Bad Urach: Hiking, Waterfalls, & Mountain Views
After relocating to the Stuttgart area, many suggested we explore Bad Urach, Germany. We eventually dedicated a day to hiking and witnessing Bad Urach’s impressive waterfall. The natural beauty and surrounding scenery really made the day extra special.
Arriving and Parking at Bad Urach
Our family of 4 drove just under an hour from Stuttgart to scenic Bad Urach. I’d heard that by 11:00 a.m., it usually gets more crowded with visitors so we arrived bright and early, eager to sidestep the crowd and the midday summer sun.
As we pulled in, the first sight greeting us was a parking lot conveniently situated by the Bad Urach Wasserfall train station – a bonus, it was free! We chose to park there for the day.
There are additional parking spots closer to the waterfall’s base, though they come with a fee. Notably, P23 seemed to be a favorite.
Note: Arrival is easily accessible by public transportation. The “Wasserfall” stop is located directly next to the parking area. You may encounter several connections or changes along the way, but public transportation will bring you directly to the starting point of the hike.
The Earlier, the Better
Here’s a tip for fellow travelers: Beat the sun and the crowds by arriving early. Our morning was serene, with the cool shade around us. However, as midday approached with its 90°F heat, the crowds were pouring in from the parking lot. By 3:00 p.m., the waterfall’s stairs were swarming with folks, many stopping to snap pictures. As we made our exit, I couldn’t help but appreciate our early start.
Another perk of arriving early is that you are afforded the opportunity to take a photo of the waterfalls without crowds in the background, also the trails are fairly empty, plus you can be among the first to stop at the cafes for a snack, drink, or early lunch.
Viewing the Waterfalls
From the parking area, the Urach waterfall can be easily reached by walking just over 1 mile along the flat path following the stream, known as the Brühlbach. Be sure to look for the signs marking the way. This particular portion is very family-friendly and is easily accessible if you would like to bring a wagon or an all-terrain stroller.
As the cascade of the waterfall comes closer into view, you’ll notice a series of steep stairs leading up to its base. A word of caution: these steps can turn slick when wet, so walk carefully. Trusty footwear will serve you well here. Our 2-year-old was safely tucked away with my husband in a hiking carrier.
A highlight of the Urach Waterfall is the different vantage points it offers. From the base, witness the water’s elegant descent into the valley. However, climb the stairs alongside the falls, and you’re treated to a transformative view. From this height, watch the water’s dramatic plunge over moss-draped boulders. Such a pretty sight to see.
Born from a natural spring, the Urach Waterfall stands proudly at 121 feet (37 meters). Its flow is dictated by recent rainfall or snowmelt, ranging between 70 to 420 liters every second. On our visit, the cascades were relatively mellow, due to very little rain in the weeks prior, but it’s still so beautiful and well worth a visit.
For those enchanted by the Urach waterfall, another surprise awaits – the Gütersteiner Waterfall plus there are castle ruins nearby to explore. Trail maps can be found at the beginning of the hike near the parking area to help guide you to these unique areas of Bad Urach. Be sure to check those ahead of time or use Google to find maps of the trail online. You can also follow the signs along the path. The signs are clearly marked with distances and landmarks.
The trails vary in distance and difficulty to suit the needs of any visitor. A popular route for many is to hike to the second waterfall. However, don’t feel obligated to hike past the Urach waterfall. Many visitors stop at the base of the waterfall and spend the day there with no additional hiking. I observed families sitting on blankets and on the benches watching their children playing in the water. There are plenty of open grassy areas to relax for the day or to have a picnic lunch or dinner. With so many possibilities, there is something to meet every family’s needs.
Visiting the Restaurants
I saw a total of 3 restaurants during our trip. The first is called the Maisentalstüble, located adjacent to one of the parking lots. They have a full menu of food, drinks, and desserts. In essence, it was your typical Biergarten menu with Schnitzel, Spätzle, and Currywurst plus beer, Eiskaffee, and ice cream for the kiddos. Everything we had was delicious and it was a great stop on our way back to the car.
The next place, Wasserfallhütte, was just above the waterfall. We didn’t stop here, but it seemed to have drinks and a small menu. There was also an option to bring your own food and use the existing barbecue area. There were plenty of outdoor tables and open areas for children to play here, as well.
Rohrauer Hütte is located on the Alb plateau at an elevation of 2,500 feet. This was the last restaurant we passed on our hike. They had a very small Biergarten menu, with plenty of cold drinks to choose from. Our kids ran around the grassy area, played ping pong, and had fun on the swings. It was a perfect spot to pause and refuel our bodies on a hot summer day. We ate lunch under the shade of a tree and then continued on our hike.
Note: Restaurant operating hours might change seasonally. It may be wise to bring along a snack or prepare a picnic lunch, just to be on the safe side.
The Surrounding Streams
Once we made it back down to the base of the waterfall, we were all very hot. We found the streams to look more appealing at the end of the day. We stopped along the stream and eagerly went in to splash around a bit. The depth and temperature of the stream is determined by the waterfall runoff and despite the summer heat, it was very cold. What a shock that was! But it still felt refreshing after a 6+ hour day of hiking around Bad Urach. My daughter did not want to leave and made me promise that we would return again so she could play in the stream.
An End to a Great Day
What a perfect summer day spent exploring Bad Urach. We felt a sense of accomplishment, especially for our little ones, aged 2 and 7. For many, this trail might seem simple, but for our kids, it was their most challenging hike yet. My oldest had her moments but was determined to finish the hike. Seeing how proud she was of herself, was very rewarding.
I highly recommend exploring Bad Urach for a fun family adventure. You will see one of the most beautiful sights in the Swabian Alb: the Urach Waterfall. Not to mention the additional hiking options and gorgeous views. We plan to return again soon to see the beautiful fall foliage. Regardless of the season, Bad Urach promises a memorable experience. Don’t hesitate to plan a trip to Bad Urach, you won’t regret it!
Have you hiked through Bad Urach? Share your experience with us.
Questions about visiting Bad Urach? Ask away.
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Information to Know Before Visiting
Address: Bei den Thermen 4, 72574 Bad Urach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Admission: Admission is free.
Hours: You may explore and hike 24/7. The area is always open.
Food/Drink: There are several restaurants on-site. However, they may not be open during the winter months.
Always check the Bad Urach website before arriving for the most up-to-date information.
Disclaimer: Please know that while I pour my heart and soul into providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, the world has its way of changing. The details and insights shared here were accurate at the time of penning them down. However, in time, some specifics might shift. Always double-check before making any plans. Safe travels and warm wishes.