Would you like to explore the mountain world of the Allgäu Alps, climb rocky peaks, visit crystal-clear lakes and admire the valley from up high? Then the Route to the Top of the Allgäu hiking trilogy is just right for you. This multi-day hike starts at the wonderful royal castles in the east of the region and takes you through the southern Allgäu in a loop. You will hike undulating, beautiful paths through the high peaks, visiting charming huts on the way.
The hiking trilogy in Allgäu combines three routes over 54 stages through the diverse landscapes and culture of the region. All three routes are signposted with the same mark in different colours. The Meadow Walker’s Route follows green signs through the picturesque northern Allgäu. The Watercourse Route follows blue signs along rivers to wonderful lakes through the Alpine foothills. The Route to the Top follows red signs as it climbs up to the high peaks of the Allgäu Alps where you can enjoy incredible views over the mountains. The stages of the three routes are numbered chronologically – the first stage naturally begins in the Alpine foothills with the Meadow Walkers’ Route and the 54th stage is the final section of the Route to the Top. The routes overlap with one another so some individual stages are part of two different routes.
The Route to the Top is the most demanding route of the Allgäu hiking trilogy. As you will hike at alpine heights, you should be sure-footed and an experienced hiker. On some days, you will find traditional huts and inns where you can stop for refreshments, but you will have to carry your own provisions on other days. Many stages end in a village in the valley where you can stock up on supplies. Usually, you can choose from a range of accommodation, but some stages end in a hut in the mountains. Make sure you book in advance, especially in summer, as spaces are limited and there is often no alternative accommodation available. We also recommend reserving your accommodation in the valley in advance.
In our Collection, the Route to the Top runs 226 miles (364 km) in an anti-clockwise loop from Halblech. Starting at stage 26, you hike through the pre-Alps and up to the highest peaks of the Allgäu. The total route is divided into 24 stages with additional so-called “connections.” The connections take you to a village with a train station so you can use them as an alternative start and end point if you only want to walk part of the route. Many of the stages also end in a town with public transport connections so you can easily choose to just hike for a few days.
If you would like to walk part of the route, you can reach these start and end points by train:
– 6 days from Füssen to Sonthofen
– 5 days from Sonthofen to Oberstaufen
– 7 days from Immenstadt to Fischen
– 7 days from Oberstdorf to Pfronten
The hiking trilogy in the Allgäu is a wonderful long-distance hike to walk bit by bit or in one go. The mountains are waiting for you.
For more information on the other hiking trilogy routes, see:
Meadow Walkers’ Route: komoot.de/collection/977787
Watercourse Route: komoot.de/collection/977785
On this and also on the next stages, the water runners and sky strikers share their way on the Allgäu hiking trilogy. You can also see this from the marking: it is highlighted in blue and red here. While the water runners have come a long way, the sky stormers begin their journey on this day. No matter which route you are on, you can definitely look forward to wonderful paths and views.You leave Halblech to the south and only slowly gain height at the foot of the Mühlschartenkopf. But soon it will be a bit downhill again. In a forested valley you cross the Halblech, follow its course briefly downstream and then turn left to hike the next few kilometers on the side of the Lobetalbach. Here you pass several reservoirs, the banks of which invite you to take a break. Turn left behind Bockstallsee. Passing the photogenic Wanderfleck chapel, you start the last ascent of the day up to your destination, the Kenzenhütte.
It's going to be alpine today. That means there are wonderful mountain trails and great views, but also a few more meters on the program. The day begins with a crisp ascent to the Kenzensattel, where you are immediately rewarded with a view of mighty rock peaks. After a short breather on fairly flat paths, the next climb to the highest point of the day is already waiting. A long descent follows with only short counter climbs.Up here you move between rocks and mountain pines. So you have an undisturbed view into the distance. But remember to pay attention to where your feet are going. Under the maple saddle you have to overcome a boulder field. Then it is not far to the Tegelberg, where a hut with food and beds is waiting for you. You can also look forward to a fabulous view of the Allgäu and its lakes.If you like it even more alpine, you can choose an alternative route on this stage. To do this, climb up from the Kenzenhütte towards the southeast and hike along the ridge over the Hochplatte. At the fork oven you will meet the main route again.
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Stage 28 is a special day of hiking, which is peppered with many highlights. First you master the descent from the Tegelberg via exciting paths. On the way you can already see what you still have in front of you: the royal castles of Füssen. The best thing to do is to stop here up on the mountain and enjoy the view of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The view is no longer undisturbed!Passing the famous Marienbrücke bridge, you descend to the castles and the beautiful Alpsee. On its north bank, you hike uphill on the magnificent Alpine Rose Path through a forest. Now there is just one last little climb to Calvary with its great view. Then you descend to Füssen. Practical that this stage can be completed on a good half a day. This gives you time to take a closer look at the castles or to take a leisurely stroll through the old town of Füssen at the end of the stage.
A breathtaking stage is on the program again today. You leave Füssen between the high castle and the monastery of St. Mang. You walk west on the Kobelweg along a forested back to beautiful Alatsee, where the mountain peaks are reflected in calm weather.You follow the lakeshore and first ascend to the Salober Alm and then to the summit of the same name. With some ups and downs, you follow the mountain range to the ruins of Falkenstein, which sits enthroned on steeply sloping rocks. Either you make a detour up here to the old walls or you admire them from a distance. In the southern slope you descend from the Falkenstein to then hike down the Manzenberg to Pfronten.
You leave Pfronten to the west to admire many waterfalls on your way today. When you get to the foot of the mountains, you first go north. At the Kappel district, turn left into the forest and hike through the impressive Höllschlucht. After you have thoroughly examined the game of rocks and water, you step out of the forest onto a meadow where you will find the Kappeler Alp. It is perfect for a lunch break, because half of today's route is already behind you.Then it only goes a little further uphill. Shortly before the mountain station of the Alpspitzbahn, you turn right and begin the descent. A beautiful path along a mountain stream with waterfalls takes you down to Nesselwang, where today's stage ends. By the way, you hike up the waterfall path at the end tomorrow. If you want to save it, you can also take the train down.
Stage 31 begins as the previous one ended. You climb the Alpspitze via the waterfall path. Again, you have the option to replace this route with a train journey. Or you choose one of the other variants on the Nesselwanger local mountain. You have reached the summit in a good quarter of an hour past the mountain station. Enjoy the view here, because the main climb of the day is already done.On the ridge, continue east to a red bank. Take a little time for the view here again, because most of the following descent leads you through the forest. Where the trees then slowly change into open meadows, you will reach the Grüntensee. Past the climbing forest, you continue on the riverside path. Take a look to the left here. In the distance rises the summit of the Grünten, which can be easily recognized by its transmission mast. Pretty much straight to the north you cover the last kilometers of the day to Oy-Mittelberg.
Today's stage takes you through the lovely landscape of the Prealps. Green hills and meadows and a beautiful view of the Alpine chain determine the landscape. From Oy you climb via Mittelberg to the Burgkranzegger Horn. From there it goes through a small Tobelweg down to Petersthal and thus to the Rottachsees. You follow its bank a little way. Where the footpath runs right next to the country road, go a little further and then turn left into the forest behind a small bridge on the other side of the road. Take care, because this place is easy to miss. Now it goes up again through a Tobelweg.You walk roughly to the west on quite cozy paths. Passing the Geratser waterfall you reach the foot of the long back of the Falkenstein. You follow this on beautiful forest paths to the summit. Where the trees divide, you can enjoy wonderful views of the mountains and also to the north. You always stay on top of your back and automatically descend on the other side. Now a short dangle to the left and you're in Rettenberg.
You have probably already examined the mountain you are going to climb extensively in the last few days. The Grünten, the so-called guardian of the Allgäu, rises directly southeast of Rettenberg. It is a popular destination for many Allgäuers and also the mountain of choice for after-work tours. You climb it right after breakfast. You follow a curve to Wagneritz via dirt roads. This is where the steep but very beautiful ascent via Alpe Kammeregg begins. Shortly before the summit it gets rocky and some places are secured with ropes. Once you have overcome this, a breathtaking view awaits you.You start the descent first over your back to the west and then to the south. There are several huts directly on your way here, so that you can stop off whenever you get hungry. At the end of the day you cross the beautiful Starzlachklamm. Here you can take your time and marvel at everything in peace, because it is only two kilometers to Burgberg.
This stage is like a day off. It is not far to Sonthofen - you can already see the neighboring town on the outskirts of Burgberg - and you do not feel the few vertical meters today. The stage is also suitable if you only walk part of the hiking trilogy and want to go to the Sonthofener Bahnhof.You leave Burgberg to the south and hike to the banks of the Ostrach, which you follow until it flows into the Iller. Then you go upriver on a beautiful path. This is how you run towards the mountains from which the water comes. Where you come across a park, turn left and hike to the center of Sonthofen.If you want to continue straight away, you can also add the next stage to Gunzesried. To do this, leave out the second half of the route and cross the Iller immediately on the first bridge that you pass in the direction of Gunzesried.
This stage can be combined well with the previous one in order to cross the Illertal in one day and then explore the mountains in the west. It is also a good starting point if you only want to walk part of the hiking trilogy, because there is a train station at the starting point in Sonthofen.First you walk west from the city center to the Iller and follow their course to the bridge that leads to Bihlerdorf on the other side. The route up to here overlaps with the previous stage. Immediately on the other side of the bridge, you turn left, climb a bit up the slope, and then go north again, where you reach the entrance to the Gunzesrieder valley. About Halden it goes uphill to Gunzesrieder Ach, the course of which you follow on beautiful paths upstream to the village of Gunzesried.
Today you will discover the Nagelfluh chain, which extends beyond the Austrian border. It takes its name from the Nagelfluh rock that is typical of it. This is a conglomerate, so it consists of many individual, small stones that are connected by another rock. First you leave Gunzesried along the Ach towards the valley. At the third bridge, however, you turn left and climb the slope just below the summit of noon.From here you hike along the top of the mountain range. The actual and proverbial highlight of the day is the Steineberg. You can climb its summit using a vertical ladder. You can just as easily walk around the outside or skip the summit entirely. We continue over the Steinköpfle, behind which you descend northwards into the picturesque valley to Alpe Gund.
Today, most of the way is relaxed downhill through the valley. With a beautiful view you follow the route to the northeast. On your right you see the crest on which you walked yesterday. Towards the end of the valley path you have the opportunity to go right through the beautiful Steigbachtobel with its waterfalls. You will soon reach the charming town of Immenstadt, which has a train station as well as a pretty old town. If you only want to walk part of the hiking trilogy, Immenstadt is a good starting or ending point. Or you can simply take a short detour to Marienplatz and treat yourself to an ice cream while walking through the streets.You walk almost straight through Immenstadt and climb a hill on the other side. From here you have a beautiful view over the Großer Alpsee, to which you descend immediately. Shortly before you pass the Small Alpsee, where there is an outdoor pool. If you want to cool off, you can just jump into the water at the Großer Alpsee.
Today is a very comfortable stage with beautiful views. On the east bank of the Großer Alpsee you hike north, cross the tracks and immediately start the climb towards Zaumberg. You have enough time to enjoy the view over the water and the Nagelfluh chain. So stand still again and enjoy the panorama.From Zaumberg it is a little more leisurely uphill towards the west. On the way you will pass two huts where you can get a delicious snack. The descent begins at the Pfarralpe, which sometimes leads quite steeply straight down to Missen-Wilhams, where today's stage ends.Since the end of this stage and the beginning of the next overlap, you can decide whether you want to merge the two. Then you would skip Missen-Wilhams, save yourself a few vertical meters and hike straight to Oberstaufen. In total, this combination stage would be around 20 kilometers long and you would be on the road for six hours.
Today is the day of the heights. This is the name of the elevations along the ridge that you are hiking today. On the way, many viewpoints invite you to take short breaks. From Missen-Wilhams it goes back up to the Pfarralpe and then always along the ridge to the west. This is how you reach the first height, the Thaler Höhe.The narrow, rooted paths are a pleasure. So the time flies and you reach the highest point of the day, the Salmaser Höhe. From here you descend to the north and then stay on your back, which pulls to the west in a right turn. Here are three more heights. The last descent begins at the Obere Gsängalpe. In several hairpin bends, the path takes you first to the Oberstaufner district of Kalzhofen and then further to the center.
In Oberstaufen the paths of the water runners and the sky strikers separate again. That is why it continues here with stage 42, because stages 37 to 41 run north. But the sky-watchers want to go further south into the really high mountains. Climbing the Hochgrat is a good way to get in the mood. This summit is the highest in the Nagelfluh chain and one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Allgäu.First you descend from Oberstaufen south into the valley. There you go straight up on the other side and over the Hündlekopf to the impressive Buchenegg waterfalls. The path leads you further and further south through forest and lovely alpine meadows. The water of the Weißach accompanies you part of the way. The big climb of the day begins behind the valley station of the Hochgratbahn - yes, you can use it to go up. Another 900 vertical meters to the longed-for summit of the Hochgrat. As a motivation, just a few meters further past the mountain station of the train is the Staufner Haus, where hungry hikers are properly cared for.
Since you stayed directly below the highest peak of the Nagelfluh chain, there can only be one way this morning - and it leads down. To the east you descend partly via paths, partly via driveways into the next valley. Take a look at the map. Here you are at the back of the Gunzesrieder valley, where you might have visited on stage 34.On the other side of the valley you master the steep climb to the Heidenkopf. You have already climbed the next mountain range and deserved a new view of the Balderschwanger valley. The descent there would also be more direct. But you turn west and enjoy the wonderful path over the Girenkopf along the ridge. You only leave the Stillberg again and soon descend more and more directly into the valley. How to get out above Schlipfhalden and stay here on the Höhenweg, which leads comfortably over the Talstraße to Balderschwang.
Today you climb up to an originally beautiful moor landscape. But be careful where you step! Some mud holes are hidden here. First you hike from Balderschwang all the way down to the valley floor and a bit along the Bolgenach to the east. You will cross three bridges. After the last one, the ascent begins - first on the Gelbhansekopf, the local mountain of Balderschwang, and then on on the Hochschelpen. Here you have a wonderful view of the high peaks of the Allgäu Alps.Then you hike a bit downhill and then climb back up to the Scheuenpass. Now a beautiful path begins over a raised bog. Below the Piesenkopf it goes very comfortably to the west. Then you hike down into the Ziebelmoos and then a bit on a driveway to Alpe Dinjörgen. Here you can strengthen yourself again for the last part of the way. A little bit, it goes up to the Riedberg Pass. From there it is only a few minutes to Alpe Grasgehren, your milestone.
Today you will climb five peaks. And from your starting point Grasgehren is not as exhausting as it may sound. The peaks are lined up by the group of horns, so that you only have to negotiate a moderate amount of altitude difference between them. At the top of the list is the Riedberger Horn, from which you have a wonderful view. Perhaps you would like to climb up very early in the morning and greet the first light of the day on the summit. The climb is done in about an hour. Then it goes northeast on its back and back up to the ox head, which is no less impressive.You always stay on top of the path and reach the Rangiswanger Horn via the pond head. You then bypass the Sigiswanger Horn on the right, which you can make a detour to the sixth summit of the day. At the last summit cross of the stage, on the Ofterschwanger Horn, you can once again enjoy the wide view over the Illertal before descending to Ofterschwang.
Today is a short and easy stage. Through the Illertal you hike on cozy paths for fish. Dirt roads lead you to the edge of the Tiefenberger Moors. If you want, you can explore this on a loop. There is enough time for that today. From here it continues through the picturesque fields. Always with you: the view of the mountains further south.Behind Weiler you will soon meet the Iller, whose banks you follow a short distance. In front of the train tracks, you then switch to the parallel stream, which quickly takes you to fishing. The stage between the spa gardens and the train station ends here. The location is therefore a good starting or ending point for a section of the hiking trilogy.
Today you explore the picturesque Illertal again, always with the mountains in the background, and slowly move south to Oberstdorf. But first you hike from fish to the southwest, where you first climb the hill, which you can already see from the place. Then you go down to the hamlet of Ach and follow it upriver to the picturesque town of Obermaiselstein. You cross this and head southeast towards the next elevation. Along this and a little uphill you get to Lengenwang.Behind the village you meet the Iller. You cross them and follow their banks to the origin of the river, which is only a little higher. Three mountain streams flow here, the Breitach, the Stillach and the Trettach, to flow as Iller to Ulm, where their water flows into the Danube. Then you stick to the course of the Trettach, which takes you to the valley station of the Nebelhornbahn in Oberstdorf.
Today it is worth having a good breakfast, because it goes up again to alpine heights and of course there are a few meters of altitude involved. But first of all you still have a pure pleasure. You hike a bit up the slope under the Nebelhornbahn and then go south to get to the entrance of the Oytal. The path is easy and only slowly rises. But the view of the rock peaks is breathtaking. Shortly before the inn you will see a high waterfall on your left. Then the crisp climb begins.The path called Gleitweg is demanding and steep. Concentration is required here, because every step wants to sit. After about two thirds of the way, you will be rewarded for your efforts. Here lies the beautiful Seealpsee, the banks of which invite you to take a little rest. Afterwards, you rested and hiked up. You finally reach the Edmund-Probst-Haus via a saddle, which is right next to the middle station of the Nebelhornbahn.
After a night at 1,903 meters, you can enjoy the mountains today without much effort. The first part of the route you stay more or less at this altitude and can fully enjoy the beautiful paths and the view. Right in the morning you climb up to the back east of the Edmund Probst House. On the other hand, a beautiful landscape of green, gray and blue opens up. Between rocks, meadows and small shrubs you always hike along the slope and pass a total of three lakes. The view to the south is wonderful. The peak of the Hochvogel stands out from the panorama in a particularly striking manner.At the third lake, the Engeratsgundsee, you turn right to descend along wonderful paths. You always have the mountains on the other side of the valley in view. Where you finally meet a road, it is not far to your stage destination, the Schwarzenberghütte. It lies picturesquely between ancient trees and welcomes you for a cozy evening with hearty mountain food.
On this stage you first ascend to Lake Engeratsgundsee. This time you choose the right path in front of its bank, which takes you up to the door on stony paths. Between towering rocks, you take a first look at the valley through which you will descend. The landscape changes with every step down. Stones become meadows, rocks give way to trees and shrubs.However, you do not go all the way down to the valley floor where the Ostrach flows, but stay a little further up the slope, where you slowly lose height - apart from a short steep section with switchbacks. Where you can see the houses of the village of Hinterstein, you will pass the curious carriage museum, which brings some variety to your descent. Then you hike further and further out of the valley, whereby you can simply orientate yourself along the course of the Ostrach until you finally reach Bad Hindelang through a meadow.
Today you cross the border from Germany to Austria. Smugglers used to use this route over the mountains, so part of the route has been expanded as an adventure trail on this topic. But first of all, it's about gaining height. From Bad Hindelang you go to Bad Oberdorf, where the ascent via the beautiful Palmweg begins. Turn after turn you gain altitude until you have reached the top station of the Iselerbahn.Here the path becomes a little more comfortable because you cross the slope below the rocky peaks. On the north-east ridge of the mountain range, you take your first step on Tyrolean soil. The picturesque Tannheim Valley spreads out beneath you, into which you descend over eastern slopes. This stage ends at the foot of the mountain in Schattwald.