Rapids of the Partnachklamm in the Wettersteingebirge at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Hiking guide: Gorges

Hiking with cooling down

Do you enjoy shaded walks? You prefer to look down on a babbling brook as opposed to the summit destination? Then a gorge walk in Upper Bavaria or Allgäu is just the right thing for you. The most beautiful hikes near Munich.

The classic Tour: Partnachklamm

The Partnachklamm gorge near Garmisch-Partenkirchen is both beautiful and mysterious – as well as easy to reach. No wonder that many visitors have to share such a spectacle on nice days. In former times the water was used for timber transport; during torrential floods whole tree trunks were simply washed away on the rangeland.

When a log became wedged between the rocks, rangers used long poles to free it. They stood on wobbly boards, which were lodged in the rock. Today's path is well developed, meandering along the rock and sometimes cutting right through it. Given that water is constantly trickling from the walls, sturdy shoes and a rain jacket are highly recommended.

Admission for adults costs EUR 5.00, and EUR 2.00 for children. Those who don't shy away from such effort should make their way back via the Vordergraseck - where a bridge spanning 80 meters above the gorge awaits.

Directions: By train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and then with either bus lines 1 and 2 to the ski stadium. By car via the A95 and B2. Parking is available at the Olympic Stadium or Kainzenbad. If you are only looking to visit the gorge, follow the Teerstraße that takes you behind the Stadium to the front entrance of the gorge, which then turns back on itself at the end (approx. 1 hour). The way back via the Vordergraseck is even more beautiful (roughly 2 hours, 300 meters in altitude). From Graseck, a cable car also leads back to the gorge entrance. If you are looking for a longer round walk, the reverse route is a great choice: Via Wamberg, Eckbauer and Vordergraseck, it takes you via the rear entrance into the gorge (approx. 4 hours, 520 in altitude). Anyone looking for a short cut should use the Eckbauer cable car.

The salty tour: Wimbachklamm

The Berchtesgaden region is well known even today for its salt. The first to venture the arduous path through the Wimbach gorge were therefore the lumberjacks who had to supply the salt works in Reichenhall with wood. They laid the first footbridge through the valley. Things were closed down in 1843 before soon being rebuilt for tourists.

The many wooden steps take you deeper and deeper into the valley, while the water crashes through the rock formations. Visitors will be charged a small fee of EUR 2.50. At the far end of the gorge is Wimbach Castle, formerly a hunting lodge for the region's bishops.

Directions: Via the A8 to Siegsdorf / Traunstein, then via the B306 and B305 to the parking area at Wimbachbrücke (Rotheben 14, 83486 Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden). Alternatively, visitors can take the bus 846 from Berchtesgaden station. The gorge is relatively short at roughly 200 meters. Alternatively, the tour can be combined with a longer hike, for example to the Wimbachgrieshütte, approx. 3.30 hours, 700 meters in altitude. Please note: The Wimbach gorge is only accessible from the front anyone going back through the turnstile must return via Wimbach Castle.

Almbachklamm Berchtesgaden

Alternatively, in the corner around Berchtesgaden is the Almbachklamm gorge in Marktschellenberg. A three-kilometre hike awaits you here, with numerous bridges, footbridges and tunnels leading you across the raging water. On the way, you will pass an inn as well as Germany's oldest ball mill, which is still in operation today.

The deep tour: Breitachklamm

The Breitach gorge in the Allgäu region is the deepest canyon in Central Europe. Reaching as high as 150 meters, the walls rise to both the left and right. Spanning over 2.5 kilometres, the gorge cuts deeper and deeper into the rock. While many canyons were used for timber transport, a visit to the Breitach gorge was long considered too dangerous.

It was not until 1904 that the local pastor succeeded in raising enough money for its development. Twenty men took a year to make their way through the rocks with black powder, dynamite, hand drills, pickaxes and shovels. A daring venture to say the least: The miners were lowered and raised by ropes. After drilling a hole for explosives and lighting the fuse, they had to be pulled up again in no time at all.

Today, around 300,000 tourists visit the Breitachklamm every year. The gorge in Oberstdorf is one of the most popular excursion destinations around Munich and can also be visited in winter. An absolute highlight are the nightly torchlight hikes on ice and snow. Also highly recommended in the Allgäu is the Starzlachklamm gorge at the foot of the Grünten. Not only is it a fantastic place to go hiking, but canyoning fans will also get their money's worth.

Directions: When on the A96 take the exit Jengen / Kaufbeuren, when on the A95 take the exit Sindelsdorf. Then head in the direction of Kempten, Immenstadt and Sonthofen to Oberstdorf. There follow the signs for Tiefenbach and Klamm; parking is available almost directly at the entrance. Alternatively, use the bus lines Walsertal or Tiefenbach from the Oberstdorf station. The round walk through the gorge takes approx. 1.5 hours (165 meters in altitude). Admission costs 4.50 euros for adults and 1.50 euros for children.

The family friendly tour: Schleifmühlenklamm

The name given to the Schleifmühlen gorge says it all: Many moons ago, whetstone makers used the force of the mountain water to power their mills and their whetstones. Some of its mills have remained standing and are well-preserved. “Schneiderlas grinding mill“ is still in operation today, but only for show purposes.

In contrast to other gorges, the rock walls of this gorge do not stretch right down to the creek, making the gorge wider, more open and sunny. It can be a wonderful place to cool your feet.

However, given the many steps, visitors should be well adept to walking. Several information boards explain life in the gorge and its formation.

Directions: When on the A95 exit at Oberau, follow the B2 and B23 to Unterammergau. The entrance is situated behind the tavern bearing the same name (Liftweg 2, 82497). The gorge can be reached from Unterammergau station in about ten minutes on foot. The tour itself takes 1.15 hours (137 metres in altitude); the "Wetzsteinbrüche" or “Whetstone Rocks“ can also be reached via the gorge.

The demanding tour: Höllentalklamm

It sounds terrifying, but the Höllental gorge or “Hell's gorge“ situated near Grainau is one thing above all others: a natural wonder. Rain and melted snow have carved through the hard rock for millions of years. Instead of “Hell's gorge“, “Cave“ or “Cave Valley“ would be more correct, as the canyon used to be widely known for its lead and molybdenum mines.

Even today, hikers can encounter the ruins of long-abandoned mines. The tunnels themselves, however, should definitely not be entered - the beams have long since rotted out, and are in danger of collapse.

Unlike the nearby Partnach gorge, the Höllental gorge is only accessible by hiking. As soon as snow falls, volunteers from the Alpine Club remove the bridges that traverse the gorge: In winter, there is often the danger of an avalanche.

Directions: At first, follow directions as if going to the Partnach gorge. Once you have passed Garmisch-Partenkirchen follow the B23 to Grainau. Starting points include the Obergrainauer village square or the district of Hammersbach. A relatively easy access route leads visitors via the gorge path (“Klammweg“) along the Hammerbach river, the gorge itself begins behind the Hell's gorge entry hut (in total 3 hours, 300 metres in altitude). One additional hour should be planned for the journey from and to the Untergrainau station. A visit to the gorge can also be combined with some very demanding hikes in the “Zugspitze massif“; a knowledge of mountaineering is necessary.

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photos: Frank Stolle / Tobias Schnorpfeil & Carolin Unrath
Neuschwanstein Castle in the surrounding region of Munich.

Hiking guide

Royal wanderlust

Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, Schachenhaus and Neuschwanstein: Bavaria’s castles and palaces are among the most beautiful in the world.

Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, Schachenhaus and Neuschwanstein: Bavaria’s castles and palaces are among the most beautiful in the world.

Landscape near Kochel am See

Franz Marc & Kochel

The home of ”Der Blaue Reiter“

Our author goes on a hike in search of the places where Franz Marc found his inspiration.

Our author goes on a hike in search of the places where Franz Marc found his inspiration – and finds a magical place.

Two hiker are on a mountain ridge near Munich.

For latecomer lovers of the mountains

After-work hiking

Getting out into nature quickly: no problem in Munich, even in the afternoon. Five hiking tours for late risers and after-work athletes.

Getting out into nature quickly: no problem in Munich, even in the afternoon. Five hiking tours for late risers and after-work athletes.

View of an alpine hut in front of a mountain panorama in Munich.

Munich's southern reaches

Hiking in wonderland

Barren rocks, wild mountain forests – and a fairy-tale castle.     

Barren rocks, wild mountain forests and a fairy-tale castle: The perfect tour for a lonely weekend in Munich's landmark mountains.

Two women with a bicycle on a pier by a lake in Bavaria.

Wasser-Radlwege Oberbayern

Bathe, banter, bike

Whether „Hopfen and Bier-Schleife“, „Salz-Schleife“ or „Kunst- and Kulturschleife“, Munich is the hub for all routes of the water cycle paths.

Whether „Hopfen and Bier-Schleife“, „Salz-Schleife“ or „Kunst- and Kulturschleife“, Munich is the hub for all routes of the water cycle paths.

Entrance of the Hündeleskopfhütte, the first vegetarian hut in the Alps near Munich.

Hiking guide: alpine huts

Alpine huts around Munich

 With this selection of alpine hut restaurants, everyone will find their ideal destination.

Families, mountaineers, connoisseurs: With this selection of alpine hut restaurants, everyone will find their ideal destination.

Kehlsteinhaus Berchtesgaden including a panoramic view of the valley in the surroundings of Munich.

Eagle's Nest

Hitler's tea room

A historical lookout high above Berchtesgaden, offering a stunning panoramic view.

The Kehlsteinhaus has been retained in its original form as a historical monument from the Third Reich, and is among the most popular destinations for trips in Germany.

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich at sunset.

Royal Munich

Castles and palaces in and around Munich

The magnificent castles and palaces in and around Munich are world famous. An overview.

Residenz, Nymphenburg, Herrenchiemsee, Neuschwanstein: The castles and palaces in and around Munich are world famous. An overview. 

Two skiers skiing down in deep snow in front of a mountain panorama.

Ski touring

Under your own steam

From Munich, you can experience the combination of climbing under your own steam and descending through untouched snow within a weekend.

From Munich, you can experience the combination of climbing under your own steam and descending through untouched snow within a weekend.

View from above of a snow-covered winter landscape with a monastery in the outskirts of Munich.

Winter walks in and around Munich: snow trekking

Into the snow!

Whether in the city centre, along the banks of the Isar river or up a mountain in advance of tobogganing back down into the valley, Munich offers a wide selection of winter hikes to enjoy.

Whether in the city centre, along the banks of the Isar river or up a mountain in advance of tobogganing back down into the valley, Munich offers a wide selection of winter hikes to enjoy.

Munich Card & City Pass

Discover Munich in a relaxed and uncomplicated way: discounts for the diverse range of art, culture and leisure activities with our guest cards.

Public transport is included

Many discounts with the Card, many things for free with the Pass.

Online or at the tourist information offices

Lakes & Mountains
Boat trip at the Königssee with panoramic view of the Alps in the surroundings of Munich.

A boat ride to a natural paradise

Königssee

Emerald-green water at the foot of the legendary Watzmann.

Emerald-green water at the foot of the Watzmann – taking a trip to Königssee lake is to enjoy a singular natural experience.

Lake Chiemsee with the Bavarian Alps in the background.

The Bavarian Sea

Chiemsee

At Bavaria's largest lake, you can not only do water sports or go on a bike tour, you can also experience many cultural attractions.

At Bavaria’s largest lake, you can not only do water sports or a bike tour, you can also experience a lot of culture at the Herrenchiemsee Palace.

A man is standing on rocks at the shore of Eibsee nearby Garmisch in the surrounding region of Munich.

The highest mountain in Germany

Zugspitze

The Zugspitze is only 90 kilometres away from the Bavarian state capital.

While Zugspitze in the Wetterstein Mountains may not be one of Munich’s local mountains, it is a mere 90 kilometres away from the Bavarian state capital.

Watzmann in the Berchtesgadener Land in the surrounding of Munich.

The mountain of destiny

Watzmann

The Watzmann has long fascinated mountain climbers from all over the world.

A truly extraordinary shape and the legendary east face: The Watzmann has long fascinated mountain climbers from all over the world.

Boats in Starnberger See in the Five Lake Region nearby Munich with the Alps in the background.

Recharge your batteries

Starnberger See

Anyone who fancies a swim, bike ride, leisurely stroll or boat trip won’t be disappointed on a trip to Starnberger See.

Around just 20 kilometres to the south-west of the city, you will find “Munich’s summer swimming pool”. Anyone who fancies a swim, bike ride, leisurely stroll or boat trip won’t be disappointed on a trip to Starnberger See.

The Tegernsee in the evening light with cloud reflection on the lake surface near Munich.

Like God in Bavaria

Tegernsee

Lake Tegernsee lies nestled between hillsides of dark-green forestation, is a wonder of nature whose origins date back to the last ice age.

Lake Tegernsee lies nestled between hillsides of dark-green forestation. Its banks are lined with reeds and old oak trees. Beyond, the masts of sailing boats sway in the wind.

Evening atmosphere with sunset at Ammersee near Munich

From Utting to Herrsching

Ammersee

It is not only one of the largest lakes in Bavaria, but also a popular destination for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

It is not only one of the largest lakes in Bavaria, but also a popular destination for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

Windsurfer on the Walchensee in the hinterland of Munich.

The Bavarian Caribbean

Walchensee

Walchensee is not only the perfect destination for swimming, but also for windsurfing and hiking. Tips and information for a day trip from Munich.

Walchensee is not only the perfect destination for swimming, but also for windsurfing and hiking. Tips and information for a day trip from Munich.

Cathedral in Salzburg in winter

Salzburg and the Lake District

Visit the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and relax on the journey to beautiful Lake Wolfgang.

Book now from 64 €!

Visit the birthplace of composer extraordinaire Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, stroll through the Baroque old town and then relax on the journey to beautiful Lake Wolfgang.