Riesachfaelle

Schladming / Rohrmoos-Untertal, Styria (Steiermark), Austria

About Riesachfaelle


Hiking Distance: 750km round trip (lower waterfall only)
Suggested Time: 30 minutes (lower waterfall only)

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

Waterfall Latitude: 47.32756
Waterfall Longitude: 13.76203

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Riesachfaelle (Riesachfalle or more accurately Riesachfälle; literally Riesach Falls) was a waterfall situated at the head of the Untertal Valley upslope from Schladming and Rohrmoos.

It actually consisted of two waterfalls – a lower waterfall and a bigger upper waterfall.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_036_07032018 - Riesach Falls or Riesachfälle
Riesach Falls or Riesachfälle

Supposedly, this combination made it one of the highest waterfalls in the state of Styria.

It turned out to be one of the easiest waterfalls to visit and at the same time one of the most frustrating.

It was easy in that the lower waterfall was a straightforward uphill hike that only took about 10-15 minutes along the Riesachbach.

There was a short spur leading up to a metal lookout that was blasted by the spray from the waterfall during my visit.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_027_07032018 - View of the Riesach Falls or Riesachfälle from a footbridge at its base
View of the Riesach Falls or Riesachfälle from a footbridge at its base

I was able to get a slightly more photogenic view from the footbridge further downstream away from the mist.

The frustrating part was that I apparently missed the upper waterfall.

Even as I write this, I’m still kicking myself for not thoroughly exploring the rest of the trails to ensure that I had completed this experience.

In my defense, the trail signage was not very obvious.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_042_07032018 - The lower path to the base of the Riesach Falls (or Riesachfälle) went across this bridge in a short loop walk
The lower path to the base of the Riesach Falls (or Riesachfälle) went across this bridge in a short loop walk

The path I took to the lower waterfall (marked with a blue dot on the trail signage) was either a dead-end or a short loop leading back down to the Seeleitenparkplatz (see directions below).

While some of the trail signage at the trailhead seemed to suggest that there was Riesachfallsteig further up alongside the Riesachbach Creek taking about 30 minutes, I didn’t recall seeing the continuation of the path from the lower waterfall.

That said, I did recall one trail fork along the way where in hindsight, I should have gone up the red dotted path for the Alpinsteig another hour upstream.

During my visit, the signage didn’t suggest there was more of the Riesach Waterfalls further up this way, but that ended up being my critical mistake on this visit.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_096_07032018 - This was the view of the Untertal Valley towards the car park from the long switchback that I wound up (regrettably) not persisting on as it would have taken me to the Uppe Riesach Falls (albeit a longer path better suited on the return)
This was the view of the Untertal Valley towards the car park from the long switchback that I wound up (regrettably) not persisting on as it would have taken me to the Uppe Riesach Falls (albeit a longer path better suited on the return)

If I ever get a chance to return to Austria, I’m quite sure I’m going to go up that red-dotted path determined to at least get to the upper waterfalls and possibly extend the hike out to the Riesachsee Lake.

I did try to hike up the much longer Grosser Riesachfallrundweg (a longer 1.5-hour loop trail) up the west side of the creek.

However, it veered away from the creek in a long switchback before leading back towards the creek by the entrance of the Alpinsteig Höll.

I wound up turning around before completing the switchback as this hot and sun-exposed uphill hike was better done on the return leg of the longer loop hike (assuming I would have found the steep uphill trail on the east side of the creek).

Riesachfalle_Schladming_083_07032018 - This waterfall across the Untertal Valley could be the Wildkarbachfall since it was on the Wildkarbach Stream
This waterfall across the Untertal Valley could be the Wildkarbachfall since it was on the Wildkarbach Stream

Further up beyond the waterfall was the Riesachsee, which was the catchment and drainage feeding the waterfalls.

As a consolation prize, I did notice a tall waterfall across the Untertal Valley from the switchback on the longer trail as well as sweeping views of the valley itself.

I believe that waterfall was on the Wildkarbach and could be called the Wildkarbachfall or Wildkarbach Wasserfall in German.

I wound up only spending about an hour away from the car trying to figure out what I had missed as I suspected something was missing from the experience.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_045_07032018 - This switchbacking road would have gotten me higher up on the Grosser Riesachfallrundweg (the larger Riesach Falls loop), but I didn't follow through with it
This switchbacking road would have gotten me higher up on the Grosser Riesachfallrundweg (the larger Riesach Falls loop), but I didn’t follow through with it

It wasn’t until I returned home did I realize what I had missed.

Speaking of the Alpinsteig Höll, one of the nice workers at the Schladming Visitor Center informed me that it was a trail involving suspension bridges, catwalks, and metal steps in a sort of a gorge hike.

However, she said that the trail was only open on Fridays (it wasn’t a Friday on my visit).

Authorities

The Riesach Falls resides near the town of Schladming in the state of Styria (Steiermark), Austria. It may be administered by the Schladming government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_116_07032018 - While driving the Untertal Valley, I noticed this tall stringy waterfall that I thought at first was the Riesachfaelle, but it turned out to be on a completely different stream.  Either way, getting a clean look at this wasn't easy as the best views didn't have pullouts.  This view came from an alm
Riesachfalle_Schladming_006_07032018 - The Wilde-Wasser Parkplatz P1 (or the Seeleitenparkplatz) was where I started the hike to the Riesach Falls (Riesachfälle)
Riesachfalle_Schladming_009_07032018 - Looking upstream on the Riesachbach as I was about to take the trail along its east banks towards the Riesach Falls
Riesachfalle_Schladming_015_07032018 - Something that seemed to be very common in Europe was that there were plenty of amenities at the trailhead, including more remote locales where you wouldn't expect there to be services, and Riesach Falls was no different
Riesachfalle_Schladming_021_07032018 - Looking at the twisting and turning Riesachbach as I was hiking up to the Riesachfälle
Riesachfalle_Schladming_022_07032018 - The hiking trail alongside the Riesachbach towards the Lower Riesachfaelle
Riesachfalle_Schladming_026_07032018 - Approaching the footbridge at the base of the Riesachfälle
Riesachfalle_Schladming_029_07032018 - Looking upstream from the lower footbridge right at the foot of the Lower Riesachfaelle
Riesachfalle_Schladming_034_07032018 - Ascending the steps leading up to the lookout right at the misty base of the Lower Riesach Falls (Riesachfälle)
Riesachfalle_Schladming_040_07032018 - Looking up towards the top of the Lower Riesachfaelle from the misty lookout platform right at its base
Riesachfalle_Schladming_041_07032018 - Going back down the steps from the lookout at the base of the Lower Riesach Falls (Riesachfälle)
Riesachfalle_Schladming_055_07032018 - In my unsuccessful attempt at seeing if there were more waterfalls of the Riesachfaelle, I took this long switchback revealing beautiful views of the Untertal Valley and the pastures within
Riesachfalle_Schladming_065_07032018 - Looking across the Untertal Valley towards a surprise waterfall on the Wildkarbach
Riesachfalle_Schladming_071_07032018 - Focused on the main part of the Wildkarbach Waterfall as seen from the switchbacking road in my incomplete pursuit of the Upper Riesach Falls
Riesachfalle_Schladming_072_07032018 - Full context of the Wildkarbach Waterfall across the Untertal Valley as seen from the switchbacking road in pursuit of the Upper Riesach Falls (Riesachfälle)
Riesachfalle_Schladming_075_07032018 - Looking towards the beautiful head of the Untertal Valley from the longer loop trail of the Riesachfaelle
Riesachfalle_Schladming_118_07032018 - On my way out of the Untertal Valley after having seen the Lower Riesach Falls (Riesachfälle), I tried to get a look at this high mountain cascade in the distance that I saw on the way in, but it was difficult to find a place to pull over for a good look at it

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Arriving at the trailhead for Riesachfälle was fairly straightforward once you know which side road to take to get into the Untertal Valley.

I’ll describe how I did this drive from Salzburg since that was my base for doing this excursion, even though it wasn’t the closest starting point.

From Salzburg, I made my way south from the city center along the B150 to the A10 autobahn further to the south of the city.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_114_07032018 - Idyllic scenery in the Untertal Valley en route to the Riesach Falls
Idyllic scenery in the Untertal Valley en route to the Riesach Falls

Once on the A10 autobahn, I then followed it for about 71km to the exit 63 for Altenmarkt, which led me to the B320.

Then, when I got off the A10 and on the B320, I followed this road for another 24km towards the town of Schladming.

I then took the exit onto the Salzburgerstraße eventually leading me a roundabout after about 2km.

Taking the first exit at the roundabout, I then followed the Rohrmoosstraße uphill for another 2.7km to another roundabout near Rohrmoos.

Riesachfalle_Schladming_004_07032018 - The nearest car park for the Riesachfälle was the P1 lot
The nearest car park for the Riesachfälle was the P1 lot

At the second exit of this roundabout, I then headed south on Tälerstraße, which eventually became the Untertalsstraße, and I followed this road to the end in 11km.

While there were car parks and cafes along the way, the closest car park was at the end of the road at the Seeleitenparkplatz.

Overall, this drive would take about 90 minutes.

It’s worth noting that I was told by the Schladming Visitor Center that the Untertalstraße collected a toll on Fridays (when the Alpinsteig Höll would be open).

Riesachfalle_Schladming_002_07032018 - The Seeleitenparkplatz at the end of the Untertal Road (i.e. the P1 car park)
The Seeleitenparkplatz at the end of the Untertal Road (i.e. the P1 car park)

Since I didn’t do this excursion on a Friday, it was free.

For context, Schladming was about 52km (about 45 minutes drive) east of Sankt Johann im Pongau, 91km (over an hour drive) east of Zell am See, 70km (about an hour drive) west of Admont, 79km (around 90 minutes drive) east then south from Hallstatt, and 99km (under 90 minutes drive) southeast of Salzburg.

Checking out the falls from the footbridge below the main misty viewpoint


Long video starting off with checking out the lower parts of the falls from the footbridge before going up the trail to the real misty lookout

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Tagged with: schladming, untertal, rohrmoos, austria, waterfall



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Riesachfall (Austria) July 22, 2014 9:16 pm by Ruth Williams - The 140m Riesachfall is located near the ski resort of Schladming and is on the Wild Waters hiking trail. The fall is in two sections the lower fall is only a ten minute walk from the car park which is located at the end of a toll road. You can then hike up a steep… ...Read More

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