Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls

Maltatal, Carinthia (Karnten), Austria

About Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time: allow at least 3 hours

Date first visited: 2018-07-13
Date last visited: 2018-07-13

Waterfall Latitude: 47.01636
Waterfall Longitude: 13.4328

The Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls (Malta Hochalmstraße Wasserfälle) page is where I’m paying homage to some of the waterfalls that we encountered when we did this drive up to the head of the Maltatal Valley.

While it was easy to get waterfall-fatigued on such waterfall-laced excursions like this, the drive featured some impressively tall named waterfalls like the Melnikfall and the Maralmbachfall.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_139_07132018 - One of the Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls spilling into the Galgenbichlspeicher Reservoir
One of the Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls spilling into the Galgenbichlspeicher Reservoir

At the top of it all at the Kölnbrein Dam and Reservoir (said to be the highest dam in the country at 200m tall), there was a butterflies-in-the-stomach-inducing Air Walk.

This was where we could looking beneath the gratings all the way down to the ground!

Looking away from the bottom, we witnessed stringy cascades spilling into the surrounding reservoirs while backed by mountains still clinging onto what’s left of their snow in the mid-Summer.

In any case, just about all of the waterfalls we’re highlighting here are roadside waterfalls so there was minimal exertion required.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_021_07132018 - Looking across the Kölnbrein Dam and Reservoir with the Air Walk right in the middle of the structure, which sat at the end of the Malta Hochalmstraße
Looking across the Kölnbrein Dam and Reservoir with the Air Walk right in the middle of the structure, which sat at the end of the Malta Hochalmstraße

It was primarily a chance to autotour one of Austria’s most scenic roads, which by the way included a few long traffic lights as well as several tunnels and switchbacks.

Experiencing the Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls – Melnikfall

Regarding the Melnikfall, a sign at the Fallbach Waterfall said that this was the highest waterfall in the Carinthia Province at 300m.

It indeed did have multiple drops where the cumulative height seemed to suggest its towering stature.

This was best experienced from a signed car park about 900m from the toll booth, where we paid about 24 euros to get through (as of our July 2018 visit).

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_164_07132018 - The Melnikfall, which was said to be the highest waterfall in Austria (if not the highest in the state of Carinthia)
The Melnikfall, which was said to be the highest waterfall in Austria (if not the highest in the state of Carinthia)

While the view of the falls was impressive from the car park, there was a footpath that crossed the Malta Hochalmstrasse and onto a trail.

The path that led down to the Malta River where a bridge fronted the stream responsible for the Melnikfall.

We didn’t go down there, but I’d imagine that would be about a 15-minute walk if we did.

Experiencing the Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls – Strannerbachfall

Next, we stopped for the Strannerbachfall.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_005_07132018 - Looking up at the Strannerbachfall, which was another one of the incidental waterfalls on the Malta Hochalmstraße
Looking up at the Strannerbachfall, which was another one of the incidental waterfalls on the Malta Hochalmstraße

This was another 2km further up the road from the Melnikfall.

There was a roadside pullout just on the north side of the bridge, where we got out of the car.

Then, we walked onto the bridge, and tried to glimpse as much of the twisting cascade as we could.

Experiencing the Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls – Maralmbachfall

The Maralmbachfall, was another very notable waterfall that we noticed about 3.5km further north from the Strannerbach Bridge.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_014_07132018 - The Maralmbachfall, which was the waterfall accessible while waiting at a long traffic light along the Malta Hochalmstraße
The Maralmbachfall, which was the waterfall accessible while waiting at a long traffic light along the Malta Hochalmstraße

In this instance, there were cars parked on the road waiting for a traffic light (ampel) to go green, which was right at the trailhead for the short jaunt up to this waterfall.

There was a timer also adjacent to the traffic light letting us know when the light would go green.

Apparently, the ampel was necessary because there were tunnels that couldn’t support simultaneous bi-directional traffic, which made the wait times stretch out to be around 20-30 minutes.

The nice thing about the position of the Maralmbachfall was that if we knew it would be a while before the light would go green, then we could get out of the car and scamper up the short trail up to a lookout.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_011_07132018 - Context of people waiting at the traffic light along the Malta Hochalmstraße before the Maralmbachfall Trail
Context of people waiting at the traffic light along the Malta Hochalmstraße before the Maralmbachfall Trail

Even a sign here suggested for us to take advantage of the waiting time by going up to this lookout, which yielded a direct look right up at the jointed Maralmbachfall.

When I was here, I only had about a couple of minutes to get in my experience before the traffic light went green.

Nevertheless, this was one of those rare instances where I wished I had a little more red light time to enjoy this waterfall just a little bit more.

Of course, we also could have stopped the car on the return route for a visit to the Maralmbachfall that would be a bit less rushed.

Experiencing the Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls – the Kölnbrein Dam

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_062_07132018 - Looking upstream across the reservoir from the Kölnbrein Dam towards some thin waterfalls coming down a hidden cirque
Looking upstream across the reservoir from the Kölnbrein Dam towards some thin waterfalls coming down a hidden cirque

Beyond this traffic light, the flow of traffic was pretty much continuous as it passed through a combination of steep switchbacks and multiple tunnels.

There was another traffic light in the middle of this stretch though it stayed green during our visit.

Finally at about 7.5km beyond the Maralmbachfall, we arrived at the car park by the Kölnbrein Dam.

Along the way, there was an attractive waterfall spilling right into the Galgenbichlspeicher, which was a reservoir a short distance downstream from the Kölnbrein Dam.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_080_07132018 - Context of the overhanging Air Walk, which was smack in the middle of the span of the vertical wall of the Kölnbrein Dam
Context of the overhanging Air Walk, which was smack in the middle of the span of the vertical wall of the Kölnbrein Dam

At this car park, we could get out of the car and walk onto the dam itself, where in the middle of it was the scary Air Walk.

And throughout the walk on the dam, we could look upstream at more stringy cascades coming down the mountains flanking the larger Kölnbreinspeicher.

Authorities

The Malta Hochalmstrasse Waterfalls reside near the town of Malta in the state of Carinthia (Kärnten), Austria. It may be administered by the Verbund Electric Company. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website or the Carinthia Tourist Portal website.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_169_07132018 - The first worthwhile stop along the Malta Hochalmstrasse came up quickly (barely less than a kilometer from the toll booth) and it was for the Melnikfall
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_153_07132018 - Full context of the Melnikfall as seen from a small car park just off the Malta Hochalmstrasse Road
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_154_07132018 - Direct look at the Melnikfall, which was the largest of the waterfalls along the Malta Hochalmstrasse
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_148_07132018 - Looking back at the upper tier of the Melnikfall from further up the road at the next switchback
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_001_07132018 - Looking back towards the bridge over the Strannerbach, which was the next waterfall that we stopped for along the Malta Hochalmstrasse
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_010_07132018 - Looking up at the twisting cascade of the Strannerbachfall from the bridge over the creek
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_017_07132018 - Broad view back at the Maralmbachfall, which was the third waterfall that we had stopped for on the Malta Hochalmstrasse. There was a traffic light, which acted as our motivation to use this waterfall to kill the time we were made to wait
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_019_07132018 - Looking towards the Kölnbrein Dam from the car park at the end of the Malta Hochalmstrasse
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_035_07132018 - Looking towards an attractive waterfall that was spilling into the Galgenbichl Reservoir
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_044_07132018 - Context of the Galgenbichl Reservoir and the attractive cascade spilling right into it as seen from the dam
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_049_07132018 - Context of the walkway atop the Kölnbrein Dam as we approached the Air Walk
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_055_07132018 - Walking on the Kölnbrein Dam as we got closer to the Air Walk while checking out the nice scenery around the reservoir
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_057_07132018 - Looking towards some kind of hidden cirque with thin waterfalls beyond the reservoir held up by the Kölnbrein Dam
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_065_07132018 - Context of the Air Walk and the Kölnbrein Dam with the Galgenbichl Reservoir in the distance
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_076_07132018 - Looking downstream from the Kölnbrein Dam's Air Walk towards the reservoir
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_090_07132018 - Broad contextual view of part of the Kölnbrein Dam with the reservoir in the distance
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_098_07132018 - Looking back towards the car park whilst standing on the Kölnbrein Dam
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_100_07132018 - Cleaner look towards the hidden cirque as seen from the Kölnbrein Dam
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_124_07132018 - General view towards some of the sharp mountains around the Kölnbrein Dam and reservoir
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_125_07132018 - Lots of wildflowers in bloom besides the walkways at the Kölnbrein Dam
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_141_07132018 - Direct look across the Galgenbichl Reservoir towards this attractive cascade spilling right into it
Malta_Hochalmstrasse_144_07132018 - Another look at that cascade spilling right into the Galgenbichl Reservoir

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The Malta Hochalmstrasse was just 4km beyond the Fallbach Waterfall on the Maltatal Valley.

I’ll repeat the directions here for convenience.

From Millstatt, we drove west on the B98 for about 8km to the A10 autobahn ramp heading north (right).

Once on the autobahn, we continued for about 9km.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_145_07132018 - Context of the Malta Hochalmstrasse Road and the Kölnbrein Dam
Context of the Malta Hochalmstrasse Road and the Kölnbrein Dam

Then, we took the exit 130 for Gmünd, which swung us around for about 1km to a roundabout.

We then took the second exit to keep straight and did the same thing at the next roundabout.

Afterwards, we were on the Maltatal Landesstraße and we continued on this road for about 15km to the toll booth for the Malta Hochalmstraße.

This drive costed us 24 euros to drive our vehicle through to the road as of our July 2018 visit.

Malta_Hochalmstrasse_026_07132018 - The car park at the end of the Malta Hochalmstrasse Road for the Koelnbrein Dam
The car park at the end of the Malta Hochalmstrasse Road for the Koelnbrein Dam

It was about 14km in distance from the toll station to the car park at the reservoir.

Overall, it took us over 30 minutes to drive to the toll booth, but we had to allow a minimum of 2 hours or more to really enjoy the Malta Hochalmstraße.

For geographical context, Millstatt was 85km (about an hour drive) west of Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, 75km (about an hour drive) east of Lienz , 99km (well over an hour drive) south of Sankt Johann im Pongau, and 151km (about 2 hours drive) southeast of Zell am See.

Sweep examining the Melnikfall from the designated car park for it


Short video showing the Maralmbachfall just as we were waiting for the ampel to turn green


Sweep showing the scenery and the small cascades surrounding the Kolnbrein Reservoir


Sweep somewhat downstream from Kolnbrein Reservoir revealing a cascade spilling right into it

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Tagged with: maltatal, malta hochalmstrasse, austria, waterfalls, melnikfall, maralmbachfall, strannerbachfall, tunnels, traffic lights, kolnbrein dam



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Falls viewed from the Malta Hochalmstrasse (Austria) November 29, 2011 7:26 pm by Ruth Williams - The Malta High Mountain Road (Malta Hochalmstrasse) is a toll road that winds its way up the valley to a height of almost 2000m until it reaches Austria's tallest dam the Kolnbrein. I am including details of three of the falls we viewed from the road. The Malteiner Wasserspiele (water fountains) is a series of… ...Read More

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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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