Rothbachfall and the Koenigssee Waterfalls

Schoenau am Koenigssee / Berchtesgaden National Park, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany

About Rothbachfall and the Koenigssee Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: about 2km round trip (from Salet to Obersee)
Suggested Time: allow at least 3 hours

Date first visited: 2018-07-01
Date last visited: 2018-07-01

Waterfall Latitude: 47.50199
Waterfall Longitude: 13.01214

Rothbachfall and the Konigssee Waterfalls (Roethbachfall and Koenigssee as well as Röthbachfall and Königssee with the umlaut) were a series of waterfalls that we managed to experience in a singular excursion.

This excursion involved a boat tour on the lake that included a hike to a smaller and even more scenic lake at Obersee.

Konigssee_186_07012018 - Röthbachfall tumbling over the far side of Obersee in Berchtesdagen National Park
Röthbachfall tumbling over the far side of Obersee in Berchtesdagen National Park

The waterfalls were merely our excuse to immersively experience the beauty of the Berchtesgaden National Park, which might be recognizable in some of the opening scenes of the Sound of Music (before Julie Andrews sings).

In any case, we bent over backwards to visit the Rothbachfall (or Roethbachfall) in particular because it was said to be the highest waterfall in Germany at 470m.

Add to that the mirror-like reflections of the Obersee fronted by a half-submerged boathouse (great subject for photographs) along with the surrounding mountains and you end up with a divine scene.

Such scenery makes me think this could very well be the most scenic part of natural Germany.

Experiencing Königssee

Konigssee_286_07012018 - Context of the St Bartholomä Church with Königssee framed by beautiful mountains
Context of the St Bartholomä Church with Königssee framed by beautiful mountains

Our excursion started from a huge car park at Schönau am Königssee (see directions below).

From there, we took a short walk past some cafes and eateries towards the boat ticket office and dock right on the northern shores of Lake Konigssee (or Koenigssee).

After paying for the boat tickets, we then took an hour-long boat ride that made a stop at the St Bartholomew village and church (St Bartholomä with the umlaut).

The boat tour then made a second (and last) stop where we got off at the far southern end of the lake at Salet.

Konigssee_323_07012018 - Context of the Konigsbachfall or Königsbachfall with another boat fronting our field of view on the Königssee
Context of the Konigsbachfall or Königsbachfall with another boat fronting our field of view on the Königssee

Along the way, we spotted a couple of waterfalls.

The first one was the Koenigsbachfall (or Königsbachfall), where the Koenigsbach dropped into the east side of the lake pretty early in the boat tour between Schoenau am Koenigssee and St Bartholomew.

The second waterfall was the Scharinbachfall where the Schrainbach fell more voluminously into the far southwestern part of Lake Koenigssee.

This waterfall was easily visible from the dock at Salet in addition to seeing it from the boat itself.

The hike to Obersee and the view of Rothbachfall

Konigssee_256_07012018 - Context of the Schrainbachfall, which was easily seen at the boat dock at Salet on the southern end of Lake Königssee
Context of the Schrainbachfall, which was easily seen at the boat dock at Salet on the southern end of Lake Königssee

From Salet, we then took a short 15-minute hiking trail that went south beyond the headwaters of Lake Koenigssee, where there were some restaurants along the trail.

It then crossed the Saletbach before continuing on a wide valley path until reaching the mouth of the calm Lake Obersee.

At this spot, we were able to see the iconic boat shed fronting the reflective mirror-like lake.

In addition, we could see the majestic Roethbachfall in the distance on the opposite side of the lake.

Konigssee_149_07012018 - Hiking between Salet and the north shore of Obersee with Rothbachfall visible in the distance
Hiking between Salet and the north shore of Obersee with Rothbachfall visible in the distance

Unfortunately during our visit, we couldn’t risk missing out on the return boat ride, which was at about 6pm.

The signs suggested that hiking to the base of Rothbachfall took 1 hour and 15 minutes in each direction (or 2.5 hours round trip).

So that made it too risky to attempt as I would have started this hike at 4:30pm.

Thus, I had to be content with the views from the mouth of Lake Obersee, which I thought was good enough.

Konigssee_152_07012018 - Focused look at Röthbachfall as seen from the north shore of Obersee
Focused look at Röthbachfall as seen from the north shore of Obersee

Nevertheless, I certainly would have liked to have gotten closer for a more immersive experience.

In any case, we returned the way we came, boarded a 5pm boat (they typically leave every 15-30 minutes), and by 6:30pm or so, we finally made it back to the car park.

And thus, we managed to experience the three main waterfalls in Lake Koenigssee with a minimal amount of physical exertion.

By the way, Koenigssee meant “King’s Lake”, and it was Germany’s deepest lake.

Authorities

Rothbachfall and the Konigssee Waterfalls reside in the Berchtesgaden National Park near Berchtesgaden in the state of Bavaria (Bayern), Germany. It may be administered by the Berchtesgaden government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Konigssee_008_07012018 - Walking through Schonau am Konigssee towards the boat dock and ticket kiosk at the north end of Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_011_07012018 - Looking towards the boat dock for Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_016_07012018 - A monument near the boat dock dedicated to Luitpold at Schonau am Konigssee
Konigssee_017_07012018 - Julie and Tahia about to board the boat to ride across Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_022_07012018 - Looking back towards the northern end of Lake Konigssee as we started taking off towards the southern end of the lake
Konigssee_030_07012018 - Looking ahead towards the southern end of Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_035_07012018 - Looking towards the Konigsfall while cruising on the lake Konigssee
Konigssee_039_07012018 - Direct awkward look towards the Konigsfall while cruising on the lake Konigssee though we were sitting on the wrong side of the boat at the time
Konigssee_056_07012018 - Looking towards some attractive mountains while cruising the Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_070_07012018 - Looking towards imposing mountains looming over the St Bartholomew Church
Konigssee_081_07012018 - Looking towards the St Bartholomew Church at about the half-way point of the boat tour across the length of Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_086_07012018 - About to dock at the St Bartholomew Village about half-way down Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_103_07012018 - Contextual view towards the Schrainbachfall near the southern end of Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_106_07012018 - Focused look at the impressive Schrainbachfall spilling right into the southwestern bank of Lake Koenigssee
Konigssee_125_07012018 - Partial view of the Rothbachfall as we were nearing the end of our shuttle across Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_126_07012018 - Looking ahead towards a partial view of the Rothbachfall as we were about to dock at Salet
Konigssee_130_07012018 - Lots of people waiting to get onto the return boat from Salet at the far end of Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_134_07012018 - On the walking trail leading from Salet to the mouth of Lake Obersee and beyond
Konigssee_139_07012018 - Looking back towards the boat dock at Salet with the Schrainbachfall opposite Lake Koenigssee from it
Konigssee_143_07012018 - Distant view towards Schrainbachfall as I was walking towards Lake Obsersee from Salet
Konigssee_146_07012018 - The trail between Salet and Obersee passed by this cafe
Konigssee_159_07012018 - Beyond the cafe, the trail passed through this valley with the Roethbachfall becoming more and more visible in the distance
Konigssee_169_07012018 - This was the view of Lake Obersee at its mouth after 15 minutes of hiking from Salet
Konigssee_173_07012018 - Given the grandeur of the scene with Roethbachfall, Lake Obersee, and the surrounding mountains, it was difficult to try to capture it all in a single shot
Konigssee_195_07012018 - All zoomed in on the Rothbachfall
Konigssee_224_07012018 - The view from the mouth of Lake Obersee complete with the boat shed, the scenery, and lots of people
Konigssee_246_07012018 - Starting to hike back to Salet on the southeastern shores of Lake Konigssee after having my fill of the Rothbachfall
Konigssee_267_07012018 - Looking towards our shuttle boat as it passed before the Schrainbachfall towards Salet
Konigssee_271_07012018 - Looking back at the context of the southern shores of Lake Konigssee as we headed back towards the north shore
Konigssee_300_07012018 - Looking towards some ravine with high mountains towering over Lake Konigssee on our return boat ride to the north shore
Konigssee_315_07012018 - Looking towards the Konigsbachfall on the return leg of our boat tour of Konigssee
Konigssee_331_07012018 - Another look back towards the Konigsbachfall
Konigssee_345_07012018 - Approaching Schonau am Konigssee at the end of our boat tour across Lake Konigssee
Konigssee_354_07012018 - Looking towards other boat sheds lining the northern shores of Lake Koenigssee with Kehlstein in the distance atop the mountain
Konigssee_364_07012018 - If you look closely, you can see the Eagle's Nest (Kehlstein) from just about anywhere in Schoenau am Koenigssee

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Lake Königssee was accessed from the huge car park at Schönau am Königssee.

Driving from Kehlstein to Schönau am Königssee

We managed to get there from the car park at Kehlstein (by the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg), which involved driving west on the B319 from the car parks at Obersalzberg.

After 3.3km on the B319, we then turned left to go onto the B305.

After about 650m, we then entered a roundabout where we took the 4th exit for the B20 towards Schönau am Königssee.

Konigssee_371_07012018 - Context of the large car park at Schonau am Konigssee with large mountains in the distance
Context of the large car park at Schonau am Konigssee with large mountains in the distance

We then followed the B20 for a little over 4km to the busy car park.

Overall, this drive took us about 15-20 minutes.

Driving from Salzburg, Austria to Schönau am Königssee

From Salzburg, we’d drive south on the B150 then continue south on the B305 after passing the A10 autobahn.

We’d then drive about 10.5km on the B305 keeping right to remain on the B305 (note that going left here would lead up to Obersalzberg and the Kehlstein).

Konigssee_004_07012018 - The huge car park at Schonau am Konigssee
The huge car park at Schonau am Konigssee

Continuing straight on the B305 for another 4.5km or so before reaching the roundabout.

At this roundabout, we’d then take the 4th exit onto the B20 and follow that road another 4km to the large car park at Schönau am Königssee.

Overall, this drive would take about 45 minutes.

For context, Salzburg was about 29km (over 30 minutes drive) south of Schönau am Königssee, 72km (about 90 minutes drive) northwest of Hallstatt, 107km (under 90 minutes drive) north of Zell am See, and 144km (over 90 minutes drive) east of Munich.

Semi-circular sweep showing the panorama over Obersee with Rothbachfall in the distance


Panoramic sweep showing the end of Konigssee near the boat dock showing a waterfall and surrounding mountains

Tagged with: konigssee, koenigssee, roethbachfall, scharinbachfall, konigsbachfall, koenigsbachfall, berchtesgaden, bavaria, germany, waterfalls, bartholomew, bartholoma, boat tour



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Falls of Lake Konigssee (Bavaria Germany) August 9, 2011 10:07 am by Ruth Williams - Lake Königssee is a beautiful emerald green glacial lake set in the Berchtesgaden National Park in Bavaria Southern Germany. There are three notable waterfalls in its vicinity. To see them it is necessary to take a trip on the boats that travel up and down the lake. The first fall is the Königsbach which tumbles… ...Read More

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