Zipfelsbach Waterfall

Hinterstein / Bad Hindelang / Oberallgau District, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany

About Zipfelsbach Waterfall


Hiking Distance: 1.2km round trip (1st 2 waterfalls only)
Suggested Time: 1 hour (1st 2 waterfalls only)

Date first visited: 2018-06-24
Date last visited: 2018-06-24

Waterfall Latitude: 47.48219
Waterfall Longitude: 10.40907

The Zipfelsbach Waterfall was one of the much taller waterfalls in Germany though it didn’t seem to get a whole lot of fanfare. It was said to have a cumulative drop of around 300m (most likely a WAG), but that would put it well higher than other waterfalls proclaiming to be the tallest in this region or that region or the country as a whole (see Triberg Waterfalls or the Urach Waterfall or even Todtnau Waterfall as some such examples).

Just to give you an idea of how tall this waterfall was, I only managed to get up to the first two drops from its base. There could very well be at least four or five total significant drops comprising the overall Zipfelsbach Waterfall so trying to go all the way to the top could very well have been at least a half- to full-day affair. Obviously the higher you go, the better the views across the Hintersteintal Valley, which yielded some attractive jagged mountains of the Bavarian Alps (some of which still clung onto snow as of late June and early July).

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This was the first (lowermost) of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls

Although the Zipfelsbach Waterfall could already be seen from the main road through the town of Hinterstein, it was worthwhile to hike up to at least one of the waterfalls for a closer look and for a more intimate experience. The most obvious path began from a car park near a seemingly non-operation pub that also had a fire station attached to it.

From there, the footpath immediately climbed alongside the edge of a grassy field before entering right into the tree cover of a pine forest. After a short distance (maybe a little over 150m from the trailhead), the path passed by a stile leading back downhill to town. Continuing on the waterfall trail, just a few paces further began the start of a steep and relentlessly uphill ascent alongside the Zipfelsbach Creek with other parts of the waterfall being audible but not very well seen as a result of the thick foliage.

This steep ascent started just before a footbridge traversing the Zipfelsbach Creek. On the other side of that bridge was a trail that was leading back down to the town of Hinterstein towards the backside of some cafes as well as accommodations (so there was definitely more than one way to do this hike). In any case, after another 150m or so of switchbacks and steep thigh burning steps, I was finally able to cut across to the first significant and accessible part of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall.

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Looking at the plunging drop of the second of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls from the footbridge

At this point, the waterfall had a drop before crashing onto a slope that continued to crash its way steeply down towards the town of Hinterstein well below this spot. After having my fill of this first waterfall, the trail then continued its relentless ascent as it went another 150m or so before reaching a footbridge fronting a taller and more plunging second Zipfelsbach Waterfall.

It took me around 30-45 minutes to make it up to this spot. And since I was hiking solo, this was my turnaround point. Indeed, I saw other hikers continue their ascent higher up the mountain towards more tiers of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall. Maybe one of these days, I’ll have a chance to have more time to fully complete this hike and have more to say about it.

On the way back down, I took the stile, which descended the edge of a grassy area before rejoining the trailhead near the fire station and defunct bar. Along the way, I was treated to sweeping views of the town church backed by the jagged mountains of the Bavarian Alps on the other side of the valley.

All told, the excursion I wound up doing took me around 45 minutes to an hour to complete, but it could easily take longer than that. I’d imagine going further up the mountain to check out the upper tiers of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall would take at least 2-3 hours or more.

For nomenclature semantics, while this waterfall could be deemed as having several waterfalls, I’ve opted to go with referencing this falls as the Zipfelsbach Waterfall instead of pluralizing it to Zipfelsbach Waterfalls. I’ve also seen it by the German spellings of Zipfelsbachfall, Zipfelsbachfälle, Zipfelsbach Wasserfall, and Zipfelsbach Wasserfälle. I did have it misspelled Zipfielsbach for some reason.

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Since the Zipfelsbach Waterfall was roughly half-way between Lindau and Füssen, I’ll describe the driving directions from both of those towns starting with the Lindau approach from the west.

From Lindau Island turnoff, we headed east on the Bregenzerstraße towards the roundabout with the B12, then we continued east at that roundabout (first exit) as we drove another 2.5km or so towards the A96 autobahn ramp (following the signs along the way).

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The Hintersteinerstrasse continued beyond the town of Hinterstein deeper into the Bavarian Alps towards the head of the valley

We then took the A96 autobahn due north for about 4.5km to the exit 4 (Weißensberg) turning right to go east onto the B12. Then, we followed the B12 for about 55km towards its junction with B19 near Waltenhofen. We then headed south (exit 3 on the right) for the B19 due south for another 20km taking the ramp for the B308 as we were heading into the town of Sonthofen.

Then, we headed east on the B308 for 8km as we would then turn off at the first exit of the roundabout for the Ostrachstraße towards Hinsterstein. If it turns out that there was road construction on Ostrachstraße (like it was for us), then we’d have to continue straight at the roundabout and go another 2km through the town of Bad Hindelang before turning off the B308 at the Andreas Groß Straße at the upper end of the town of Bad Oberdorf.

Whether by Ostrachstraße or by detour via Bad Oberdorf, we’d eventually continue south on the Hintersteinerstraße and follow this road for another 3.3km into the town of Hinterstein where there were some car parks for the hike to get a closer look at the Zipfelsbach Waterfall.

There was a pay and display scheme going on at the car park by the fire station, but there was also a free time limit parking by the kindergarten and church a little further to the west in town. Overall, we drove about 2 hours using this route.

Conversely, if we were coming from Füssen, we’d go west on the A7 autobahn for about 21km before heading south on the B310. Then after another 19km on the B310, we took the second exit at the roundabout to go west on the B308. After another 5.5km on the twisty B308, we would then turn left onto the Andreas Groß Straße heading into Bad Oberdorf, where we’d then follow the directions as above as we’d find our way to the Hintersteinstraße then ultimately to the town of Hinterstein.

For geographical context, Bad Hindelang was about 8km (10 minutes drive) east of Sonthofen, 71km (over an hour drive) east of Lindau, and 51km (under 45 minutes drive) west of Füssen.

Sweep checking out the lower waterfall before panning over to the downstream view of the mountains across the valley


Just focused on the second waterfall and its tiers from below the footbridge


Video focusing on the second waterfall from the bridge going right across it

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Tagged with: hinterstein, bad hindelang, oberallgau, bavaria, germany, waterfall, zipfelsbach, wild strawberries

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