The history of the Gilfenklamm gorge

In 1800, the Gilfenklamm was inaccessible to people; there were, however, a few dauntless lumberjacks who ventured into the depths of the gorge every spring to drive the felled timber down the Ratschings River to Sterzing.
From the 1820s onwards, the first efforts were made to promote the appeal of the Gilfenklamm as a tourist attraction. In 1844, the spectacular gorge was mentioned for the first time in a written work on Tirol: “Those who do not shy from the arduous route through this gorge will find a truly extraordinary waterfall. In the dark shade of the mossy coniferous trees, the river spurts forth from a narrow crevice in the rock wall in wide arches and a spray of milky white foam”.

With the dawn of tourism arrived at the end of the 19th century, the time had come to make the “Gilfen” accessible to tourists. The support of the Sterzing Section of the Alpenverein Alpine Club and the Austrian Alpine Club was secured, also in matters of raising the necessary fund, and the colossal endeavour began in 1893. The more difficult sections of the gorge had to be blasted with dynamite.
Visitors flocked to view the works at this time, particularly on Sundays. Numerous far-travelled tourists beheld the natural spectacle in wonder. Just three years later the works were completed without major incident.

Monument to the name "Kaiser Franz Josef gorge"
Upon successful completion of works and the influx of visitors, the Sterzing Section of the Alpine Club christened the “Gilfen” the “Kaiser Franz Josef Gorge”. The name failed to take off in popularity, especially amongst the locals, and it reverted to its original title of “The Gilfenklamm” just a few years later.
During the war years (First and Second World Wars) the trail to the gorge fell into a state of disrepair and the entrance was blocked off. After the Second World War, 16 years passed before the dilapidated trail and the numerous bridges were restored and the Gilfenklamm was finally opened once again.