Triberg Germany City Facts
This small city in the Black Forest has a waterfall, wood carving history, cuckoo clocks, and a neat museum. I have spent quite a bit of time in this little place with great results. Time seems to slow down when I am there. I look forward to more time there in a room near the rushing stream and church bells.
When people tell you they are going to go "visit the Black Forest", chances are pretty good they mean they are headed to Triberg. In a region that is laden with tourist attractions, there is none that compares to this small city in the center of the Black Forest. After all, it has just about everything -- the tallest waterfall in Germany, the largest collection of Black Forest-related souvenirs and wood products for sale, and the world's biggest cuckoo clock nearby. Nearly every restaurant and café offers 'authentic' Black Forest Cake, and tour groups go there by the busload. Few if any other locations in the forest garner so much attention.
But for all the tourist kitsch, Triberg is worth the visit. It is simply a beautiful place, and its unique attractions are must-sees. On top of that, getting to Triberg is a pleasant experience as well, as the drive from the Autobahn goes through numerous scenic valleys. I've been through this area three times now, and absolutely love going there. This travelogue is based on my most recent visit, when I finally hit a perfectly sunny day.
Mind you, Triberg is a place that is best enjoyed if you are in excellent physical condition. It is extremely hilly. The main tourist road runs up a four or five degree straight incline toward the waterfall, and the parking lots up top are always the first to fill up. My suggestion is to start at Parking Lot #3, which is at the midway point and somehow often gets overlooked by visitors (I always seem to find a space there, or maybe I'm just lucky). It is only about 100 meters below the waterfall, and sits at the lower end of the souvenir stands.
Souvenir stands and guesthouses dominate the first two photos, but don't give an appreciation for the extent of the several-hundred-meter-long shopping district. The stores there specialize primarily in woodworks and clothing, but you'll find Black Forest themed stuff of just about any sort. The item that the Black Forest is best known for are its clocks, and there are several stores that claim to sell over a thousand varieties of clock.
At the top of the incline, next to where the first two photos were taken, is the lower entrance to the Wasserfall (waterfall) -- where the Gutach River plunges over a series of cascades two kilometers long and about five hundred meters high. The Wasserfall contains a series of beautiful nature trails, with the main trail zigzagging across the face of the falls with a series of bridges like you see in the third photo.
The most spectacular parts of the Wasserfall are thankfully the lower levels. The third photo shows the lowest fall and the first crossing bridge, and is probably the best postcard shot. The climb just to that level is very steep and can be treacherous when wet, which is why I urge caution when deciding whether or not to climb it. I would say, though, that the climb is worth it, not only because of the view of the falls itself, but as in the fourth photo, the view down is great as well!
Also, once you get past the first two levels and reach the quieter, gentler cascades of the Gutach, there's the mental challenge of simply continuing the journey and reaching the top. Because the path is just curvy enough, you can't see the top until you are almost there. As I pushed myself forward, I remembered that "Little Engine That Could" story -- "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...". Now before you attempt the full climb yourself, be advised that the only thing you'll find up there is a parking lot and a café, there's not much in the way of scenery. On the other hand, after the climb back down, you will be very much in the mood for one of those 'authentic' pieces of Black Forest Cake!
Before leaving Triberg, you must remind yourself that there is one more significant attraction awaiting you about five miles up the road -- the World's Biggest Cuckoo Clock. You have to be careful when driving along B33, because you will miss it! In fact, I haven't hit it right yet -- each time I've gone I've missed it and had to turn around to go back. This is because it isn't clearly marked, and you won't notice it until it is too late. But the fifth photo shows what it looks like, and this was taken from the main road. Yes, it is indeed a fully functioning cuckoo clock, and the big green block below the face is a working pendulum. The storefronts to either side give you a perspective of the size of this clock!
Now, my trips to Triberg have typically been as tour guide on a full Black Forest swing (which like this travelogue, also include Baden-Baden and the Black Forest High Street. I would suggest that if Triberg is your primary (or sole) destination, you might also stop at some of the other smaller nearby towns -- Furtwagen to the south and Hornberg to the north. Both are very pretty towns that have plenty of character and hospitality.
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