Germany | Austria | High Peaks of Bavaria and Tyrol
Hike around Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze.
"Hikes were perfect! Just the right level of effort and challenge. Every day had its own charm. The inns were great and we enjoyed the fabulous breakfasts and German food was great after long day of hiking!"- Rauni E.
Hike through the mountains and forests of Germany's Bavaria and the Austrian Tyrol.
Stand mesmerized by the limestone peaks of the Wetterstein Mountains.
Immerse yourself in the culture as you drink coffee and eat apfelstrudel on the sunny deck of a mountain hut in the Alps.
Your journey begins in the charming town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Garmisch, located on the west side of town and Partenkirchen on the east side, evolved as separate towns, and still maintain somewhat separate identities, in spite of the modern hyphenated name. This is often overlooked by visitors, but the locals will point out subtleties, such as the color of the stitching on one’s lederhosen, which define such differences.
Enjoy the refined culture, stemming from over 2000 years of heritage, of today’s Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Directly behind town sits the massive Zugspitze mountain, the highest peak in Germany. As part of the Wettersteingebirge (Wetterstein mountain range), the Zugspitze is the highest of the peaks that define the border between Germany and Austria. As you hike, you will make a complete tour around this stunning range, both starting and finishing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
As part of the Northern Limestone Alps, the Wetterstein and adjacent ranges are known for rugged mountains, deep blue lakes, and picture-perfect scenes. The geological composition of this massive uplift is highlighted here, as well as in other similar mountain ranges spanning southern Germany and central Austria, including the famous Dachstein Mountains and the peaks of the Upper Arlberg. As a relatively “robust” rock, the limestone retains a stunning mountain character, with dramatic vertical relief between the valleys and peaks.
The Eibsee is the first of many beautiful alpine lakes you see, and it’s a quick hike across the border to Austria, where the Hochthörle Hütte awaits with a cozy wood-paneled restaurant and incredible views. Breathe in the alpine atmosphere and spend the afternoon taking photos as you descend to Ehrwald, a sunny Tyrolean village with eight lakes and waterfalls.
Hiking days are not terribly strenuous on this trip, but the views are terrific. You’ll find yourself mesmerized with spire-shaped limestone peaks like the Sonnenspitze, and the southern wall of the Wetterstein Mountains will leave you awestruck as you parallel the German/Austrian border.
We’ve hand-selected a nice collection of mountain huts (for lunch) and hotels (for sleeping) on this trip. The villages of Weidach, Reindlau and Mittenwald boast some of the prettiest mountain chalets you’ve ever seen. Decorative artwork adorns some of the chalets, and a delightful mix of wood and stone architecture, with hanging flower boxes on every window, makes the whole place feel like a fairy tale. Snap photos of these cute little villages before settling in with a nice meal and comfortable bed each night.
Choose from our standard itinerary or customize the trek by adding or subtracting days. We are happy to offer harder or gentler hikes where possible.
Travel independently to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Overnight in a classic Bavarian hotel.
Take the classic Zugspitzbahn train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the Eibsee lake, at the foot of the Zugspitze. From this famous scenic lake, hike over the border into Austria, along the dramatic northwest face of the Zugspitze. Make a pleasant stop for lunch at the Hochthorle Hut before descending into Ehrwald.
Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2650/2600 ft.
Today features a dramatic trek into the Mieminger Kette, the mountain range high above the Inn River Valley. Begin your hike in the Ehrwalder Alm (meadow) above town, before ascending the Ganghofersteig trail around Taja Peak. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Coburger Hut on the shores of the Drachensee before returning to Ehrwald via the Ehrwalder Almbahn gondola. This dramatic range features the spire-like limestone peaks such the iconic Sonnenspitze.
Distance: 9.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2700 ft.
Leaving Ehrwald, ascend to a high traversing trail along the southern side of the Wetterstein range, with amazing views over the Leutasch Valley far below. This trail winds along the rocky southern wall of the Wetterstein Range, paralleling the German/Austrian border along the ridge. After a delightful lunch at the Steinernes Hut, descend into the valley and transfer to Weidach for the night.
Distance: 12 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2900/4050 ft.
Leave valley floor heading uphill to the north towards Scharnitzjoch (pass), high above the Lautasch Valley. From here, intrepid hikers often make a side trip to the summit of the Gehrenspitze, the most prominent peak on the north side of the valley above Weidach. The views of Germany, Austria, and into Italy to the south are simply stunning. After a picnic lunch atop the pass, descend into the hamlet of Reindlau and hike back to the hotel in Weidach for the night.
Distance: 8.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 3050/3300 ft.
Today you return from Austria into Germany, and begin by ascending the north side of the dramatic Karwendelspitze massif high above the idyllic town of Mittenwald (meaning “Middle of the Forest” in English). After a morning filled with stunning views, pause for a delicious repast at the Hochland Hut, perched on the north flank of the massif. Following lunch, continue the “rundweg” (round trip) back into the valley and to your hotel in Mittenwald.
Distance: 10 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2700 ft.
A short transfer from Mittenwald takes you to the Kranzbach, where you begin your final traverse north of the dramatic Wettersteinwand (Wetterstein Wall). After a few hours of trekking, stop for a gourmet picnic lunch before your final descent into the famous Partnachklamm (Partnach River Gorge), which leads directly to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Tonight, celebrate your hiking tour around the entire Zugspitze massif.
Distance: 9.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 600/2150 ft.
Awake to a delicious breakfast, then depart.