Hiking in the Zugspitz region near the Ammergau Alps
TM/ Dietmar Denger

Cool off on these hikes in the Zugspitz region 

Emile Nkwetchou

The south of Bavaria is blessed with a lot of water: the Isar, countless clear mountain lakes and wet gorges. Refreshment on hot summer days is guaranteed on one of these great hikes in the Zugspitz region! 

Hike through the Höllentalklamm – 11 kilometers, approx. 6 hours

Höllentalklamm: That doesn’t exactly sound like fun. However, the name is deceptive, because the gorge in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen near Grainau is ideal for escaping the summer heat. The starting point of the hike is the hikers’ car park in Hammersbach. From here, it takes about 60 minutes on foot to the Höllentaleingangshütte. Once there, a wondrous natural spectacle awaits you: two gigantic mountain ridges. Between them: the roaring Hammersbach and waterfalls that plunge into the valley. The rock walls rise up a proud 150 meters vertically on both sides. Above the mountain stream, the path is blasted into the rocks, well secured, leading again and again through tunnels and right along the abyss. A head for heights is therefore a prerequisite! You cross the gorge and take the same path back – with a surprisingly new perspective. 

Weatherproof clothing and sturdy shoes are a must for crossing the Höllentalklamm, because cool temperatures can be expected in the gorge even in summer and the paths are extremely wet. One thing is clear: This hike in the Zugspitz region will bring some people to the edge of their strength – but this adventure is not easily forgotten! The Höllentalklamm is only open in summer and not in all weathers, so be sure to inform yourself beforehand. 

Man hiking in Höllentalklamm near Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Circumnavigation of Staffelsee – 21 kilometers, approx. 6 hours 

If you want to combine hiking with swimming, you should go to Staffelsee! The lake, surrounded by impressive mountain peaks, can be circled in a beautiful and flat hiking route of 21 kilometers. The view is always on the seven islands that rise out of the water in the lake – on Wörth, there are still remains of the former monastery. The best thing about the hike: In between you can take a break at various bathing spots. The Staffelsee is one of the warmest lakes in Bavaria with great water quality and therefore perfect for cooling off without much effort! But beware, bathing in the lake is not allowed everywhere. About halfway through, there is an outdoor pool and a beer garden where you can refresh yourself. If you want to shorten this hike in the Zugspitz region, you can take the boat back to the starting point from Gasthof Alpenblick. 

Beautiful hike in the Zugspitz region at Staffelsee
Das Blaue Land/ Wolfgang Ehn

Bayersoier-See circuit – 5 kilometers, approx. 1-2 hours 

Raised bogs are becoming increasingly rare in Germany. Bad Bayersoier is therefore one of the few places in Germany where there are still moors. In the heart of this moorland is the Bayersoier See, which the locals like to simply call Soier See. Gentle moor water awaits you here in a magnificent natural setting between the Ammergau Alps.

And the most important thing you will find here: peace. Even in summer, it is not overcrowded at Bayersoier See and you can find a quiet spot. At an official bathing area (with admission), there is a kiosk that provides the essentials.

With a circumference of five kilometers, the lake is quite small and therefore very easy to navigate. During the tour, there are various stations that bring young and old closer to the moor as a habitat – including a barefoot course where you can feel different surfaces. 

View of a town in the Ammergau Alps
TM/ Dietmar Denger

Hike to the Kuhaway Waterfalls – 5 kilometers, 1-2 hours 

It is one of the largest waterfalls in Germany – hidden in the Ester mountains near Farchant, a natural backdrop of the very finest awaits. From a height of 270 meters, the water of the Kuhaway Falls impressively rushes down in three stages. Nevertheless, the Kuhaway waterfalls are not very well known – and still a real insider tip. 

The forest adventure trail is a good option for hiking the Kuhaway waterfalls. The hike is also doable for children and with prams. On the way, there is a Kneipp pool and the path leads along the stream. It’s a real perfect family outing. 

Kuhflucht Waterfalls on a hike in the Zugspitz region

Isar nature adventure trail – 7 kilometers, a good 2 hours 

The turquoise Isar meanders from Munich through the meadows and mountains to the south and is an important habitat for the local flora and fauna. From the village of Krün, a 7.4-kilometer-long adventure trail leads along the shore. Inquisitive hikers can find out all kinds of exciting things about this unique nature trail on various information boards. A barefoot path, a tree telephone and various water features also promise fun for the whole family. And if you want to cool your feet in between, you can have a picnic on the flat banks and swim with a view of the snow-capped peaks. But beware: The Isar comes directly from the mountains and is incredibly cold! 

Mountains behind the Isar river somewhere in Bavaria