We respect your
right to privacy!

Cookie settings

By clicking on "Accept" , you consent to use cookies and other technologies (provided by us and other trusted partners). We use such data for anonymous statistical purposes, tailor-made settings and to display personalized content and advertisements. It will help to provide you with an improved website experience. Please find out more about this topic in our Privacy Policy | Imprint

  • These cookies are absolutely necessary for the operation of this site and enable safety related functionalities, for example. Additionally, this type of cookie is as well used to save your personal cookie settings.

  • In order to further improve both our offer and website, we collect anonymized data for statistics and analyzes. By means of these cookies we can, for example, analyze the number of visitors and the effect of certain pages on our website by optimizing our content.

  • We use these cookies to improve usability of the site for you. For example, based on an accommodation search you already made, you can conveniently access the same lodging when you visit our website again.

  • These cookies are used to display personalized content that matches your interests. It enables us to provide you with offers that are particularly relevant to your personally planned trip.

Tirol's highest waterfall as a source of artistic inspiration

You have to see the Stuiben Falls. Their roaring waters, the veil of spray and mist, the striking rock steps are fascinating. They are the epitome of nature's endless power – but also of natural beauty. The natural monument has been delighting hikers and onlookers for around 200 years. Since then, the artists among them have individually tried to capture their amazement at the Stuiben Falls, their power and beauty in color.

A waterfall and its millions of images

The Stuiben Falls are a magnet for visitors and one of the most popular photo motifs in Ötztal. This is not new: for over 200 years, its mighty force of nature has inspired people to tame it artistically. Hundreds of works are dedicated to its beauty as pencil drawings, watercolors or oil paintings - and yet no two depictions are alike. Because the waterfall is as variable as it is at different times of the day and year, as are its artistic portraits. The chronicler Walter Falkner from Niederthai is a Stuiben Falls lover and very interested in art. He presents the most beautiful depictions in his book "Der Stuibenfall. Kleine Kulturgeschichte eines Naturdenkmals" (in German).

Journey through time to the Stuiben Falls: the most scenic paintings in the Tower Museum

All pictures copyright Ötztaler Museen

Umhausen Stuibenfalls

Stuiben Falls kaleidoscope in the Tower Museum

Based on Falkner's book, the Tower Museum in Oetz is currently showing the most outstanding and interesting representations of the Stuiben Falls in its own exhibition. Perspectives and styles have changed over the decades, but what unites these works of art is the great amazement at the imposing natural spectacle.

Tension between nature and tourism

However, the exhibition goes further and takes up current, burning questions: should and may nature be used without restriction for electricity in the form of hydropower? A man-made steel staircase has made the Stuiben Falls safe and easily accessible for large numbers of visitors since 2016. An accident three years earlier had led to the decision to choose this solid structural measure. But the result caused a lot of criticism right from start: the steel staircase overshadows the waterfall itself, the implementation of the staircase is not aesthetic and destroys the natural monument. Questions about the use of nature have become even more topical: what should be allowed in the context of marketing nature? Where do interventions begin to deform or even destroy the natural monuments? Where are the limits of building and making accessible? All these questions have been discussed intensively in Ötztal for years - not only sing the example of the Stuiben Falls.

Natural monument with added value

Today, more people than ever before make a pilgrimage to the Stuiben Falls and marvel at them - from the steel stairs, but also from the via ferrata that leads past it or from the viewing platform above the waterfall. For most visitors, these facilities are a great way to experience the Stuiben Falls up close. For many people who would otherwise only be able to marvel at the waterfall from a distance, its roaring power is now directly accessible and free of charge. This is also a high value in today's society.

Umhausen Stuibenfalls

The Stuiben Falls in contemporary art

What would the painters think today, who once captured the imposing natural monument in the middle of the lovely forest landscape with so much devotion on a canvas? The artist Hannah Philomena Scheiber from Obergurgl is the first painter to depict the steel staircase in a Stuiben Falls painting. The elements of water and steel not only face each other here, but the staircase seems to push the natural monument almost into the background. Statement on its architecture or an image of the current discussion? In any case, Hannah Philomena Scheiber speaks for paying more attention to aesthetics and humility when designing what we leave behind for future generations.



More details on the Stuiben Falls Natural Monument at

More information on Ötztal Museums at

Oetz Tower Museum

Almost at the entrance to the valley, the Tower Museum presents perspectives and insights into the region: Ötztal pictures as images of others and of oneself over the course of time and in the eyes of changing observers. It's always about perspective: How does the Ötztal present itself, how is it seen from outside? How can we approach the essence of the valley and its inhabitants?

Picture from the artist Hannah Philomena Scheiber
Edith Hessenberger

Author: Edith Hessenberger

The ethnologist and geographer is the head of the Ötztal museums. She also does research work and publishes - as a freelance cultural scientist - on the history of mountain agriculture, tourism and alpinism. Her work further focuses on narrative research and oral history.