About Steirischer Bodensee Waterfall
The Steirischer Bodensee Waterfall had to have been one of the most scenically situated waterfalls that I encountered on our epic Germany and Austria trip in the Summer of 2018. As you can see from the photo at the top of this page, it was an impressively tall waterfall fronted by the reflective Bodensee Lake.
By the way, they had to put the Steirischer (Styrian) in front of the name Bodensee because there was a much larger Bodensee (Lake Constance) way over by the border with Germany and Switzerland. I think it’s because the Styrian version of the lake was smaller and more intimate, it also meant it possessed that mirror-like quality in addition to being a much quieter alpine experience.
From the car park by the Seewigtal Stüberl right at the intersection of the left (west) approach from Haus im Ennstal and the right (east) approach from Aich (see directions below), I then followed a well used trail that led right past the cafe. Then, I hiked roughly 25 minutes along paved path as it gently followed the Bodenseeweg alongside the Seewigtalbach for about 700m slowly revealing parts of the Steirischer Bodensee Waterfall en route.
Eventually, the pavement ended right at the mouth of the beautiful Steirischer Bodensee Lake, where there was a fish farm as well as another accommodation or cafe called the Gasthof Forellenhof. While the views from here were very captivating and compelled me to linger for quite a while trying to figure out how best to compose several photos of the scene, I also took the time to get closer to the waterfall.
At this point, I had a choice of direction to take since there was a loop trail that went completely around the lake. The continuation to the Steirischer Bodensee Waterfall was at the exact opposite end of the lake so there wasn’t any advantage of going one way or the other.
I opted to keep right and walk the loop in a counterclockwise manner. So after another 750m or so of walking around the western shore of the lake (taking me another 25 minutes or so), I reached the junction at the far end of the lake. Along the way, I noticed that there was some degree of sedimentation on the lake as it transformed from a body of water to a swamp and then ultimately to a muddy area at its head. That made me wonder if this lake’s eventual future would be a meadow in much the same way that Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park wound up becoming in the drier Summer months.
In any case, I continued on from there as the path now started climbing in earnest. After going up a series of inclines and switchbacks, the path degenerated more into a narrower series of switchbacks with some mild degree of hiking between large boulders.
After another 500m or so of the pretty tiring uphill climb, I finally reached the base of the Steirischer Bodensee Waterfall. It took me a little over an hour to get here from the car park. While the falls looked shorter from this up close, I was able to feel some of the refreshing light spray while also glimpsing the lake and Seewigtal Valley from a different and more elevated perspective.
This was my turnaround point though it was apparently possible to continue on with this hike towards even higher alpine lakes and huts. And on the return, I opted to take the bridge over a pair of converging streams before finishing off the loop and returning to the mouth of the lake after another 800m from the junction at the head of the lake.
By the time I made it back to the car park, I wound up hiking a total of around 4km, and I spent about 2 hours away from the car.
Like with the geographically nearby Riesachfälle, the Steirischer Bodensee was fairly straightforward to access. 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. Then, I’ll describe the inland route both from Haus im Ennstal as well as from Aich.
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. Once on the A10 autobahn, I then followed it for about 71km to the exit 63 for Altenmarkt, which led me to the B320. Once off the A10 and on the B320, I then followed this road for another 32km towards the town of Haus im Ennstal, where I took an exit at Ruperting (roughly 9km east of Schladming).
Once on the local streets, I headed south towards a four-way intersection and turned left onto Höhenfeldweg II. I then followed this road east as I kept right onto Petersbergweg and continued on for 2km before keeping left onto the Seewigtal Road. I then followed the Seewigtal Road for over 3km towards the car park by the Seewigtalstüberl. There was a 3.5 euro toll on the Seewigtal Road to get here.
Overall, this drive would take about a pretty solid 90 minutes.
If I wanted to take a slightly longer approach, I could have also continued on the B320 for 2km to the exit onto Gössenbergstraße at the town of Aich. Once off that ramp, I’d continue on the road and keep right at the intersection to remain on Gössenbergstraße / Gössenbergweg eventually becoming the Seewigtal Straße.
The car park for Steirischer Bodensee was roughly 6km from Aich. And like the western approach, there was a toll station not far into the Gössenbergstraße.
For context, Schladming was about 7km (under 15 minutes drive) east of Haus im Ennstal, 12km (also under 15 minutes drive) east of Aich, 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.