A visit to the Bavarian town of Garmisch Partenkirchen is not complete without a stop at the Höllentalklamm Gorge. This natural wonder located just outside the city is one of the most beautiful attractions to visit in the area, and is sure not to disappoint. This guide will go over what to expect at Höllentalklamm and how to plan your trip there.
1) What is the Höllentalklamm Gorge
When you are dealing with mountainous terrain, rivers, and valleys, odds are you will come across some gorges as well.
At Höllentalklamm Gorge, also known as Hell Valley / Hollental Valley Gorge, you will come across a magnificent turquoise river making its way between the narrow rock walls. With waterfalls coming down from the river itself as well as off the side of the gorge walls, it really is one of the best natural attractions you could ask for.
The pathway is etched within the wall itself, with plenty of small tunnels sprawled throughout. Be careful though as you walk through because you can get wet! But at the end of the day it really is all part of the experience.
To reach the gorge, you first will need to make the 1 hour walk from the small town of Hammersbach towards the gorge entrance. Once there you can pay the entrance fee, make the 30-40 minute walk through the gorge, and then turn back around to the starting point.
Below are some stats of the Höllentalklamm Gorge hike:
Starting & Ending Point: Hammersbach Village
Destination: Höllentalklamm Gorge
Length: 8.2 kilometers / 5.1 miles (round trip)
Duration: 3 Hours (round trip)
Elevation Gain: +508 meters / +1,667 feet
Terrain: Gravel, Even Rock
2) Map & Parking
Below you can see a Google Maps view of the directions from the town of Garmisch Partenkirchen to one of the parking lots located at the beginning of the trail.
Simply type in “Wanderparkplatz P2 (Hammersbach in Grainau)” into Google Maps and that should take you to a parking lot that is just minutes away from the trailhead.
Parking in the lot costs 8 Euros for the day. There are some other lots nearby as well so if you see a better rate feel free to use another lot instead.
» If you do not have your own car, you can also reach Hammersbach by bus. The Eibsee bus route stops by the town and takes about 20 minutes.
Besides for the directions and trailhead, I also have starred the starting and ending points of the gorge.
3) Opening Hours and Ticket Cost
The Höllentalklamm Gorge is only open when the trail is free of snow. Usually that means the gorge opens in the middle of May and then closes at some point in late October.
If you are planning a visit just around those opening/closing times, I would advise to reach out the Garmisch Partenkirchen tourism board closer to your trip dates.
The nice thing about the gorge, is that during those opening months (~May to October) it is open 24 hours a day. So, if you are trying to enjoy an early or late hike, you will have no worries about heading there at whichever hour you choose.
Ticket prices to enter Höllentalklamm Gorge are as follows:
Adults: 5 Euro
Children (7-17 years): 1 Euro
Children (0-6 years): Free
IMPORTANT NOTE: if you enter before the ticket counter is open, you simply will just need to purchase a ticket on the way out. This means either way you must keep your ticket since they do check when you exit the gorge. Same thing applies for those hiking down from Alpspitze.
4) What to Bring
As mentioned earlier, you will get a bit wet from time to time as you are walking through the gorge. If you don’t want to get your clothes wet, be sure to bring a rain jacket along with you and some waterproof shoes.
You can take a look at this Hiking Packing List I put together that includes many items that can be helpful on the trail, some of which are:
Hiking Shoes | Keen Targhee
Water Bottle | CamelBak Chute
Action Camera | GoPro Hero 9
Rain Jacket | Columbia Watertight II
Backpack Rain Cover | Joy Walker Cover
Portable Charger | Anker Powercore
Hiking Backpack | Osprey Talon 22
5) Where to Stay in Garmsich Partenkirchen
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 visiting Höllentalklamm:
Mid Range: Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten | Biohotel Garmischer Hof
Book Your Stay at Biohotel Garmischer Hof Today!
6) Höllentalklamm Gorge Hike
Now that you have some background about the gorge, let’s dive into each section of the Höllentalklamm Gorge hike and what to expect as you make your way along the trail.
A) Hammersbach → Höllentalklamm
The first portion of the hike is actually getting to the entrance of the gorge. The trail starts in the town of Hammersbach (pin pointed on the map above), where you will then see signs pointing you in the right direction.
From Hammersbach to the gorge entrance, the hiking signs say it takes 1 hour, although I would say you could get there a bit faster than that based on your hiking abilities.
The majority of this portion of trail will be in the forest on an easy gravel stone path as you walk alongside the beautiful river.
You will continue to follow the river as you head into and out of the forest until you reach the Höllentalklamm Gorge entrance.
During this portion of trail you will be gaining around 300 meters / 984 feet of elevation over a course of 2.8 km / 1.7 miles. By the time you reach the entrance, you should get some nice elevated views of the forest behind you.
Once you reach the small hut, pay the entrance fee and get ready for the gorge itself!
B) Höllentalklamm Gorge
From the gorge entrance, you will begin to see how the walls begin to narrow and you will now be able to walk along a boardwalk that hovers above the river down below.
The gorge itself should take about 30-40 minutes to walk through and lasts a little over one kilometer (0.6 miles) long.
The boardwalk will end and you will soon be walking the path that is etched within the gorge walls. The pathway will have several stair sections as you continue your way up river and past several smaller waterfalls.
At some point the pathway will turn into short tunnels as you head into the darkness until the it opens up again. Be on the lookout here for plenty of water coming down from the sides of the gorge walls on the pathway itself.
You can definitely get a bit wet in some spots and also be careful with your footing as it can get quite slippery as well.
The pathway continues alongside the narrow gorge as you continuously take in some fantastic views of the turquoise river and the rest of the gorge out in front of you.
Soon enough the gorge will be begin to widen into the valley out back as you finish up the second part of the trail
C) The Hike Back
Now that you have completed the hike through Höllentalklamm, it is time to head back on the same path you came on. If you have some additional time to spare, you could also continue the hike down the valley to the Höllentalangerhütte, about 30 more minutes down the river.
If not, simply turn right back around as you get to enjoy the gorge a second time heading back to the entrance as you get the opportunity to see the gorge from both angles.
Once back at the gorge entrance hut, it is time for the downhill walk back to Hammersbach. This should take you a bit shorter than before (maybe 45 minutes or so) since it is all downhill.
7) Combining with Alpspitze
if you are looking to climb up or down Alpspitze then you can also combine that with the route through the Höllentalklamm Gorge. Just beyond the Höllentalangerhütte you can catch the trail that zig zags its way up Alpspitze. From the hut, you are looking at about a 4 hour climb.
Another option though is to take the cable car up Alpspitze and then hike down the valley, past the Höllentalangerhütte, and onto the Höllentalklamm Gorge. Since it is all downhill, it can be much easier for some to take part in.
» Interested in heading to the Alpspitze summit? Check out the Alpspitze Via Ferrata Guide on the site.
8) Combining with Zugspitze
You can also combine Höllentalklamm with a hike up Germany’s tallest peak – Zugspitze. From the Höllentalangerhütte you are looking at a 6 hour climb but this requires Via Ferrata gear and crampons to cross the glacier near the top of the mountain.
I would only recommend you doing so if you have the relevant Via Ferrata experience. If you would like to climb Zugspitze on a normal hiking trail I would recommend checking out the Zugspite Reintal Route Guide up on the site.
That about does it for a trip through the Höllentalklamm Gorge. If you have any questions or comments about the hike, feel free to write them in below. Have fun out there and safe travels!