Bad Gastein Waterfall

Bad Gastein, Salzburg, Austria

About Bad Gastein Waterfall


Hiking Distance: about 2km round trip to all waterfalls
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2018-07-03
Date last visited: 2018-07-03

Waterfall Latitude: 47.11343
Waterfall Longitude: 13.13647

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The Bad Gastein Waterfall possessed a very interesting mix of a multi-drop series of waterfalls crashing and tumbling its way right through the historical spa town of Bad Gastein.

And indeed, this charming town was all about the water, whether it was the thermally-heated baths sprinkled throughout town or the negative ions wafting up from the crashing waters through the town’s heart.

Bad_Gastein_007_07022018 - The Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall
The Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall

Historically speaking, since the late 15th century, the apparent therapeutic properties of the water were first reported and studied.

I’d imagine that this was ultimately how the town got its claim to fame to this day.

Further back in time, a deed that recorded in 963 with the name “Gastuna” was said to be the oldest existing record of this place.

Since the propagation of the town’s reputation for possessing therapeutic waters over the centuries, beautiful Belle Epoque buildings (mostly hotels) had been erected in the steep mountainside town (some flanking the Gasteiner Ache stream).

Bad_Gastein_111_07022018 - The Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall flanked by attractive buildings of the town of Bad Gastein
The Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall flanked by attractive buildings of the town of Bad Gastein

Those buildings were what gave this waterfall its rather unique character.

Regarding the waterfall itself, the Gasteiner Ache was said to drop a cumulative height of 340m over three main sections.

I’ve seen this waterfall referred to as the Wasserfall Gastein, Bad Gasteinerfall, Wasserfall Badgastein, Bad Gasteiner Wasserfall, and Bad Gastein Wasserfall among others.

Apparently the word “Gastein” itself was said to have Indo-German roots meaning “gray” or “spraying” river – an apt description of the water action here.

Bad_Gastein_083_07022018 - The Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall
The Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall

I managed to experience all the drops in a fairly vertical hike that started from a structured car park (see directions below) though there were many different ways to do this hike.

I’ll describe how I managed to do it to give you an idea of what was involved.

Bad Gastein Waterfall Trail Description – from the middle waterfall to the upper waterfall

From the parking garage, I immediately followed the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Strasse towards the bridge over the rushing creek.

Right off the bat, I was able to witness the middle Bad Gastein Waterfall upstream from the bridge (see photo at the top of this page).

Bad_Gastein_051_07022018 - Looking back towards the ascending walkway and town of Bad Gastein as it climbed alongside the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall
Looking back towards the ascending walkway and town of Bad Gastein as it climbed alongside the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall

In addition to its twisting drop, there were a handful of buildings right beside the Gasteiner Ache and waterfall.

Looking downstream from the bridge, I was able to get a teasing glimpse of the lower parts of town over the brink of what appeared to be the lower waterfall.

Just to the east of the bridge, I then went up some steps along the “Wasserfallweg”.

During this ascent, there were a few additional views of the middle waterfall from different angles.

Bad_Gastein_076_07022018 - The view downstream from the footbridge on the Kötschachtaler Straße fronting the Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall
The view downstream from the footbridge on the Kötschachtaler Straße fronting the Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall

Once above the middle drop, the path then followed along a ridge that seemed to be part man-made and part natural.

I suspected that over the years, the Gasteiner Ache may have been aided or channeled into its current course based on seeing some of the walls and weirs around this ridge.

At the top of the steps, I then reached the Kötschachtaler Straße, where I was able to look downstream towards the middle waterfall as well as upstream towards the upper Bad Gastein Waterfall.

For all intents and purposes, this was the turnaround point as far as visiting the upper waterfall was concerned.

Bad Gastein Waterfall Trail Description – completing the loop via the scenic route

Bad_Gastein_104_07022018 - Descending a 'scenic' path leading to the church in Bad Gastein
Descending a ‘scenic’ path leading to the church in Bad Gastein

So I turned around and then headed back down towards the Wasserfallweg.

However, instead of going back down the steps that I came from, I opted to keep right and follow a scenic route.

This route offered me breathtaking views over the town of Bad Gastein as well as descending towards the Heilige Primus und Felizian Church.

Beneath the church, there were some zig-zagging walking paths that descended towards the Kraftwerk, which was right across from the lower Bad Gastein Waterfall.

Bad_Gastein_116_07022018 - Descending towards the Gasteiner Ache and the Lower Bad Gasteiner Waterfall surrounded by Belle Epoque buildings as well as the hydro facility (kraftwerk)
Descending towards the Gasteiner Ache and the Lower Bad Gasteiner Waterfall surrounded by Belle Epoque buildings as well as the hydro facility (kraftwerk)

I was able to view this waterfall from a variety of positions as I slowly made my way past the mist-stopping wall and down to another footbridge over the Gasteiner Ache.

While there was a walking trail that continued down the Gasteiner Ache all the way towards Hofgastein, instead I continued across the bridge.

Then, I ascended a trail that eventually led me up past some ruins or relics of Bad Gastein’s past and up to Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße towards the west side of the Bad Gastein town.

At that point, I then followed the street past more attractive Belle Epoque Hotels.

Bad_Gastein_148_07022018 - On the ascent from the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall to the west side of the Bad Gastein town, I noticed these interesting ruins or relics from the town's past
On the ascent from the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall to the west side of the Bad Gastein town, I noticed these interesting ruins or relics from the town’s past

I also found myself passing through a small plaza between the Gasteiner Museum and Hotel Weismayr before returning to the structured Wasserfall Parkplatz.

Overall, I spent about 100 minutes away from the car, but I really took my time.

In fact, I spent quite a bit of extra time exploring whether there were more worthwhile waterfalls further upstream of the uppermost waterfall as well as further downstream from the bridge beneath the lowermost waterfall.

I’d imagine a more focused visit of all three waterfalls should take between 60-90 minutes.

Authorities

The Bad Gastein Waterfall resides in the town of Bad Gastein in the state of Salzburg, Austria. It is administered by the Bad Gastein government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Bad_Gastein_001_07022018 - Leaving the parkplatz to walk about the Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_004_07022018 - Looking back at the Kaiser Franz Josef Strasse as I was starting my exploration of the Bad Gastein Waterfalls
Bad_Gastein_005_07022018 - Signage and a closed off series of steps next to a sign talking about the Bad Gastein Waterfall and the negative ions in the water
Bad_Gastein_011_07022018 - Looking back across the heart of the Bad Gastein town in a pretty quiet morning
Bad_Gastein_020_07022018 - Upstream look at the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall as seen from a bridge over the Gasteiner Ache
Bad_Gastein_025_07022018 - Contextual view of the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall from a bridge over the Gasteiner Ache
Bad_Gastein_026_07022018 - Some kind of figurine on the downstream side of the bridge fronting the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_027_07022018 - Looking downstream over the Gasteiner Ache from the bridge fronting the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_035_07022018 - These steps ascended alongside the Gasteiner Ache ultimately leading me further up town and within view of the middle Bad Gastein Waterfall in all sorts of angles
Bad_Gastein_041_07022018 - Closer look at the upper part of the Middle Bad Gastein Waterfall with a bridge spanning across the gorge upstream from its top
Bad_Gastein_043_07022018 - Looking back at a naturesque part of the walk along the Gasteiner Ache en route to the Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_044_07022018 - Looking back towards the lower part of Bad Gastein as I was ascending along the Gasteiner Ache
Bad_Gastein_045_07022018 - Elevated look towards the Belle Epoque buildings of Bad Gastein from higher up the walk along Gasteiner Ache between the middle and upper Bad Gastein Waterfalls
Bad_Gastein_046_07022018 - Context of the walkway and the dropoffs on the ascent alongside the Gasteiner Ache towards the upper parts of the Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_057_07022018 - Context of the path following further up the Gasteiner Ache revealing part of the upper Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_060_07022018 - This picture reveals that the Gasteiner Ache watercourse has not been untouched, which kind of made me wonder if these Bad Gastein Waterfalls were somehow enhanced or man-modified in some way
Bad_Gastein_069_07022018 - Looking back at the path alongside the Gasteiner Ache, which followed this interesting ridge with dropoffs on either side as I made my way up to the upper bridge over the Gasteiner Ache and the Bad Gastein Waterfalls
Bad_Gastein_074_07022018 - The walkway ultimately brought me up to this narrow road, which spanned the Gasteiner Ache right by the Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_085_07022018 - View of the Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall from the upper bridge over the Gasteiner Ache
Bad_Gastein_087_07022018 - This was a fork in the road to the west of the bridge fronting the Upper Bad Gastein Waterfall. I did a little extracurricular exploring to see what else was in the Bad Gastein town as well as whether there were more waterfalls around here
Bad_Gastein_094_07022018 - The view towards Bad Gastein town's lower sections while descending the Wasserfallweg via the 'scenic route'
Bad_Gastein_100_07022018 - Descending towards the Bismarckstrasse as I was entering the east side of the Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_107_07022018 - Looking over the Gasteiner Ache surrounded by the Belle Epoque buildings of the town of Bad Gastein while walking along the Bismarckstrasse en route to the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_109_07022018 - Walking along the narrow road besides the big church in the east side of Bad Gastein town as I made my way towards the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_120_07022018 - While making my way down to the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall from a steep path near the church, I noticed this spring with infrastructure and piping around it
Bad_Gastein_126_07022018 - Looking across the footbridge downstream of the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall showing the context of the ascending trail on the other side leading up to the hotels and spas further up the cliffs
Bad_Gastein_127_07022018 - This wooden wall appeared to be set up to block the mist coming from the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_130_07022018 - Looking upstream from the lower bridge downstream of the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_134_07022018 - Following the Gasteiner Ache further downstream from the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall as I tried to see if there were other interesting waterfalls or things to see down there
Bad_Gastein_135_07022018 - Looking across the Gasteiner Ache towards some relics of old buildings as I was exploring the Lower Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_145_07022018 - Context of the Gasteiner Ache and the walkway well downstream of the Lower Bad Gastein Waterfall
Bad_Gastein_149_07022018 - After having my fill exploring the lower parts of the Gasteiner Ache, I then crossed the bridge and ascended this path taking me back up to the main part of the Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_151_07022018 - After ascending back up to the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Strasse, I got this view back across towards the east side of the Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_152_07022018 - Another look towards the eastern side of the Bad Gastein town
Bad_Gastein_155_07022018 - Walking along western side of Bad Gastein after having ascended back into town from the Gasteiner Ache
Bad_Gastein_156_07022018 - While walking back to the Wasserfall Parkplatz in Bad Gastein, I came upon these old photos showing how crowded it got in town
Bad_Gastein_157_07022018 - Another photo showing how crowded Bad Gastein got back in the day
Bad_Gastein_158_07022018 - A third photo showing how crazy busy it got in Bad Gastein. It made me wonder if there was some kind of fair or function going on because it was definitely nothing like that on our visits to town
Bad_Gastein_159_07022018 - Walking amongst the Bell Epoque buildings that seemed to give Bad Gastein a certain historical character to it in addition to its waterfall
Bad_Gastein_163_07152018 - Nearly two weeks later, we returned to Bad Gastein to enjoy one of the spas here. This was the ramp leading up to the Felsentherme, which was right across from the bahnhof further up from the main part of town
Bad_Gastein_169_07152018 - Julie and Tahia approaching the Felsentherme spa
Bad_Gastein_172_07152018 - Looking back down the ramp from the entrance to the Felsentherme spa in Bad Gastein
Bad_Gastein_183_07152018 - Looking over the Bad Gastein town from a masterpiece theater (basically a photo frame) somewhere east of the bridge over the brink of the Bad Gastein Waterfalls

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In my mind, the Bad Gastein Waterfalls were best experienced by foot even though there were several roads that crossed by them on bridges over the Gasteiner Ache.

Therefore, I’ll describe the driving route I took to reach the Parkhaus am Wasserfalle.

I drove here twice – once from Salzburg and once from Zell am See.

Driving from Salzburg to Bad Gastein

From Salzburg, I took the B150 south to the A10 autobahn.

Then I continued south on the A10 autobahn about 41km before exiting for the B311 towards Sankt Johann im Pongau at Bischofshofen.

Bad_Gastein_160_07022018 - On the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Strasse heading towards the parking entrance in the heart of Bad Gastein
On the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Strasse heading towards the parking entrance in the heart of Bad Gastein

Next, I continued south on the B311 for about 26km before turning left onto the B167 into the Gasteinertal Valley.

I drove south on the B167 for another 22km heading into the town of Bad Gastein.

Once in town, I kept left at a fork as I followed the signs for “Wasserfall” along the Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Straße as it descended into the main part of town.

After another 500m, I then followed the sign to turn right into the Parkhaus am Wasserfall.

Bad_Gastein_161_07022018 - The entrance to the Parkhaus am Wasserfall in Bad Gastein
The entrance to the Parkhaus am Wasserfall in Bad Gastein

At that point, I picked up a ticket to lift the barricade and looked for parking within the structure.

This drive took me a little over 90 minutes.

Driving from Zell am See to Bad Gastein

From Zell am See, I basically went south through the tunnels, then followed the B311 south then east for another 23km.

Then, I turned right to go on the B167 into Gasteinertal Valley.

Bad_Gastein_161_07152018 - It was possible to try to find street parking in the town of Bad Gastein, which was what we did on our second time in town (this time to enjoy one of the thermal baths there)
It was possible to try to find street parking in the town of Bad Gastein, which was what we did on our second time in town (this time to enjoy one of the thermal baths there)

Finally, I followed the rest of the way to the town of Bad Gastein as described above.

This drive took me about an hour.

For context, Bad Gastein was about about 39km (over 30 minutes drive) south of Sankt Johann im Pongau, 48km (under 60 minutes drive) east of Zell am See, and 97km (about 90 minutes drive) south of Salzburg.

Long video showcasing the main Bad Gasteiner Waterfall as well as the attractive downstream view of the town


Semi-circular sweep showcasing the upper waterfalls from the High Bridge


Semi-circular sweep showing the largest part of Bad Gasteiner Waterfalls as well as the town's church


Sweep covering the lowermost of the significant Bad Gasteiner Waterfalls first checking it out from a misty viewpoint before going to the bridge further below

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Tagged with: bad gastein, austria, gasteinertal, waterfall, thermal spa, hohe tauern



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Bad Gastein Waterfall (Austria) May 3, 2011 5:04 pm by Ruth Williams - The Falls in Bad Gastein which is situated in the Hohe Tauern National Park are unusual as they are situated in the centre of the town and are framed by buildings. The town has been a spa for many years and has some beautiful Belle Époque buildings. The Gasteiner Ache falls 341m in three drops.… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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