In the apartment in Roppen where we stayed at, there were so many brochures about touristic attractions, challenging hiking trails and geological wonders. We were overloaded with information and possible activities, but one ‘attraction’ has definitely attracted my attention. When I saw pictures of the Rosengartenschlucht in Imst (a village nearby), I was sold right away.
Imposing waterfalls, scenic rocky outcrops, incredible grottoes, and ravishing views from up above, the Rosengartenschlucht has it all. It’s unbelievable that you can start a trail though these nature scenes in the middle of the town center, if that isn’t like two extremes.
The trail starts at the Johanneschurch with a wide gravel road next to a river named the Schinderbach. At a certain point, you can enjoy the view and the cool water drops from the river that splashes on your skin while resting with your feet in the swirling water. After that, you are ready to get started because the real hike has yet to begin. The further you go, the higher you will find yourself. With every step towards the destination, which is the Blue Grotto, the view gets even more beautiful and the road gets more slippy and quite narrow at some points too.
There are many serene, small bridges that lead you from one side of the river to the other, mostly with a view on a part of the waterfall, which is just stunning. After 1,5 km of keeping your eyes peeled, you finally reach the Blue Grotto. This is the geological wonder I wanted to see so badly and although it was not covered with a shiny blue color as I hoped it to be, it sure was an extraordinary highlight to pass through. The grotto is even accessible for those who are interested in what’s going on inside. Water drips from above into a small plash and when you look up you see the Schinderbach flowing right through the cave. Some holes in the ‘ceiling’ enable sunlight to brighten up the dark sides of the grotto. Unfortunately, for those who like to wander, the tunnels inside are filled with water from the river and are locked down by metal bars, hence not accessible for tourists.
Furthermore, free guided tours are offered during the touristic summer season. However, you don’t need a professional guide to teach you about all natural phenomena of the Rosengartenschlucht since there are many information boards that provide the knowledge you need to understand the key points of these wonders of Mother Nature… at least, if you know some basic German vocabulary because the info boards are monolingual.
Then, if you follow the direction indicators further, you will end up in Hoch-Imst, which is a cosy ski town where you can enjoy Austria’s local specialties in one of the many atmospheric restaurants or bars before heading back to the Johanneschurch, the place that indicates the beginning and the end of the trail.
Finally, after having completed the Rosengartenschlucht, you can take the same road backdown, but this can be quite annoying since the path is too narrow for two people to pass each other. Basically, this can cause small crowd congestions. I would recommend following the arrows that direct towards Wetterkreuz and Imst, straight back to the town center. In that way, you can do a walking tour and enjoy the beauty of both, the impressive ‘schlucht’ and the mighty forest.
The Rosengartenschlucht is definitely a must-do if you find yourself near the village of Imst someday.