Bad Urach: Hiking, Waterfalls, & Mountain Views
When we moved to the Stuttgart area about a year ago, one of the most commonly recommended places for us to visit nearby was Bad Urach, Germany. It took us over a year, but we finally set aside a day to hike and see the waterfall in Bad Urach. We had the most wonderful time taking in the beauty and enjoying the nature around us.
Arriving at Bad Urach
Our family of 4 drove less than an hour from Stuttgart, Germany to Bad Urach, Germany. I had heard heavier crowds tend to arrive by 11:00 am and the particular summer day we visited on was forecasted to be sunny and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We arrived early to beat the crowds and the heat that day.
Immediately upon arrival, you will see the first parking lot next to the Bad Urach wasserfall train stop. It was free to park there and it was where we parked for the day.
However, if you keep driving, there are several more parking lots closer to the base of the waterfall, but you will need to pay to park in those lots. P23 seemed to be the most popular parking lot.
The Earlier, the Better
If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to arrive early. We had a peaceful and cool morning with the shade around us, but by the afternoon the heat was setting in and the crowds were pouring in from the parking lot. By 3:00 pm on a Saturday, the stairs to the waterfall were crowded with passerby’s and with plenty of people taking photos in front of the falls. We were glad to be on our way out and I was grateful that we had arrived early that morning.
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, as well. 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 you begin to see the waterfall in view, there will be steep steps leading up to it. If the steps are wet, they can get slippery so that is something to be aware of. Sturdy shoes are definitely a plus.
One of the neat things about visiting the Urach waterfall is experiencing it from different viewpoints. From below you can see how the waterfall cascades down into the valley. If you walk up the steep steps on the side of the fall, you will get a completely new perspective. At the top, you can see how the water falls over the edge of the large moss-covered stones.
The Urach waterfall originates nearby from a spring and stands at 121 feet (37 meters) high. The flow of the waterfall depends on the amount of recent rainfall or snowmelt. The water falls at a rate of 70 to 420 liters per second. The day we visited, the waterfall flow was fairly light, as we had very little rain in the weeks prior.
If you enjoyed the Urach waterfall, you will be happy to know that there is an additional waterfall that you can hike to, known as the Gütersteiner waterfall.
Once you finish viewing the Urach waterfall, you have several options. You can head to one of the nearby restaurants, which have menus and atmospheres reminiscent of a Biergarten or continue on one of the many hiking options.
There are maps near the parking area that show the different routes for the trails, so be sure to check those ahead of time. 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. I observed families sitting on blankets and on the benches watching their children playing in the water. There are plenty of areas to relax for the day or to have a picnic lunch or dinner. So many possibilities.
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, Eis Kaffee 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 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.
The Surrounding Streams
Once we made it back down to the base of the waterfall, we were all very hot. We found the waterfall runoff streams to look much more appealing at the end of our day. We stopped along the stream and eagerly went in to splash around a bit. The water was surprisingly 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 streams.
An End to a Great Day
What a perfect summer day exploring Bad Urach. We were proud of ourselves and our kids. Some may consider this hike fairly easy, but this was the longest hike and the most elevated hike that we had taken our 2-year-old and 7-year-old on. My oldest struggled a bit but powered through to reach the top of the mountain. It was very rewarding to see my daughter so proud of herself.
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 hiking options and gorgeous views. We plan to return again soon to see the beautiful fall foliage. Bad Urach would be stunning to visit anytime during the year. Don’t hesitate to plan a trip to explore Bad Urach, you will not regret it!
Have you hiked through Bad Urach? Share your experience with us.
Questions about visiting Bad Urach? Ask away.
I would love to hear from you. – Kristie xo
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.