Wutach (river)

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Wutach Tiengen.jpg
The Wutach at Tiengen between the mouths of the Steina and Schlücht
Karte Obere Donau.png
Map showing the course of the Wutach and its relation the Rhine (Rhein) and Danube (Donau)
Country Germany, Switzerland
Main source On the Seebuck (Black Forest) as the Seebach
1,440 m (4,720 ft)
47°52′14″N 8°00′59″E / 47.87056°N 8.01639°E / 47.87056; 8.01639
River mouth The Rhine near Waldshut-Tiengen
315 m (1,033 ft)
47°36′51″N 8°14′59″E / 47.61417°N 8.24972°E / 47.61417; 8.24972Coordinates: 47°36′51″N 8°14′59″E / 47.61417°N 8.24972°E / 47.61417; 8.24972
River system Rhine//North Sea
Basin size 1,139.6 km2 (440.0 sq mi)[1]
Physical characteristics
Length 91 km (57 mi)[2]
  • Average rate:
    16.1 m3/s (570 cu ft/s)
Waterbodies Feldsee, Titisee

The Wutach is a river in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, partly located on the border with the canton of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It is formed in the southern part of the Black Forest by the confluence of two smaller rivers, the Haslach and the Gutach, near the town of Lenzkirch.

The Wutach near Tiengen

The larger of the two is the Gutach, which flows out of lake Titisee; the largest of the streams feeding the lake is the Seebach, which rises near the peak of the Feldberg, the highest point in the Black Forest, and this is usually taken as the ultimate source of the Wutach. On this basis, the total length of the river is 90.2 km (56.0 mi).

From the confluence where the river acquires the name Wutach, it flows ESE through a series of three gorges with a total length of more than 30 km (19 mi) and a maximum depth of 160 m (520 ft) (see Wutach Gorge) which has long been a tourist attraction. Between the second and the last part of the gorge, near the village of Achdorf in the municipality of Blumberg, it takes a sharp turn (known as the Wutachknie or Knee of the Wutach), and subsequently flows SW to join the Rhine near Tiengen in the town of Waldshut-Tiengen.

At the Wutachknie the river is very close to the headwaters of the Danube, until the last glacial period the upper course of the Wutach was the headstream of the Danube catchment (called Feldbergdonau).

The stretch of the Wutach is the site of two remarkable railways. The upper stretch of the first gorge is crossed and followed by the so-called Höllentalbahn. The valley just below the third gorge is the site of the Wutach Valley Railway, officially known in German as the Wutachtalbahn but commonly known as the Sauschwänzlebahn (pigtail) because it proceeds in a series of tight turns, including crossing back over itself, in order to make a substantial increase in height without exceeding a 1:100 gradient.

The name Wutach means "Furious water", referring to the whitewater flow through the gorge. Wut is recognisably cognate to a modern German word for anger; ach, which forms part of the names of many rivers in the region, comes from an old Celtic word for water, cognate with Latin aqua.


  1. ^ Web-based information system for Baden-Württemberg: HW-Abflüsse
  2. ^ Geoportal Baden-Württemberg: LUBW-Dienst Fließgewässer