Hike to Röthbachfall in the Alps of Berchtesgaden NP

Tourist Information Königssee, Schönau am Königssee, Germany

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    2.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    200 Feet

Food Nearby

Experience stunning views of the German Alps by taking a boat ride across the Königssee and then hiking to Röthbachfall, Germany's tallest waterfall at over 1,540 feet.

You will begin this hike by driving to the Tourist Information at the Königssee (https://goo.gl/maps/c3TF5kaSrov). Walk down past all of the tourist shops to the Königssee (lake). There will be a ticket booth for buying boat tickets. You need to take the electric boat across the Königssee in order to reach Röthbachfall, as there are no hiking trails along the lake.

The boat tickets (as of February 2016) cost €14.50, and you can check current prices as well as find more information here (http://www.seenschifffahrt.de/en/koenigssee/prices-and-offers/). You want to buy a ticket for a boat ride to Salet on the far (south) side of the lake. Unfortunately, boats do not run to Salet during winter. Be sure to allow roughly 4-5 hours for the whole trip. The last boat usually leaves around 5:30PM.

Once you've reached Salet, just a few hundred feet from the lake is a small restaurant serving traditional German dishes. While the food itself isn't phenomenal, a hot meal in the usually cold and rainy weather of Berchtesgaden is fantastic. It is highly recommended you stop here for a meal either before or after your hike. This is also the last place with a bathroom before you embark on your short hike.

Continue on the trail towards the Obersee and Röthbachfall. Hike about a quarter mile (0.4 kilometers) until you reach the Obersee. Here, you will see the iconic boathouse shown in the photos above. You can also see Röthbachfall in the distance here. Keep following the trail along the banks of the Obersee until you reach the other side and keep hiking. In total, the hike from the boathouse to Röthbachfall is roughly a mile (1.6km). It is fairly easy to find.

On your way, you may encounter some friendly cows, who typically wander freely during the daytime, even on the trail. Listen for their bells, and as always, be careful with livestock. It is not recommended you touch them as you might have trouble with customs when entering back into your home country.

It is recommended you bring hiking boots or some old shoes for this because most of the hike can be muddy. Enjoy Berchtesgaden and the German Alps! You may also want to check out the salt mines as well as Eagle's Nest, which was Hitler's mountaintop retreat during WWII.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Euros for Boat Ride/Food
  • Camera
  • Backpack with Water/Snacks
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Agree with Leigh-Anne completely about "perfect weather means LOADS of tourists".....this is not an off-the beaten path spot. But it is beautiful and even better when the weather isn't perfect and the scenery is vibrant and fewer people are inclined to be there. Another tip would be to rent a row boat in Konigsee for a few hours and row along the shoreline....the scene is magnificient!

12 months ago
12 months ago

Loved this adventure - really worth dedicating a full day to it. Some pieces of advice - must pay to park (coin only - but cash machine in brown hut in parking lot). Restaurant by Obersee is terrible - better off packing a picnic and eating in a sunny spot or at the offered picnic tables. "Perfect weather" means LOADS of tourists with selfie sticks and children. Get there early for that perfect shot of the boathouse or go on a weekday / overcast day. Be sure to wear lots of layers - can get very cool in the shade after you work up a sweat hiking the steps or hills. Overall this is a must see - too beautiful to describe. Something straight out of Tolkien

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Stunning pictures...no doubt the Alpes are the stage of the art

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Brian Fulda Explorer

Hi! I'm Brian, a photographer based in San Francisco that has an avid love for the outdoors, travel, hiking, redwoods, astronomy, guitar, cameras, and writing.

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