Schneeschuhwandern Allgäu: Neuer Achtsamkeitstrend: Medidatives Solo Full Moon Snow Shoeing
Bright enthusiasm

Full moon snow shoe tour? It sounded so exciting that our reporters immediately set off for the Allgäu Alps. In the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park, they were out on a limb and enjoyed the extra portion of endorphins. Text by Christian Haas, photos by Frank Heuer

Reading time: 12 minutes

Full moon snow shoe tour

Michael Schott's promise sounds a bit full-bodied. Rather like a full moon? On three to four winter dates, the 58-year-old guide from Bolsterlang advertises the “Horn Tour by Full Moon”. The state-certified ski and mountain guide can predict its maximum extent, ergo brightness, for the night, but not whether the weather will cooperate.

Everything is possible between cloudless and overcast, including fog and snow flurries. It's a bit like being on safari: you know that the object of desire is out there, but you don't know if and when it will be sighted. On the other hand, events with an element of surprise always feel more intense than those where everything is set in stone.

No-show? Not to date

Of course, no one wants to experience a “bad” surprise in the form of a “lunar no-show”. But a complete no-show, Michael said in advance, is very rare. “I've been offering full moon tours for seven years now,” he says on the phone, “and so far it's mostly worked out great. Apart from that, every weather condition has its charm”. Let's see which one it has for us …

Schneeschuhwandern: Michael Schott gibt Tipps zum naturschonenden Verhalten

Sunshine galore at the “Boden” hut

While the weather had been capricious in the preceding days and nights, the omens could not have been better on this late February Sunday. A clear sky stretches over the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park, shrouded in white, the thermometer climbs well above zero – which will of course change again after sunset.

The tipping point is around 5:00 pm, when the sun seasonally starts to set. To enjoy a cappuccino without freezing on the terrace of the “Boden” hut above the parish village of Balderschwang, its radiance is just enough.

It gets cosier inside, where innkeeper Matthias Lenz has prepared a fine snack platter (Brettljause) with cheese, bacon, horseradish and crusty bread. Actually, we could sink into the rustic and contemporary guest room – with a view of the open fire and/or fine brandy glasses (the sauna and mountain hotel bed a few metres away are also tempting).

But Michael urges haste. After all, he wants to go even higher with us to experience the perfect sunset from a lofty vantage point. With snow shoes.

Schneeschuhwanderung Allgäu: Hütte
Schneeschuhwandern Allgäu:

Ready, sunset, go

So we get in the car, which we park a few bends later at Germany's highest pass, the Riedbergpass, at an altitude of 1,407 metres. While for most winter sports enthusiasts the active part of the day ends at half past five, for us it is just beginning.

We get into the snow shoes Michael brought with him, stow the avalanche shovel, probes and LWS equipment in the backpacks, fix the gaiters so that no snow gets under the trouser legs or into the edges of the shoes, especially when going downhill, grab the hiking poles – and off we go.

Perfect timing: a few minutes later we are standing in the snow above the mountain road, watching the sun disappear behind the mountains in slow motion and ever more glaring orange.

The “blue hour” is brightly coloured

What a spectacle! With lasting light effects in the "blue hour". It would be more appropriately called "colourful hour", as red, purple and blue tones provide a grand illumination of the summit skyline. The headlamps stay in the luggage for another hour or two.

Schneeschuhwandern Allgäu: Leichte Rot-, Lila- und Blautöne über den Gipfeln zum Sonnenuntergang

Correct technique: Nice and wide-legged

Two hills further on, Michael tells us something about the area, for example about the ups and downs of the ski lift expansion plans on the nearby Riedberger Horn and about the use of the emergency transceivers, which he urges us to use despite the current low avalanche risk. His reasoning: “It's like buckling up in a car, you just do it. If something did happen, it would be too late for that.”

All right, it doesn't hurt, just as little as the tips on gait optimisation (“always keep your legs wide so that you don't get caught on your trousers with your spikes”).

You'll soon get the hang of it, as well as the ideal rhythm, which can take you across snow-covered meadows, unprepared ski slopes or through woods dominated by spruce, silver fir and copper beech. It's practical that you don't sink in so much thanks to the large tread surface!

Schneeschuhwandern Allgäu: Technik-Tipp:

Important: Stay on the track

This way, you still manage two to three kilometres per hour. Faster than making new tracks, at any rate. The route is always uphill, with a total of 300 metres in altitude. We don't meet any people on the tour, but the many tracks reveal that quite a few people have been out and about since the last fresh snow, especially tourers.

It seems tempting to lay new tracks in wilder terrain, but Michael stops it: “Not only for safety reasons, but also for nature conservation reasons. Wild animals need their retreats.” Sounds convincing, and it is.

As if as a reward, an eagle owl calls out in the distance. Or was it a pygmy owl? Michael tells us that the Nagelfluhkette is home to golden eagles, black grouse and Europe's smallest owl.

Starry hours with a special guest

Following the call of the wilderness, we trudge after our guide. Even if no real path is discernible, he knows it. Wordlessly, almost meditatively, we follow in his big footprints. Below us sparkling snow crystals, above us first hundreds, then tens of thousands of twinkling stars.

Here the Big Dipper, there Cassiopeia and Orion. But besides the well-known trio, there are so many other constellations. Michael names a few. Just like some of the peaks that stand out from the silhouetted landscape, first and foremost the Grünten.

No blah blah. There is something meditative about walking

South of the “guardian of the Allgäu”, Oberstdorf sets light accents, among others with the flashing red lights of the long Nebelhorn cable car and the brightly lit World Cup ski jumps. In the valley, wispy fog rolls in (Michael: “Slight inversion! But that won't affect us up here.”), providing special effects.

The fog wants to be observed for longer during a break on a plateau with a 270-degree panorama. Only then do we notice how quiet it is when we are not walking. Because unlike new snow, the tough old snow makes a lot of noise. It cracks with every step – a conversation stopper.

Never mind, we just keep stopping. To speak as well as to be silent. The infinite view doesn't need any big words anyway.

Schneeschuhwandern Allgäu: Wo das Vollmondlicht nicht reicht, kommen Stirnlampen zum Einsatz

Upbeat downhill

“No tour is the same,” Michael breaks the silence. “On the one hand, because of the group constellation. Sometimes it's families with children who sign up, sometimes pensioners, sometimes real sports enthusiasts. And on the other hand, the weather and snow vary, from powdery fresh snow to rather tough snow like today.”

The routes also differ. The prioritised group option takes the gondola up to the Riedberger Horn and continues on foot to the Großer Ochsenkopf and, after a stop for refreshments, down to the valley.

Moon phase show

Today's tour leads beyond the mountain station and mountain restaurants to the lonely Wannenkopf. And shortly before we reach the geographical high point at 1,712 metres, we experience the visual one: how the moon first lights up as a bright slit above the mountain range in the east and then morphs into an ever larger and brighter “bishop's cap” until it hovers above the mountains like a circular lantern. How big it seems. But above all: so yellow. Like a pancake that you want to grab from the sky and put on your plate …

Schneeschuhwandern Allgäu: Mondschein und später noch der funkelnde Sternenhimmel

After another break to admire the moon at the summit cross, we start the way back, on a slightly changed route and in an almost euphoric mood. Which is clearly thanks to the moon. As we slowly descend, it slowly rises, bathing the winter landscape in a mystical, steel-blue light. That's when night becomes day.

We don't talk much, everyone soaks up the unique atmosphere. Even though we have been on our feet for almost five hours now, we feel full of energy when we arrive at the almost empty car park. No question: Michael clearly kept his promise.


  • Dates: one each in January, February, March.
  • Duration: around 5.5 hours.
  • 55 euros with Hörnerdörfer Card, otherwise 59 euros.
  • Four to ten participants, individual tours are also possible after consultation
  • More information at (only in German)
Snowshoeing in the Bavarian Forest: On the way to the summit of the Brotjacklriegel

More snow shoe tours

Upper Bavaria: On the Stierkopf (bull's head)
One of the most beautiful snowshoe tours in the Ammergau Alps! After starting in Unterammergau, you cross the three peaks of the Hörnle and then reach the summit destination, the 1,535 metre high Stierkopf. The tour lasts four hours and involves about 850 metres of altitude. Stop for refreshments at the Hörnlehütte. The rating “Ski Mountaineering Environmentally Friendly”. The starting point can be reached by public transport. (only in German)

Allgäu: Schönkahler
An easy and popular tour for snow shoe hikers leads to the Schönkahler, 1,687 metres high. The terrain is flat and the route is identified as environmentally friendly. You start at the hikers' car park in the Achtal, south of Pfronten in the direction of the Tannheimer Tal. From there the tour is well signposted. Duration: about three hours, ascent: just under 700 metres in altitude. (only in German)

Fichtel Mountains: Panorama Tour
The easy, five-kilometre taster tour starts at the “Am Kellerhaus” hikers' car park in Wülfersreuth near Bischofsgrün. You make a circuit over wide meadows and through dense forest. There are impressive views to the northwest of the Franconian Forest and to the east of the Ochsenkopf. Ascent only 130 metres. Refreshment stops at the “Waldgasthof Schweinsbach” and in Wülfersreuth.

Schneeschuhwandern Bayerwald: Bizarre, coole Kulisse auf der letzten Höhenetappe

Fancy a “moonwalk” in the Bavarian Forest?

This story should also interest you: With snow shoes on a “Cool Moonwalk” against a whimsical backdrop through the Bavarian Forest.

Fancy more nature adventures?

Bergführer Andreas Tauser bei der Abfahrt vom Gipfel des Kleinen Seekopf im Allgäu

Nebelhorn: Peak Pleasures

Winter paradise on the Nebelhorn: off-piste in fresh snow and a night in the "Igloo Lodge" at 2,000 metres. You can't experience more winter in 24h

Read more
Die Drachenkante meistert Kilian ohne Probleme

Rock Hopping in Franconia

Franconian Switzerland is a paradise for active families. Astrid Därr and her son have tested some of the best family climbing spots

Read more
Genusswandern im Klausbachtal auf dem Salzalpensteig

Salzalpensteig Hike: O Sole mio

Scenic, varied, enlightening: the Salzalpensteig spices up every hiker's vita. The 9th stage is one of the most beautiful. Let's go!

Read more
Pausen gehören zum Genusswandern. Ausblick vom Trekkingplatz Geusfeld

Steigerwald in Franconia

Pleasure Hiking: The Steigerwald Panorama Trail leads through low mountain landscapes rich in history and species. The next Franconian wine is not far

Read more
Winterlicher Wasserfall im Gunzesrieder Tal


We accompanied ranger Theresa in the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park to waterfalls, through snow-white dream landscapes and in search of Apollo butterflies

Read more
Eine Frau im Rollstuhl und ein Mann genießen den Blick auf die Donau von der Befreiungshalle aus

Full speed ahead in the Danube canyon

The highlights of the region Kelheim - Danube Gorge, Weltenburg Monastry, big crystals, and many more - are accessible for everybody

Read more
Der Glassklupturenpark in Frauenau bietet Installationen verschiedener Künstler

Limitless: Accessible Arberland

The topography in the Bavarian Forest can be challenging. Fortunately, the most beautiful excursion destinations can also be easily experienced.

Read more
Das Hideaway könnte nicht malerischer gelegen sein

The Summit Valley: Elmau Castle and The Kranzbach

The exceptional luxury resorts Schloss Elmau and Kranzbach are located in a secluded high valley south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Read more

News from Bavaria

Get first-hand tips on stories, travel reports and events!