About Schraubenfall and Kesselfall
The Kesselfall and Schraubenfall were the more accessible waterfalls in the Hintertux Glacier Resort Area at the very head of the Tuxertal Valley. These were the lower two named waterfalls on the Tuxbach Stream though I did notice there were certainly more cascades and waterfalls further upstream of this pair.
As far as nomenclature goes, they sometimes collectively refer to these waterfalls as the Tuxer Wasserfälle or the Tuxer Waterfalls. I’ve only singled out Kesselfall and Schraubenfall because those were the only two waterfalls of this series that I managed to get close to on the hike I’m about to describe in this write-up.
From the Hintertux Resort Area, I followed the Wasserfallweg signs towards the west end of the village by the Hotel Der Rinderhof. The paved trail then went behind the hotel and beneath the humming Gletscherbus cable cars as it approached the free “Wasserwelt” (Water World) playground. This playground featured a swing that sprayed the person swinging as well as some water cannons and some abstract art.
Beyond the fence behind the Wasserwelt, the path then stopped becoming paved as it passed over a bridge traversing the stream from a man-made cascade spilling beneath some hydro contraption. Shortly after that bridge, the trail made a brief climb up to the base of the Kesselfall, which was an inverted wishbone-shaped waterfall split by colorful rocks with some small plunge pools where I saw some folks scramble around. When I showed up in the late morning, I was kind of looking against the sun at the falls so I’d imagine afternoon would be the time to photograph the falls.
Anyways, with this being the lowest and easiest of the waterfalls to reach (only 10 minutes walk or 500m from the Hintertux Resort Area), it was also very popular. In fact, the rest benches situated before the falls were always in use during my visit. And I don’t blame them considering how they seemed to be perfect for relaxing and staring at the falling action of the water.
The Wasserfallweg then continued climbing beyond the Kesselfall up a combination of steps and a somewhat rough path before reaching a rather confusing ascent up a hill towards a fence near that hydro contraption. The best way to go up here was to keep to the right where there was a concealed break in the fence (blocked from sight on the way up due to a tree) before the trail resumed. Eventually, I reached another trail junction, where kept left (not crossing the bridge) as the trail then went up a steep series of switchbacks in a sweat-inducing climb.
At the very top of this climb, I reached a fenced overlook with a somewhat awkward view down into the gorge before me and the Schraubenfall. While this waterfall wasn’t particularly big nor anything special compared to the Kesselfall, I think it was the stuff around it that made the falls interesting.
Indeed, the waterfall was facing a cave (more like a long natural bridge), and there were tiny natural arches and peek-a-boo holes just upstream of falls’ brink attesting to the turbulence of the cutting action of the water within the confines of this gorge. In addition to the initial fenced overlook for the falls, there were more overlooks further upstream revealing the cave and the arches above the Schraubenfall.
This was my turnaround point though it was entirely possible to continue the hike to see if there were more waterfalls encountered. I wouldn’t know at this point, but I’m sure one day I’ll come back and do a more thorough exploration. It was also possible to take advantage of the Gletscherbahn and do one-way downhill hikes from higher up the mountain and then return down to the valley via the Wasserfallweg.
Overall, I wound up hiking about 1.6km round trip to experience both the Kesselfall and Schraubenfall. It took me a little over an hour to do this short out-and-back excursion.
Kesselfall and Schraubenfall (i.e. the Tuxer Waterfalls, if you will) were best accessed from the Hintertux Glacier Resort Area, which sat at the very head of the Tuxertal Valley. Since we were based in Innsbruck when we made our visit, I’ll describe the driving directions from there. It was also just as feasible to access Hintertux from the east along the Salzachtal before reaching Zell am Ziller, and then climbing up to the Tuxertal.
From Innsbruck, we drove east on the A12 autobahn for about 36km before taking the exit 40 (Zillertal). Turning right and heading south towards Zillertal on the B169, we continued down this busy road for another 32km as we passed through the Zillertal Valley as well as Zell am Ziller before turning right onto the road ascending towards Gstan and ultimately towards Tuxertal. At this point, there were signs pointing the way.
Finally, we followed this road (I believe it’s also called the L6) to its end in nearly another 18km as there was a huge car park right at the Hintertux Resort Area.
Overall, this drive took us almost 90 minutes, but there was a pretty solid delay in there due to a combination of stopped traffic (stau) and road construction. So conceivably, this drive could be a bit less than what we experienced.
For geographical context, Zell am Ziller was about 61km (under an hour drive) east of Innsbruck, 57km (about an hour drive) west of Mittersill, about 85km (over 90 minutes drive) west of Zell am See, and 120km (over 90 minutes drive) southeast from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
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