Krimmler Achental


Peaks and crossings
  • Reichenspitze (3.303 m)
  • Spaten (3.042 m)
  • Glockenkarkopf (2.811 m)
  • Dreiherrnspitze (3.499 m)
  • Simonyspitze (3.481 m)
  • Maurerkeesköpfe (3.311 m)
  • Gamsspitzl (2.888 m)
  • Schlieferspitze (3.290 m)
  • via Rainbachscharte (2.724 m) to the Zittauer Hütte
  • via Rosskarscharte (2.689 m) to the Zittauer Hütte
  • via Gamsscharte (2.972 m) to the Plauener Hütte (2.363 m)
  • via Windbachscharte (2.697 m) to the Richter Hütte zur Warnsdorfer Hütte
  • via the Krimmler Tauern (2.633 m) to the Birnlückenhütte (2.441 m/Italien)
  • via the Birnlücke (2.665 m) to the Birnlückenhütte
Waterfalls and Achental
Krimmler Ache | © Hohe Tauern Nationalpark - Rieder
Waterfalls and Achental

The Krimmler Achental is the longest and highest located valley in the Venediger Group. The Krimmler Ache plunges down to Kriml over three levels with a drop of 380 m. The Krimml falls are among the highest waterfalls in Central Europe. They were awarded the European Diploma for Nature Conservation in 1967. 

Above the falls, wonderful alpine areas extend. The mountainsides are covered in beautiful pine forests. The Krimmler Tauernhaus was first mentioned as far back as in 1389. It provided shelter and food to freight haulers and travellers. Effectively being a "public" rest stop, the tenants were obliged to maintain the trails and help those who were lost or injured.

Isolated valleys

The tributary valleys of the Krimmler Achental are located higher up and can be reached via elevated confluence steps (suspended valleys). The Rainbachtal, branching off from the Krimmler Tauernhaus to the west, is one of the most pristine national park valleys. Here you'll find pine forests, small continental raised bogs with butterwort, heath spotted orchid and sheathed cottonsedge. Thick mountain pine vegetation follows. Marmot burrows are frequent in the deserted alpine soil, the animals themselves rather shy. Between Rainbachkees and Richter Hut lies one of the area's many rock glaciers (Stirnfront 2,400 m), a mix of rubble, rocks and ground ice.

Tauern – Trade and Tradition

Through Windbachtal leads one of the oldest crossings over the Hohe Tauern into Ahrntal / South Tyrol. Goods such as wine, brandy and salt were carried on horses across the Krimmler Tauern. South Tyrolean farmers use the crossing to this day to bring home their cattle from the Krimml pastures every year.

Krimml Waterfalls - Waterfall Trail
Krimmler Waterfalls | © Erich Czerny
Krimml Waterfalls - Waterfall Trail

Along the 33 serpentines and 7 viewing pulpits, you can experience the power of the water from a catchment area of over 100 km² at first hand, to varying degrees depending on the time of day and season. Due to the constant spray, the climate here is mild and oceanic. The path leads through a beautiful spruce forest with thick moss cover and lichens. Many bird species live in the area of the waterfalls, including endangered and protected species. Mountain wagtails, barn swallows and house martins hunt for insects at the water's edge, the dipper also in the water. It is a habitat for many endangered species.

Walking time: approx. 1 hour to above the third waterfall.

Along the Krimmler Ache River

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. The Krimmler Kees glacier with around 4.9 km² is the second largest in Salzburg State. The Warnsdorf Hut is the starting point for many high alpine tours amidst the national park. 

Walking time: Easy valley hike approx. 3½ hours to the Krimmler Tauernhaus.

Into Rainbachtal Valley to the Richter Hut

In Rainbachtal we'll find, having negotiated the 150 m high step from Achental, a pristine alpine landscape. One of the many mountain lakes, Rainbachsee, is located along the trail along the Rainbachscharte wind gap to the Zittauer Hut. But the main trail leads along Rainbach stream to the Richter Hut. It can be seen from far away with the peaks of the Zillertal Alps in the background, some of which are difficult to scale. An alpine trail leads up to the hut starting from the terminus of the goods cable car. Remnants of avalanches can make this trail difficult into July. 

Walking time: Tauernhaus – Richter Hut approx. 2 ½ hours.

Following the footsteps of the freight haulers – Windbachtal

This tour leads along the historic mule trail and is one of the oldest crossings in the Tauern. In the interior valley, parts of the historic mule trail can still be found. The trail leads through a wonderful glacial trough south up to the Krimmler Tauern with views of the splendid panoramas of the 3,000-metre peaks and South Tyrol. Heading west, you'll reach the 25 ha large Eissee lake. 

Walking time: Tauernhaus – Krimmler Tauern approx 3-4 hours.