The Herzogstand Heimgarten trail is by far my most favorite hike in the Bavarian alps. It provides a spectecular panorama to the north with all the lakes of southern Bavaria. On bright days even Munich (about 70km away) is cleary visible. Additionally to a splendid view to the north, the summit is a perfect viewpoint for Karwendel and Wetterstein mountains as well as Ammergau Alps. And from the summit, the Walchensee and Kochelsee lakes complete the gorgeous panorama.
From Herzogstand to Heimgarten
The Herzogstand is perched above the Walchensee, the deepest alpine lake in Germany and a popular spot for water sports. We decided to take it easy and took the train and bus to the Herzogstandbahn, the cable car that takes you up over 700m in a matter of minutes, instead of a 3 hour hike up. If you decide to hike up to the starting point, make sure to start very early in the morning, preferably at sunrise. Also, make sure to be very fit, since the hike from Herzogstand to Heimgarten and all the way back down will take another 4-5 hours. Don’t underestimate it. It can be pretty intense during summer due to the heat or extremely rough in winter.
As we reached the top with the cable car, the views were already spectacular: breathtakingly beautiful. The first hour wasn’t really fun, though, since the trail to the Herzogstand is pretty crowded. You follow a zigzagged path and reach the Herzogstand within 30 minutes. The view of the Walchensee was even better than the view we had from the top of the cable car.
The ridge between Herzogstand and Heimgarten
After a little break at the Herzogstand, we were on our way to the ridge between Herzogstand and Heimgarten. This is by far my favorite part and definitely less crowded! It was part scramble in places where you had to use your hands on the rock and very narrow, less than a meter wide in some places and straight down on both sides. Although there was a chain on the scramble and narrow parts to hang onto, this path is not recommended for anyone afraid of heights.
You have stunning views over the Bavarian alps and will soon reach a point where you just cannot stop smiling. It takes roughly two hours to cross the ridge. The last 30 minutes are rough. It gets extremely warm, with almost no wind, during summer and you do need to climb some rocks. In winter, be very careful, since you can expect a lot of snow and ice.
The Heimgarten Summit
Looking back in the direction of the Herzogstand from the Heimgarten Summit, just makes you smile. Two summits in one day, with magical views over the Bavarian alps!
The trail down from the Heimgarten was mostly forested, but did have several views along the way. My personal tip: make sure to have the proper hiking equipment and very good hiking shoes. Your feet will be thankful. ;-)
photo credits: V’s World