Trummelbach Falls (Trümmelbachfälle)

Lauterbrunnen / Oberland Region, Bern Canton, Switzerland

About Trummelbach Falls (Trümmelbachfälle)


Hiking Distance: 2km round trip
Suggested Time: 45-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2010-06-09
Date last visited: 2010-06-09

Waterfall Latitude: 46.56927
Waterfall Longitude: 7.91462

Trummelbach Falls (also Trümmelbachfall or Trümmelbachfälle in German; pronounced “TRHEUH-mull-bahkh-fell-uh”) was one of the more unique waterfalling experiences to be had.

What made this waterfall stand out to us was that it sat deep in a slot canyon carved out by the powerful Trummelbach Falls itself.

Bernese_Oberland_645_06092010 - Looking down at the 6th chute of Trummelbach Falls
Looking down at the 6th chute of Trummelbach Falls

The canyon was so narrow that the only way to even see the falls was to go on the subterranean walk bringing us face-to-face with its various chutes.

Further corroborating its hidden nature, when Julie and I walked part of the road between Trummelbach Falls and Stechelberg, all we could see of the falls was the dark slot canyon it sat in, but we couldn’t see much of the falls itself.

So we weren’t kidding when we say we had to get close to even see parts of the waterfall in action.

The power of the falls came from meltwaters that were once either snow or glaciers nestled above and below the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger peaks as well as the glaciers in between them.

Bernese_Oberland_521_06092010 - With this much snow and ice clinging onto the famous peaks of Switzerland's Lauterbrunnen Valley, it was no wonder why Trummelbach Falls was so powerful
With this much snow and ice clinging onto the famous peaks of Switzerland’s Lauterbrunnen Valley, it was no wonder why Trummelbach Falls was so powerful

Considering that the peaks and glaciers were generally covered in snow and ice year-round, we knew that a lot of water was being channeled over the Trummelbach Falls.

We could appreciate the quantity of the snow and ice after having gone up the Jungfraujoch (i.e. the “Top of Europe” excursion) prior to visiting the Trummelbach Falls.

Highlights and Benefits of the Trummelbach Falls Experience

The tight confines of the slot canyon resulted in some sculpted walls with interesting shapes and patterns.

The last time we saw such effects were from the slot canyons carved out by flash floods in Utah.

Bernese_Oberland_729_06092010 - When Julie and I walked towards Stechelberg, this is all of the Trummelbach Falls that you're gonna see - nada!  You can definitely hear the falls, but the action is mostly hidden within the slot canyon you see pictured here
When Julie and I walked towards Stechelberg, this is all of the Trummelbach Falls that you’re gonna see – nada! You can definitely hear the falls, but the action is mostly hidden within the slot canyon you see pictured here

However in this instance, the constantly rushing waters plunged, slid, jumped, pirouetted, and even corkscrewed their way down to Lauterbrunnen Valley.

In some parts of the slot canyon, there seemed to be a damp mistiness to the air, which was something I think I had only experienced where there were waterfalls within a cave.

Technically, Trummelbach Falls wasn’t in a cave, but it certainly felt like we were in one!

The slot canyon adventure also had an advantage in that if the weather turned out to be crummy, we could still do this excursion with no real impact to the overall experience.

Bernese_Oberland_672_06092010 - Even though Trummelbach Falls technically fell into a slot canyon, it certainly felt like we were in a cave
Even though Trummelbach Falls technically fell into a slot canyon, it certainly felt like we were in a cave

Perhaps the only impact that bad weather would have on the Trummelbach Falls experience was perhaps the likelihood of clouds getting in the way of the views across Lauterbrunnen Valley in a couple of spots along the walkway.

That was why we visited this waterfall in the afternoon when we knew the mostly fair skies of the morning tended to give way to afternoon thundershowers.

Detailed Description of the Trummelbach Falls Experience – Chutes 6-10

We paid about 11 Swiss Francs per person to get through the gate.

Just beyond it, there was a funicular that rose up a dark tunnel until we were somewhere between the 5th and 6th chutes.

By the way, they count the waterfalls backwards here so chute #10 was the uppermost waterfall while chute #1 was at the very bottom.

Bernese_Oberland_631_06092010 - Looking across Lauterbrunnen Valley from the funicular exit towards Aegertenbach Falls
Looking across Lauterbrunnen Valley from the funicular exit towards Aegertenbach Falls

Anyways, from there, we had a choice of going up or going down.

We were also treated to very nice views of Lauterbrunnen Valley and Staubbach Falls (if we looked northwards) as well as the Aegertenbach Falls and Murrenbach Falls (if we looked across the valley towards the south).

We first went up, which took us on an out-and-back walkway ascending up several stairs and slippery corridors to a dead-end near the 10th chute.

Along the way, we saw chutes 6 through 10 (where 10 is the uppermost waterfall and 1 is the lowermost waterfall).

Bernese_Oberland_656_06092010 - Within the artificially-lit interior of the slot canyon containing the Trummelbach Falls. This photo was taken somewhere around the 8th waterfall
Within the artificially-lit interior of the slot canyon containing the Trummelbach Falls. This photo was taken somewhere around the 8th waterfall

Chute 6 was probably the most photographed one (see photo at the top of this page) because the walkway circled the waterfall before we went right past its top.

Thus, we were able to peer right into the twisty abyss as the chute plunged and disappeared loudly into the darkness while getting this view from a variety of angles and positions.

Once we were beyond chute 6, we were immediately within the artificially lit confines of the upper slot canyon itself.

The path precariously followed along the rushing stream, which moved loudly right below us, towards chute 7.

Bernese_Oberland_663_06092010 - Faint rainbow from the refracted little daylight that managed to make its way down to the 9th waterfall of Trummelbach Falls
Faint rainbow from the refracted little daylight that managed to make its way down to the 9th waterfall of Trummelbach Falls

The path then ascended past chute 7 towards the very misty chute 8.

We could see this chute from a few positions, including a very wet one as the crashing waters inundated the lookout area with its mist (making photography extremely difficult).

Beyond chute 8, we went up a flight of stairs until the walkway opened up again.

From the chamber-like open area, we could gaze down upon chute 8 as well as get a glimpse of chute 9.

There was enough of an opening here where we started to see a little bit of daylight above us.

Bernese_Oberland_671_06092010 - The short but very loud chute 10 of the Trummelbach Falls
The short but very loud chute 10 of the Trummelbach Falls

In fact, we managed to see a faint (almost lunar-like) rainbow in the mist of chute 8 thanks to the sliver of daylight that managed to penetrate and reflect amongst the slot canyon walls.

A few paces higher up the walkway brought us to the dead-end right next to the compact chute 10.

This waterfall thundered and crashed into the neighboring plunge pool before it drained over chute 9 (which we couldn’t see all that well in the darkness).

This was the turnaround point so we returned via the way we came to the funicular exit.

Detailed Description of the Trummelbach Falls Experience – Chutes 1-5

Bernese_Oberland_691_06092010 - Context of the lower chutes of Trummelbach Falls disappearing into more slotted darkness below us as we started to explore the lower sections
Context of the lower chutes of Trummelbach Falls disappearing into more slotted darkness below us as we started to explore the lower sections

From the funicular exit, we then descended a few flights of stairs in the daylight providing a brief bit of recovery time (from Vitamin D deficiency) before we were plunged back into the darkness and echoing loudness of crashing waters.

That was where we looked down at chutes 5 and 4.

There was even a signpost somewhere in this area indicating “Corkscrew Falls” right below us, which was really nothing more than a part of the watercourse where there was a tight swirl before the water continued further downstream.

After descending a few more stairs alongside chute 3, the path opened up into daylight again.

Bernese_Oberland_703_06092010 - Looking down at the waterfall that I believe was called the 'Corkscrew Falls'
Looking down at the waterfall that I believe was called the ‘Corkscrew Falls’

In this area, we could see the last 2 chutes below us separated by a footbridge between them.

Before long, we were back at the funicular entrance.

However, before we considered this excursion over, we recalled there was still one last footpath that we had yet to explore by the funicular entrance.

Indeed, there was a side path that gently ascended to the right of the funicular entrance along the cliff before putting us on that bridge between chutes 2 and 1.

Bernese_Oberland_715_06092010 - Looking over the last of the Trummelbach Falls at the very bottom of the slot canyon
Looking over the last of the Trummelbach Falls at the very bottom of the slot canyon

During our visit, there was a waterwheel shooting out from chute 2 sometimes spilling directly onto the bridge itself!

Shortly beyond the bridge, the path ended as we got a nice view of chute 1 falling right into the remainder of the stream, which rushed further downstream to join the main river running through Lauterbrunnen Valley.

In total, we spent about 1 hr and 15 minutes at the Trummelbach Falls, which reflected our very leisurely pace with photo stops and the one-way funicular ride.

Authorities

Trummelbach Falls resides near the town of Lauterbrunnen, which sits within the Interlaken-Oberhasli District of the Bern Canton, Switzerland. I can’t find an official governmental authority administering this waterfall. So for information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may try visiting the Trummelbach Waterfalls website or the Bern Canton website.

Bernese_Oberland_617_06092010 - Shortly before entering the Trummelbach Falls excursion, we looked back across the Lauterbrunnen Valley to get this distant view of the Murrenbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_618_06092010 - Sign explaining what the Trummelbach Falls experience was all about
Bernese_Oberland_624_06092010 - Julie about to approach the entrance to the Trummelbach Falls excursion
Bernese_Oberland_630_06092010 - Looking up at the dimly lit confines of the funicular that was about to bring up half-way up the Trummelbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_632_06092010 - Looking north towards Lauterbrunnen Valley shortly after exiting the funicular ride at Trummelbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_636_06092010 - Julie going up the stairs after leaving the funicular so we could see chutes 6 through 10 of Trummelbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_637_06092010 - Aegertenbach Falls as seen from a lookout above the initial steps shortly after leaving the funicular at the Trummelbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_640_06092010 - Looking over the brink of the 6th chute of the Trummelbach Falls with some walkway context
Bernese_Oberland_653_06092010 - Misty, damp, and dark walkways in cave-like conditions as we were approaching chute 7
Bernese_Oberland_662_06092010 - Looking towards Chute 9 with a faint rainbow refracting what limited daylight that made it into the depths of the Trummelbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_674_06092010 - Looking down again at the twisty chute 6 of the Trummelbach Falls after having explored the upper half of the slot canyon
Bernese_Oberland_694_06092010 - Julie still descending the steps towards chute 5 with Murrenbach Falls in the distance
Bernese_Oberland_697_06092010 - One of the chutes of the lower slot canyon containing Trummelbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_705_06092010 - Looking right down at chutes 2 and 1 of Trummelbach Falls with a footbridge between them

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The entrance to Trummelbach Falls sits between Lauterbrunnen town and the cable car station leading up to Gimmelwald, Murren, and Schilthorn (which itself sat right in front of Murrenbach Falls).

The short bus ride from either stop typically leaves at half-hour intervals (it takes over a half-hour to walk the 3km distance between the stops from either side).

The bus will drop you off right in front of the Trummelbach Cafe, where you walk a short distance past some signs and along a little meadow before reaching the gate where you pay for admission.

Note that the buses were covered by our Swiss Rail Pass.

For some context, the train ride from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen was said to be about 25 minutes. From Zurich to Interlaken was about 3 hours by rail.

Left to right then upwards sweep of the attractive 6th chute as it spills into a slot canyon and makes its way (mostly unseen) towards Lauterbrunnen Valley


Bottom up sweep of the 7th chute from within the artificially lit confines of the slot canyon carved out by the rushing falls


Bottom up sweep of what I believe to be the 8th chute


Closer look at the 8th chute to demonstrate just how close you are to some of these subterranean waterfalls


Left to right sweep of the attractive 8th chute as it disappears into the abyss below


Left to right sweep of both the 10th chute and the top of the 9th chute disappearing into darkness


Bottom up sweep of what I think is the 5th chute


Bottom up sweep starting from the slot canyon below and ending at Lauterbrunnen Valley; all while you can hear the rushing waters loudly


Top down sweep following the rushing waters down what I believe to be the 4th and 3rd chutes


Backwards L sweep from left to the top looking down at the 2nd and 1st chutes and ending at the Lauterbrunnen Valley; all seen from somewhere near the 3rd chute


V-shaped sweep from the top of the 1st chute towards its base and then down the stream towards the lush Lauterbrunnen Valley

Tagged with: lauterbrunnen, bernese oberland, bern, switzerland, swiss alps, waterfall, train, interlaken, swiss rail



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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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