Visiting the Wolfsklamm Gorge in Austria

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Considered by many to be the most beautiful gorge in the Alps, the Wolfsklamm is a natural wonder right in the heart of the Karwendel Silver Region. Located in the village of Stans, the Gorge is open to the public from late May to the end of October, from 09.00 to 16.00. And there is nothing short of adventure on this family-friendly day trip destination! A roaring water gorge, a pilgrimage church on the remnants of a former hermitage, and an enchanting forest chapel are only some of the highlights.

However, your trip doesn’t have to end here! If you want the end of the day to find you visiting a fascinating ethnographic museum, an old silver mine, or a Renaissance Castle, Schwaz and Tratzberg Schloss are both within easy reach.

Ready for an unforgettable hike? Here’s our guide to the Wolfsklamm Gorge!

How to get There

Located in the heart of Stans in the Karwendel Silver Region, the Wolfsklamm Gorge can be easily accessed by car, as well as by train, and bus. No matter how you have arrived at Stans, the starting point of the hike is only a leisurely stroll away.

By Car

Stans is just 30km away from Innsbruck and you can easily get there by taking the exit for Schwaz or the motorway exit for Jenbach. Coming from other parts of Austria or Germany, you have to follow the A12 motorway.

Parking

There are several opportunities for free parking in Stans, one of which is the free parking lot, by the tennis court. You can also find free parking spaces at the train station and by the Volksschule, where the bus stops. A fourth one, and the closest of the free parking lots to the Gorge’s entrance, is by the Laurentius Church. 
There is also a paid parking lot, costing 3€ for a day-ticket, right next to the entrance of the Gorge. The car park belongs to the Brandstetterhof Hotel, so make sure you park at the designated parking spaces for the Wolfsklamm’s visitors, as the rest are reserved for the hotel’s guests.

To the entrance of the Gorge: If you have parked by the tennis court (Sportsplatz), a small hiking trail takes you in 10min to the entrance of the Wolfsklamm Gorge. Even closer, from the Laurentius Church in the center of Stans, the gorge is just an approx. 5-7min. walk.


By Train or Bus

Stans is easily accessible by both trains and buses, with the trains dropping you off at the Stans Bahnhof (railway station) and the buses at the Vollksschule (Primary School). Traveling by bus usually requires a bus change at Schwaz or Jenbach, where you get on Bus #4111 in the direction of Brixlegg. Just make sure that you have set as destination Stans b. Schwaz, as there is also a Stans in Switzerland.

Prices

Check the ÖBB website for timetable and prices but expect to pay for a return-ticket e.g. from Innsbruck 15€. Living in Tirol, we highly recommend the Einfach-Raus Ticket and the Wochen-Ticket Land, depending on the number of people traveling together, the days you are staying, and the regions you are visiting. You can read more on our Guide about how to Travel in Austria on a Budget!

To the entrance of the Gorge:  Arriving by train, as you get out of the station, follow the road on your left and you will be at the Wolfsklamm’s entrance in less than 15min. If you have arrived by bus, get off at the Stans Volksschule stop, on Oberdorf street. Follow this slightly uphill road and in less than 500m you will be at the paid parking lot.

The Hike

As soon as you get at the Gorge’s entrance, you have to pay the entrance ticket. It costs 5€ for adults, but if you travel on a group of 10 or more people, each pays 3.50€. All children under the age of 6 receive free admission and the ones aged 6-14 pay 3.50€. This contribution goes towards the daily inspection and the maintenance of the boardwalks, bridges, and safety measures of the gorge.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: approx. 6.5km
Walking Time: 3h
Total Ascent: 400m
Highest Elevation: 896m

The Gorge

The walking trail starts easy and after about 20min you will be right in the heart of a natural wonder. Throughout this rugged, steep wilderness, Stallenbach Creek has carved rushing falls, rapids, ponds, and terraces. You will walk on wooden boardwalks, cross timber bridges, and climb 354 steps, along impressive waterfalls.

At the end of the Wolfsklamm, the path becomes wider. Follow the signposts indicating “St Georgenberg” and they will take you to the oldest pilgrimage site in Tirol!

St. Georgenberg Monastery

Soon you will come across the Hohe Brücke, a 50m long bridge, rising 40m above the gorge of Georgenberg. The bridge is the only way to access the Monastery of St Georgenberg, a pilgrimage site, perched high on a rocky outcrop and offering fabulous views of the surrounding forests and mountains. As early as 950, a noble called Rathold of Aibling founded there a monastic settlement. It slowly became more important as it was granted bequests of land and as the pilgrimage traffic increased. Interestingly enough, according to the first official records dating back to 1480, Rathold of Aibling, had at first lived there, in a nearby cave, as a hermit.

Taking the Way Back

By the time you arrive in St Georgenberg, you will have hiked for about 11/2 hour. Therefore, there is no better way to treat yourself than trying the traditional dishes in the Church’s restaurant. Here, you will be pampered with delicious dishes from the region under the shade of ancient chestnut trees, before taking the way back to Stans.

You can either follow the same way back or you can return to Stans via the Way of the Cross.

First, take the same way back and shortly after pass a small bridge and follow the Kreuzweg (Way of the Cross). When you come to the fork to Stans go left and follow all the way down to your starting point. You have just completed the Wolfsklamm Circuit!

Nearby Attractions

Culture lovers are no less well catered for.  The imposing Tratzberg Castle and the city of Schwaz, with a charming old town, an ethnographic museum, and one of the oldest silver mines in Tirol, are both within easy reach.

Schwaz

Just 3km from Stans, Schwaz’s Altstadt (old town – attractions being a 10-15min walk away from Altstadt) gathers around the Pfarrkirche, with its copper-shingled roof and characteristic crenelated gables. Not far away (about a 10min walk away), the twelfth century Freundsberg Castle, perched on a knoll, hosts a small castle museum that displays a modest collection of nineteenth-century furniture and late-Gothic paintings.

The unmissable Haus der Völker houses the intriguing ethnographic collection of Gert Chesi, a photojournalist who mostly worked in Africa and Southeast Asia and collected traditional artifacts along the way.

Schwaz has been Tyrol’s main silver producer and the old silver workings have now been transformed into one of Austria’s most popular show-mines. The Silberbergwerk offers an exhilarating kilometer-long train ride into the mine, followed by an hour-long walking tour of the interior.

Prices & Operating Hours

Freundsberg Castle: The adult ticket costs 3.5€ and seniors/students pay 2.5€. From April to October, the castle is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 – 22:00, while on Sundays and Holidays it closes at 18:00.  During the low season (November to March), it is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 – 17:00.
 
Haus der Völker: The adult ticket is 8€, the reduced one 5€, while children under 6 can visit for free. The museum is open from Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 – 17:00.
 
Silberbergwerk: The entrance fee is 18€ for adults, 16€ for students, young people aged 15-18, and seniors, and 11€ for children aged 5-14. The Silver Mine is open daily 09:00-17:00 from May to September, and 10:00 – 16:00 from October to April.

Schloss Tratzberg  

Built on an over 100m rock ledge, the imposing Renaissance Castle was one of Maximilian I’s former hunting lodges. The castle is only accessible by hour-long guided audio tour, available in 8 languages. This will allow you to retrace the lively history of the castle by visiting its many rooms. From the Gothic Fuggerstube and the Hunting Room, with its hand-carved, life-size animal and hunting scenes, to the Queen’s Chamber with a secret door and a Renaissance wooden ceiling. What will captivate you most, however, is the Habsburgersaal, the great ballroom featuring a 46m-long wall painting from 1508, which depicts Emperor Maximilian’s 148 ancestors.

How to Get There

Take Bus #4111, with direction Brixlegg, from either the bus stop Schwimmbad or Volksschule, and you will be there in 4-7 min respectively.
Alternatively, starting from the Laurentius church car park, follow the 8km signposted path to the castle. The first and the last part of the hike is on an asphalt road, while the one in between, which is the largest one, runs through a beautiful mixed forest.

Prices & Operating Hours

The entrance ticket costs 11€ for adults and 7€ for young people between 14 and 17. As far as children are concerned, the ones aged 10-14 pay 6€, while those under 10 pay 5€.

late March – June: daily, 10:00am – 04:00pm.
July & August: daily, 10:00am – 05:00pm.
September: daily, 10:00am – 04:00pm.
October & early November: weekends and public holidays, 10:00am – 04:00pm

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