The Krimmler Wasserfälle is definitely my favorite waterfall in Austria and is situated along the Gerlos Strasse, east of Gerlos in the region Salzburg, Austria.
Already from a distance you see the Krimmler Wasserfälle plunging down over 380 meter. Because the Krimmler Wasserfälle is a glacier waterfall, in summertime (in the afternoon) the volume and power is on its maximum.
Parking at the Krimmler Wasserfälle
The Krimmler Wasserfälle is located in a touristic area and is easy to reach. There is an exit on road 165 at Wald im Pinzgau, which leads to Krimml. There are several big parking lots in front of the waterfall and in summertime it can be very crowded. Every year 350.000 people visit the Krimmler Wasserfälle. The closest parking lot is P4, which is located right at the entrance to the waterfall trail. Other parking lots include P3, P2, and P1, which are located within a short walk of the trail. All of the parking lots are paid parking, and the rates vary depending on the lot and the length of time you park. The parking fee is generally around €2 per hour. For the most recent information, visit the official website.
Visiting the Krimmler Wasserfälle by bus or train
If you are coming to the Krimmler Wasserfälle by bus, you can get off at the Wasserfallzentrum bus stop, which is located in front of the tourist information office.
It also possible to go the Krimmler Wasserfälle by train. The nearest train station is Krimml-Hochkrimml, which is located about 20 minutes walk from the entrance to the waterfall trail. To get to Krimml-Hochkrimml by train, you can take the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn from Zell am See. The train ride takes about 30 minutes. Once you arrive at Krimml-Hochkrimml train station, you can walk to the waterfall trail by following the signs. If you are not able to walk, you can take the Krimmler Wasserfälle bus from the train station to the entrance of the waterfall trail. The bus ride takes about 5 minutes.
Hike along the Krimmler Wasserfälle
An entrance fee is required when you want to hike up to all waterfalls. In 2023 the entrance fee was €8. (For the most recent information, visit the official website). From the parking it is only a 5-10 minute walk to the lower waterfall. The Krimmler Wasserfälle is 380 meter high, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. The waterfall is located near the village of Krimml in Austria in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The Krimmler Wasserfälle originates from the Krimmler Ache which falls down at the end of the high Krimmler Achendal in three phases. The upper stage of the waterfall drops down over 140 meters. The middle part is 100 meters high and the lowest part of the Krimmler Wasserfälle drops down 140 meters.
From the base of the waterfall a trail leads to the top of the Krimmler Wasserfälle. On the way you will have numerous good viewpoints, starting at the base of the waterfall. The first viewpoint is almost directly after the park entrance at at a statue of a chamois.
From here you walk to the base of the most impressive part of the Krimmler Wasserfälle, the lower waterfall. Here you have several good viewpoints for taking good pictures.
From the base of the waterfall, the trail follows the river Krimmler ache up to the middle and upper waterfall with eleven viewpoints on the way. It takes time to walk to the waterfall every time, but its worthwhile.
Just before the upper part of the Krimmler Wasserfälle there is a nice restaurant, with good service and nice prices. A good spot to enjoy lunch. At the back of the restaurant there is a sort of picnic spot at the river where a lot of people enjoy the beauty of the surrounding and where children can play.
The last part goes steeply up along the upper part of the waterfall. After finishing the trail you will be rewarded with a magnificent view on the valley.
A total roundtrip, with breaks, photographing and lunch takes approximately 5 hour.
After the waterfall trail, a level driveway leads all the way to the Tauernhaus. Wonderful alpine scenery extends through U-shaped valley scraped out by the glacier. The valley floor is home to beautiful wet meadows. The sides of the valley are covered with extensive areas of Swiss pine. At the end of the Krimmler Achental extends the mighty Krimml glacier, which is also the source of the Krimmler Ache.
Most of the pictures you will take are towards the south. Best time to visit the Krimmler Wasserfälle is late in the morning (early in the summer a little bit earlier). When walking up you will have front light of the sun at the lower waterfall. But further up conditions for photographing are better. On the way back you will have the perfect view on the lower waterfall of the Krimmler waterfall.
Information about the Krimmler Wasserfälle
The Krimmler Ache flows into the Salzach River, a tributary of the Inn in the Danube flows that eventually ends up in the Black Sea.
The Krimmler Ache is a glacial stream from which the amount of water varies much. In June and July 5.6 m³/s of water flows in the river while in February it reduces to 0.14 m³/s . The largest amount was measured on 25 August 1987, when in total 166.7 m³/s flowed in the Krimmler Wasserfälle. Because it takes a while before snow is melted the maximum flow at daytime is reached between 9 p.m. and 12 p.m.
The origin of the Krimmler Ache lies at the Krimmler Kees, the second biggest glacier in the region of Salzburg with a surface of appr 4.9 km² (in 1977). Unfortunately the year 2015 was dramatic for the Austrian glaciers. The summer was extremely warm (when I was there) and the amount of rainfall dramatic reduced. In 2015 (and also in 2016) the amount of rainfall was appr 60% of the amount of rainfall in the years before.
On short term we still can enjoy of the Krimmler Wasserfälle, because of the warm summer (=more melted ice). On the long term, the volume of the waterfall will reduce. In the future the glacier gets smaller and smaller resulting in less melted ice.
The question is how long will it take. There aren’t figures of the Krimmler Kees right now, but I am afraid it is much smaller then the 4.9 km² in 1977.
The Krimmler Wasserfälle is the most powerful waterfall in Austria and one of the mightiest waterfalls in Europe, a must to visit. It is one of my favorite waterfalls in Europa and that is why I rated the waterfall with a 4.5 star, maybe it should be a 5 star.
I visited the Krimmler Wasserfälle several times, the first time when I was 8 years old. Probably this waterfall is one of the reasons that I am possessed with a disease named “waterfalls”. It doesn’t matter if you visit the Krimmler Wasserfälle in winter or in summer, the waterfall is in every season beautiful. Off course in July the vegetation is green and the volume of the Krimmler Wasserfälle is so much more powerful. July is the best month to visit this great waterfall.
You can see the difference at the photo’s: the last 4 pictures are taken in april (years ago), the other pictures are taken august 2015 after a long period with temperatures over 30C. The warmest summer ever in Austria.
Nearby there are several other nice waterfalls that can be visited. In a nearby valley (Obersulzbachtal) the Gamseckfall is falling down, almost in front of one the highest waterfalls in Austria, the Seebachfall. A little bit deeper in the valley the Foissbachfall can be visited and in the valley next to the Obersulzbachtal there is the amazing Untersulzbachfall (also called Sulzbachfall) with a single drop of 110 meters.