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Lake Constance to Königssee — Maximilian Trail in Germany

Thomas Hoppe

Lake Constance to Königssee — Maximilian Trail in Germany

Hiking Collection by Mareike

22-51

days

3-6 h

/ day

264 mi

63,325 ft

62,850 ft

The grand Maximilian Trail leads you through the Bavarian Alps from Lindau to Berchtesgaden. Famous peaks and alpine ridges, mystical moors and lakes framed by mountains, charming villages and world-famous castles all lie on your way.

The route is named after King Maximilian II of Bavaria, who undertook a journey from Lindau to Berchtesgaden in 1858. However, the king did not walk the whole way, but rather travelled in carriages and on horseback. In between, he sometimes stopped to climb a peak.

Even today, the nature and the sights along the way can be described as regal. Magnificent gorges, elaborate mountain panoramas and magnificent castles such as Neuschwanstein and Linderhof combine to create a royal atmosphere.

There are several slightly different versions of the route and in this Collection, I describe the more demanding variants – although detours are usually possible. Even though the trails run along the northern edge of the Alps and thus over relatively low mountains, you still hike along alpine paths that can be rocky in parts and exposed for short sections. However, the paths are well maintained and, where necessary, equipped with rope belays. Surefootedness and a head for heights as well as experience in mountain hiking are prerequisites for this long-distance hike.

If you want to walk the entire trail in one adventure, you can plan on about three to four weeks. The 22 stages suggested here are all long and often demanding; it may well be that you want to split up one or two of the stages or take a break. However, the route also passes through towns with train connections, so you can also pick a shorter section.

The overnight stays are in mountain huts and resorts in the valleys, where you can enjoy a little more comfort and stock up on provisions. The route is only accessible in the warm months of the year, when the higher altitudes are largely free of snow and the mountain huts are open. Even with a sun hat and hiking poles instead of a crown and sceptre, this journey with its finale at Königssee is a majestic experience.

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Maximiliansweg

264 mi

62,675 ft

61,975 ft

Last updated: July 12, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Lindau to Wolfurt — Maximilian Trail

    Difficult
    05:16
    12.9 mi
    2.5 mph
    175 ft
    75 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage of the Maximiliansweg gets by with almost no altitude difference. So you can first hike relaxed and warm before you go up the mountains. You start at the train station on the Lindau old town island. In the first few meters there is a lot to see in the beautiful streets and at the harbour

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  • Difficult
    07:07
    13.2 mi
    1.9 mph
    3,800 ft
    2,950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The first day in the mountains has it all: you have a long stage ahead of you with a few meters of altitude, which will lead you to wonderful views. Right at the beginning on the outskirts of Wolfurt is the first climb, which gives you a fantastic view of three countries: Austria, Germany and Switzerland

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  • Difficult
    06:05
    11.4 mi
    1.9 mph
    3,800 ft
    725 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Most of the vertical meters of this stage are only waiting for you towards the end of the route. Before that, it's quite leisurely through the picturesque landscape of the Bregenzerwald. You hike over a small hump to Hittisau, behind which you make a detour to the Bolgenach in a small gorge.

    

    Then the

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  • Difficult
    07:14
    10.3 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,425 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this stage you cross a large part of the Nagelfluh chain. You can expect some slightly challenging and rocky sections that are secured with ropes. On the way, many peaks give you wonderful views - above all the Hochgrat right at the beginning of the stage, which is the highest mountain in the chain

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  • Difficult
    08:03
    14.5 mi
    1.8 mph
    3,300 ft
    2,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From Gunzesried you descend into the Illertal. Immediately after leaving the village, you can avoid the road by hiking through the beautiful Haldentobel. After a short stretch on the Iller you cross Sonthofen, which with a well-equipped center is ideal for replenishing your provisions.

    

    The second part

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  • Difficult
    08:14
    17.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,875 ft
    2,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On this stage you hike down into the Vilstal and there you have a relaxed path along the riverbank in front of you. Slightly downwards you follow the water to Pfronten, which is ideal for a lunch break. With one night in one of the numerous accommodations in the village, this long stage can be divided

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  • Difficult
    04:49
    7.33 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,500 ft
    575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This stage is definitely one of the highlights of the entire route: you walk right past the castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein and admire them from different perspectives.

    

    From Füssen you hike past the Schwansee and the Alpsee to Hohenschwangau, where the castle of the same name is enthroned

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  • Difficult
    05:30
    7.98 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,725 ft
    3,025 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this day you have an exciting ridge crossing ahead of you. You take advantage of the climb from the previous day and start quite comfortably on a high trail. It gets exciting with the ascent to the crow, which gets steeper and steeper. From the summit you hike along the beautiful ridge and cross the

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  • Difficult
    05:48
    8.09 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,600 ft
    1,875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The next crossing is on stage 9: You hike over the Klammspitzkamm and take a few peaks with you, including the eponymous Große Klammspitze. On such a path you can of course prepare yourself for fabulous views.

    

    After the steep descent from the Große Klammspitze, the path becomes more leisurely and no longer

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  • Difficult
    09:35
    17.4 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,425 ft
    5,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is quite a long one, but can be split up further with an overnight stay in Unterammergau or at the Hörnlehütte. Concentration is required first thing in the morning, because it's a steep descent towards Unterammergau. Shortly before the valley you hike through the beautiful Schleifmühlklamm

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  • Difficult
    06:50
    11.5 mi
    1.7 mph
    4,175 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this day we climb two of the well-known mountains in the Bavarian Prealps: Heimgarten and Herzogstand. Both promise magnificent views, including over the Walchensee and the Kochelsee. But the first highlight is already waiting for you on the ascent: from Eschenlohe you hike through the beautiful Asam

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  • Difficult
    07:56
    12.2 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,375 ft
    4,100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    From the Herzogstand you descend in the direction of Walchensee, which you can admire again and again along the way. From its shore you immediately hike uphill again, pass the Jochberg and then have a fairly comfortable section through the forest and over alpine pastures in front of you. Towards the

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  • Difficult
    05:48
    8.91 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,800 ft
    4,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    From the Tutzinger Hütte, other variants of the Maximiliansweg lead north along the Benediktenwand. I recommend an alpine detour to the summit. The route runs up the western ridge, which is the flattest in comparison. But that doesn't mean that this path isn't steep - quite the opposite. However, it

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  • Difficult
    06:39
    10.2 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,400 ft
    3,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this stage you hike over two peaks to Tegernsee. Right on the outskirts of Lenggries it goes steeply up to the Geierstein, which gives you a wonderful view from the top. From there you only descend briefly and then maintain the altitude along the north slope at the Schlagkopf.

    

    The next ascent to the

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  • Difficult
    08:20
    15.6 mi
    1.9 mph
    3,550 ft
    3,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    It continues through the beautiful Bavarian foothills of the Alps with its beautiful mountains and lakes. The first section takes you with a wonderful view over the mountains between Tegernsee and Schliersee. The shore of the Schliersee is ideal for today's lunch break. Here you can also easily insert

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  • Difficult
    05:28
    8.32 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,575 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A famous mountain personality is on the program for stage 16: the Wendelstein. A long, long climb takes you to its summit. Towards the end it gets really steep and you follow many hairpin bends up the rocks. It goes down just as steeply on the other side.

    

    You can bypass the Wendelstein north if you want

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  • Difficult
    07:47
    13.4 mi
    1.7 mph
    3,700 ft
    2,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is again relatively long. One way to take a shortcut is to take the cog railway from Wendelstein. Either you get on directly below the summit on the stage before and drive down into the valley to spend the night there. Or you can take the train after you have spent a night on the Mitteralm

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  • Difficult
    05:29
    8.47 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,825 ft
    3,100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is perhaps rather unspectacular in comparison. It doesn't have a peak, if you don't count the Hochries where you stayed. From there, the first half of the route goes downhill to Aschau im Chiemgau, where you can take a leisurely lunch break. Maybe you even have time to look at the stately

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  • Difficult
    07:46
    12.8 mi
    1.6 mph
    3,950 ft
    4,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    On this day, the Kampenwand is another well-known summit on the program. However, to be precise, both the west and the main summit can only be reached by climbing. That is why this route leads on demanding hiking trails to the eastern summit. In favor of the easier path (in contrast to the Südwandsteig

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  • Difficult
    07:34
    10.8 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,725 ft
    5,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The 20th stage of the Maximiliansweg also continues with the parade of the well-known mountains. On the program today: Hochgern and Hochfelln, two wonderful vantage points in the Chiemgau Alps. Right at the beginning there is the ascent of the Hochgern.

    

    Then it's a long way through a wonderfully remote

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    22
  • Distance
    264 mi
  • Duration
    153:00 h
  • Elevation
    63,325 ft62,850 ft

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