Staubbach Falls (Staubbachfälle)

Lauterbrunnen / Oberland Region, Bern Canton, Switzerland

About Staubbach Falls (Staubbachfälle)


Hiking Distance: 2km round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2010-06-08
Date last visited: 2010-06-09

Waterfall Latitude: 46.58956
Waterfall Longitude: 7.90535

Staubbach Falls (also Staubbachfall or Staubbachfälle in German; pronounced “STAHW-bahkh-fell-uh”) is perhaps the signature waterfall of Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Considering that Lauterbrunnen Valley is home to some 72 waterfalls (though we didn’t see nearly that much on our visit), it’s no small claim for this waterfall to be considered the signature one in the valley (let alone the country).

Bernese_Oberland_271_06082010 - Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen Valley
Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen Valley

So why is that?

The Signature Waterfall of the Swiss Alps

What made Staubbach Falls so striking was its position (see photo above).

It was very easy to spot as we approached the town of Lauterbrunnen once we left the Lauterbrunnen Train Station.

Therefore, I’m pretty sure this waterfall is noticed by just about everyone that comes to this very popular and famous valley that seems like quintessential Swiss Alps scenery.

Moreover, Staubbach Falls also complemented the landscape, which included steep, glaciated U-shaped valley walls as well as the iconic Swiss Alps peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

Bernese_Oberland_247_06082010 - Looking down at the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Staubbach Falls from a railway somewhere between Wengen and Lauterbrunnen Valley
Looking down at the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Staubbach Falls from a railway somewhere between Wengen and Lauterbrunnen Valley

Indeed, it reminds me very much of how Bridalveil Fall complemented El Capitan at the Gates of Yosemite Valley.

Nevertheless, in order to even earn such praise and attention, it has to be noticed in the context of towering vertical cliffs and peaks that made Switzerland famous in the first place.

Well, Staubbach Falls certainly held its own against its gigantic surroundings as the waterfall itself sported some pretty impressive dimensions.

For example, the falls had been measured and confirmed to have a 297m height, of which almost all of it was in freefall.

Bernese_Oberland_281_06082010 - Context of Staubbach Falls towering over the village of Lauterbrunnen
Context of Staubbach Falls towering over the village of Lauterbrunnen

I believe this height would put the Staubbach Falls amongst one of the tallest waterfalls in the world based on vertical drop

Experiencing Staubbach Falls

In addition to seeing Staubbach Falls on the approach to Lauterbrunnen Valley coming in from the north, we also managed to view it from several spots in and around the valley itself.

For example, we got to see it right across the valley from the exposed walkways at Trümmelbach Falls.

We also got to see it from a gorgeous panorama at the elevated town of Wengen, which looked right into the mouth of Lauterbrunnen Valley from above.

Bernese_Oberland_297_06082010 - The ascending trail leading up to the backside of Staubbach Falls
The ascending trail leading up to the backside of Staubbach Falls

But for a more intimate experience with Staubbach Falls, we did a walk that ultimately led up to a sheltered cove right behind part of the waterfall’s drop.

The trail up to the back of Staubbach Falls ascended steeply uphill after having walked a bit south of most of the town of Lauterbrunnen (taking roughly 15-20 minutes).

During the approach to the ascent, we noticed paragliders hovering above the waterfall.

After climbing a few switchbacks, we then reached the entrance of a tin tunnel.

Bernese_Oberland_305_06082010 - Within the tin tunnel leading to the narrow ledge trail behind Staubbach Falls
Within the tin tunnel leading to the narrow ledge trail behind Staubbach Falls

I believe the tunneling was necessary because vertical cliffs (like the one supporting Staubbach Falls) tend to pose a rockfall hazard.

Beyond the tunnel, the path then ascended some stairs cut into the cliff, and the path eventually terminated at a dead-end right behind the waterfall.

Depending on the wind conditions and Staubbach Falls’ flow, the droplets sometimes blew right into the somewhat sheltered walkway that we were on.

During our visit, the rain of droplets wasn’t so severe that we needed to don our rain ponchos, but I could foresee how it can be a drenching experience under the right conditions.

Bernese_Oberland_309_06082010 - Context of the profile of Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen Valley from the ledge trail going behind the waterfall
Context of the profile of Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen Valley from the ledge trail going behind the waterfall

In any case, from this vantage point, I was also able to get birds eye views both up and down the Lauterbrunnen Valley (sometimes even through the misty waterfall itself).

Overall, this out-and-back hike took us around 90 minutes, but we really took our time.

According to my GPS logs, we walked approximately 2km, and it would have taken us around an hour with a bit more focus.

The Longevity of Staubbach Falls

We weren’t sure what a typical flow would be for Staubbach Falls.

Bernese_Oberland_336_06082010 - Staubbach Falls appearing to have pretty decent flow in early June 2010 (a high precipitation year) when we got close to it, but it seemed like it didn't appear strong enough to last through the year
Staubbach Falls appearing to have pretty decent flow in early June 2010 (a high precipitation year) when we got close to it, but it seemed like it didn’t appear strong enough to last through the year

However, during our June 2010 visit, we saw Staubbach Falls scatter with the wind (almost disappearing before making it to the bottom at times).

From our observations, the waterfall did seem to have impressive flow, which we attributed to the snowmelt at the start of Summer.

Yet we also noticed that heavy rain and snow throughout most of Europe during our visit further exacerbated the high flow of the falls (though it didn’t seem to us to be unusually high flow).

Thus, I do wonder whether Staubbach Falls can last far into the late Summer given that its source was pretty much all snowmelt.

Bernese_Oberland_632_06092010 - Contextual view of Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen Valley as seen from the walkway at Trümmelbach Falls
Contextual view of Staubbach Falls and the Lauterbrunnen Valley as seen from the walkway at Trümmelbach Falls

Since June would typically be considered the peak snowmelt period, and we happened to visit the waterfall in an unusually high rainfall year, my guess would be that Staubbach Falls might struggle to flow well into August.

That said, its longevity might be enhanced if its drainage was protected as a spring or if there were other steadier, supplemental sources of water that I’m not aware of.

Authorities

Staubbach Falls resides in the town of Lauterbrunnen, which sits within the Interlaken-Oberhasli District of the Bern Canton, Switzerland. I can’t find an official governmental authority administering this waterfall. So for information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may try visiting the Bern Canton website.

Bernese_Oberland_210_06082010 - Descending towards Wengen, which was a stop on the way down into the Lauterbrunnen Valley
Bernese_Oberland_257_06082010 - Looking down towards Staubbach Falls as well as some companion waterfalls as seen from the train soon after we're leaving Wengen for Lauterbrunnen Valley
Bernese_Oberland_266_06082010 - Staubbach Falls with part of Ägertenbach Falls and Mürrenbach Falls as we were getting closer to the train station at Lauterbrunnen
Bernese_Oberland_272_06082010 - Within Lauterbrunnen town, we could already get views of Staubbach Falls as part of the backdrop of this scenic town
Bernese_Oberland_283_06082010 - Walking along the road as we traversed through Lauterbrunnen on the way to Staubbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_290_06082010 - Looking over a field of wildflowers in someone's yard towards a brightly lit Staubbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_323_06082010 - Looking up at Staubbach Falls close up just before entering the tunnel
Bernese_Oberland_307_06082010 - Beyond the tin tunnel, the trail ascended through more tunnels and ledges on its way up to the backside of Staubbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_316_06082010 - Looking to Lauterbrunnen town from elevated lookout behind the Staubbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_321_06082010 - Context of the ledge trail and lookout from behind the Staubbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_331_06082010 - Back down at the bottom of the trail in Lauterbrunnen Valley looking back at the Staubbach Falls' full drop fronted by a grassy area grazed by sheep
Bernese_Oberland_332_06082010 - Focused on where the Staubbach Falls makes contact with the underlying cliff at its base
Bernese_Oberland_370_06082010 - Context of the walkway between the Lauterbrunnen Train Station and the town of Lauterbrunnen fronting the Staubbach Falls
Bernese_Oberland_372_06082010 - Wide contextual view of Lauterbrunnen Valley and Staubbach Falls as we did some exploring after our hike

join-booking-970x240-1.jpg


As alluded to earlier, it’s quite easy to spot Staubbach Falls as you approach the town of Lauterbrunnen.

We got to the Lauterbrunnen Station by rail twice – the first time descending from Kleine Scheidegg (as part of the Jungfraujoch [Top of Europe] excursion) through Wengen, and the second time going straight here from Interlaken Ost.

Bernese_Oberland_045_06072010 - Taking public transportation around Lauterbrunnen Valley and Interlaken was primarily how we got around when we weren't walking
Taking public transportation around Lauterbrunnen Valley and Interlaken was primarily how we got around when we weren’t walking

I know the Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen route is definitely covered by the Swiss Pass, but I’m not sure about the Kleine Scheidegg to Lauterbrunnen route.

It was hard to tell because we paid for the whole round trip up to Jungfraujoch along with our Swiss Pass.

From the train station, in order to get close to Staubbach Falls, you have to walk through the Lauterbrunnen town.

It probably takes around 15 minutes to cover this stretch, but I swear you’ll probably take longer to appreciate the falls towering over the town itself.

Bernese_Oberland_353_06082010 - Context of the car park in Lauterbrunnen closest to the Staubbach Falls
Context of the car park in Lauterbrunnen closest to the Staubbach Falls

Then, you continue past the town for a few minutes until you reach an established walk that leads right up to Staubbach Falls’ backside.

The trailhead is besides some barn, bordered by some paddocks (there were some sheep grazing behind the fences when we were there).

Nearby the trail, there’s a free-flowing fountain where lots of people were drinking from it (myself included).

It took me (Julie didn’t go behind the falls with me) about an hour round trip to do the whole excursion from Lauterbrunnen town including all the photo taking throughout.

Bernese_Oberland_255_06082010 - Taking the railway from around Wengen into the Lauterbrunnen Valley with Staubbach Falls seen in the distance
Taking the railway from around Wengen into the Lauterbrunnen Valley with Staubbach Falls seen in the distance

So that should give you a rough idea of how much time to budget for this experience.

Finally, for some context, the train ride from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen was said to be about 25 minutes. From Zurich to Interlaken was about 3 hours by rail.

Bottom up sweep of the free-falling waterfall from the start of the trail to its backside


Turbulent and misty view from behind Staubbach Falls at the end of the trail


Right to left sweep from the backside of Staubbach Falls

Tagged with: lauterbrunnen, bernese oberland, bern, switzerland, swiss alps, waterfall, train, interlaken, swiss rail



Visitor Comments:

No users have replied to the content on this page


Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

No users have submitted a write-up/review of this waterfall


Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of 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.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.