What makes a perfect holiday? Taking into account the impressive choice of outdoor activities in our holiday region Grainau, it is sometimes not that easy to make a choice. In the first turn it is important who you are traveling with. This time my mother is there - 72 years old, an enthusiastic hiker as long as the trail is not so steep. It should be a trail that we can start directly from the hotel and preferably classified as 'easy'. After a brief search we decide to spend our day tomorrow on the Kramer Plateau Trail (in German 'Kramerplateauweg').
Difficulty level: easy
Tour length: approx. 8 km (one way)
Ascent: 200 m
Descent: 250 m
10 Reasons for Hiking the Kramer Plateau Trail
- Except for the first ascent to the plateau, the trail is mostly level and easy to walk.
- The route can be altered at any point to meet your plans, there are multiple points where you can leave the trek and go down to Garmisch.
- The trail can be used in any season (except for extreme weather conditions), in winter snow and ice are removed.
- There are multiple benches along the way to enjoy a break out in the nature.
- The trail is wide enough so you can take a stroller or a wheelchair with you.
- There is a nice chalet restaurant on the half-way between Grainau and Lake Pflegersee, as well as at the Pflegersee and up at the Werdenfels Castle Ruin.
- The route offers great panoramic views of the mountains in the Werdenfels Area.
- There are info boards with useful or interesting facts all along the way.
- There is an option for a small excursion to the Werdenfels Castle Ruin that allows for an exciting look back on the local history.
- You can use public transport (bus or train) on the way back.
Start To a Perfect Day
7:00 am: The sun went up half an hour ago, the first daylight is coming through the hotel windows. Time to get up and get ready for the day, a shower makes one fresh and chases the last sleepiness away.
A glance in the weather app to keep us posted on the weather changes. Well, due to the time change yesterday the sunny morning hours have become shorter. However, it should be sunny till noon when the first clouds appear. Anyway, no rain in sight. We should start as early as possible if we want to get some sun.
8:00 am: Only few guests are there at the Werdenfels Restaurant – on Sunday many prefer to sleep a bit longer – and we get a free table in the 'winter garden' with an amazing view of the lake and the Zugspitze. A great mix of vitamins, protein and carbohydrates from the buffet supplies us with energy for the first kilometers.
On the Trail
9:30 am: Now we are ready for our hike that will take us from the Hotel am Badersee to Lake Pflegersee along the Kramer Plateau Trail. Through a small forest we come to Grainau and follow directions to the Höhenrain-Panoramaweg to get to Griesener Straße (B23). We cross the road to get to the Loisach River bank and use the small pedestrian bridge nearby to cross the river. Right from the bridge we start the ascent to the Kramer Plateau, which is noticeably more strenuous than the 'access ways'. The heart beats, blood circulation increases and in no time we get warm and ready for the long trek. Everything is fine, and the first flowers are smiling on the wayside, inviting us to a small break. This is the lovely liverwort (Anemone hepatica) that comes to bloom from March to April. The name 'liverwort', that does not reflect the beauty of the flowers, refers to the time when the the plant was used in folk medicine to heal liver and gallbladder illnesses.
Every ascent has its end and we can now enjoy the first views of the Zugspitze from above. However, the weather leaves much to be desired - instead of sunshine the sky is covered in clouds.
From here we start along the Kramer Plateau Trail.
Animal & Bird Watching on the Kramer Plateau Trail
The rising temperatures provide not only for plants blooming, but also for animals waking up from their long winter sleep. We should admit that bird feeders on the trail are also a great source of food for the squirrels. If you try to walk quietly, avoiding too much noise, you would probably be lucky enough to see a few birds - or a squirrel, like we did, - helping themselves to the free catering. And who would miss the opportunity, wenn food gets served on a silver plate? Here and there on the trees along the trail we notice jays, tits, jackdaws and sometimes woodpeckers knocking against wood here and there, however without showing themselves 'personally' to us. What a pity.
11:45 am: Exactly before lunchtime we reach the Almhütte Restaurant Chalet. The parking lot is already full, so we can only hope that we get a table, as we haven't reserved anything. At this early time we are lucky enough to get one. Most tables already show a 'reserved' sign but some are still free and we find a nice place next to the fireplace. The menu makes a fantastic impression. We order a pork neck steak with salad garnish and a fresh baked pork roast (the famous 'Schweinebraten') with potato dumpling and red cabbage. After all, after the first kilometers we have deserved a hearty meal.
Next Stop: Lake Pflegersee
12:45 pm: Following a prolonged break, with a full stomach we are ready for new impressions on the next stage of the trail. There hasn't been much change as far as the weather concerns, the sun is still hiding, but the visibility is okay. The weather forecast doesn't seem to be very reliable today. Over the next kilometers we enjoy some great panoramic views of Garmisch-Partenkirchen with the ski jumping hill in the background and the amazing mountain peaks, still covered with snow. To enjoy the glorious views, one must sit down on a bench to let the view produce the right effect. By taking a closer look, we discover small figures of alpine skiers making their way in curves down the slope in the distance. They are enjoying their perfect holiday as well. Soon after that we change from the Kramer Plateau Trail to the Pflegersee Trail to reach the lake with the same name. The Lake is still covered with a thick layer of ice, which looks like a vast white field under the Kramer Massive. The information board tells us a few facts about the lake: It owes its name to the guardians (in German 'Pfleger'), that managed the Werdenfels County in the period from 1294 till 1802 on behalf of the prince-bishops of Freising. The lake was artificially enlarged and was once used by the Werdenfels Castle governors for fishing and as additional water supply. Nowadays Lake Pflegersee is a beloved recreation area, especially in summer, and the Pflegersee Chalet is a popular restaurant for day trips.
2:30 pm: The cosy tavern is full and the only remaining place is at a big table that we share with other guests. This is a great opportunity for a lovely chat. After the hearty meal at noon we are now ready for the sweet - and what can be better than an ice? We have earned it! And for possible doubts, we still have many kilometers to get through, before the trail brings us back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Visiting The Werdenfels Castle Ruine And Back To Garmisch-Partenkirchen
3:15 pm: Quite happy with our second break, we proceed to the last stage of our hike. From Lake Pflegersee we go back until we meet the first sign to 'Ruine Werdenfels'. We follow the directions and reach the castle ruin after a few turns. The remains of a previously splendid facility, supposedly dating back to the 13th century, extend before our eyes on the elevation. Just like for many fortresses, the fortune was not very good to the building, so it gradually went into decay and was even used as a quarry for other constructions in Garmisch and Farchant back in the 17th century. Visiting the ruin is a rewarding time anyway, as the site offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Loisach Valley.
From the castle ruin we go down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Our tour ends at the bus stop next to the Hotel Sonnenbichl. However, the next bus is in 40 minutes, and as long as we are not very tired, we go to the centre on foot.
3:45 pm: Who would have thought that the sun would go out now and we can enjoy a few lovely moments - in the terrace of the 'Mohrenplatz Wirtshaus & Biergarten'. Waiting for the bus back to Grainau is a heavenly time with a cool drink and the sun shining on your face!
Pure relaxation – A great completion of a great hiking day
4:50 pm: Back to the Hotel am Badersee we take off our hiking boots and just throw us on the bed. The hike was great, but we feel the distance in our feet. So there's only one thing that helps: foot massage! While my mother prefers to relax in her room, I make my way to the Landhaus Spa.
6:00 pm: Just like magic, the skilful hands of our massage therapist Mrs. Urban bring new energy into my feet. She even managed to bring me to sleep. This is exactly how massage should work!
8:00 pm: Our perfect hiking day ends with a small but exquisite dinner.
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