About Cascata del Gorg d’Abiss
Cascata del Gorg d’Abiss was another one of those obscure waterfalls that we didn’t plan on visiting when we set out on our 2013 trip to Italy. It wasn’t until I was trying to figure out the name of the unofficially-named “Cascata di Trento” did I stumble across this waterfall in the literature. Once I realized that it was pretty close to Riva del Garda (where we were going to stay that evening), the decision was made to check it out. And we were quite glad that we did!
This waterfall put us on a neat out-and-back detour that skirted the small but very calm and beautiful Lago di Ledro. It also allowed us to check out the sleepy town of Tiarno di Sotto, which featured an old church with a pretty tall clock tower and was apparently once known for having many mansions at the height of Venetian power and wealth. The short 20-minute round trip walk was actually in the town of Tiaro di Sotto itself.
But regarding the waterfall, it was unusual in that most of its main drop was hidden from view. It was almost as if the waterfall was gushing out of the cave-like alcove it was nestled in. There was also a lighter flowing waterfall that flowed over the lip of the alcove and almost fell on top of the gushing lower waterfall.
The last time we saw something like this (albeit on a larger scale) was at Running Eagle Falls in Glacier National Park, Montana. I suspect that there was probably a sinkhole in the stream above, and a large fraction of the volume of the stream went through the sinkhole then re-emerged as the gushing lower tier. Meanwhile, the remainder of the stream that didn’t go down the sinkhole went over the lip of the alcove containing the hidden waterfall. Since we didn’t actually go to the top of this waterfall (though I’m not sure there was a safe way to do it), we can’t confirm or refute our hypothesis.
The trail to Cascata del Gorg d’Abiss began at a dead-end (see directions below). The trail passed between a pair of properties (one of them seemed to be an art exhibit or something) then entered a serene forest setting. Along the way, the trail passed by an old building (in which we weren’t sure what it was for), then it passed by some kind of a shrine. Finally, the trail narrowed and went alongside a reinforced walkway that was literally alongside the stream (called Massangla) containing the waterfall.
The trail terminated right in front of the falls where we were able to get the view you see pictured at the top of this page. And given the limited real-estate on the trail, I’d imagine if there were multiple parties visiting at the same time, there would probably have to be some way of taking turns to experience the falls. That was certainly the case when a group of elderly Italian locals actually took their time and let us go forward with visiting the falls at the end of the trail. Then, they timed their arrival at the end of the trail to when we had our fill of the attractive falls. So that’s something to consider to ensure you’re getting a relaxing and enjoyable experience here.
From Riva del Garda (the nearest big town or small city), we followed the signs for Valle di Ledro when we were at the roundabouts on the northwest end of town. It could get a bit confusing here with the many newly-built tunnels (i.e. opportunities to turn around if you go down the wrong road are very limited), but I recalled the key to getting on the right road was the Valle di Ledro signs at the roundabouts.
Once on the correct road towards Valle di Ledro, the road then goes into a long tunnel and emerges on the SS240 as it approaches the town of Molina di Ledro and the attractive Lago di Ledro. Stay on the SS240 heading towards Tiarno di Sotto, which is about 12km from the end of the long tunnel near Riva del Garda.
Once at Tiarno di Sotto, follow the Tiarno di Sotto sign taking you into town. Then follow the main road past the church with the clock tower, and then past Via Roma/Via Arrigo Boito street and onto Via Alla Sega. At this point, I recalled there were Gorg d’Abiss signs. Follow Via alla Sega (becoming Via San Giorgio then Via al Molino) for about 700m to its end.
Finally, if you happen to miss the Tiarno di Sotto sign taking you onto the road through town and past the church with the clock tower, you can still keep driving on SS240 until you reach Via Roma at the other end of town. Then, turn right onto Via Roma, then turn left onto Via alla Sega (following the Gorg d’Abiss signs at this point).
For some additional context, Riva del Garda was 50km (under an hour drive) west of Trento, 106km (90 minutes drive) southwest of Bolzano, 200km (2-2.5 hours drive) northwest of Venice (Venezia), and 181km (over 2.5 hours drive) northeast of Milan (Milano).
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