About Scheidegger Waterfalls
The Scheidegger Waterfalls were a collection of fair-sized waterfalls all experienced from a single excursion within the Rohrach Gorge. The main waterfalls consisted of a 22m upper drop followed by an 18m lower drop on the Rickenbach Creek. There was also a more intimate “Kleiner Wasserfall” (Small Waterfall) further upstream where I was able to walk behind it.
In addition to viewing the waterfalls, there was also a playground and animal petting zoo to pre-occupy the little ones. Amongst the playground apparati were more signs discussing the hydroelectric heritage of the Rickenbach as it was apparently the site of one of the first such water works in Bavaria.
From the car park (see directions below), I backtracked across the bridge over the Rickenbach towards a well-signed footpath that then followed the creek downstream. It soon reached a cafe and kiosk, where I paid my 2 euro adult admission (4 euros for the whole family as of 2018; there was a drop slot outside of opening hours). Next, I had my choice of trails to take.
Even though I didn’t do the trails in this order, they were labeled weg 1, weg 2, and weg 3. The word weg is German for “path” or “way”.
Weg 1 forked to the right (on the north side of the Rickenbach Creek), which swung around the gorge rim towards a protruding overlook of the upper Scheidegger Waterfall. In the morning, this view was against the sun as there was nothing to really block the sun’s rays from this position. And in looking downhill, I could clearly see that I was just upstream of the lower Scheidegger Waterfall.
So continuing on the trail, it then descended a series of steps revealing a more frontal view of the upper waterfall as well as a further descent into the Rohrach Gorge for a more profile view of the lower waterfall. This was my turnaround point so I had to go back up all those steps in a fairly sweaty affair. The round trip distance of this out-and-back way was around 450m.
Back at the kiosk, I then continued onto weg 2, which crossed another bridge over the Rickenbach before traversing the playground with interpretive signs about various aspects of hydroelectricity and the heritage of it here. The path continued towards a pair of views with the last one at the dead-end where I managed to get the view you see pictured at the top of this post, which revealed both the upper and lower Scheidegger Waterfalls in one “wasserfall panorama”.
It appeared that over the years, the lower waterfall view became more obstructed due to the growing foliage below as I had seen cleaner views in the literature than what I was able to get on my visit. In any case, this out-and-back route was around 350m round trip.
Finally, weg 3 started directly opposite the playground area on the south side of the Rickenbach Creek. It was a roughly 500m loop path that followed along the creek before veering away from it along a side creek. A bridge traversed this side creek, then the trail went downstream back towards the Rickenbach before rounding a bend with a frontal view of the Kleiner Wasserfall (small waterfall) as well as the continuation of the path, which went around and behind that waterfall.
On the other side of the overhang through which the trail passed, there was a gate that was locked during business hours. However, under more normal times, this path would lead right through the animal farm and petting zoo before returning to the kiosk to complete the loop.
Overall, I had spent around an hour away from the car to cover the nearly 1.4km of trail that encompassed all three routes.
Finally, in terms of nomenclature, I’ve chosen to refer to this falls as the Scheidegger Waterfalls as the literature seemed to support this usage more so than the Scheidegg Waterfalls. In German, these falls were referred to in its plural form as die Scheidegger Wasserfälle.
We’ll describe the driving directions to the Scheidegger Waterfalls from the scenic town of Lindau since that was the closest development of significance and notoriety.
From the turnoff for the island of Lindau, perhaps the most straightforward way would be to head east on the Bregenzerstraße before turning left onto the B12 heading north at the roundabout (third exit). From there, we drove about 2.8km to the ramp on the right to get onto the B31/E54. Then, we headed east on the B31/E54 eventually becoming the B308 after passing by the A96 autobahn (about 2km from the ramp), and then we continued about 10km before turning right at the signposted turnoff for the Rickenbach Road and the Scheidegger Waterfalls.
After 200m on the Rickenbach Road, we reached the car park right after the bridge over the Rickenbach Creek. Overall, this drive took us about 30 minutes.
Alternatively, we also could have kept going east on the B12 at the roundabout (first exit) and continued about 2.5km following the signs to the A96 autobahn ramp. Then, we’d take the A96 autobahn north for about 2.8km to the exit 3 (Sigmarszell) for the B308 road. Then, we’d take the B308 road east and follow the directions as given above for the falls.
Going this route would take a similar amount of time (30 minutes).
For geographical context, Lindau was about 56km (under an hour drive) northeast of St Gallen, Switzerland, 104km (about 90 minutes drive) east of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, 139km (over 90 minutes drive) east of Zurich, Switzerland, 117km (over an hour drive) southwest of Ulm, 100km (a little over an hour drive) west from Füssen, and 129km (90 minutes drive) northwest of Landeck, Austria.
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