Discover Alpine lakes on the Watercourse Route – Allgäu hiking trilogy
© Allgäu GmbH, Erika Spengler
Gushing waterfalls plunging into dizzying depths, mirror-like lakes reflecting the surrounding mountains and mysterious moors where cotton grass and plants thrive – the Watercourse Route of the Allgäu hiking trilogy guides you through the picturesque Alpine foothills, over gentle hills and the magnificent mountains of the Alps.
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 Watercourse Route is a medium altitude hike that runs for 248 miles (400 km) through spectacular scenery. At the end of each stage, you arrive in a place with overnight accommodation. Between the towns of Halblech and Füssen and Gunzesried and Immenstadt, you spend the night in a wonderful hut on the mountain. This wonderful accommodation needs to be booked in advance as beds are limited. It’s also a good idea to reserve your overnight stays in the towns and villages, especially during high season in summer.
In our Collection, the circular Watercourse Route begins at stage 23 and runs clockwise through the hilly Alpine foothills before climbing the edge of the Allgäu Alps. The route is divided into 26 stages with some 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 most of these start and end points by train:
– 6 days from Marktoberdorf to Füssen
– 6 days from Füssen to Sonthofen
– 5 days from Sonthofen to Oberstaufen
– 5/6 days from Lindenberg/Scheidegg to Durach
You can reach Lindenberg and Scheidegg by bus from the Röthenbach, Hergatz and Lindau train stations. Alternatively, you can get off at Heimenkirch station and walk west to Meckatz which brings you to the middle of stage 41. Durach has regional train connections.
The hiking trilogy in the Allgäu is a wonderful long-distance hike to walk bit by bit or in one go. Peaceful lakes, majestic waterfalls and mighty rivers await you.
For more information on the other hiking trilogy routes, see:
Meadow Walkers’ Route: komoot.de/collection/977787
Route to the Top: komoot.de/collection/954759
At the beginning of the first stage you go to the eastern edge of Marktoberdorf, where the imposing St. Martin Church is. Take your time here and take a look around. The way today is not that far. Then you go east, where the path soon turns into Kurfürstenallee. It is flanked by old linden trees that are around 200 years old.
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On this and also on the next stages, the water striders and heavenly climbers on the Allgäu hiking trilogy share their path. You can also see this from the marking: Here it is highlighted in blue and red. While the water striders have come a long way, the sky-strikers begin their journey on this day. No matter which route you are on, you can definitely look forward to beautiful paths and views.
Today it's going to be alpine. This means that there are wonderful mountain paths and great views, but also a few more meters in altitude 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 break on fairly flat paths, the next ascent to the highest point of the day is already waiting. There follows a long descent with only short counter-climbs.
Stage 6 is a special day of hiking that is peppered with many highlights. First you master the descent from Tegelberg over exciting paths. On the way you can already see what you still have in front of you: the royal castles of Füssen. Up here on the mountain, it's best to stop again and enjoy the view of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The view is no longer undisturbed!
Stage 9 begins like the previous one left off. You climb the Alpspitze via the waterfall path. Even today you have the opportunity to replace this route with a train ride. Or you choose one of the other variants on Nesselwang's local mountain. Passing the mountain station, you will have reached the summit in a good quarter of an hour. Enjoy the view from here, because the main ascent of the day is already done.
This stage is like a day off. It's not far to Sonthofen - you can already see the neighboring town on the outskirts of Burgberg - and you don't even feel the few meters of altitude today. The stage is also suitable if you only want to walk part of the hiking trilogy and want to go to Sonthofen train station.
This connection takes you from Burgberg to Gunzensried, where you can start the ninth stage again the next day. On your way you cross the Illertal and then explore the mountains to the west of Sonthofen.First you hike out of Burgberg to the banks of the Starzlach. The river accompanies you to its confluence with the Iller in Sonthofen. You follow their course to the bridge that leads to Bihlerdorf on the other side.
If the eleventh stage of almost 20 kilometers is too long for you, you can alternatively split the route into two days. In addition, on the first day you hike on this leisurely stage with wonderful views. On the east bank of the Großer Alpsee, you hike north, cross the tracks and immediately start the ascent towards Zaumberg. You have enough time to enjoy the view over the water and the Nagelfluhkette. So stand still again and enjoy the panorama.
This connection is the "Route of Heights". This is the name of the elevations along the ridge that you are migrating today. Many viewpoints invite you to take short breaks along the way. 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.
To leave Oberstaufen, turn west. The first ascent of the day begins right on the outskirts, but only 150 meters in altitude have to be overcome. These are immediately rewarded with a beautiful view of the Hochgrat, the highest mountain in the Nagelfluh chain. Then it goes back down and past a few houses. You cross the country road twice and start the next small ascent.