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 or “wild ass guess”).

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_163_06242018 - One of the drops of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall
One of the drops of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall

So 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.

Such examples of waterfalls that have been given this claim were the Triberg Waterfalls, the Urach Waterfall, or even the Todtnau Waterfall.

Just to give you an idea of how tall the Zipfelsbach 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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_112_06242018 - Looking up at the context of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall backing the village of Hinterstein
Looking up at the context of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall backing the village of Hinterstein

Therefore, 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.

This yielded some attractive views towards the jagged mountains of the Bavarian Alps (some of which still clung onto snow as of late June and early July).

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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_034_06242018 - The first or lowermost of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall
The first or lowermost of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall

I’ve also seen it by the German spellings of Zipfelsbachfall, Zipfelsbachfälle, Zipfelsbach Wasserfall, and Zipfelsbach Wasserfälle.

In the past, I did have it misspelled Zipfielsbach for some reason.

Zipfelsbach Waterfall Trail Description – ascending to the first waterfall

Right from the start, the Zipfelsbach Waterfall could already be seen from the main road through the town of Hinterstein.

However, it was worthwhile to hike up to at least one of the waterfalls for a closer look as well as a more intimate experience.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_100_06242018 - Looking back at one of the trailheads for the Zipfelsbach Waterfall between the Hinterstein town church and a defunct bar / fire station
Looking back at one of the trailheads for the Zipfelsbach Waterfall between the Hinterstein town church and a defunct bar / fire station

The most obvious path began from a car park near a seemingly non-operational 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.

In any case, continuing on the waterfall trail, just a few paces further began the start of a steep and relentlessly uphill ascent alongside the Zipfelsbach Creek.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_026_06242018 - Context of the footbridge over the Zipfelsbach and the ascending trail climbing steeply alongside it
Context of the footbridge over the Zipfelsbach and the ascending trail climbing steeply alongside it

The steep trail ascended alongside other parts of the waterfall that were 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).

Proceeding up the steep ascent for 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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_067_06242018 - Looking up at the lowermost drop (or first) Zipfelsbach Waterfall
Looking up at the lowermost drop (or first) Zipfelsbach Waterfall

At this point, the waterfall had a drop before crashing onto a slope that continued to tumble its way steeply down towards the town of Hinterstein well below this spot.

Zipfelsbach Waterfall Trail Description – ascending to the second waterfall

After having my fill of the first Zipfelsbach Waterfall, the trail then continued its relentless ascent.

It proceeded to climb another 150m or so before reaching a footbridge fronting a taller and more plunging drop of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall.

I’ve deemed this particular waterfall the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall, which took me around 30-45 minutes to make it up to this spot.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_155_06242018 - Looking directly at the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall, which dropped more vertically than the first one
Looking directly at the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall, which dropped more vertically than the first one

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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_097_06242018 - After going through the stile, the alternate return path provided an open field view of Hinterstein
After going through the stile, the alternate return path provided an open field view of Hinterstein

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 at least 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.

Authorities

The Zipfelsbach Waterfall resides in the town of Hinterstein in the state of Bavaria (Bayern), Germany. It may be administered by the local Hinterstein government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may try visiting their website.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_001_06242018 - Looking back towards the western part of the town of Hinterstein from the car park by the Kindergarten just west of the church, which was the one we parked at
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_004_06242018 - We could already see the cascading Zipfelsbach Waterfall from the main drag through Hinterstein
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_008_06242018 - Looking back towards the town church in Hinterstein from the main car park for the Zipfelsbach Waterfall
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_010_06242018 - This was the view of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall from the trailhead between the church and the fire department in Hinterstein
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_021_06242018 - As the trail started ascending the edge of the grassy lawn by the trailhead for Zipfelsbach Waterfall, I got this look back down towards the main drag through Hinterstein and the town church
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_022_06242018 - On the ascending trail to the Zipfelsbach Waterfall as it skirted by a field
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_027_06242018 - Continuing on the ascending trail after keeping left of the bridge over Zipfelsbach to continue towards the first of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_031_06242018 - Staring out in the distance on the way up to the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls, I was able to look across the valley towards these partial views of the jagged snow crusted mountains of the Bavarian Alps. Undoubtedly, the higher up you go on the trail, the more of these mountains you get to see
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_087_06242018 - Context of the informal trail leading to the base of the first Zipfelsbach Waterfall
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_037_06242018 - After a sweaty and steep 15-minute ascent, I managed to reach the first of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_058_06242018 - Direct look at the first of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls after leaving the trail to get right up to the Zipfelsbach Stream
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_078_06242018 - This was now the view across the valley towards the jagged mountains of the Bavarian Alps from the base of the first of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_133_06242018 - Continuing up the steep trail between the first and second Zipfelsbach Waterfalls
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_139_06242018 - Looking up at the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall with a footbridge going across it
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_140_06242018 - Portrait view up at the second of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_144_06242018 - Looking downstream from the footbridge fronting the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall towards Hinterstein
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_149_06242018 - Direct look up at the second of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_150_06242018 - Another look up at the second of the Zipfelsbach Waterfalls from its footbridge
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_160_06242018 - Looking back across the footbridge over the Zipfelsbach Creek in front of the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_162_06242018 - Looking back down towards Hinterstein from the footbridge in front of the second Zipfelsbach Waterfall
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_094_06242018 - Back down at the stile leading to an alternate trail back down to Hinterstein after having had my fill of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_095_06242018 - Beyond the stile, the narrow trail skirted the field that I think belonged to the Hinterstein church
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_107_06242018 - Context of the entirety of the Zipfelsbach Waterfall fronted by an accommodation in Hinterstein
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_119_06242018 - Another look back towards the upper part of the Zipfelsbach Waterfal fronted by some accommodations in Hinterstein
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_121_06242018 - Looking further east from the town of Hinterstein from beyond the Zipfelsbach Creek
Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_167_06242018 - Julie and Tahia returning past the church to the Kindergarten area where we left the car to do our Hinterstein excursions

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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.

Driving from Lindau to Hinterstein

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).

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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_125_06242018 - Looking back at the Hintersteinerstraße, which was the main drag through the town of Hinterstein
Looking back at the Hintersteinerstraße, which was the main drag through the town of Hinterstein

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 during our June 2018 visit), then we’d have to continue straight at the roundabout and go another 2km through the town of Bad Hindelang.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_019_06242018 - The paid car park between the Festhall / Fire Department and the Hinterstein Church
The paid car park between the Festhall / Fire Department and the Hinterstein Church

Then, we’d turn 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.

In the town, 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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_002_06242018 - The car park that was free outside of cost and the 2-hour time limit after 6pm in Hinterstein
The car park that was free outside of cost and the 2-hour time limit after 6pm in Hinterstein

However, 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.

Driving from Fussen to Hinterstein

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.

Zipfielsbach_Waterfalls_102_06242018 - The Hintersteinerstrasse continued beyond the town of Hinterstein deeper into the Bavarian Alps towards the head of the valley
The Hintersteinerstrasse continued beyond the town of Hinterstein deeper into the Bavarian Alps towards the head of the valley

After another 5.5km on the twisty B308, we would then turn left onto the Andreas Groß Straße heading into Bad Oberdorf.

At that point, we’d 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

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



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

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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