A trip to Bavaria is not complete without a stop to the town of Garmisch Partenkirchen (GP). Whether it is skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer, GP has a little bit of everything for its visitors.
For the purpose of this guide though, I will be talking through some of the top Garmisch Partenkirchen hiking trails to take part of during your time in the area.
Mountains, gorges, lakes, rivers and more can be enjoyed throughout the trails of GP. Learn more about what hiking options are out there and what to expect out on the trail.
What's in this article?
- 1) How to Get to Garmisch Partenkirchen
- 2) How to Get Around Garmisch Partenkirchen
- 3) Where to Stay in GP
- 4) List of Garmisch Partenkirchen Hiking Trails
- 5) Garmisch Partenkirchen Hiking Map
- 6) Partnach Gorge / Partnachklamm
- 7) Hollental Gorge / Höllentalklamm
- 8) Osterfelderkopf to Hammersbach
- 9) Alpspitze Summit Hike Via Ferrata
- 10) Zugspitze Hike
1) How to Get to Garmisch Partenkirchen
Depending on where else you plan to visit during a trip to Bavaria and the surrounding regions, will dictate how you will get to GP. There are a few ways to go about a trip though:
Rental Car: I found it easiest to travel the region by renting a car. During my time in the area I was traveling throughout Austria and Germany, and having a car gave me the most flexibility. I was able to be on my own schedule, get myself to trailheads with no issues, and not need to worry about public transport.
Train: GP is home to a well-connected train station, so you can make your way there if coming from other places within Germany (i.e. Munich) or Austria (i.e. Innsbruck). Those two cities mentioned are also home to the closest airports. So, if flying into either, you should be able to grab a train connection into Garmisch.
Bus: Lastly, you can take intercity busses that head in and out of GP. This will depend on season and where you plan to base yourself before/after your time in GP.
2) How to Get Around Garmisch Partenkirchen
Once you are in Garmisch Partenkirchen, you will need to make your way around. While today it is considered one town, it is actually split into two separate areas (Garmisch and Parternkirchen). So while you can walk between the two, sometimes it may be easier to drive/take local transport.
For the most part though, if looking to head to the hiking trails, you will need to make your way by some sort of transport to get your there. If you have your own rental car, there shouldn’t be much of a worry here. Simply, head to parking lots and trailheads using your car.
On the other hand, there are two main ways to make your way around GP and the surrounding area:
Local Bus: there are several bus lines that run throughout Garmisch and its surrounding towns. These buses travel frequently during peak season and make it as far as the Eibsee/Zugspitze area. I found Google Maps to be pretty accurate when I was making my way around, but feel free to take a look at the GP bus map.
Note: most hotels (if not all), should be able to give you a free bus pass that includes many of the routes. Feel free to speak with your hotel directly about this.
Zugspitzbahn Local Railway: another way to get yourself towards the Zugspitze area is by hopping on the Zugspitzbahn. The route goes between Garmisch Partenkirchen and up to Zugspitzplatt (just below the Zugspitze mountain summit). But the railway also makes stops along the way at the base of Alpspitze, and Zugspitze/Lake Eibsee.
3) Where to Stay in GP
The town of Garmisch Partenkirchen is full of hotels and guesthouses that are frequented both in the winter months for skiing and the summer months for hiking. Below are some highly rated options that you can choose from when taking part of hiking trails around the area:
4) List of Garmisch Partenkirchen Hiking Trails
Throughout the remainder of this guide I will be talking through these 5 Garmisch Partenkirchen hiking trails. These trails offer a little bit of everything so you should find something that works for you:
1) Partnach Gorge
2) Hollental Gorge
3) Osterfelderkopf to Hammersbach
4) Alpspitze Summit Hike Via Ferrata
5) Zugspitze Hike
» Take a look at this Hiking Packing List I put together to better prepare you for hikes around Bavaria
5) Garmisch Partenkirchen Hiking Map
The below map shows the 5 routes in different colors with the starting and ending points pinpointed. Note that the routes are not exact here – they are drawn out to give you a high-level idea of what the route entails.
→ Partnach Gorge (Blue)
→ Hollental Gorge (Red)
→ Osterfelderkopf to Hammersbach (Green)
→ Alpspitze Summit Hike Via Ferrata (Purple)
→ Zugspitze Hike (Black)
6) Partnach Gorge / Partnachklamm
Starting & Ending Point: Olympic Ski Jump Parking Lot
Trail Length: 3 miles / 5 km
Duration: 1.5 Hours
Elevation Gain: ~Flat
Learn More: Partnach Gorge
The Partnach Gorge (also called the Partnachklamm) is a stunning 700 meter gorge located just outside of GP. Depending on where you are staying in town, you can either walk over to the entrance, drive your car, or take one of the local busses.
The gorge is located around 20 minutes by foot along a paved pathway from the Olympic Ski Jump parking lot. Once you reach the entrance of the gorge, you will need to pay a small entrance fee to continue into the gorge itself.
It is then around 700 meters of walking between the massive gorge walls with the turquoise waters rushing down below. Within the gorge, there is a walkway that has been built into the walls, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the Partnach Gorge.
Once you reach the end point of the gorge, you can either hike around/above the gorge back to the starting point or just turn around the same way you came to experience the gorge once more.
While the round trip hike from the parking lot to the end of the gorge and back is around 3 miles / 5 km, it is also possible to continue the pathway further up the river. If you are interested in making this a longer hike, that certainly can be done here.
Note: this is the same trail that continues onwards to the Zugspitze summit (more on that soon!)
7) Hollental Gorge / Höllentalklamm
Starting & Ending Point: Hammersbach Village
Trail Length: 5.1 miles / 8.2 km
Duration: 3 Hours
Elevation Gain: +1,667 feet / +508 meters
Learn More: Hollental Gorge
Once you reach the village of Hammersbach either by car, train, or bus, you will see some of the hiking signs pointing you towards the gorge. Similar to Partnach, the first step is getting to the entrance of the gorge.
This is actually going to be a longer and more strenuous part of the hike, as you gain elevation through the forest. It is around 1.7 miles / 2.8 km to the entrance of the gorge from Hammersbach.
Once you reach the entrance booth, you will pay the small fee and continue alongside the flowing river. The gorge portion of the trail is around 0.6 / 1 km long. Here you will find a boardwalk, small bridges, and a pathway etched into the gorge walls.
It is just a beautiful hike to enjoy as you have the turquoise waters rushing through down below and the narrow gorge walls on either side.
Once you are through the gorge, the trail opens up a bit more and you can follow it for a little while longer. It actually continues towards the Hollentalangerhutte, which is another 30 minutes further up the valley (not included in the totals mentioned above).
Feel free to continue onwards if you would like to reach the hut, before turning back around, walking back through the gorge, and then onto Hammersbach.
8) Osterfelderkopf to Hammersbach
Starting Point: Osterfelderkopf
Ending Point: Hammersbach Village
Trail Length: 6.0 miles / 9.6 km
Duration: 4 Hours
Elevation Gain: +1,247 feet / +380 meters
Learn More: Alpspitze Hiking
This is one hike that starts and ends in two different locations. You will first need to make your way to the bottom of the Alpspitzbahn cable car station. From there, take the cable car up to the top, where the hike begins.
This route starts at the top of the Alpspitzbahn cable car station at Osterfelderkopf (the name of the peak where the cable car is located). From there, the hike wraps around and heads down to the Hollental Valley.
The hike down from Osterfelderkopf is one of the more scenic landscapes to enjoy in the region, as you get views of the surrounding mountains (including Zugspitze), and the valley walls all around.
The trail then reaches the valley floor, where you will be welcomed to the Hollentalangerhutte, where you can enjoy a nice break.
From there the trail follows the Hollental Gorge trail that we just talked through. You will have the chance to walk all along the winding turquoise waters, through the gorge walls, and then down to Hammersbach.
Once in Hammersbach, you can then walk along the road for another 20 minutes or so back to the Alpspitzbahn parking lot.
9) Alpspitze Summit Hike Via Ferrata
Starting & Ending Point: Osterfelderkopf
Trail Length: Via Ferrata + 1.6 miles / 2.5 km of hiking
Duration: 4 Hours
Elevation Gain: Via Ferrata Route
Learn More: Alpspitze Via Ferrata
The hike to the true summit of Alpspitze is going to be a bit different than the other hikes on this list. That is because to reach the summit, you must climb a Via Ferrata route.
Essentially, a via ferrata is a route with fixed lines built into the mountainside. To safely take part of the climb, you must have via ferrata gear to clip yourself in and out of the fixed lines.
The route begins at the top of the Alpspitzbahn cable car. From there it is a nice easy 20 minute walk to the base of the via ferrata. Once you reach the fixed lines, put on your gear and get ready to climb.
You will see that the overall length of the hike is not that long, but the duration is on the longer side. That is because you will be moving much more slowly on the via ferrata section than on a normal hiking trail.
After a couple hours of climbing the class B ferrata, you will reach the summit of Alpspitze. From here you can enjoy the views of all the surroundings mountains and valleys all around.
It is then following the hiking path on the other side of the peak (Nordwandsteig trail), that wraps its way down and around the mountain back to the top of the cable car station.
So, essentially what you have here is a via ferrata up to the summit + hike back down to the starting point, to complete the route to the Alpspitze summit.
10) Zugspitze Hike
Starting Point: Olympic Ski Jump Parking Lot
Ending Point: Zugspitze Summit
Trail Length: 12.5 miles / 20 km
Duration: 8-10 Hours
Elevation Gain: +7,448 Feet / +2,270 Meters
Learn More: Zugspitze Hike
Last but not least, we have the tallest mountain in all of Germany – Zugspitze. This is a hike that should only be attempted by those with the appropriate fitness levels. It is a route that can be completed in one day or 2 days if necessary (there are 2 mountain huts on the trail).
While there are a few different routes up to the summit, one of the most common is the route through the Reintal Valley. The trail actually starts at the Olympic Ski Jump parking lot and makes its way through the Partnach Gorge before continuing on through the valley and to the summit.
If you are thinking about completing the hike in one day, then you must start quite early as it will take around 8 hours to summit. If you want to split the hike into two days, then you will need to reserve a spot at one of the mountain huts along the way.
While it is one of the tougher hikes out there, it is also one of the most rewarding. There are just stunning views all the way through. From the river and the forest to the mountains and the glaciers, Zugspitze will have it all.
Once you reach the top, you will be welcomed to hundreds of other tourists. Not because they summited the mountain though! It is because there is a cable car that takes people right up top. You must weave your way through the crowd and climb the last few steps to the real summit.
After enjoying some time up top, you can then take the cable car back down to the mountain (10 hours up hiking and just 10 minutes down by cable car!).
At the bottom, you can head to Eibsee Lake to cool down for a bit, before jumping on the bus or railway back to Garmisch Partenkirchen.
These five unique Garmisch Partenkirchen hiking experiences are sure to be top highlights during your time in the area. If you want to learn more about each one I would highly recommend you clicking the guides that were linked throughout this post.
If you do have any additional questions or comments, feel free to add them in below. Also, don’t forget to check out the other Germany itineraries and guides up on the site.
Have fun out there and safe travels!