We are traveling by train for part our stay in Germany. We'll visit the Bodensee area, Gengenbach, Baden Baden and Stuttgart. We used the Bahn.com website and app and KVV.info website and app. Any other suggestions for times/schedules or tips on using the trains in the Black Forest?
Also use the bus on the northern shore of the Bodensee go visit Meersburg, Lake dwelling museum at Unteruhldingen and Birnau church
Depending on what town your BF hotel is located in, you may be given a complimentary KONUS public transit card, to be returned at the end of your hotel stay. For example, Freiburg is not included.
Part of the concept in the Black Forest is to be able to make a forest hike without having to return to your car, or make a two-way hike on the same trail. Although it is a hopelessly touristy town, I took the train to Titisee, to walk back to my hotel in Hinterzarten. The maps offered three levels of hiking. I may even have been wearing penny loafers with rubber soles, and got away with it. The line for trail maps at the TI were so slow-moving that I gave up and worked with street signs in Titisee. A good cellphone with a data plan might help here.
Austria and Switzerland have some sights on or near the Bodensee. Towns like Bregenz and Stein am Rhein are often visited by train. I haven't been to Baden Baden or Stuttgart.
Make sure you check the DB Navigator app when you're at the station to make sure the track no. hasn't changed (or the time). The bigger stations will usually announce it (sometimes only in German) but there might be something scrolling across the board. However, the small stations like Gengenbach will not have any updates so keep an eye on your app. You definitely want to be on the right side of the tracks there, since the only way to get to 2 of the 3 tracks is to cross over them - and you can't do that if a train is coming.
If you are staying in Gengenbach, you should get a KONUS card - ask at your hotel. This will give you free train (and bus) rides to many areas in the Black Forest, including the Volksbauerhof Open Air Museum (a must-see) and the other smaller towns in that area.
I traveled in Germany in June and every single segment was either canceled, late, broke down (necessitating everyone getting off and waiting for another trainset), or didn't stop at the city where I had to change trains. I hadn't been on a German train in years, since back when you could set your watch by their arrival, they were so reliable. My point is, be prepared for problems and frustration on Deutsche Bahn.
If there is a problem, announcements are only made in German. If you don't speak German, you will have to get up and find someone who speaks English. I had to go to the next carriage to find someone who could explain that the train I was on wasn't going to stop where I needed to get off. Pay attention if something seems "off," and prepare to deal with problems yourself.