Higher, farther, better! Nothing beats a breathtaking view from a peak. Here are seven tips for mountains with a special view
7 Bavarian Mountains with Stunning Peak Views
A Tour With a Tremendous Panoramic View: From Ettal to the Notkarspitze (1,889 metres)
The climb is quite long and drawn out, but at the top your effort is rewarded by a fabulous distant view! The Notkarspitze in the north-east of the Kramergruppe is one of the most formidable panoramic peaks in the Ammergau Alps. At the end, the best Bavarian cuisine beckons in the Ettal monastery restaurant.
The tour also starts in Ettal, on the Notalmweg heading south, after 500 metres turn right at the fork in the road and then immediately left into the steep climb. The path winds upwards in many switchbacks. After a total of 2.5 kilometres, the route turns right towards the west. With the Ochsensitz (1,515 metres) and the Ziegelspitz (1,719 metres), you’ll pass two peaks on your way to the Notkarspitze. The summit of the Notkarspitze is now visibly getting closer.
From the top, you have a magnificent view all around: in the east, beyond the Loisach Valley, to the nearby Ester Mountains, then on over the Isarwinkel to the Tegernsee and Schliersee mountains in the distance. In the west, over the adjoining chain of the Ammergau Alps far into the Allgäu, with the Säuling near Füssen peeking out far behind. To the north, Lake Starnberg and the gravel plain. And in the south, of course, the majestic ruler of the Bavarian mountains, the lofty Zugspitze.
For the descent, head directly north along a sometimes steeper trail. Surefootedness is enormously important here. At the end, a flat draw path leads back to Ettal. In addition to a stop at the “Klosterbräustüberl”, a visit to the Benedictine abbey and the monastery shop is highly recommended.
- Total distance: 10.8 kilometres
- Altitude: 1,103 metres
- Refreshment: Not available during the tour; in the valley in the Klosterbräustüberl
- How to get there: Take the train to Oberau, then bus 9606 to Klostergasthof Ettal.
To a Cave and Waterfall: Up the Hohe Fricken (1,940 metres) in Werdenfels
It doesn’t really pass for Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s local mountain any more – there are others like the Wank, the Kramer, the Königstand. The Hohe Fricken is nevertheless a classic peak in Werdenfelser Land, with an impressive panoramic view that can be reached on a versatile and varied tour.
From Oberau station, first head south, across the Loisach and then directly away to the right at the Nepomuk Chapel, dedicated to the patron saint of the rafters. For the first three kilometres, the route is quite flat, then the trail branches off to the left to the east and gains altitude all the more quickly. The next four kilometres or so to the peak take you up more than 1,250 metres in altitude to the top of the mountain with its enormous view. To the east, you can see as far as the Schliersee mountains, bordering them to the right is the Soierngruppe above the Isar valley near Krün, and next to it the Karwendel. To the south the Wetterstein massif with the Zugspitze, to the west the Ammergauer, behind it the Allgäu Alps, to the north the plain with Lake Starnberg and a “touch of Lake Ammersee”. A true splendour!
Descend back along the same path for the first 300 metres, then turn left towards the west and pass Frickenhöhle, a solutional cave more than three kilometres long and filled with a lake, which only experienced spelunkers and divers should enter. Passing more magnificent vantage points and the three imposing Kuhfluch waterfalls, we return to the Loisach valley to Farchant.
- Total distance: 12 kilometres
- Altitude: 1,286 metres
- Refreshment: Not available during the tour; there are a few eateries in Farchant, such as the Alter Wirt (only in German)
- How to get there: Take the train to Oberau, return by train from Farchant.
A Majestic Panorama: From Kesselberg to the Herzogstand (1,731 metres)
Whether approaching in the direction of Kochel, or from the eastern shore of Lake Walchensee – the Herzogstand is stunning from many angles. It presents itself as a bold figure and one of the most dominant phenomena among all the beautiful peaks of the Bavarian Prealps. Of course, the view from the peak itself is magnificent and hard to beat. Of the lakes, of the mountains and of the countryside.
From the pass at Kesselberg, the route is well signposted and heads southwest up the forest road, somewhat flatter for the first two kilometres, then somewhat steeper. A technically easy tour without major complications. Past the Herzogstandhaus, the trail takes you on the last kilometre in leisurely switchbacks to the peak of the mountain, which received its name almost 500 years ago, in 1535 from the Bavarian dukes Wilhelm IV and Ludwig X, who liked to use the mountain for hunting. For another Ludwig, the Herzogstand became one of his favourite peaks; every year in July he came here and enjoyed the beautiful view of his Bavarian Alps for several days, which impressed him mightily then as it does now. It was a view of the Mangfall Mountains over the Karwendel and Wetterstein to far into the Ammergau and Allgäu Alps – and of course of the two lakes at the foot of the Herzogstand, Lake Kochelsee in the north and Lake Walchensee in the south.
To Lake Walchensee, the route also goes downhill, turn right at the Herzogstandhaus and then down to the valley station of the Herzogstand cable car.
- Total distance: 12 kilometres
- Altitude: 868 metres
- Refreshment: Berggasthaus Herzogstand (only in German)
- How to get there: Take the train to Kochel, then bus 9608 to Kesselberg, Passhöhe. Return with bus 9608 from Lake Walchen to Kochel
Forest Hills With Surprising Views: From the Jachenau to the Staffel (1,532 metres)
The peak is still an insider tip and not even a household name for many Bavarian mountain hikers. Even from the valley, the Staffel appears rather inconspicuous, a small green forest hill, at the sight of which one can hardly imagine from below what a magnificent view the peak at the top provides.
The Staffel can be climbed from two sides; the more beautiful ascent route leads from the valley of the Jachenau, which is well signposted, through the small settlement of Niggeln via the eastern variant. After 1.5 kilometres you pass a picturesque meadow, then the climb begins, which remains harmless with the exception of a still quite uncomplicated short climb. Via the Staffelalm, the last few metres take you up via the south side. There, several benches invite you to sit down and, in view of the wonderful panorama, to kneel down: To the south-east, you can see the Zugspitze and Wetterstein, to the south the Karwendel, to the north the Benediktenwand massif, and on the other side the lovely Jachenau, which stretches for 15 kilometres from west to east and is therefore bathed in sunlight from dawn to dusk in summer – just like the glittering Sylvenstein reservoir down in the valley to the south.
The trail now descends in a westerly direction on an easily accessible path down to the village of Jachenau.
- Total distance: 9.8 kilometres
- Altitude: 780 metres
- Refreshment: Not available during the tour; in Jachenau Gasthof Jachenau (only in German)
- How to get there: Take the train to Lenggries, then bus 9595 to Jachenau, Bäcker. Return from Jachenau with bus 9595
Insider Tip With a Great View: The Schönberg (1,620 metres) Near Lenggries
If you are looking for an alternative to the popular and also very crowded Seekarkreuz, especially on weekends, this is the place to go. On the Schönberg, the view is astonishing. After all, at 1,620 metres, the peak rises even higher than the Seekarkreuz (1,601 metres). The Schönberg certainly lives up to its name, not least because of the panoramic view.
From Fleck, the trail initially leads flatly to the east. After just under three kilometres, keep left at the Schmickerstein junction. Now the ascent is more noticeable for 2.5 kilometres. At the Maria Eck waypoint, the tour branches off to the right to the south for the final climb up Schönberg. From the peak, the view sweeps over the Isarwinkel and Lenggries towards Brauneck and the mountain range as far as Benediktenwand. On the eastern side you can see the Roßstein and Buchstein with the Tegernseer Hütte up to the Mangfallgebirge, in the south of course the Karwendelfelsen, followed on the right by the Wetterstein massif.
The trail goes downhill first back to Maria Eck, then straight on towards the Lenggrieser Hütte. If you are in the mood for a double peak, you can descend an extra 40 metres to the Seekarkreuz. Otherwise, after a stop at the hut, take the Sulzersteig trail and the Hirschbachtal valley to Lenggries.
- Total distance: 16.4 kilometres
- Altitude: 1,020 metres
- Refreshment: Lenggrieser Hütte (only in German)
- How to get there: Take the train to Lenggries, then bus 9569 to Fleck, Gasthaus Papyrer
From Schliersee to Tegernsee: The Two Lakes Tour Over the Baumgartenschneid (1,448 metres)
This hike from Schliersee to Tegernsee via the Baumgartenschneid is a great two-lake tour! An excursion with an enchanting view of the summit, a wonderful alpine hut and a unique chapel high up on the rock.
From Schliersee station, walk down along the lake, past the “Café Milchhäusl” and turn left at the first crossroads. After a short ascent and descent at Freudenberg, cross the railway and continue to Breitenbach. In the village, follow the signs to the left, and at the Gschwandbachalm and the very last hikers’ car park, enter the mountain forest. The last 1.5 kilometres to the peak are a tough climb, but without any major difficulties. From the top, the view already falls down to Lake Tegernsee and the mountains behind it in the direction of Isarwinkel; looking back to the east, the Schlierseer Berge and the Mangfallgebirge can be made out. The proud peak of the Zugspitze towers in the southeast.
The path is fairly straight as it descends to the west, and just under two kilometres after the peak, a short but rewarding spur path awaits you to a very special place: the small neo-Gothic chapel on the Riederstein, a towering rock spur with a magnificent view of Lake Tegernsee and the valley of the Weissach. Via the Kreuzweg (Way of the Cross) with its fourteen stations, we now head downhill to the well-deserved stop at the “Berggasthof Riederstein am Galaun”. From here there are two options for the final descent, the more northerly route is somewhat easier. Follow the signs “Über Auernweg und Schießstätte” to your destination in Tegernsee.
- Total distance: 13.8 kilometres
- Altitude: 699 metres
- Refreshment: Berggasthaus Riederstein (only in German)
- How to get there: Take the train to Schliersee, return by train from Tegernsee.
Up to the Mangfall Classic: From Neuhaus to the Brecherspitz (1,683 metres)
The striking peak of the Brecherspitz is one of the most popular excursion destinations in the Mangfall Mountains. It is particularly impressive because of its unique view of three of the most beautiful lakes in Upper Bavaria.
Instead of the usually busy route from the Spitzingsattel, this tour starts down in Neuhaus. Already well signposted from the train station, the path is easy to find. A short stretch along the route of an old Bockerlbahn, once used to transport timber, leads to the Ankelalm on a shady forest path, with a view of the Wendelstein in between. Now head west over a partly steep ascent to the St. Leonhard Chapel, known as the Freudenreichkapelle, elevated on the ridge that now leads to the pre-peak and then to the main peak of the Brecherspitze. Beware: The path on the ridge does not seem wild at first glance, but it has its pitfalls. The wire rope protections for holding on are definitely a good idea. The magnificent view now extends mainly to the dreamlike trio of lakes Tegernsee, Schliersee and Spitzingsee, to the east into the Chiemgau, and all around to the Karwendel and the Wetterstein.
If you are in a hurry, you can descend directly from here to the Spitzingsattel. The longer version with a stop on the sun terrace of the “Obere Firstalm” is recommended. From here, take the draw path down to the Sattel, one of the most popular toboggan runs in all of Upper Bavaria in winter.
- Total distance: 10 kilometres
- Altitude: 940 metres
- Refreshment: Obere Firstalm (only in German)
- How to get there: Take the train to Fischhausen-Neuhaus, return with bus 9562 from Spitzingsattel to Fischhausen-Neuhaus.