12 days through the Zugspitze region on the Spitzenwanderweg
© Zugspitz Region GmbH, Foto: Erika Spengler
124 miles (200 kilometers) and over 20,000 feet (6,800 meters) of altitude difference - that's the program for the Spitzenwanderweg. The brand new long-distance hiking trail leads you in twelve stages as a circular route through the varied landscape of the Zugspitze region. On the edge of moors and wide lakes, you hike through the hilly foothills of the Alps. You explore the Partnachklamm and the Höllentalklamm on exciting routes. Along Loisach and Isar you can enjoy quiet river valleys. Around Mittenwald you will be enchanted by unspoiled mountain forests. And on narrow paths, you'll climb up into the mountains of Karwendel, Wetterstein and the Ammer Mountains. Without question, Spitzenwanderweg is the perfect name for this dream hike.
The circular route begins in the artists' village of Murnau and leads you from here via Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the Alpenwelt Karwendel. After a stopover in the tranquil Mittenwald, you climb up the slopes of the Wetterstein mountains and through the Höllentalklamm gorge to the Zugspitz village of Grainau. From here you cross the picturesque Ammergebirge before you arrive back at the starting point after the circumnavigation of the lake Staffelsee. The individual stages have different demands on your ability and fitness. While the alpine stages through the Karwendel and Wetterstein mountains are especially suitable for enduring hikers, the sections through the foothills of the Alps and through the Ammer Mountains are also perfect for families and pleasure hikers. But also the Alpine routes lead over well-developed paths and wire-rope insured climbs. If you're looking for a little more excitement here, you can easily add one or two summit ascents.
As befits a circular trail, you can of course get on at any point or just hike individual stages. This is made easier by the fact that all stage locations – apart from the mountain huts Soiernhütte and Schachenhaus – can be reached by bus, train or cable car. So you can decide: Do you want to take the whole Spitzenwanderweg in one piece or do you want to divide it into different days and weekends? Whatever your decision, this Tour will be an unforgettable experience.
The top hiking trail is supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a hike (easy tour).In the middle of the idyllic pedestrian zone Murnau begins your first stage on the top hiking trail, which leads you first past the Protestant church of St. Nicholas and over several viewpoints to the outskirts. Through forests and pastureland, you will soon catch the first glimpse of Lake Froschlauer See, which you will then follow on a direct path.A short climb later and you can enjoy a first glorious panorama towards the Alps as you wander through small villages and meadows down to the broad Loisach. You follow its course - right on its shore, a narrow path leads you along the river and up to the next larger village. Ohlstadt is a typical Bavarian village and entices hikers to all sorts of indulgence: whether it's ice cream, drinks or refreshments - you'll be well prepared for the next section of the stage.First at the edge of the forest, a broad forest path leads you in and up into the forest, where over and over the tree tops the Zugspitz massif flashes again and again.A particularly nice detour leads you over 140 meters up to the view at the Heldenkreuz. We have planned the way for you so that you do not miss the panorama. Afterwards it is only a few minutes before you reach the center of Eschenlohe, your today's destination.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a hike (easy tour).Today's stage is all about moor and forest - and, of course, in the sign of the unmissable Zugspitze, which you will come closer and closer to today. From the town center of Eschenlohes, you first climb a few meters uphill to reach the first lookout point along the way: In the midst of pastures, your gaze wanders over the Mühlbach and moor areas all the way to the Zugspitz massif, which is still far away.Passing the seven springs, the path will always lead you between the moor and the forest in the direction of Oberau and on pastures to Farchant. Here you stay on the eastern side of the Loisach and soon climb up through the woods and meadows on the narrow paths of the Philosophers' Way - the view of the Zugspitze accompanies you on every step.On rustic forest trails it goes on: The sounds of Garmisch partly in the ear, you wander on beautifully laid out paths, pass benches and religious monuments that betray the immediate vicinity of the pilgrimage church of St. Anton. A detour to the church is worthwhile and requires only a negligible detour.From the monument of King Ludwig II you descend to Garmisch-Partenkirchen - either to visit your accommodation or to travel by bus and train home.
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In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a mountain hike (medium-difficulty tour).At over 26 kilometers, the third stage is one of the longest on the top hiking trail. But on this route you will be offered something from the beginning: From the Olympic Ski Stadium the path leads you directly into the famous Partnachklamm. After paying the entrance fee at the entrance, enter the breathtaking gorge. Deep and in many places only a few meters wide, the water has eaten into the hard shell limestone and walk along elaborate bridges you walk directly through this natural spectacle.It's all too fast and you're standing in the middle of a bright forest after the dark ravine and the loud rumble of the stream. On a narrow path you climb up to Vordergraseck and continue on a serpentine path to Eckbauer. From now on you follow the mountain ridge and numerous lookouts invite you to enjoy the tranquility of nature to the fullest. Through beautiful forest, across vast meadows and past rustic sheds you reach the Elmauer Alm hut - a stop here you have honestly earned.Downhill you walk past Schloss Kranzbach. Afterwards, it first goes on narrow paths, later on a forest road to Klais. Here you change to the other side of the expressway and turn right at the height of the station - through the forest and clearings you reach the Grubsee. On the outskirts of the village Barmsee you change again the side of the highway and wandered from now on through forests and meadows to the finish Krün - the Karwendel now always in view.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as an alpine hike (difficult tour).Your stage starts in the village Krün, directly at the foot of the impressive Schöttelkarspitze. The view on this summit will change during the day, because while you look in the morning from far below on wooded slopes, the rocky mountain will be within a few hours to touch - or you may even look down from the Schöttelkarspitze down into the valley ?In order to earn this panorama, you first have to wait for a ground-level hiking trail along the wildly romantic Isar. In her natural, wide stream bed, she splashes evenly along your path until you cross the river after a few kilometers and turn into the mountain slope. About wide forest roads it goes through the beautiful forest uphill, until you have earned a first break after the first 500 meters altitude: The Fischbachalm stands on wide alpine meadows and pampers the hikers and mountaineers with small delicacies.With a view of the foremost rocky peaks of the Karwendel, you can recharge your batteries for the next section: The Lake Services is wonderfully varied and leads on a narrow path across the steep slope to the Soiernhaus. Again and again you expect short exposed passages, which are mostly secured with wire ropes. The view and depth are all the more fantastic!Just as nice is the contrast when you just before the Soiernhaus abruptly dive into the mountain forest around the Soiernseen. At the fork then probably remains the most important decision of the day: first a bath or equal to the hut? Slightly downhill it goes to the beautiful mountain lakes, right over a rocky path in a few minutes to Soiernhaus.And if you are still bursting with energy, there is also a third option: about 400 meters of altitude difference and easy climbing, which requires surefootedness, separate the Soiernhaus from the Schöttelkarspitze - this effort is not only paid for with an indescribably beautiful panorama, but above all with a view down to Krün, where you started this morning.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as an alpine hike (difficult tour).The fifth day starts with a challenging ascent - but instead you will be pampered on every step with incredible views of the Soiernseen deep below you. Even if the way to invite - not raged here, the most beautiful is the view on the yoke below the Gumpenkarspitze. And if you want to get a little bit more dramatic then you'll climb the last 100 meters to the summit.If you have been fed up in one direction, you only have to turn around: the big peaks of the Karwendel rise up in front of you rocky and alpine. As you descend on beautiful meadows, you will hardly be surprised. At the fork in the road, keep to the right and after a brief ascent you will reach the 1.787 meter high Jöchel between Hirzeneck and Soiernspitze. If you are a true summiteer, then you climb best on tracks over rough gravel up to Soiernsitze, the highest peak around the Soiernseen.From the Jöchel leads a beautiful path through beautiful mountain forest first down to the managed Krinner-Kofler-Hütte and then a wide forest road to the branch of Jägersteigs. Here you turn left and follow the course of the Seinsbach - which, however, does not carry water in the summer. After a few minutes, the wide path turns into a narrow, slippery path. The banks of the creek are wet here even after long rains. If you're not balancing over greasy rocks, you're crossing one of the countless streams or waterfalls. A fabulous and adventurous passage, especially in the summer heat!Soon, the forest becomes lighter and you reach a pasture down to Aschaukapelle near - here meanwhile wildly roaring - Seinsbaches. At this point, you cross the creek once again and soon reach the main road, which you follow for just under a kilometer to the Kreidewerk. Now you turn right at the signage "Buckelwiesen / Schmalensee" into the forest, make a final steep ascent and find yourself after a few minutes suddenly in the midst of a fabulous panorama again: Quaint wooden sheds scattered on the wide, lush meadows, a little below sparkles Schmalensee in the evening sun, while beyond rise the mighty rock faces of the Karwendel.The route takes you on a narrow tarred road directly to the mountain panorama. One last time, the top hiking trail branches off into the forest and then leads you down to Mittenwald - but not without a last view of the mountains and the city just before you arrive.
From the contemplative Mittenwald the sixth stage takes you up again in a wild and romantic alpine landscape. Nevertheless, it goes on the stage at first comfortably: The first ten kilometers rise only gently and in safe weather you can allow yourself a little detour to the beach on the Lautersee.After the first steep 100 meters of altitude right on the outskirts of Mittenwald, you first wander on wide paths along a nature trail and numerous lookout points, before you reach the bathing lake after only two kilometers: The Lautersee is opened with a kiosk and beach and offers a first wonderful panorama , because the tips of the Karwendels are reflected in calm weather in the water surface.Visually almost even more beautiful is the following Ferchensee, which is lined with original mountain forests. Here begins a meditative hike through the forest - only interruption are the few clearings and now and then a stream.Only when you reach the Wettersteinalm at 1,530 meters altitude changes the claim: Below the impressive walls of the Wettersteinkamms you climb through alpine lawn, scree and pines up to the chess gate. At an altitude of 1,878 meters, a fabulous view of King Ludwig's Schachenschloss opens up immediately: with the wild peaks of the Zugspitze in the background, this perspective may well be the most beautiful you can get on the building.On track tracks you cross the large boulder field below Frauenalpkopf and Nördlicher Dreitorspitze and climb, if the Schachenhaus already seems within reach, again several meters, only to ascend on the other side on the forest road again. At least now you have your retreat in the Schachenhaus more than earned. After a first break, the remarkable Schachenschloss and the botanical Alpine garden will entice you.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as an alpine hike (difficult tour).Together with the eighth stage through the Höllentalklamm, the seventh from Schachenhaus to Kreuzeck is probably the one with the strongest alpine flair: during your descent - after all, almost a thousand meters - down to Reintal, you will have enough time to admire the breathtaking scenery.The descent begins almost immediately after the start at the Schachenhaus and actually takes several hours. The deep view down into the valley, the panoramic view of the crags of the popular climbing area around the quaint Oberreintalhütte and of course the view of the Zugspitze massif reward the effort. In addition, the sound of the water in the middle of the mystical forest and the mountain hike is perfect.Steep and partially exposed - but with wire rope insurance - it goes down in numerous serpentine. When you reach the Oberreintal, the forest begins, which will give you shade from here to the end of the stage. Soon, the first water splashes next to you, before it rushes with each meter wild and wild. You descend deeper and deeper, while the roaring of the often-hidden creek suggests raging waterfalls and narrow ravines. At some point the path will lose its steepness and you will find yourself in picturesque Reintal again. The nearby Bockhütte promises a first reward for the height meters.Freshly rested and invigorated you wander without major differences in height along the bluish shimmering Partnach through the valley. At which point should you keep your feet in the icy stream? A difficult decision, because one place is more beautiful than the other. The last possibility is shortly after the striking bridge, after which the Partnach disappears abruptly in its famous gorge.Here you finally leave the Reintal. On wide forest roads we head towards the unmanaged foliage hut, which marks the lowest point of today's stage. Means: From here it is uphill again! With the murmur of the floor cream in your ear, you wander on narrow paths through beautiful forest. After crossing the stream, the path climbs steadily uphill, before challenging you again on the last meters of altitude. In some hairpin bends, you will go up through the steep forest to the plateau of Kreuzeck. Take a breather and enjoy the view before you move to your camp at Kreuzeckhütte.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a mountain hike (medium-difficulty tour).After you have already practiced the extensive descent the previous day, you apply the learned today directly again: From the Kreuzeck hut it is initially still 140 meters up, but then almost 1,400 downhill! It certainly will not be boring, because you have made the climb through beautiful mountain meadows, alpine roses and pine trees to Hupfleitenjoch, it goes through a wild rocky landscape down to the uncultivated miners' houses.Again and again, wire ropes defuse the scary, sometimes steep path, which spoils you with a great view down to Hammersbach. After the miners' houses, the path soon becomes wooded, before suddenly the Höllentalangerhütte appears between the edge of the forest and the beginning of the gorge. Newly opened in 2015, the hut not only boasts a modern architecture and its own small hydropower plant, but above all a clear view of the highest peak in Germany: the 2,962 meter high Zugspitze towers directly above the hut into the sky.After a long break, continue your tour opposite the Zugspitze and descend into the well-known Höllentalklamm. You are just wandering through a wide basin, but after a short tunnel you are standing in the middle of the narrow, impressive gorge. High above you can see the sky over the rock walls, deep below you the water of the Hammersbach. The water you have not only acoustically in the ear, but in many places directly on the skin, because it gets wet in this gorge even in clear sunshine.At the ticket booth you pay retroactively for the entrance to the gorge - do not forget cash - and finally hike through dense forest down to Hammersbach. The last part of the day leads you finally to the Zugspitzdorf Grainau without much difference in altitude over wide meadows.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a hike (easy tour).The ninth stage starts at the small station of Grainau and leads you first through a pretty little forest directly to the Loisach. You follow their course for a few kilometers until the route branches off at a trail parking lot from the valley.You leave the turbulent valley behind and ascend into another world: Through beautiful mountain forest, the path leads you now well-developed steadily uphill, the view is better with every step. Soon the mighty Zugspitze emerges behind you and the rocks of the Rauhenstein come into view.Shortly after a striking fork in the path, you have already reached the highest point of today's stage in a picturesque clearing. From now on, the path drops steadily and moderately and gives you time to explore the wide valley between Kienjoch and Friederspitz.Again and again you cross small streams or catch new perspectives on the surrounding mountains at the glades. Soon you will reach the pristine stream bed of the Elmaubach. You cross the rocky creek bed and shortly thereafter you meet the driveway in the direction of Linderhof Castle. You follow the road and after just under three kilometers you reach the destination of today's stage at the magnificent castle. Of course you will not stay overnight in the castle, but in the adjacent castle hotel.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a mountain hike (medium-difficulty tour).Wonderful views - both on yesterday's stage and on the stages ahead - are waiting today! But first, you will enjoy the magnificent mountain forest, which accompanies you on your ascent from Linderhof Castle up to the August Schuster House.Directly at the castle Linderhof you stick to the signposts and dive into the forest. Soon you leave the wide forest road and climb up a narrow path. Twice you cross a broad road before you walk completely through lonely nature.On beautiful forest paths it goes up over roots and stones, until at the height of the Kälberalm the area slowly opens. In several places you can enjoy fantastic views of the stage of yesterday - view of the impressive Zugspitze included. A last steep section leads you to the famous Maximiliansweg, which brings you partly through steep grassy slopes and steep cliffs directly to the August Schuster House. In addition to a visit to its hosted terrace is also a trip to the pre-summit of Pürschlings for dizziness. If you want to do another 200 meters, the Teufelstättkopf awaits you.From here it is less demanding on wide forest roads down towards Langenthal-Alm and from there always along the stream to Unterammergau. On the descent you can still choose: on forest roads through the forest or on footbridges and steps through the romantic Schleifmühlenklamm. From the large parking lot at the foot of the trail, you keep straight and get directly to the stage destination Unterammergau.
Thanks to a detour to the promising summit of Hörnle, the eleventh stage offers you a view towards the foothills of the Alps and the Staffelsee. An initially inconspicuous, but then picturesque Tobel shortly before Bad Kohlgrub brings you a surprisingly beautiful end to this stage.Already from Unterammergau you can clearly see your first intermediate destination: The three wooded peaks - Vorderes, Mittleres and Hinterer Hörnle - are promising in the first row of the Alps and can today combined as you wish and even simply by a stop at the Hörnlehütte exchanged become.However, until you reach the steep forest up there, asphalt roads, forest roads and beautiful paths alternate - the striking chapel halfway not only serves as a guide, but also as a first break. Once you have reached the forest, it goes partly steep and over roots directly up to the Hörnlehütte.After a break with accompanying snack, the Hörnlehütte leads either to the right over mainly wide forest roads and well-trodden paths to the downstream summits, or you keep heading straight north to descend directly to Bad Kohlgrub.To do this, you first follow the lifts and keep to their lower station left in a forest path, which serves as a ski slope in winter. Half way, you leave the track to the left into the forest and reach the Sonneneck and then Sonnen. Again, you follow the route in the village to the right, cross a stream and reach a short time later Guggenberg. From here you follow the asphalt road first to Obernau and turn right at the creek into a lonely Tobel. A beautiful avenue with viewing benches leads you to another stream and a little later to Bad Kohlgrub, the destination of today's stage.
In the Zugspitz region, this stage is designated as a hike (easy tour).Idyllic foothills of the Alps, a quiet forest and a lake with a famous island: today's stage takes you through various impressions and gives you plenty of time on the well-paved paths to look, enjoy and reflect on the stages already lying behind you.You leave the small bath Kohlgrub to the north and find you abruptly in typical rural Voralpengegend again: Extensive pastures pull themselves over the gentle hills, here and there is a farm or a small village in between. You pass beautiful observation benches and can already see the Staffelsee from afar. A little way after the quaint little village Spittelsberg you arrive in a quiet forest, which you cross without too much height difference.Shortly before you reach the Staffelsee, you turn sharply on a narrow trail. Now you wander through legendary moorlands towards Uffing am Staffelsee. After half the way leads you directly to the shore of the lake - from here follow up to the north shore also numerous bathing possibilities.From Uffing, the top hiking trail leads through meadows in the direction of Seehausen, where you can take a last break on a small headland with seating near the jetty. From here you walk along picturesque boathouses and later through a high reed belt to the outskirts of Murnau. Now it is only a few minutes to the market square, where you started your hike on the top hiking trail exactly twelve days ago.