the spray but that came at the cost of only partially seeing the Grawa Waterfall
Grawafall_060_07202018 - Looking back at the trail I took to get here from the Grawa-Alm
Grawafall_066_07202018 - Back at the Grawa-Alm
Grawafall_076_07202018 - This was another one of the alternate car parks for the Grawa Waterfall, which was 300m further to the west of the Grawa-Alm car park along the L232.
Grawafall_080_07202018 - View of the roadside Grawafall from the L232 as I was driving back after having my fill


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.

Grawafall_002_07202018 - This was car park for the Grawa-alm, which was directly opposite the Grawa Waterfall
This was car park for the Grawa-alm, which was directly opposite the Grawa Waterfall

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.

Grawafall_086_07202018 - This was the larger pay-and-display car park called Raffein. Notice the cow freely grazing on the sparse vegetation that was planted here
This was the larger pay-and-display car park called Raffein. Notice the cow freely grazing on the sparse vegetation that was planted here

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.

Short video showing Grawafall from across the valley near the closest cafe at Grawa-alm

Video of the elevated catwalks above the main waterfall and revealing other waterfalls further upstream

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Tagged with: stubaital, neustift, grawa alm, austria, innsbruck, waterfall

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