Germany | High Peaks of the Bavarian Tyrol

Hike around Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze.

Germany
  • High Peaks of Bavaria
  • High Peaks of Bavaria
  • High Peaks of Bavaria
  • High Peaks of Bavaria Trek
  • An onion-domed church in front of Germany's highest peak, the Zugspitze.
  • Lake Eibsee in Germany's Bavaria.
  • "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.
  • "Hi, I've just returned from Europe after completing you Bavarian Trek. Thank-you so much for your thorough notes, the accommodation you chose and an overall wonderful experience. Everyone we dealt with were very pleasant and transfers of luggage worked perfectly. I actually cried when I arrived at Rottach-Egern as I hadn't seen such natural beauty. The walks were challenging but we just loved it. Wish you had more treks through Bavaria and we will certainly use Ryder Walker again. I have already recommended you to many of my friends. Forgot to mention we just loved the choice of accommodation in Garmisch."- Brozina Party
  • "We loved being immersed in the Bavarian culture, and the mountain scenery and the crystal clear lakes were beautiful. The inns were charming and the food hearty. When we were at the Tutzinger Hütte, it was the manager's birthday, and we had the added pleasure of vicariously enjoying the celebration, complete with music, singing, and numerous toasts."- Gayle Goedde

Trip Highlights:

  • Hike through the mountains and forests of Germany's Bavaria AND the Austrian Tyrol.
  • Stand mesmerized by 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 postcard-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’ll 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 deep the alpine atmosphere, then spend the afternoon snapping 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.

Trip Itinerary

Travel independently by rail to Munich and then take the train 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. You will make a pleasant stop for lunch at the Hochthorle Hut before you descend into Ehrwald. Distance: 8 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2650 ft/2600 ft.

Today features a dramatic trek into the Mieminger Kette, the mountain range high above the Inns 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 Rotmoosalm Hut we descend into back the valley and transfer to Weidach for the night. Distance: 12 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2900 ft/4050 f

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 are simply stunning, with views of Germany, Austria, and into Italy to the south. After a picnic lunch atop the pass, descend into the hamlet of Reindlau for the evening. Distance: 8.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 3050 ft/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 Dammkar Hut, perched on the north flank of the massif. Following lunch, continue the “rundweg” round trip back into the valley and your hotel in Mittenwald. Distance: 10 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 2700 ft.

A short transfer from Mittenwald takes you to the Ferchensee where you begin our 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 you celebrate your hiking tour around the entire Zugspitze massif. Distance: 9.5 miles. Elevation gain/loss: 600 ft/2150 ft.

Awake to a delicious breakfast then depart.

High Peaks of the Bavarian Tyrol | Germany

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Brittney Clarke

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