Summit meetings of a different, sporty kind. We present seven mountain tours between Oberammergau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Blue Country, all of which have three things in common. A sensational setting. Many metres in altitude. Accessible without car
7 Challenging Mountain Tours in Bavaria
From Linderhof Palace to the Summit Cross
Impressive tour to the Große Klammspitze (1,924 metres)
It is one of the most impressive mountain tours in the Ammergau Alps Nature Park: the hike to the Große Klammspitze. From the starting point at Linderhof Castle, a shaded and pleasant forest path leads to the Brunnenkopf Hut in about one and three-quarter hours. If you feel like an extra 100 metres of altitude gain, you can make a short detour to the Brunnenkopf summit – or you can continue directly on the trail towards the Große Klammspitze.
On challenging and partly steep terrain, the trail continues over a cirque. Shortly before the finish, a climbing passage secured with wire ropes awaits, but it can easily be mastered even without a via ferrata set. The summit offers an enormous mega-panorama, for example, with a view of Lake Forggensee and the Allgäu mountains in the west, or the Zugspitz massif in the south. Downhill, the same route takes you back to Linderhof Palace. If you still have some energy left, we recommend a visit to the castle ensemble, the smallest of the three royal castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one that was completed during his lifetime.
- Refreshments: Brunnenkopfhütte (hut) (1,605 metres), open May to October
- How to get there: Take the train to Oberammergau, then RVO bus 9622 to Schloss Linderhof
Lonely Above Ammergau
Enjoy a wildly romantic time on the Kienjoch (1,953 metres)
A rather long, wonderfully wild and romantic (yet mostly lonely) round tour: The hike to the Kienjoch is still an insider tip in the Ammergau Alps Nature Park. From Graswang, the route is quite flat to the Dickelschwaig forester’s lodge and the Gertrudis Chapel there, which was built in 1694 as a small branch of the Ettal Monastery. It is dedicated to St. Gertrude of Helfta, a highly admired Cistercian and Mystic in the 17th century.
Now, the trail leads into the pleasantly shady Kuhalmbachtal valley with its many enchanted waterfalls, and you have to cross the mountain stream time and again. After the Kuhalm-Diensthütte (1,326 metres), which stands vacant, and following a short passage on a forest path, you rejoin a steep trail before reaching the panoramic ridge via a few serpentines. Continue over the Geißsprüngkopf to the summit of the Kienjoch with its magnificent all-round view. Take the same path back down into the valley.
- Refreshments: No possibility during the tour, but at the end of the hike at the Gröbl-Alm in Graswang
- How to get there: Take the train to Oberammergau, then RVO bus 9622 to the centre of Graswang
Box Seat Above the Loisach
Panorama tour on the Ziegspitz (1.864 m)
Tough climbs, plenty of metres in altitude and a phenomenal view from an uncrowded summit: the hike to the Hohe Ziegspitz, a true dream of a Bavarian mountain tour. From Untergrainau station, first cross Road B23 and the bridge on the River Loisach to Herrgottschrofen, the first of many beautiful vantage points.
Continue up the trail by the beautiful name of “Gelbes Gwänd”, the name comes from the earthy colour of the rocky landscape. The first real break is at the Stepbergalm at 1,520 metres with a magnificent view of the Wetterstein massif opposite. While the trail leads east to the crossing of the Kramer towards the Königstand, it heads west to the Hoher Ziegspitz with its view from the Karwendel to the Allgäu Alps. Right in between, the Zugspitze towers in the south with the Eibsee lake at its feet. A box seat in the Werdenfelser Land.
Downhill back along the same route. On the descent at the latest, you will have earned the homemade classics of alpine cuisine on the terrace of the Stepbergalm, whether Kaiserschmarrn or Kaspressknödel, bread with cheese or bacon. The hut is always open from May to the third Sunday in October.
- Refreshments: Stepbergalm, open from May to October
- How to get there: Take the train to Untergrainau station
A Classic in Werdenfels
The round tour on the Kramer (1,985 m)
An absolute classic in the Zugspitz region: the round tour from Garmisch-Partenkirchen over the Kramer summit. From the Almhütte inn on the Maximilianshöhe, the route leads west towards Herrgottschrofen, then on towards Stepbergalm via the “Gelbe Gwänd” (see also tour to Hoher Ziegspitz).
After the mountain pasture, turn right towards the east. From here, you take a steep climb and then a narrow path to the Kramer summit, which offers stunning views of the Ammergebirge, Wetterstein and Karwendel mountains, but also down to the Loisach valley around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Continue over a gravel road and a bridge onto the Kramersteig, here it’s now downhill over the panoramic platform at the Felsenkanzel to the St. Martin’s Hut on the Grasberg.
At the end of the circular tour at the start and finish, the homemade cream puffs from the Almhütte, which are famous far beyond Werdenfels, will tempt you to make a final stop. By the way, the hut is also open in winter. The 2.4-kilometre-long toboggan run from the restaurant to the valley is the oldest official toboggan run in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Since 1920, it has offered beginners and advanced tobogganers a wonderful sledding experience after a stop. This is also a real classic.
- Refreshments: Stepbergalm, Berggaststätte St. Martin, Gasthof Almhütte
- How to get there: Take the train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, then local bus line 1 to Äußere Maximilianstraße
Summit show in the "Blue Country"
The round tour over the Hintere Hörnle (1,548 m)
The lakes of the “Blaues Land” (Blue country), the Ammergau Alps in the west, the Ester Mountains in the east: grandiose views of the peaks await hikers on this circular tour. The starting point of the Hörnle round tour is the sports field in Grafenaschau. Soon, the route branches off to the right onto the Maximiliansweg E4, and after a good three kilometres it climbs a little steeper on a serpentine passage.
If you fancy a stop for refreshments, branch off briefly before the first summit to the Hörnle hut. Otherwise, continue directly to Hinteres Hörnle; at 1,548 metres comes the highlight of the tour with a magnificent panorama of the sister peaks of Vorderes and Mittleres Hörnle and far beyond.
After the Stierkopf, which is also very scenic, the descent begins. At the “Drei Marken” bridge, the trail branches off to the northeast towards Grafenaschau. Now it’s back to the starting point on a section of the 75-kilometre long-distance hiking trail leading from Füssen to the Glentleiten open-air museum, following in the footsteps of the whetstone makers.
- Refreshments: Hörnle-Hütte, Café Habersetzer Grafenaschau
- How to get there: Take the train to Murnau, then bus 9621 to Grafenaschau
A Dream in the Karwendel
The challenging tour to the Signalkopf (1,895 m)
It’s a quick trip up here! The short but very tough tour to the beautiful summit of the Signalkopf on the western edge of the Karwendel is a tough one, with many metres of altitude difference in just a few kilometres. The sporty mountain tour starts in the centre of Krün, from where you head east over the Isar bridge – and quite soon take a climb to Schwarzkopf, the first beautiful vantage point. The route continues through sparse forest, over mountain pines and treeless areas to a fork. Keep right there in the direction of Signalkopf.
Be careful on the last few metres to the summit, where a breezy but ultimately easy passage awaits. Once at the top, there is a magnificent view down into the valley of the young Isar from Mittenwald to Wallgau. In the west, the Werdenfelser Berge, in the east, directly adjacent, the Karwendel. Optionally, a very long tour via the Schöttelkarspitze, the Soiernhaus (overnight accommodation!), the Soiern lakes and the Soiernspitze. Or you simply go back the same way.
For those looking for even more thrills in the area: From the mountain station of the Western Karwendelspitze, which can be reached by the Karwendel cable car, begins the Mittenwald via ferrata, a fascinating ridge traverse with no fewer than seven two-thousand-metre peaks.
- Refreshments: Gasthof Schöttelkarspitz, Krün
- How to get there: By train to Kochel, Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Mittenwald, continue with bus 9608 to Krün
Two Enchanting Two-Thousand- Metre Peaks
Via the Bischof (2,033m) to the Krottenkopf (2,086 m)
It is the king of the Ester mountains: the Krottenkopf, at 2,086 metres the highest elevation on the east side of the Loisach Valley. Many paths lead to its summit; the tour from Farchant, for example, is great. From the Loisach bridge, head east over the wildly romantic roaring Kuhflucht waterfalls and continue on a steep climb past magnificent vantage points.
The fact that some signs here refer to the "Königsweg" (King's Path) is incidentally due to King Max II, who passed by here on a hike in 1858. Continue on a steep trail past magnificent lookout points. The summit of the Hoher Fricken (1,940 m) is the first highlight; with slight ups and downs, the route leads to the first two-thousand-metre peak, the Bischof (2,033 m).
Continue in a long right-hand bend to a well-deserved stop at the Weilheimer Hütte, at 1,946 metres the highest refuge in the Bavarian Pre-Alps. Or first to the final summit climb on the Krottenkopf, including a panoramic view, and then on to enjoy a snack on the hut terrace. Return to Farchant on an alternative route, turn right before the bishop and continue past the Niedere Fricken into the valley. Another option from the Weilheimer Hütte is the valley hike in a northerly direction to Eschenlohe.
- Refreshments: Weilheimer Hütte
- How to get there: By train to Farchant