Obersalzberg was overshadowed by its role during National Socialism after 1945. Soon after the end of the War, a public discussion about the follow-up use began. While some favoured agricultural use of the are, some pleaded for a revival of the traditions of high-class tourism before 1933.
The Obersalzberg remained blocked for Germans until May 1949, but this was no real hindrance. Locals with "connections" provided the early post-War "pilgrims" with opportunities to visit the Berghof - for a stiff fee. After the end of the banning order, mass tourism began; it was not just natural beauty, but also historical authenticity which drew visitors there: an extensive trade with "souvenirs" and glossy broschures began.Blowing up most of the buildings and the subsequent removal of the rubble did not limit the appeal of the site.
As no profitable agricultural use was possible, the Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) was opened up for tourism in early 1952. Large areas were however used by the US Army until 1996; it had already set up a Recreation Area for its soldiers there in 1947.
Even though the Free State of Bavaria was already the owner of the Obersalzberg area according to Allied legal pronouncement since 1949, it was only returned to Bavarian domain (under the administration of the Bavarian Finance Ministry) in 1996 after the withdrawal of the Americans.