The Wildenstein Waterfall was a free-falling 54m waterfall on the Wildensteinerbach at the foot of the Hochobir Mountain that was probably the southernmost of the Austrian waterfalls that we visited on our epic Summer trip in 2018. A sign here claimed that it was the highest free-falling waterfall in Europe, but I somehow doubt that claim. That said, it was certainly impressive and worth the detour as we were making the drive from Graz to Millstatt.
In any case, it certainly seemed that as far as the foreign tourist route was concerned, the province of Carinthia (or Kärnten in German) tended to be bypassed. So that made this experience refreshingly naturesque and peaceful (though it also helped that we showed up pretty early in the morning).Our excursion was on a well-established path that went uphill for 700m before arriving at the lookout with a direct view of the impressive plunge waterfall. The signage suggested that it was 20 minutes one way on the uphill, but it took us a bit longer than that because we really took our time. In fact, Julie and Tahia had lots of fun picking wild strawberries and wild raspberries right from the foliage flanking the trail.
There was one potentially confusing stretch where there was signage (the one that claimed this waterfall was the highest free-falling one in Europe) and a picnic table right before the trail starting going up some switchbacks as the climb became steeper. Right across from the trail at the turn was also a false trail that continued alongside the Wildensteinerbach, but it was too overgrown and erosion-prone so it wasn’t wise to go there.
Towards the top of the ascent, there was a trail junction that appeared to lead further up above the Wildensteiner Waterfall and eventually Eisenkappler Hütte as well as even further out to Hochobir. It was said that there was also some ruins of an abandoned castle (that once belonged to the Wildensteiner family before its destruction by earthquake in 1348) that could be seen up that way. I didn’t go up that way, but it was said to be roughly over 30 minutes of additional hiking to witness.Anyways, continuing straight ahead beyond this trail junction, the path eventually made it to the dead-end with a nice frontal view of the Wildensteiner Waterfall. Fencing had been erected to prevent us from going all the way to the base of the falls, where apparently it used to be possible to go behind it. That said, the verticality of the underlying cliffs made me think that the rockfall danger was too great to allow people to go there freely.
We didn’t push our luck in hopping the fence and adding unnecessary risk in extending our experience at the falls. So after having our fill of the scenery here, we headed back as the trail was pretty much all downhill at this point. Along the way, we had nice downhill glimpses of the pastures spread out in the immediate area near Gallizien.
Overall, this excursion took us around an hour despite the signage suggesting it was 20 minutes on the way up (and thus probably a bit less time on the way back down).
Finally, I’ve seen this waterfall referred to as the Wildensteiner Waterfall as well as the Wildensteiner Wasserfall and Wildensteinerfall in German.
The Wildenstein Waterfall was near the city of Klagenfurt am Wörthersee so we’ll describe the driving directions from there. Driving from city to city beginning from other starting locations can be looked up in apps like GoogleMaps.
From Klagenfurt, we’d drive east on the A2 autobahn and take the 298 exit (Grafenstein) roughly 9km east of the Klagenfurt Airport. Once at the off-ramp, we’d head south on the L87 road (turning right). Similarly, we could also drive east on the Road B70 for about 12km from the city center to the L87 road before turning right to go south.
Once on the L87 road, we’d then head south towards the L107 Road before turning left. Next, we’d follow the L107 Road east then south for about 11km before reaching a junction with the B85 Road at Gallienz. Turning left onto the B85 Road, we then turned right onto the signposted road leading to the Wildensteiner Wasserfall.
And finally after another kilometer on this rural road, we’d arrive at the car park for the Wildensteiner Waterfall.
Overall, this drive would take us about a half-hour.
For geographical context, Klagenfurt was 85km (about an hour drive) east of Millstatt, 135km (90 minutes drive) southwest of Graz, 140km (2 hours drive) south of Admont , and 85km (1.5 hours drive) north of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
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