Winter hiking in Bavaria is one of the most magical experiences you will ever have! Hiking through snowy paths, surrounded by mystical forests, it’s simply unforgettable. In this post, we want to share with you 3 of our top easy winter hikes in Bavaria, as well as some tips on health and safety to keep in mind while outdoors in winter.
A beloved pastime among locals, winter hiking in Bavaria is as popular as skiing, snow-shoeing, and any other winter sport that comes to mind, of course. But this is no surprise, as Bavaria offers an incredible variety of trails and routes, slopes and ski resorts to cater for all tastes.
But if you are more of a summer hiker you may be thinking, why go winter hiking in Bavaria? I mean, it is cold out there! Well, you are right, it is cold, but also so rewarding to sit and take nature in with a warm cup of tea surrounded by a winter wonderland after a nice winter hike. It has its risks, of course, but with some preparation and common sense, enjoying a safe, easy winter hike in Bavaria should be no problem.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR SAFE WINTER HIKING IN BAVARIA
One of the most important things to keep in mind while planning a winter hike in Bavaria (or any other place for that matter) is the weather and the risk of avalanches. While not everywhere snows, the Bavarian Alps and Pre-Alps tend to get their fair share of it. After all, they are a haven for winter sports enthusiasts from all around the world.
However, before venturing out to nature in winter, you should always check the weather and the current status of the avalanche warnings in the area you’ll visit. Being aware of this will diminish considerably the risk of needing to be rescued.
Besides being fully aware of the weather and location conditions, you should prepare yourself for any eventualities. For that reason, you should consider packing the following items and always having them at hand while heading out on a winter hike in Bavaria. No matter the level of difficulty of the chosen route or your proficiency outdoors, you never know what could happen.
Our recommendation is to pack the following items for every Bavarian winter hike is as follows:
- Walking stocks
- An emergency thermal blanket
- A light Bivouac sack
- First aid kit
- Plenty of snacks rich in nutrients
- Warm clothes and eventually a change of clothes in case you need extra layers
3 EASY WINTER HIKES IN BAVARIA
One of our aims is to continue integrating more and more local voices on Slow Travel Bavaria, after all, connecting with locals is at the core of slow travelling. So today we want to present to you our first local guest, Alex, a fantastic storyteller and guide based in Munich. He was kind enough to share with us his favourite winter hike:
The Hike up to the Rotwand is an absolute classic among the local mountains around Munich. With 1,884 m, the Rotwand is one of the highest mountains next to the Bavarian capital and easy to reach during winter. In addition to the unique nature, a real traditional Bavarian restaurant (Rotwandhaus) awaits you just below the summit. Fresh beer, Bavarian delicacies and an incredible view. What else could you want?
The hike to the Rotwand is an easy (winter) hike thanks to the broad forest path that leads from the Spitzingsee to the Rotwandhaus. This route takes around 2 hours. It takes another 20 minutes on a narrow but safe trail to reach the summit from the Rotwandhaus. Once there, relax and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of the Alps.
Attention, an insider tip follows! Bring a sledge and ride down from the Rotwandhaus to the valley. It’s so much fun, but please be careful. With the sledge it’ll only take 30 minutes, on foot, it takes around 1,5 hours.
The Rotwand is an all-round beautiful winter hike near Munich. It’s technically not difficult but requires a certain level of fitness.
Distance: 15 km
Duration: 4:00 h
Altitude: 850 m
Good to know: As already mentioned earlier on in this post, in winter, you should always check the avalanche warning service and the general weather conditions. Appropriate equipment, sufficiently warm clothing and winter hiking boots are a must.
You can find Alex on Instagram at @alex.munichstories, where he shares bits and pieces of the fascinating history of Munich, as well as outdoors tips, it is well worth a visit.
Partnachklamm Gorge Hike
Around the corner from the 1936 Winter Olympics ski jumping hill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, hides one of the most beautiful easy winter hikes in Bavaria. This route takes you through forested paths to the imposing Partnachklamm Gorge. At 80 metres deep, a well-kept path leads you through the canyon. It is more breathtaking than usual during cold and icy winter days when the icicles decorate the passageways along the trail, giving the route an eerie feel.
After 699 metres, you come out at the other side to an unforgettable view of the river with the Alps as the sole backdrop. If you follow the path forward, you will arrive at a crossroads where you can take a break and enjoy the view with a warm cup of tea from the thermos you packed 😉 Here you will find several routes that would take you further up towards the Alps, including the popular Zugspitze. However, we would not recommend attempting this during the winter months as it can be quite dangerous.
For a bit of a change of scenery, you can do the way back above the gorge. This route includes crossing over the Iron Bridge Brücke, located a whopping 68 metres above the canyon.
All in all, it is a great and easy winter hike to start the season or between ski sessions. However, they recommend checking their website before heading there as due to weather changes the gorge may remain closed at any given time without prior notice.
Unfortunately, this route is not accessible for visitors in wheelchairs or families with buggies.
Entry fee: 6€ (5 if you are staying in the area)
June to September: 06.00 a.m. – 08.00 p.m.
October to May: 08.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Rießloch Waterfalls in the Bavarian Forest
Shortly after entering the small town of Bodenmais in the Bavarian Forest, you find a hikers’ parking lot you would easily miss if you were not looking for it. Several cars are parked already but not nearly as full as other more popular parts of Bavaria. Surprising, because it’s one of the most magical places I have been to since moving to Bavaria.
Following the path leading up from the parking lot, you’ll soon come to a dense forest. The stone path, shaped by centuries, is covered in thick green moss. It’s peaceful with the murmur of the water flowing cheerfully. If you didn’t know better, you could almost hear the mystical creatures singing, as the 200-metre high waterfall appears.
The climb runs along the seemingly endless waterfall to the top and leads further to the Kleiner Aber and Großer Aber, two of the summits in the area. The climbs to the mountain tops are not too challenging. However, unless you go prepared, I wouldn’t recommend following the routes.
Anyhow, the Rießloch Waterfalls route is an easy hike perfect for anyone who wants to go winter hiking in Bavaria outside the usual areas, but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time outside.
Parking lot: 49.08084486821737, 13.107060146215852
Distance 4 km
Altitude 220 m
Duration 1:30 h
These 3 easy and beautiful winter hikes are perfect for a nice day out in nature during the colder months. There are plenty more and we will keep updating this space regularly with new routes.
And one last thing, please, while out in nature be respectful of your surroundings. Not just towards the locals but also the plants and animals that call whatever area you are visiting their home. As simple as, treat others and your surroundings as you would like to be treated and don’t leave trash behind!
P.S. If you know of a wonderful route for winter hiking in Bavaria that you would like us to add to this list, get in touch here.