About Cascate di Riva (Reinbachfalle)
Le Cascate di Riva (Riva Waterfalls; also Reinbachfälle in German) was a series of attractive waterfalls. From what we could tell, there were three main drops on the Riva River though there were other waterfalls and cascades both on and off the Riva River. These waterfalls also have an alternate name by Cascate di Campo Tures (Campo Tures Waterfalls) because of its proximity to the town of Campo Tures (Sand in Taufers in German).
Speaking of the town, we noticed an attractive castle perched on a hill overlooking the town itself while backed by snowy white mountains. It was too bad that the weather didn’t cooperate enough for us to truly see the full scale of the surrounding mountains, but even what was revealed was enough to impress us. Given that these waterfalls were said to be one of the famous waterfalls in the Alto Adige (Südtirol) region, we have to believe that the picturesque Dolomites scenery along with the attractive castle and town must have helped the stature of the falls. It was certainly our waterfalling excuse to go this far out near the Austrian-Italian border.As for the waterfall experience itself, we started from a souvenir shop and cafe at Winkel, which was in the middle of the woods roughly 3km from Campo Tures (see directions below). A wide trail began adjacent to the cafe as it went right into a forest of tall trees immediately giving us the feeling that we were truly back to Nature. This trail persisted gradually uphill flanked by trees as well as the Riva River as we’d eventually reach the lookout for the first Riva Waterfall roughly 15 minutes from the start.
The first waterfall was a gushing 10m stocky waterfall that was towered over by tall cliffs concealing a gorge further upstream. Despite the overcast conditions, Julie and I were quite struck by the clarity and color of the river suggesting that the watersource might be glacial in origin. The lookout area of this first waterfall also allowed us to notice one of the abstract carvings depicting some kind of struggle of someone helping others scale the boulder they were perched on. I suspect the carving (the first of several) might be related to the pilgrimage trail (of which the waterfall trail seemed to coincide with) dedicated to San Francesco d’Assisi (i.e. the same guy whom they dedicated the well-known town and basilica to in the Umbria region near Perugia).After the first waterfall, the path continued climbing. Even though there were lots of trail junctions en route, there were enough signs pointing the way to continue on the waterfall trail (trail number 2, I believe). During this stretch, I recalled that we passed by a bunch of rock cairns that seemed to have some kind of significance, but I knew not what it was.
About 15 minutes later in the climb, we then reached a narrow wooden set of steps leading down to an overlook of the second waterfall. This one featured a multi-tiered cascading shape that we found to be very attractive (possibly the most attractive of the three waterfalls if you’re into graceful waterfalls; see photo at the top of this page). I don’t know the height of this tier of the Cascate di Riva, but it certainly seemed taller than the first waterfall.
Beyond the second waterfall, the trail continued climbing up more steps and switchbacks. Near the apex of the next climb, we noticed another carving of two people reaching out for each other. Again, I wasn’t sure what the scene was depicting but I speculate it had to do with San Francesco d’Assisi.At about 15 minutes of climbing and walking past the second waterfall, we reached a footbridge that was wet with the mist of the third waterfall. This one was probably the most powerful and possibly the tallest (someone said it was 42m tall though that seemed kind of generous), and given the tight gorge that the falls spilled into, there was a lot of mist swirling about during our visit. In addition to an angled view from the footbridge, it was also possible to brave the wet and muddy conditions to try to view the falls directly across the gorge from an overlook with some wooden railings for protection from the dropoff.
Beyond this third waterfall, the trail continued climbing towards another trail junction near a shrine. This was where the San Francesco trail diverged from the remainder of the waterfall trail. So we kept left as we passed by the shrine and then continued towards a lookout with a bench where we noticed a fourth waterfall. The fourth waterfall appeared to be thin and temporary, and we weren’t sure if the additional waterfall signs beyond the third waterfall were referring to this waterfall.
Finally, the waterfall trail continued beyond this overlook of the temporary waterfall to its end where there was a cafe and a road. This was our turnaround point as we descended back the way we came to the trailhead. However, we could have extended our walk by taking the road back down the hill to the town of Campo Tures (Sand in Taufers) where we could have incorporated visiting the castle in town, and then walk the final 3km back to the car park by Winkel.
In any case, our out-and-back hike took us just under two hours.
From Bolzano, we drove north on the A22 for about 44km before exiting at Bressanone. From that exit, we followed the signs for Val Pusteria, which ultimately put us onto the two-lane E66. We then followed the E66 for about 25km to the town of Brunico, where we then followed the signs for Campo Tures (Sand in Taufers), which was on the SS621. When the SP48 (Via Industriale) branched off from the SS621 (roughly 13km north of Brunico), we stayed right to go onto Via Industriale, and then followed this road for 2.3km to the turnoff for Cascate di Riva.
We must warn that the signs for the waterfall were seen at this turnoff heading south on Via Industriale, but we did not see the sign heading north! I don’t know what’s up with these signs being seen in one direction (this must’ve been the second or third time it happened to us on this trip), but if you end up doing what we did and find yourself in Campo Tures (Sand in Taufers), then you missed the turnoff!
Once on the correct turnoff, the road narrows considerably (almost single-lane) as it crosses the Ahr Stream and follows the Caminata di Tures towards the car park at Winkel. During our visit, the car park required a euro for each hour, but paying 3 euros would have been good for the day (if you wanted to do extend this into a longer walk than two hours).
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