Top 3 Spring Hikes in Bavaria

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It’s no secret that I love hiking in Bavaria.

But a recent knee injury has kept me out of the mountains the past couple of weeks :(.  I personally hike year round, but for a lot of people, spring is the start of hiking season, so dust off those boots, and get yourself onto one of these trails which are among my favorites in Bavaria:

Höhentalklamm (Hell Valley Gorge)

garmisch partenkirchen hoellentalklamm
This is probably my favorite hike that I’ve done in Bavaria to-date.  The 1000m long gorge filled with raging water and waterfalls has hikers directly about the water on catwalks and navigating the gorge through tunnels, all while looking up at the Zugspitze – the highest peak in Germany. There are so many different options you have for hiking the Höhentalklamm, but  my favorite is hiking up one side, then descending down through the Höhentalklamm – saving the best for last.  Note the Höhentalklamm is only open from May – Oct. so you’ll have to wait until later in spring to hike it.

Herzogstand to The Herzogstand to the Heimgarten

ridge between herzogstand and heimgarten

The Herzogstand isn’t just an ordinary mountain summit, it’s one that even the royals favored – heck it even has a royal name “Herzog” is German for “Duke”.  Perhaps the stunning views of the Walchensee (the deepest lake in Germany) had something to do with it?  Despite the view, it was the razor-thin ridge walk between the Herzogstand and the Heimgarten that made it such a fun hike.  But not to worry, if heights aren’t your thing, you can go down the same way you came up and avoid the ridge.  And if you’re feeling really lazy, you can even take a cable car up most of the way to the Herzogstand. Cable cars=crowds though, so spring or fall is the best time to go when it’s not as busy.

Roß and Buchstein

Rosstein Peak hikes in Bavaria
Dubbed the “stone twins”, the Roß and Buchstein are two peaks very close together with the Tegernseer Hütte located between them.  They offer a “two peak” day which is my idea of a perfect day, but be warned to reach the top of the Buchstein it’s a steep scramble – meaning you’ll be using your hands as well as your feet.  If you like this kind of stuff, like I do it’s a blast.  If you don’t you still get incredible views from the Roßstein which is an easier scramble and the views from the Tegernseer Hütte are among the best I’ve had from a hut.

I’m always on the lookout for new hikes, so let me know what your favorite hikes in Bavaria are.


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44 thoughts on “Top 3 Spring Hikes in Bavaria”

  1. Thanks for the tips on spring hiking in Bavaria – I haven’t hiked there yet! I just love your blog and its title is so charming (monkeys and mountains are two of my favorite things).

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      • Hello Laurel!
        I’ve been reading your travel info!! My husband and I are traveling to Germany from Minnesota in September. He has a conference in Berlin but we are flying into Munich and renting a car. We are very much into hiking, water, gorges, and beautiful scenery. We were thinking of traveling into the Bertchengaden Alps and possibly in the start of Austria but I’m reading your love for the hikes in “Hell Valley Gorge”. What are your thoughts on the Bertchengaden Alps for hikes, water, etc.? We land on a Wednesday at 11:45am and have to be in Berlin that Sunday. So not sure what exactly our time frame looks like. I’m afraid to plan too many things and not get to them. Thank you so much for your help and time. I truly hope I’m not bothering you.

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  2. Can I come hiking with you in Bavaria? These hikes look amazing. I’m a bit down as I’ve come back from the most incredible hiking trip – and still have months before the real hiking here starts. My husband says I’m not allowed to complain about things like this after I’ve just been away.
    Lovely post.

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    • @Leigh – Yes, please, anytime! I think you’re allowed to complain, the real hiking season in the Rockies is really short. I’m also feeling down since I’m not allowed to hike for 6 weeks due to a knee injury 🙁

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    • @Peter – Glad that you were able to get some hiking in near Garmisch. I haven’t been hiking in Switzerland or France yet, but hope to do so this year as well.

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  3. I’d love to go hiking in Bavaria, in fact, it gives me spring fever just thinking about it. Although that razored-edge hike and the scramble up the rock face will have to wait for a younger, nimbler hiker who isn’t afraid of heights.

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  4. Your pictures and description really are enticing. These look like great hikes. The gorge reminds me of Watkins Glen gorge in New York State which I haven’t seen in many years but this looks a more challenging hike.

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  5. I love the sound of that second hike! Hmm, maybe we could tack that on to the end of our Slovenia hiking plan 🙂
    The photo of the ridge walk is great. Hope your knee heals quickly so you can get back out in the wilds again soon!

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  6. These hikes look great. Nice to know there are options in case anyone gets a little panicky with the steep, scary parts. The second photo has me imagining a hike with the Sound of Music songs playing in my head. 🙂

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    • @Cathy – There are such a wide variety of hikes in Bavaria, there truly is something for everyone. Funny you mention Sound of Music – I have been known to break into song occasionally while hiking 🙂

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  7. Although I live at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, I have done a lot of hiking in Bavaria over the years. You see, I’m a native Bavarian having been born in Füssen and lived in Hohenschwangau for my first 9 years. Have done some nice hikes right there but my favorite place to hike is in Oberstdorf, where I always stay at the Allgäu Sonne b&b (it shows up on your map) which is owned by a long-time friend of mine. I know so many nice hikes there – too many to list here. Many of them are really long and strenuous. I wish I could go there every year, but there is no shortage of great hikes here. I do love hiking in the Alps though, since the experience is quite different from what we have here. Last trip to Oberstdorf and Hohenschwangau was October 2011. It was my wife’s first time in Europe and she had a blast. Hope you’re back on your feet again. BTW, I came across your site when I was looking up “Besen”. Perfect description, just as we experienced it. We went to one in Heilbronn with my cousin and her husband who live there. Sure would love to get some of their wine over here. No chance, I’m afraid.

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    • @Hermann – Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve only done a few hikes in the Allgäu, would love to do more as it’s such a beautiful region. I’m back to hiking the longer hikes, but still in pain on the pain down.

      Glad to hear your wife enjoyed it and that my description of a “Besen” was accurate. I really enjoyed it and would like to try it again. Can see how it would be hard to find in the Colorado Rockies :).

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  8. I might try the Roß and Buchstein soon, it looks beautiful! I drove out to Arzbach (north of Lengries) last weekend (turn right at the church, head along the country road until you read the car park before the bridge) and hiked up to the Kirchsteinhütte, before carrying on to the Hintere Längentalalm – and it was BEAUTIFUL. The trek between the two huts was stunning – gorgeous pastures, spring flowers and the imposing Benediktenwand guiding the way…highly recommended!

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  9. I am an Austrian Guy but i live in Munich. The bavarian alps are really near to munich and they are very easy to reach by train ore bus. A very fine thing are the DAV huts in winter. Most of them are opened and you can stay there over night. I love this mountains! Thanks for this article Laurel. I am a photographer too and if you want to see a lot of pictures from baravian alps please go to my website. http://www.zoehrermedia.at

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  10. Hi Lauren,

    I was thinking about hiking up the mountain aggenstein (Pfronten). Have you been there? If so, it would be nice if you would share some short insights about it. Thank you 🙂

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  11. I have climbed the Aggenstein. A beautiful hike, even though I did part of it in the fog. I did a nice loop hike starting at the small town of Grän in Austria. I took the direct route to the summit and then a different trail heading southeast toward Füssner Jöchl, from where I took the trail that followed the chair lift back down to town. That makes about a 10-mile hike. This was 20 years ago so I don’t know about the trails today, though I doubt much has changed. The mountain is still there (haha), as I went there four years ago! You can also climb it from Pfronten via the Breitenberg, but I’m not familiar with that route.

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  12. Hi Laurel, I have a question about trekking in Zugspitze this time.
    I am planning to do it in the first week of August with some friends. We have basically planned a two day trek through the partnach gorge and the reital route. This means we definitely have to stay there in the night. Instead of staying in the Reintalangerhütte, I want to ask for your advice for staying in our own tent. Is it allowed to camp on our own in this route? If yes, would you happen to know the best place for that? Btw, this would be our first time camping. We have no clue about the “camping rules” in Germany, if at all there is any. so any advice would be welcome 🙂

    Btw, I hiked at Mt.Aggenstein last year and it was one of my best hikes so far. The last hundred metres are a bit difficult. But overall it was an awesome experience with few enchanting views on the way. Since it was planned only for a day, we came down using the cable cars. However if you start early you can hike both ways. Hoping to see your post about this hike in the future.

    Thank you 🙂

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  13. Looking to hike Mt. Jenner in a few weeks but cannot find a ton of information on it. Any tips? My husband and I are also hoping to be able to get to Hersogstand, too! I really enjoyed that article and hope we can fit it in!

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    • @Dana – I haven’t done Mt. Jenner so unfortunately, don’t have any tips. Highly recommend hiking to the Herzogstand, especially if you combine with the Heimgarten – it’s a gorgeous ridge walk.

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  14. We will visit the Garmisch area to visit the top of Zugspitz in mid-August. The hike to Höhentalklamm (Hell Valley Gorge) sounds fabulous. I like the idea of hiking up one side and descending the other side. How long is the hike up and over? How will get back to our vehicles? Thanks

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    • @Patricia, it’s just over 20 km. You can either walk back to your car or I believe there’s also a bus that goes there. We just walked back. Enjoy!

      Reply

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