Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls

Palfau / Landl, Styria (Steiermark), Austria

About Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: roughly 4km round trip
Suggested Time: at least 3 hours

Date first visited: 2018-07-06
Date last visited: 2018-07-06

Waterfall Latitude: 47.7027
Waterfall Longitude: 14.87712

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The Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls were a series of waterfalls tumbling within a steep and narrow gorge in a pretty out-of-the-way (as far as the typical tourist route is concerned) part of North Central Austria.

It turned out that Austria was full of these waterfall-laden gorges (i.e. -schlucht or -klamm).

Wasserlochklamm_103_07062018 - Schleierfall, which was one of five signposted Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls
Schleierfall, which was one of five signposted Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls

And this was one such excursion that yielded not only many waterfalls but also a view over the Salzatal as well as a natural bridge.

According to the trail maps and brochures here, there was said to have been at least five signed waterfalls though there were additional surprise waterfalls throughout the excursion.

This included one that faced the natural bridge at the very top of the hike!

The average flow was said to be about 5 cubic meters per second so it tended to consistently put on a show.

Wasserlochklamm_182_07062018 - Looking down at the hiking trail climbing alongside the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls
Looking down at the hiking trail climbing alongside the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls

The gorge apparently got its water from precipitation draining into the Hochkar at around 1800m in elevation.

The green karst was porous, which allowed the water to seep underground and emerge as a spring at about 810m in elevation.

It seemed that the trail went all the way to this source at the Riesenkarstquelle, which was beneath a shelter at the top of the hike.

In order to experience all the waterfalls and its surprises, I had to hike a modest 2km stretch of trail (or 4km round trip).

Wasserlochklamm_175_07062018 - Context of the Riesenkarstquelle and waterfall as seen from a lookout perched above a natural bridge well upstream from the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls
Context of the Riesenkarstquelle and waterfall as seen from a lookout perched above a natural bridge well upstream from the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls

However, the verticality of the trail in addition to the many stops along the way ensured that I would be spending at least three hours here.

Indeed, the gorge itself was said to be 900m in length and 325m in elevation change.

Wasserlochklamm Trail Description – hiking to the mouth of the gorge

From the roadside car park along the B24 (see directions below), I promptly got into the gift shift.

This was where I paid for my admission (about 6.50 euros per adult as of Summer 2018) then went out to the back.

Wasserlochklamm_267_07062018 - Looking back at the Hängerbrücke (suspension bridge) over the Salza River just beyond the turnstile for the Wasserlochklamm
Looking back at the Hängerbrücke (suspension bridge) over the Salza River just beyond the turnstile for the Wasserlochklamm

There was a video and some interpretive signs in German behind the gift shop as well as a trail passing by the neighboring cafe.

Then, the trail crossed a suspension bridge (Hängerbrücke) spanning the gorge over the Salza River.

Despite the moderate rain during my visit, there were still plenty of hikers as well as people tubing or rafting on the river itself!

Indeed, this seemed to be quite the popular place amongst Austrian visitors.

Wasserlochklamm_265_07062018 - Beyond the turnstile, I followed a trail that paralleled the Salza River en route to the mouth of the Wasserlochklamm Gorge while rafters were joyriding on the colorful river itself
Beyond the turnstile, I followed a trail that paralleled the Salza River en route to the mouth of the Wasserlochklamm Gorge while rafters were joyriding on the colorful river itself

Anyways, once I was on the other side of the bridge, I used the purchased ticket to scan the bar code at the automated turnstile, which then let me through.

Next, the trail descended briefly before following along the Salza for about 300m further.

Then, the trail veered inland as it followed the interior of the Wasserlochklamm Gorge.

Wasserlochklamm Trail Description – experiencing the signposted waterfalls

At roughly 20 minutes into the hike from the turnstile (500m or so according to my GPS logs), I encountered the first signed waterfall.

Wasserlochklamm_044_07062018 - Approaching the first signed waterfall within the Wasserlochklamm Gorge
Approaching the first signed waterfall within the Wasserlochklamm Gorge

This one was said to be 22m tall though it had a nice plunge before continuing its tumble beneath the ledge trail.

Shortly above the first waterfall, the trail then passed by a very narrow section of the Wasserlochklamm labeled “Canyon”.

This was where more intermediate waterfalls and cascades were crashing within the depths of the gorge below the trail.

Continuing on with the ascending trail, I then encountered waterfall #2 at roughly 200m further on into the hike.

Wasserlochklamm_236_07062018 - Looking down into the Canyon section while hiking between the waterfall 1 and waterfall 2 in the Wasserlochklamm
Looking down into the Canyon section while hiking between the waterfall 1 and waterfall 2 in the Wasserlochklamm

Although the brochure said this waterfall was 26m tall, I never really got a good clean look at it.

That was because the trail climbed alongside it with some cliff and foliage obstructions along the way.

So this was really one that was better experienced in person than to try to capture in an awkward photo.

Shortly after the second waterfall, the trail continued its steep climb up steps alongside Waterfall 3, which was said to be 28m tall.

Wasserlochklamm_223_07062018 - The Wasserlochklamm Trail climbing alongside the third Wasserlochklamm Waterfall en route to the base of the Schleierfall
The Wasserlochklamm Trail climbing alongside the third Wasserlochklamm Waterfall en route to the base of the Schleierfall

It was hard to tell its height given that it didn’t seem to be its own individual entity.

Immediately above the third waterfall, I then reached the base of the fourth waterfall, where a signpost called it the Schleierfall.

This waterfall was said to have a height of 39m, but from the signpost, it didn’t seem like it.

It wasn’t until I continued climbing further up the trail did I realize that the Schleierfall had an upper component to it.

Wasserlochklamm_129_07062018 - This was the rest of the fourth waterfall, which was called the Schleierfall
This was the rest of the fourth waterfall, which was called the Schleierfall

Together, I could totally understand why they singled out this waterfall with a name, because it was very impressive.

After continuing its steep ascent yielding more impressive frontal views of the Schleierfall, the trail then petered out for a short while as the wooden trail was now hugging a cliff as it rounded a bend towards a minor gully.

Then, the trail continued its steep climb as it was climbing alongside the Schleierfall.

After another 300m or so from the base of Schleierfall, the ascent finally reached the fifth and final signposted waterfall 5, which was said to be 37m tall.

Wasserlochklamm_155_07062018 - Approaching the fifth signposted waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Approaching the fifth signposted waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm

I honestly thought that height figure was a little exaggerated compared to the Schleierfall.

Then again, maybe there were some hidden tiers.

While I was tempted to call it the end of the hike at waterfall 5, I went ahead and continued further up the trail.

Wasserlochklamm Trail Description – continuing to the top

The Wasserlochklamm Trail ascended even more switchbacks and was on more of a conventional surface as opposed to the constant cliff-hugging boardwalks.

Wasserlochklamm_165_07062018 - The trail ascending to a shetler by the Wasserlochklamm, where there was a natural bridge as well as a spring
The trail ascending to a shetler by the Wasserlochklamm, where there was a natural bridge as well as a spring

After reaching a trail junction, I then kept right and continued the ascent until I finally got up to a shelter at the Wasserloch.

Up at this shelter, there wasn’t a whole lot to see.

However, if not for the opaque walls, it might have been the best spot to peer towards the natural bridge further downstream.

Anyways, I continued on the hike, which skirted then went above the natural bridge.

Wasserlochklamm_169_07062018 - Crossing over a bridge above the natural bridge (unseen) on the way up to the Salzatalblick (overlook of the Salzatal Valley)
Crossing over a bridge above the natural bridge (unseen) on the way up to the Salzatalblick (overlook of the Salzatal Valley)

The path went up a long flight of steps towards the Salzatalblick (an overlook).

Along the way, I noticed a surprise waterfall tumbling beneath the shelter, and it seemed to be coming out of a cave as a spring, and thus this was the namesake Wasserloch itself!

At the very top, the Salzatalblick was supposed to be the reward for such a long climb up.

However, it was raining pretty hard on the day of my visit so there were low rain clouds everywhere and the views weren’t as expansive as they could have been.

Wasserlochklamm_261_07062018 - Making it back out of the Wasserlochklamm and approaching the suspension bridge in the distance to end my wet adventure
Making it back out of the Wasserlochklamm and approaching the suspension bridge in the distance to end my wet adventure

There was also a trailhead register up here so you can write down your name, the time, where you’re from, and a brief comment.

Once I had my fill of this spot (it took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes to make it up here), I then headed back down the way I came.

The return journey only took me around an hour though given the slick conditions, I managed to take a spill on one of the wooden ramps alongside the Salza River.

Even with sturdy hiking boots, I still should have made sure that my steps were sure and not hastily done.

Authorities

The Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls reside near the town of Palfau in the state of Styria (Steiermark), Austria. It may be administered by the Palfau government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Wasserlochklamm_006_07062018 - Approaching the suspension bridge across the gorge of the Salza River en route to the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_007_07062018 - Looking towards the cafe and kiosk before the suspension bridge over the gorge of the Salza River en route to the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_009_07062018 - Looking across the suspension bridge over the gorge of the Salza River en route to the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_014_07062018 - Traversing the suspension bridge spanning the gorge of the Salza River
Wasserlochklamm_270_07062018 - The automated turnstile at the other end of the suspension bridge marking the start of the hike to the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_018_07062018 - Looking back at the turnstile on the far end of the suspension bridge starting the hike towards the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_020_07062018 - Descending the trail as it brought me closer to the banks of the Salza River en route to the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_023_07062018 - Context of the hiking trail along the Salza River en route to the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_027_07062018 - The trail starting to go more inland towards the mouth of the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_029_07062018 - Approaching a footbridge traversing the stream responsible for the Wasserlochklamm gorge
Wasserlochklamm_032_07062018 - Walking alongside the stream as I ascended into the Wasserlochklamm Gorge
Wasserlochklamm_034_07062018 - Following the boardwalked trail leading higher up the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_038_07062018 - Climbing into the Wasserlochklamm from the mouth of the gorge as the trail started to skirt by some cascades with the narrowing of the gorge
Wasserlochklamm_041_07062018 - Already there were cascades tumbling beneath the wooden surface of the Wasserlochklamm Hike
Wasserlochklamm_048_07062018 - It didn't take long before I reached the first of the signed Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls
Wasserlochklamm_049_07062018 - Another look at the first of the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls and some of the lower cascades beneath it
Wasserlochklamm_051_07062018 - Continuing the ascent along the Wasserlochklamm as I went past the sign identifying the first of the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls
Wasserlochklamm_055_07062018 - Looking back at the Wasserlochklamm Trail from the first waterfall
Wasserlochklamm_057_07062018 - Continuing the ascent beyond the first waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_059_07062018 - The ascending Wasserlochklamm Trail as it went alongside more cascades above the first waterfall
Wasserlochklamm_060_07062018 - Context of the cascades upstream from the first waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm backed by towering cliffs
Wasserlochklamm_062_07062018 - Looking back down at the trail alongside the stream in the Wasserlochklamm between the first waterfall and the canyon
Wasserlochklamm_066_07062018 - More climbing ahead as the Wasserlochklamm narrowed in a section called the 'Canyon'
Wasserlochklamm_067_07062018 - Looking down at some intermediate waterfalls squeezed into the so-called 'Canyon' in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_068_07062018 - Context of the Waserlochklamm Trail traversing the 'Canyon' perched above some intermediate waterfalls
Wasserlochklamm_073_07062018 - Another look at the context of the 'Canyon' part of the Wasserlochklamm as the trail traversed it
Wasserlochklamm_074_07062018 - Climbing above the so-called 'Canyon' part of the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_076_07062018 - This was the second waterfall of the Wasserlochklamm, which was hard to see
Wasserlochklamm_078_07062018 - Looking back down at the steps rising above the 'Canyon' section of the Wasserlochklamm as it approached the next series of waterfalls
Wasserlochklamm_080_07062018 - Continuing the climb higher up the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_084_07062018 - Looking down over the brink of the second signed waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_086_07062018 - Context of the boardwalk trail as it followed alongside more intermediate cascades in the Wasserlochklamm somewhere between the second and third signed waterfalls
Wasserlochklamm_088_07062018 - Looking ahead at the third waterfall and the base of the fourth waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_095_07062018 - Frontal view of the bottom of the Schleierfall, which I believe was the fourth signed waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_099_07062018 - Looking back at the trail from the foot of the Schleierfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_100_07062018 - Going up the steep climb alongside the Schleierfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_104_07062018 - Looking towards the main drops of the Schleierfall, which was the fourth waterfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_115_07062018 - Context of the Schleierfall with the Wasserlochklamm Trail as it was hugging the cliff
Wasserlochklamm_118_07062018 - Continuing along the Wasserlochklamm Trail skirting around a gully before climbing alongside the upper drops of the Schleierfall
Wasserlochklamm_120_07062018 - Looking towards the uppermost drop of the Schleierfall from the Wasserlochklamm Trail
Wasserlochklamm_127_07062018 - Looking across the gorge towards a small side waterfall near the Schleierfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_130_07062018 - More contextual views of the Wasserlochklamm Trail and how it was following the contours of the gorge walls
Wasserlochklamm_132_07062018 - Context of the Wasserlochklamm Trail as it skirted through a side gully while still following along the steep gorge walls near the Schleierfall
Wasserlochklamm_133_07062018 - Sideways contour view of the Schleierfall in the Wasserlochklamm as I was about to climb above it
Wasserlochklamm_145_07062018 - Looking back down the canyon towards the Salzatal Valley shrouded in clouds while still ascending above the Schleierfall in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_148_07062018 - More long climbing on the Wasserlochklamm Trail as I continued to ascend above the Schleierfall
Wasserlochklamm_161_07062018 - Looking at the fifth of the signed waterfalls in the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_162_07062018 - Looking up towards the cliff context above the fifth of the signed waterfalls of the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_163_07062018 - Continuing the climbing trail beyond the fifth Wasserlochklamm Waterfall
Wasserlochklamm_164_07062018 - Getting quite the workout as I continued the climb beyond the fifth Wasserlochklamm Waterfall and wanted to see what else there was to this trail
Wasserlochklamm_167_07062018 - About to arrive at the shelter above the Wasserloch near the top of my hike
Wasserlochklamm_171_07062018 - It's hard to get a good view of it, but you have to look carefully to see the natural arch behind the tree near the Wasserloch
Wasserlochklamm_172_07062018 - This was the bridge above the natural bridge just downstream of the Wasserloch
Wasserlochklamm_178_07062018 - Looking down across the Salzatal Valley shrouded in low clouds as there was lots of rain on the day of my hike up the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_183_07062018 - The guest register at the Salzatalblick at the very top of my Wasserlochklamm hike
Wasserlochklamm_188_07062018 - Looking down at the waterfall coming out of the Wasserloch while I was descending back down towards the shelter
Wasserlochklamm_196_07062018 - Looking down at the steep trail that I took to get up to the shelter at the Wasserloch
Wasserlochklamm_199_07062018 - After having my fill of the Wasserloch and Salzatalblick, it was time to head back into the clouds and return to the trailhead
Wasserlochklamm_207_07062018 - Context of the long descent ahead of me as other people were continuing to make their way up towards the Wasserloch
Wasserlochklamm_208_07062018 - I was quite amazed by how well-used the Wasserlochklamm Trail was even though the weather had been lousy all day
Wasserlochklamm_210_07062018 - Continuing to follow along the Wasserlochklamm Gorge wall contours on my return hike from the Wasserloch
Wasserlochklamm_213_07062018 - Context of part of the Schleierfall with the Wasserlochklamm Trail
Wasserlochklamm_217_07062018 - Back at the top of the Schleierfall in the Wasserlochklamm on the return hike
Wasserlochklamm_231_07062018 - Continuing the long and nearly vertical descent in Wasserlochklamm on my return hike
Wasserlochklamm_233_07062018 - Continuing the long descent to get out of the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_245_07062018 - Beneath the 'Canyon' part of the Wasserlochklamm return hike as I was approaching the head of the first signed waterfall
Wasserlochklamm_249_07062018 - The final descent past the first signed waterfall before I could finally get out of the Wasserlochklamm
Wasserlochklamm_271_07062018 - Finally making it back to the suspension bridge over the Salza River and just about ending my long wet adventure in the Wasserlochklamm

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We drove to the Wasserlochklamm in Palfau from Admont and then continued on to Melk.

So I’ll describe the driving directions from both places as starting points.

Driving from Admont to Wasserlochklamm

From Admont, we took the B146 south towards the southern end of town before turning left to continue east on the B146 Road.

We pretty much followed this road through the Gesäuse National Park before turning left onto the B115 at Hieflau.

After nearly 5km north on the B115, we then turned right on the B25 and followed this road for another 12km.

Wasserlochklamm_001_07062018 - Roadside parking for the Wasserlochklamm along the B24 in Palfau
Roadside parking for the Wasserlochklamm along the B24 in Palfau

Then, we turned right onto the B24 and continued for just under 4km to the Wasserlochklamm Car Park on the left.

Overall, this drive took us about 45 minutes or so.

Driving from Melk to Wasserlochklamm

From Melk, would take the Road 3A south towards the A1 autobahn heading west.

Once on the autobahn, we’d drive west for about 20km towards the B25 exit (exit 100).

Then, we headed south from the off-ramp and continued on the B25 south for about 68km before reaching the B24 on the left.

Wasserlochklamm_276_07062018 - Right by the entrance to the Wasserlochklamm and the car park, I noticed this carving
Right by the entrance to the Wasserlochklamm and the car park, I noticed this carving

Finally, we’d drive the remaining distance to the car park for the Wasserlochklamm as given above.

Overall, this drive would take us about 90 minutes covering a distance of about 93km.

For geographical context, Admont was 79km (under 90 minutes drive) east of Hallstatt, about 128km (nearly 2 hours drive) southwest of Melk, 111km (about 90 minutes drive) northwest of Graz, 176km (nearly 2 hours drive) east of Salzburg, and 235km (about 2.5 hours drive) west of Vienna.

Sweep covering the first main waterfall on the Wasserlochklamm


Short sweep covering the Schleierfall, which was the largest of the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls


Video covering the uppermost of the Wasserlochklamm Waterfalls


Long video starting at the Salzatalblick then checking out the waterfall beneath the shelter before descending towards an obstructed view of the natural bridge

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Tagged with: wasserlochklamm, palfau, gorge, styria, austria, waterfall, natural bridge, salzatal



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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