Finsterbach Waterfalls

Sattendorf / Treffen am Ossiacher See, Carinthia (Karnten), Austria

About Finsterbach Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 2.2km round trip
Suggested Time: 60-75 minutes

Date first visited: 2018-07-11
Date last visited: 2018-07-11

Waterfall Latitude: 46.66944
Waterfall Longitude: 13.91825

The Finsterbach Waterfalls were a series of three waterfalls with heights of 23m, 21m, and 34m, respectively.

To my knowledge, the first waterfall was called the namesake Finsterbachfall, the second waterfall was called Kesselfall (Cauldron Falls?), and the uppermost one was called the Schleierfall (Bridal Veil Falls?).

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_140_07112018 - The uppermost of the Finsterbach Waterfalls called Schleierfall
The uppermost of the Finsterbach Waterfalls called Schleierfall

The uppermost of the waterfalls was by far the most impressive of the lot.

With teasing glimpses of the Lake Ossiachersee, this was kind of my waterfalling excuse to check out the partially geothermally heated lakes of the Austrian province of Carinthia.

By the way, this was a part of the country that I don’t think many foreign tourists have put on their itineraries judging by how few of them we’ve noticed during our travels here.

Even though the foreign tourism route hadn’t really touched Carinthia en masse, these waterfalls were by no means unpopular.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_036_07112018 - This was the first or lowermost of the Finsterbacher Waterfalls called Finsterbachfall
This was the first or lowermost of the Finsterbacher Waterfalls called Finsterbachfall

In fact, it was quite the contrary as I encountered numerous Austrian visitors during my late afternoon visit.

This might have been aided by extensive trail renovation in 2015-2016 to make this trail more accessible to families.

Indeed, there was certainly no shortage of the amount of families I had witnessed during my excursion to these waterfalls.

Finally, I should mention that I’ve seen these waterfalls referenced collectively in other ways.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_067_07112018 - The middle or second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls called Kesselfall
The middle or second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls called Kesselfall

For example, I’ve seen them called the Finsterbacher Waterfalls, Finsterbach Wasserfälle, Finsterbacher Wasserfall, and Finsterbachfälle (literally Finsterbach Falls in German).

Finsterbach Waterfalls Trail Description – the first pair of waterfalls

I began my hike after finding makeshift street parking on the main drag through the small town of Sattendorf (see directions below).

I’m actually not quite sure if we were allowed to park there or not.

In any case, right off the bat, I was treated to partial views towards the impressive Ossiachersee.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_188_07112018 - Looking towards the Lake Ossiachersee from where I started the hike up to the Finsterbach Waterfalls in Sattendorf
Looking towards the Lake Ossiachersee from where I started the hike up to the Finsterbach Waterfalls in Sattendorf

Then, I backtracked towards the signed Wasserfallweg leading uphill just to the left of the Finsterbach Creek.

This initial part of the trail was pretty much along a residential road flanked by homes sprinkled with a couple of guesthouses.

The path then veered to the right as it went around some of the charming buildings here before continuing further uphill.

Barely ten minutes into the hike, I encountered the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_043_07112018 - Looking back at the trail with the heart-shaped frame and some local logging stash with the Lake Ossiachersee way in the distance as I was near the spur to the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Looking back at the trail with the heart-shaped frame and some local logging stash with the Lake Ossiachersee way in the distance as I was near the spur to the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls

Nearby was a heart-shaped frame for taking photographs as well as a short spur trail to get a closer look from its base.

Next, the trail then climbed more steeply as it made its way further up and above the first Finsterbach Waterfall.

Eventually, there was another trail junction, where I kept straight to check out another spur trail leading to the second Finsterbach Waterfall (or Kesselfall).

It took me about 15 minutes to get from the first waterfall to the second one.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_091_07112018 - Looking back towards the Lake Ossiachersee from the spur trail leading to the second or middle Finsterbach Waterfall
Looking back towards the Lake Ossiachersee from the spur trail leading to the second or middle Finsterbach Waterfall

The second waterfall had a small dam infrastructure, which was said to be the electricity plant at Schutzenhof.

It was said to still run off the original turbine since 1920, and it was instrumental in supplying the town of Sattendorf power exclusively up until the 1950s.

There were also some concrete barricades to discourage scrambling right up to the base.

Looking back downstream, I was able to get some pretty nice partial views towards Sattendorf and the Ossiachersee behind it.

Finsterbach Waterfalls Trail Description – the third waterfall

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_097_07112018 - Looking up at a particularly steep part of the trail between the second and the third Finsterbach Waterfalls
Looking up at a particularly steep part of the trail between the second and the third Finsterbach Waterfalls

Continuing on the waterfall trail, the trail became increasingly steeper and rockier the further I went.

The stretch between the second and third waterfall was also the longest section without coming into contact with the Finsterbach.

Thus, I’d imagine that this was the most difficult part of the hike.

Ultimately after getting through the steepest part of the climb, the trail climbed a bit more gradually as it undulated alongside the Finsterbach before entering a gorge.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_115_07112018 - The trail to the uppermost of the Finsterbach Waterfalls traversed this gorge where there was a mine as well as some more footbridges over the Finsterbach
The trail to the uppermost of the Finsterbach Waterfalls traversed this gorge where there was a mine as well as some more footbridges over the Finsterbach

When I got to the first bridge cutting across the Finsterbach within this gorge, I noticed what appeared to be a sealed mine entrance or cave.

Apparently, the rock supporting this gorge and ultimately the third waterfall was composed of marble.

Beyond the bridge, the trail continued to climb steeply up stone steps, then across another bridge, before making the final approach to the third Finsterbach Waterfall – Schleierfall.

The trail dead-ended at this point with fencing to discourage any further scrambling to get closer as the giant boulders at the bottom attested to past rockfalls.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_153_07112018 - This was the third of the Finsterbacher Waterfalls called Schleierfall, which was right at the end of the trail
This was the third of the Finsterbacher Waterfalls called Schleierfall, which was right at the end of the trail

After having my fill, I returned back the way I came.

When I got back to the parked car, I wound up spending about 75 minutes away from the car.

The return hike went way faster since it was pretty much all downhill.

Authorities

The Finsterbach Waterfalls reside near the town of Sattendorf in the state of Carinthia (Kärnten), Austria. It may be administered by the Villach government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_191_07112018 - This was the view towards the Ossiachersee from our parallel parking spot in Sattendorf
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_009_07112018 - Walking uphill along the Finsterbachweg (or the Wasserfallweg) in between some buildings in Sattendorf as I pursued the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_013_07112018 - Continuing up the Wasserfallweg that I had to walk up to access the Finsterbach Waterfalls. I don't think the public is allowed to drive on this road
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_182_07112018 - Looking back down the Wasserfallweg from higher up on the initial uphill walk on paved road
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_018_07112018 - The Wasserfallweg went to the right of this charming house before continuing uphill to the Finsterbacher Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_020_07112018 - Looking towards the continuation of the trail leading to the Finsterbach Waterfalls as I continued uphill beyond the upper limits of Sattendorf
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_022_07112018 - Looking ahead towards the spur trail leading to the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_025_07112018 - Looking through the heart-shaped frame towards the first Finsterbach Waterfall called the Finsterbachfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_026_07112018 - Picnic tables, interpretive signs, and the spur trail leading closer to the first Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_031_07112018 - Following the spur trail leading to the base of the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_040_07112018 - Standing right in front of the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls, which is called Finsterbachfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_044_07112018 - Continuing beyond the first Finsterbach Waterfall, where I had to go up a fairly steep series of switchbacks
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_046_07112018 - Some parts of the Finsterbach Waterfalls Trail was a bit on the rocky side and it made me wonder if there was still work to be done to make the trail more accessible to families given such obstacles
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_048_07112018 - Still climbing higher as I kept going up switchbacks to reach the second Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_050_07112018 - Partial view back down at the first of the Finsterbach Waterfalls as I continued ascending along the main trail towards the second waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_051_07112018 - Signed trail junction where keeping straight ahead would take me on the short spur to the bottom of the second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_054_07112018 - Following this fenced ledge trail leading towards the second Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_057_07112018 - Context of the second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls, which was fronted by a dam
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_088_07112018 - Approaching the second Finsterbach Waterfall, which was fronted by some kind of hydro scheme
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_086_07112018 - Closer look at the hydro scheme fronting the second Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_065_07112018 - Looking across a rest bench and man-made water channel downstream of the second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_069_07112018 - Here's a cleaner look at the second Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_082_07112018 - From the second Finsterbach Waterfall, I was able to get this partial glimpse downstream over Sattendorf towards the Ossiachersee
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_087_07112018 - Context of the spur trail and Ossiachersee from the second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_093_07112018 - Another contextual look at the cliff-hugging spur trail coming back from the second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_095_07112018 - Looking back at a couple of people walking onto the spur trail leading towards the second of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_053_07112018 - Looking back at a trail junction where continuing to go up would keep going towards the third Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_100_07112018 - Continuing on the main trail beyond the second waterfall and heading up towards the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_103_07112018 - Context of the forested trail between the second and the third Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_104_07112018 - Continuing the uphill hike towards the third Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_105_07112018 - The trail continuing to climb uphill en route to the third of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_106_07112018 - Looking back at a trail junction as I pursued the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_107_07112018 - The trail up to the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls still ascending roots and dirt in a well-shaded and forested part of the excursion
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_109_07112018 - This rooty part of the trail was where the uphill kind of became a little less steeper before it made a turn into the gorge near the third Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_110_07112018 - Following along more fencing en route to the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_111_07112018 - The forested trail started to head into an even more dense part of the forest as it also started to enter a gorge en route to the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_124_07112018 - Looking back downstream from inside the gorge en route to the third Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_165_07112018 - This was the little mine shaft or cave or whatever that fronted the first bridge in the gorge near the third Finsterbach Waterfall
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_127_07112018 - Looking back towards the context of the mine shaft from the bridge closest to it over the Finsterbach en route to the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_129_07112018 - Climbing steps as the third Finsterbach Waterfall was now in sight
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_131_07112018 - Looking upstream at some intermediate cascades fronting the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_136_07112018 - Approaching the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_159_07112018 - Crossing a bridge over the Finsterbach as I was making my way back down towards the start of the hike after having had my fill of the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_172_07112018 - This was a trail junction that was on the way to the third Finsterbach Waterfall, which suggested that it might have been possible to extend this hike into a longer loop or explore more scenery further up the mountain
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_176_07112018 - Going downhill on the main trail after having had my fill of the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_178_07112018 - Continuing the downhill hike along some steep switchbacks en route to Sattendorf after having had my fill of the last of the Finsterbach Waterfalls
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_184_07112018 - On the way back to Sattendorf, I noticed this seemingly dilapidated building, which might have been a former mill
Finsterbach_Waterfalls_186_07112018 - Returning to the Dorfstrasse to pretty much end my visit to the Finsterbach Waterfalls

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Although the closest big city to the Finsterbach Waterfalls was Villach, I’ll describe the driving directions from Klagenfurt am Wörthersee as well as Millstatt since those were the ways we did this drive.

Driving from city to city beginning from other starting locations can be looked up in apps like GoogleMaps.

Driving from Klagenfurt to Sattendorf

From Klagenfurt, we’d drive west on the A2 autobahn and then take the A10 autobahn north towards Spittau an der Drau (roughly 26km west of the A2/A37 junction just west of Klagenfurt).

After about 4km on the A10, we then took the exit 179 and turned right onto the B94 towards Sattendorf.

We then drove east on the B94 for roughly 3km or so before turning left onto Dorfstraße.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_001_07112018 - This was the parallel parking job that us and two other people did along the Dorfstrasse in Sattendorf for the Finsterbacher Waterfalls
This was the parallel parking job that us and two other people did along the Dorfstrasse in Sattendorf for the Finsterbacher Waterfalls

Next, we followed this street for about 400m, where we managed to find street parking just past the bridge over the Finsterbach Creek.

Just before the bridge, the signed Wasserfallweg was not a public road for driving, which was what necessitated us trying to find street parking.

In all honesty, I’m not sure if it was ok to park on Dorfstraße, but the rest of the established spots further west in town were all taken during our visit.

It’s conceivable that there could be other car parks closer to the lakeshore along the B94.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_005_07112018 - This was one of the paths between the B94 and Dorfstrasse in Sattendorf. I'm not sure if this suggests there was more sanctioned parking along the B94 for the Finsterbach Waterfalls.
This was one of the paths between the B94 and Dorfstrasse in Sattendorf. I’m not sure if this suggests there was more sanctioned parking along the B94 for the Finsterbach Waterfalls.

After all, I saw walking paths from down there to the Dorfstraße along the Wasserfallweg as well as Finsterbachweg, but I’m not sure about that.

Anyways, this drive would take us about a little over a half-hour.

Driving from Millstatt to Sattendorf

Coming from Millstatt, we had a choice.

We could go west on the B98 towards Seebach, then catch the A10 east.

Finsterbach_Waterfalls_007_07112018 - The trail leading along the Wasserfallweg towards the Finsterbach Waterfalls from the Dorfstrasse Street
The trail leading along the Wasserfallweg towards the Finsterbach Waterfalls from the Dorfstrasse Street

Otherwise, we could have also taken the B98 east directly towards the B94 near Sattendorf.

Either way, the drive would take somewhere between 30-60 minutes.

For geographical context, Klagenfurt was 40km (about 30 minutes drive) east of Villach, 85km (about an hour drive) east of Millstatt, 135km (90 minutes drive) southwest of Graz, 140km (2 hours drive) south of Admont , and 85km (1.5 hours drive) north of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Sweep of the first of the Finsterbacher Waterfalls


Sweep showing the Ossiachersee before panning over to the second Finsterbacher Waterfall


Sweep of the uppermost of the Finsterbach Waterfalls

Tagged with: sattendorf, ossiachersee, villach, carinthia, karnten, austria, waterfall, finsterbach, kesselfall, schleierfall, finsterbachfall



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