The Untersberg rises at the rim of the Northern Limestone Alps, immediately at the Salzburg Basin and the broad Salzach Valley. Neighbouring peaks are the Hoher Göll in the southeast and Mt. Watzmann in the south, beyond the Berchtesgaden Basin. In the northwest, the Saalach Valley with Bad Reichenhall separates it from the Hochstaufen mountain range. About two-thirds of the area, including the Berchtesgaden Hochthron, is located in Germany, while the northernmost steep edge above Salzburg belongs to Austria.
The mountain is popular with tourists due to its proximity to the city of Salzburg: less than 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) south of the city centre and within easy reach by bus, for example city bus line 25 to Grödig, which runs every 15 minutes on weekdays. Several trails lead to the top, though most people prefer the Untersbergbahn cable car.
According to a king in the mountain legend, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa is asleep inside Mt. Untersberg until his resurrection. His beard is said to be growing longer and longer around a round table and to have grown round two times. Myth says that when the beard has grown three times around the table the end of the world has come. When Frederick leaves the mountain, there will be no further Holy Roman Emperor and the last great battle of humankind will be fought on the Walserfeld, a pasture at Wals, west of Salzburg. There is a similar legend for the Kyffhäuser Mountain in Thuringia.
Other legends say that it is Charlemagne waiting inside the Untersberg, taken care of by the Untersberger Mandln, small dwarf-like creatures. Every hundred years he awakes and when he sees the ravens still flying around the Untersberg he sleeps for another century. The Alpine tradition of the Untersberg Wild Hunt has recently been revived. There are also legends about the cave system below the mountain.