Waldbachstrub Waterfall

Hallstatt / Salzkammergut Lakes, Upper Austria (Oberosterreich), Austria

About Waldbachstrub Waterfall


Hiking Distance: about 8km round trip
Suggested Time: 2-2.5 hours

Date first visited: 2018-07-05
Date last visited: 2018-07-05

Waterfall Latitude: 47.54932
Waterfall Longitude: 13.61517

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The Waldbachstrub Waterfall was a magical convergence of several waterfalls spilling right at the head of the Echerntal Valley.

It was where the Waldbachstrub Stream combined with some seasonal side streams spilled some 95m at its highest height.

Hallstatt_447_07052018 - Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Waldbachstrub Waterfall

One thing that I noticed in the literature was that there seemed to be some confusion between this waterfall and the Mühlbach Waterfall.

The latter waterfall was much easier to see since it was within the pedestrian zone in the well-touristed town of Hallstatt.

If you click the link and take a look at the other waterfall, you’ll see that it has nothing on the Waldbachstrub Waterfall.

Anyways, I had to have counted at least four or five waterfalls all spilling onto this one spot.

Hallstatt_026_07022018 - The Waldbachstrub Waterfall hike was nice because it left the tourist crush behind in the main part of Hallstatt
The Waldbachstrub Waterfall hike was nice because it left the tourist crush behind in the main part of Hallstatt

Such an unusual convergence of waterfalls made it well worth the hike to get here, especially if you consider how much emptier and quieter it was in comparison to the tourist crush in the village of Hallstatt.

While the peace and quiet alone would be sufficient enough to do a nearly 8km round trip hike like this, the waterfalls really made this experience all the more sweeter!

Waldbachstrub Waterfall Trail Description – from P1 to the Schleierfall

From the P1 car park (see directions below), I walked along the Lahnstrasse (the main drag through the non-touristy part of Hallstatt).

Then, I headed inland along any one of the three main roads heading into the residential area.

Hallstatt_355_07052018 - Looking upstream along the Waldbachstrub as I was trying to figure out the best walking route to get to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Looking upstream along the Waldbachstrub as I was trying to figure out the best walking route to get to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall

There was also another path leaving from the P1 car park going uphill towards the Kalvarienbergkirche Hallstatt before following alone the base of one side of the mountains eventually converging into the three afore-mentioned roads.

Not knowing which way to go, I wound up taking Echerntalweg on the way in and Demelgasse on the way out (so I might have walked a little more than necessary overall).

In any case, after passing by the very popular (yet unshaded) P2 parking lot, I followed along the north bank of the Waldbachstrub Stream further inland.

I would continue following residential roads for nearly a kilometer before reaching a Themenweg sign and trail.

Hallstatt_363_07052018 - Crossing over a footbridge traversing the Waldbachstrub, which eventually led me to a junction with the Themenweg
Crossing over a footbridge traversing the Waldbachstrub, which eventually led me to a junction with the Themenweg

This was just after a bridge over the Waldbachstrub Stream well towards the back of the residential area.

Once on the Themenweg, I left the roads and found myself on a more conventional foot trail flanked by trees and surrounded by tall mountains as the valley was closing in.

After another 600m, I continued past some kind of hydro operation at the Kleinwasserkraftwerk Hallstatt.

At that point, it was pretty much all trail hiking until crossing another bridge and reaching some farm fronting the Schleierfall nearly a kilometer later.

Hallstatt_409_07052018 - Looking towards the Schleierfall, which was merely an intermediate waterfall on the way to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Looking towards the Schleierfall, which was merely an intermediate waterfall on the way to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall

During my visit, the Schleierfall was tall, but it wasn’t flowing too well.

It was a good thing I didn’t mistake this waterfall for the Waldbachstrub Waterfall because that would have been real disappointing.

There were signs suggesting that the waterfall remained another 30 minutes away or so.

So I pressed on.

Waldbachstrub Waterfall Trail Description – from the Schleierfall to the Waldbachstrub Wasserfall

Hallstatt_435_07052018 - Context of cascades on the Waldbachstrub with footbridge leading towards some kind of Glacier Garden on the lower left
Context of cascades on the Waldbachstrub with footbridge leading towards some kind of Glacier Garden on the lower left

Beyond the pasture and the Schleierfall, the path re-entered a well-shaded forest as it ultimately rounded a bend where the Waldbachstrub Creek was a little louder and cascading.

At a fork soon thereafter, I kept to the right to climb up towards the waterfall.

The left fork would have taken me to the Glacier Garden another 30 minutes later.

During this ascent, I was able to see a series of cascades tumbling down towards the footbridge beneath me.

Hallstatt_440_07052018 - The final climb leading up to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall lookouts
The final climb leading up to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall lookouts

As I continued the climb, which was a combination of steps and inclines, the trail eventually reached a small fork near the top.

The left fork went to a lower lookout, which I somehow forgot to check out.

The right fork reached the upper lookout of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall, which was some 800m beyond the Schleierfall.

An interpretive sign here suggested that there was quite a bit of historical heritage at this place.

Hallstatt_464_07052018 - Finally arriving at the impressive Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Finally arriving at the impressive Waldbachstrub Waterfall

Among the historical occurences included the inspiration of a writer’s tale that took place at this waterfall back in 1845.

In another account, Kaiser Franz Josef wrote about his excursion to Hallstatt in a letter to his mother in 1865.

There also appeared to be a bridge in the gorge above the ravine where the Waldbachstrub made its tumble.

I didn’t pursue that trail further though I wondered if the alternate trail to the Glacier Garden might have been able to access it.

Hallstatt_514_07052018 - I noticed this very interesting house built on top of a giant rock while hiking back to Hallstatt from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
I noticed this very interesting house built on top of a giant rock while hiking back to Hallstatt from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall

Anyways, after having my fill of this waterfall, I eventually completed the nearly 8km hike by returning to Hallstatt, where we were spending the night.

It took me nearly 2.5 hours to complete the hike, but it could have easily taken less time than that.

That’s because it took me a while to get started (mostly trying to figure out which road inland to walk though it turned out they were all valid).

I also lingered for quite a while at the magnificent scenery of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall itself.

Authorities

The Waldbachstrub Waterfall resides in the town of Hallstatt in the state of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich), Austria. It is administered by the Hallstatt government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Hallstatt_229_07052018 - It was unnecessary to go into the pedestrian zone for Hallstatt in order to do the hike to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall. This picture was taken from that pedestrian zone prior to my hike
Hallstatt_351_07052018 - I noticed this sign suggesting that the walk to the Wasserfall only took an hour from P1 car park though I opted to follow my gut and hike along the Waldbachstrub Stream instead
Hallstatt_510_07052018 - Looking back towards some residences at the back side of Lahn, which was technically the non-touristy part of Hallstatt
Hallstatt_524_07052018 - There was a free running trinkwasser, which was basically a place where you can fill up your water bottle for free
Hallstatt_364_07052018 - It took me a bit of time before I finally found the continuation of the trail leading me closer to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall along the Themenweg
Hallstatt_368_07052018 - Now walking the hiking trail towards Waldbachstrub Waterfall with some rest benches along the way
Hallstatt_370_07052018 - I noticed some wild berries growing alongside the Themenweg en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_372_07052018 - Continuing along the forested path that was delightfully quiet en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_375_07052018 - Approaching some kind of shelter or kiosk with some maps and signage talking about the Echerntal Valley and other historical tid bits en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_379_07052018 - This was the Kleinwasserkraftwerk building I saw on the way to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_381_07052018 - Continuing the hike alongside the Waldbachstrub as I continued further up the valley upstream from the Kleinwasserkraftwerk
Hallstatt_383_07052018 - I noticed this Runestein along the way to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall somewhere further upstream from the Kleinwasserkraftwerk
Hallstatt_385_07052018 - Throughout the Waldbachstrub Waterfall hike, I noticed large boulders like this constantly reminding me of the the geology of the area or the possibility of large boulders that might have been dropped here by glaciers in the past or even by flaking off the cliffs via erosion
Hallstatt_387_07052018 - Continuing along the serene forested path that was delightfully quiet en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_390_07052018 - Looking towards more minor waterfalls or cascades on the Waldbachstrub en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_391_07052018 - Context of the neighboring cliffs that were closing in around the Echerntal Valley en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_393_07052018 - Noticing another Themenweg sign en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_395_07052018 - Looking upstream on the Waldbachstrub from another one of the footbridges crossing it en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_398_07052018 - Sign along the Waldbachstrub pointing out the 'Gletschertoppe' which I'm guessing was the height of the glacier that was once here
Hallstatt_399_07052018 - Continuing the mostly flat walk as the path started to enter an opening with a pasture en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_400_07052018 - Looking towards the barely-flowing Schleierfall as I was passing through a pasture en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_403_07052018 - Passing through a pasture and opening in the Echerntal Valley with some charming buildings along the way en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_407_07052018 - Wide open area as I was passing through a pasture en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_410_07052018 - Focused look at the tall but thin Schleierfall en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_413_07052018 - Cows grazing in the idyllic pasture en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_417_07052018 - Looking back at the open cow pasture and the 4wd track that I walked on through this part of the Echerntal Valley en route to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_418_07052018 - Looking back at the Schleierfall as I was about to leave the pasture for the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_420_07052018 - Beyond the pasture, the trail to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall re-entered the forest and hugged the walls of the eastern side of the valley
Hallstatt_425_07052018 - I noticed some steps leading up closer to the valley wall so I decided to briefly have a look to see where it went before continuing my hike to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_427_07052018 - That detour ultimately led to what appeared to be a via ferrata or some kind of climbing wall so I returned back to the main trail to continue hiking to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_430_07052018 - A fork in the trail where going right led up to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall while the left path went towards the Glacier Garden
Hallstatt_438_07052018 - Hiking alongside some cascades crashing on the Waldbachstrub on my way up to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_442_07052018 - On the final ascent leading up to the lookouts of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_443_07052018 - This might have been the fork that I had completely forgotten to check out en route to the lower lookout of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall during my July 2018 visit
Hallstatt_449_07052018 - Finally making it up to the Waldbachstrub Waterfall and its convergence of waterfalls. Shown here was just the main pair of drops on the Waldbachstrub as there were more waterfalls crashing in from the right
Hallstatt_465_07052018 - Looking up towards the brink of one of the side waterfalls joining up with the rest of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_480_07052018 - Context of the upper lookout of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_484_07052018 - Descending back down the steps after having had my fill of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_485_07052018 - Continuing the descent alongside the Waldbachstrub as I continued downhill from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_490_07052018 - After having my fill of the Waldbachstrub Waterfall, I headed back through the pastures in this open part of the Echerntal Valley
Hallstatt_491_07052018 - I was surprised to see this snake crossing the trail as I was on my way back to Hallstatt from Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_493_07052018 - Closer look at the snake that crossed the Waldbachstrub Waterfall Trail
Hallstatt_505_07052018 - Colorful water on the Waldbachstrub as the sun broke through and really gave the stream some bright blue colors
Hallstatt_508_07052018 - I encountered a little bit of confusion on my way back to Hallstatt from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall so I backtracked towards this path
Hallstatt_513_07052018 - Continuing to make my way back through Lahn towards Hallstatt from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_520_07052018 - Looking over another cow pasture in Lahn backed by scenic cliffs of the Echerntal Valley
Hallstatt_523_07052018 - Noticing this interesting building on my way back through Lahn en route to Hallstatt as I was heading back from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_529_07052018 - I eventually found myself hiking on this narrow trail paralleling a narrow road through Lahn en route to Hallstatt on my return hike from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Hallstatt_532_07052018 - Heading back alongside the Waldbachstrub en route to Hallstatt from the Waldbachstrub Waterfall

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Hallstatt is pretty easily accessed by car or by bus.

We did it by car so we’ll describe how we drove here from Salzburg.

Even though the driving was all on well-marked highways, the tricky part was parking.

So in order to avoid disappointment, I’d recommend getting here as early in the morning as you can or pretty late in the afternoon (say after 4pm).

It’s quite dicey during the peak periods of the day from late morning to early afternoon.

Direct driving route from Salzburg to Hallstatt

From Salzburg, the quickest approach was to head south on the B150 towards the A10 autobahn.

After about 19km going south on the A10, we then took the ramp for the Golling exit, which led us on the B159 and then onto the B162 due east.

Hallstatt_352_07052018 - The P1 car park at Hallstatt, which was sheltered (not shown was the underground parking, which was nice given how hot it could get when the sun was out)
The P1 car park at Hallstatt, which was sheltered (not shown was the underground parking, which was nice given how hot it could get when the sun was out)

About 22km from the exit of the A10, we reached a fork with the B166 road.

We kept left at this fork, then we continued another 23km before turning right onto the L547 Road (Hallstättersee-Landesstraße) towards Hallstatt.

Next, we took this narrow road south passing through a tunnel that deposited us right at some crosswalks by the entrance to the pedestrian walking zone of Hallstatt.

From here, we continued driving south for about another 500m before turning off to the right for the P1 car park, which was sheltered.

Hallstatt_359_07052018 - This was the P2 parking lot where parking was quite tight as you can see with the indicators suggesting there was only one spot open when I did this hike
This was the P2 parking lot where parking was quite tight as you can see with the indicators suggesting there was only one spot open when I did this hike

There was also a car park for the P2 parkplatz, but that one was unsheltered and there was usually someone standing at both the Demelgasse and Malerweg to prevent people from attempting to park there at peak times.

Overall, this drive took us about 75 minutes.

Scenic driving route from Salzburg to Hallstatt

There was also a more scenic route heading east from Salzburg towards Bad Ischl via the B158 and B145.

This route was slower because it was curvier, but it yielded some nice panoramic views of other lakes of the Salzkammergut Region.

Hallstatt_348_07052018 - Looking back towards the tunnel that bypassed the main pedestrian part of Hallstatt to the right of the tunnels.  However, I had to head inland (to the left of this picture) in order to reach the Waldbachstrub Waterfall
Looking back towards the tunnel that bypassed the main pedestrian part of Hallstatt to the right of the tunnels. However, I had to head inland (to the left of this picture) in order to reach the Waldbachstrub Waterfall

It was too bad that there weren’t too many placees to pull out though.

After all, there were plenty of spots where I really wished I could have stopped the car and soaked in the top down views of the lakes along the way.

For context, Hallstatt was about 72km (about 90 minutes drive) southeast of Salzburg, about 70km (under 90 minutes drive) east of Sankt Johann im Pongau, 79km (under 90 minutes drive) west of Admont, and 289km (about 3.5 hours drive) west of Vienna.

Long video focusing on the convergence of the Waldbachstrub Waterfalls while also examining the overhanging cliffs above


Semi-circular sweep of a side waterfall on the way to Waldbachstrubfalle

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Tagged with: waldbachstrub, hallstatt, lahn, kleinwasserkraftwerk, glacier garden, austria, waterfall, salzkammergut, halstat, hallstat, halstatt, waterfalls



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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.
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