Monday, October 31, 2011

Day Hikes in Bavaria

The ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen -- really twin Bavarian towns -- is my base for several days of stunning day hikes. Surrounded by soaring peaks that rise thousands of feet above the forest clad valley -- Zugspitze, which rises to almost 10,000 feet, is Germany's highest  -- Garmisch-Partenkirchen clearly attracts those thrill seekers who savor a rush of adrenaline from navigating along craggy slopes at dizzying heights where sure-footedness is a must. But, I prefer a more easy-going approach to my aerobic activities, which is why I chose this serious of short and easy-to-moderate trails that, for the most part, can be tackled by the whole family.

1. The Philospher's Trail is aptly named. Along the three-mile path that courses from St. Anton -- with its fresco-ceilinged church --  to Farchant, you'll have plenty of opportunity to meditate on nature, whether you're gazing down at Partenkirchen from on high or settling into one of several well-placed benches that are inscribed with quotes from some of the great philosophers.

2. The Kramer Plateau offers several options, including an easy three-hour route -- that runs along the southern slopes of Mt. Kramer. After crossing wildflower speckled meadows, along the way, you'll notice chapels that were built as a soldier memorials as well as an old chapel (Alte Kirche) bedecked with 15th century wall paintings. 

3. The Slopes of Mount Wank offer lovely views of the awe-inspiring Zugspitz mountain range. This moderate hike that wanders through pastures and dense pine forests passes the thundering Kesselgraben waterfall. Taking the cable car to the summit where you can lunch at the mountain hut and then meandering on trails that network the middle and upper slopes makes for a leisurely and scenic way to enjoy this almost 6,000 foot mountain.

4. The Parnachklamm Gorge is really the best hike of the lot given that along the four-mile path you'll be walking through dark tunnels and across small footbridges along a rock ledge -- luckily, they installed a guardrail of sorts -- positioned above a cascading stream that's snuggled at the base of a sheer-walled gorge. It's a national monument that's full of sensory pleasures: you'll become wet, thanks to the tumbling waterfalls that you pass behind. Then gaze about and you'll see a window of azure blue sky above while the spray coming off the cascades provides colorful reflections of the broad bands of sunlight that penetrate this deep slit in the earth.

25 comments:

Donna Hull said...

What a gorgeous hiking area. These Bavarian hikes would be perfect for an active boomer like me - I'm a fan of the easy-going approach.

JTravel said...

Hi Donna, I think you'll really enjoy these hikes. They're all oh-so-scenic.

NoPotCooking said...

These sound fantastic. I am often so focused on the "tourist attractions" while traveling that I forget that the natural landscape is an attraction all its own.

Alexandra said...

A cousin of mine moved to Bavaria, so the chances of my going there just increased. I will note down these hikes. They sound amazing.

Living Large said...

Bavaria is so beautiful. We didn't have a chance to hike while there, but our daughter had her wedding in the countryside. It was awesome!

jcreaturetravel said...

Hi NoPotCooking, It's funny that I'm the opposite. Everyone I'm traveling with heads out for sightseeing and I put on my day pack and veer towards the mountains.

jcreaturetravel said...

Hi Alexandra, That's so cool that you'll have a great reason to visit Bavaria soon, perhaps. Hope you enjoy it and have a chance to check out even one of these hikes.

jcreaturetravel said...

Hi Living Large, That must've been wonderful to have a wedding in such a bucolic landscape.

ruthpennebaker said...

What stunning landscapes! The next time I'm in Germany, I'll tear myself away from the beer gardens to do something like this. Healthier, right?

jcreaturetravel said...

Hi Ruth, You're funny. But I always seem like the odd person out when I tell the locals that I don't like beer. Go figure.

Jane Boursaw said...

Oh my, what gorgeous photos. I would LOVE to hike this area.

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, Wherever I travel, hiking is one of my first priorities. Glad you enjoyed my post.

Sheryl said...

I love to hike - and these hikes look like they are beautiful and fun. Too bad hiking boots take up so much room in your luggage, though, huh? Perhaps I;ll have an opportunity to visit Bavaria some day

merr said...

My word, those photos make me wish I could go there immediately. What a terrific outdoor trip. My husband would LOVE it!

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, What I do with the hiking boots is wear them on the plane. Then I pack a pair of sandals and a foldable pair of Mary Janes. And it all goes in my carry-on - no checked luggage.

JTravel said...

Hi merr, Thanks for your enthusiastic comments. I always try to include outdoor adventures on my travels. Hoping you and your husband can check out any of these hikes if you have a chance to visit Bavaria.

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

I always wear my biggest pair of boots on the plane too - it's a minor inconvenience through security, but completely worth avoiding the hassle of checked luggage!

JTravel said...

Hi Casey, That's cool that you're part of the savvy packing club, too! Wearing the bulkiest pieces of clothing on the plane is the way to go to avoid checking luggage and all the fees attached to that.

MyKidsEatSquid said...

Wow, what amazing pictures. The philosopher's trail would be my first pick just for the name alone.

Steve said...

I am so excited for my European vacation in the spring of next year. So much to see and do!

JTravel said...

Hi MyKidsEatSquid, The Philosopher's Travel is one of my favorites, also.

JTravel said...

Hi Steve, If you need any suggestions for your Euro trip in 2012, don't hesitate to contact me. Have a great time.

JTravel said...

Hi Lewis, If you love nature like I do, Bavaria couldn't be more perfect. (Plus, they have great pastries.)

simply said...

What a brilliant post, thanks a lot.

Josh @ Green Global Travel said...

These look like great places to go for an easy hike while exploring the beautiful nature in Bavaria. The Parnachklamm Gorge especially looks exciting with its dark tunnels and cascades.

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