Munich – Partnachklamm: ~ 90 km (56 miles), 1h 20 min
Address for GPS navigator: Karl-und-Martin-Neuner-Platz, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Trip duration: 1 day
What to see: Partnachklam Gorge, Schachen Castle
Attractions in the mountainous regions include not only the summits, but also deep gorges. The famous Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) is located not far from Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany. One can hike in the gorge in any season. We went there in February, and despite the cold weather our trip was very interesting, even exciting. When considering this trip, take into account that in the mountains near Munich the temperature is well below freezing this time of the year. For a winter hike in the gorge it is necessary not only to dress warmly, but also wear suitable hiking shoes.
The road from Munich to Partnachklamm is in excellent condition even in the winter. However, traffic jams are frequent on the landstrasse (country road) near Garmisch because there are always lots of tourists in this area. One cannot drive straight to the gorge; it is better to park your car at the Olympia-Skistadion in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is about a half-hour walk from there to the gorge (in the direction of Wildenau), though in the summer one can comfortably ride in a horse-driven carriage.They charge €4 per adult to enter the Partnach Gorge. Every year, more than 200 thousand tourists visit the gorge, so almost a million euros go to the improvement of roads and tunnels in the mountains as well as to the rockfall prevention measures. The length of the canyon is about a kilometer (0.6 miles) and its depth is up to 80 meters (260 feet, which is a height of a 30-storey building). The beauty of the gorge is indescribable, sometimes it is breathtaking. We hiked on the rocky paths above rushing ice-cold waters of the Partnach River. This river is formed by the melting glaciers of the Zugspitze, and millions of years ago it cut through the mountains and created the Partnach Gorge. There are peculiar and strange ice formations similar to stalactites and stalagmites on the cliffs and in the grottos. They create fabulous, almost fairy-tale images giving a special charm to winter hiking. Those who like comfort can ride up to the exit from the gorge in a cable car. Of course, this may not allow for a total experience of the gorge hiking, though the views from the cable car are still spectacular. The gorge is spanned by a steel suspension bridge, which is a real adrenalin raiser. The view from the bridge is incredible.
One can hike farther from Partnachklamm to the Schachen castle (Königshaus am Schachen). This was a hunting lodge of the famous (or infamous as some might say) Ludwig II of Bavaria. It is quite a walk, more than 3 hours. Although it is not a real wilderness hike, and we encountered other villas or small castles along the way, we still felt the beauty of nature around us.
After this rather long winter outing we got quite hungry, so it was very convenient that there was a restaurant at the exit from the gorge.