The Second Section takes the hiker from Eschenlohe to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The 20 km long section goes through the meadows and moor landscapes, past the famous 'Seven Springs'. If you are in the mood for more, you can make a detour to the Kuhflucht Waterfalls, one of the highest waterfalls in Germany. And the fantastic panorama of the Alps lies before your eyes all the time. Here we go!
Difficulty level: easy
Tour length: approx. 21 km
Ascent: 75 m
Descent: 0 m
Karte © www.ich-geh-wandern.de
Spitzenwanderweg Long Distance Trail – Experience the Natural Landscape in the Zugspitze Region Across 200 Kilometers
The Spitzenwanderweg Hiking Trail was introduced just a few years ago. This long distance trail leads you in 12 sections across 200 kilometers through the picturesque manifold landscape of the Zugspitze region. With a total elevation of 6.800 meters, this route is quite sporty. But it's worth the effort. The route goes through a number of alpine landscape varieties and lets you visit numerous culture monuments. The trail starts and ends in the picturesque town of Murnau. On the way you would have to spend two nights at the alpine chalets: the 'Soiernhaus' and the 'Schachenhaus'. Across 200 kilometers hikers enjoy tremendous views of the Alps, blooming alpine and moor meadows, deep blue alpine lakes, whirling torrents, the spectacular Partnachklamm and Hell Valley gorges, pre-alpine hills with panoramic views, cultural monuments like Schachen and Linderhof royal castles, as well as the typical Bavarian localities like Murnau, Krün, Mittenwald, Grainau or Oberammergau. There is a lot to discover on and aside the path.
Anticipation is the best joy, so we would hike one section after another, as the route will be a special experience for us locals as well. Sonja will walk the trail alone or sometimes with her colleague Polly. Follow us on the route!
Image © spitzenwanderweg.de
Section 2: From Eschenlohe to Garmisch-Partenkirchen
„Walking is an activity of your legs – and a state of your soul.“
Josef Hofmiller, German writer and Nietzsche researcher, 1872 – 1933
Without delay, next morning I start on the Second section of the Spitzenwanderweg Trail. Since this section ends in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, I simply take a train to Eschenlohe. The train arrives at 9.25 am, a brief walk from the station brings me to the starting point of Section 2, which is located shortly after the Loisach bridge. The morning is again very sunny, I feel the heat on my skin already in these morning hours. After a violent rainfall last night the air feels muggy, another shower is expected to come early in the evening. Hopefully, I will be at home by that time.
Just after the bridge I come across my hiking sign that shows me the way. In no time the streets of Eschenlohe are left behind and I follow the trail into the open meadows and pastures. The view is gigantic: the alpine ridges form a perfect panorama, not a single cloud is there to disturb the view. Although I see the mountains every day, this panorama is really something you can watch for hours on end. Its beauty is just fascinating. Now, a couple of kilometers later, the Spitzenwanderweg trail brings me to the first highlight: the Seven Springs of Eschenlohe ('Sieben Quellen').
The Mühlbach creek, which rather looks like a prolonged lake formed by the numerous streams and basins of the Seven Springs, can be easily seen from the dirt road. The area is fenced, probably for the protection of the waterfowl swimming on the water surface. Even from a distance it looks just amazing. Shortly before the path enters the forest, you can get close to the water. For some time I admire the reflection of the mountains in the turquoise water. And the hike has just started!
I now dive into the forest, and the cooling shade surrounds me again. The birds are twittering in the trees, but once again they prefer to hide themselves. A few orchids are blooming on the forest floor between the trees. Now I have reached, so to say, the 'official site' of the Seven Springs. Here, more than 1,500 liters of water per second gush from the karst springs. The crystal-clear spring water gets collected in basins and pools, which finally form the wide Mühlbach stream that flows into the Loisach river next to Eschenlohe. The place is signposted. Two children, apparently on a hike with their parents, are having fun putting their feet into the cold water of the Seven Springs. The water must be just icy. However, as a kid you get a different feeling of cold. I can remember myself jumping into the cool sea water - something I can hardly imagine now as an adult.
Trees and shrubs dominate the landscape both to my right and left. Behind the trees hides the extensive Prühlmoos marsh area. Every now and then the forest thins out, affording a view of the moor with the surrounding mountains in the background. The B2 highway runs on the other side of the moor. Seen from the highway, one can hardly imagine the beauty of this trail.
Just before Oberau, the view opens up again and the trail leads through the open meadows framed by the high mountains. The paved road is popular not only with cyclists, but also with rollerbladers - looks like they are using this section of the trail as a training route to prepare for their winter cross-country skiing activities. Before Oberau, I go by the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Golf Club, which seems to be very popular in hot summer weather as well.
Instead of going into the village of Oberau, however, the Spitzenwanderweg Trail branches off to the left and leads me away from the village again, out into the meadows and pastures. This section looks extremely busy. 95% of those on the route are bikers, so on foot I feel almost out of place. A few minutes later I discover a free bench with a fantastic view under a shady tree. Let's take a small break.
While the bikers on their mountain bikes, e-bikes and racing bikes are burning the road behind me in the direction of Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Eschenlohe, I peacefully enjoy the view from my bench, drink my water and enjoy my snack. Sometimes I wonder whether the cyclists really perceive the landscape to the extent I do. It's my firm belief that on foot you get much more of the surrounding nature, like spotting a bird or a squirrel up in the trees or listening to the sounds of nature.
After some 20 minutes my feet feel refreshed and ready for the next portion of the trail. The next long break is planned after Farchant, so now I just have to walk and walk.
The only thing that somehow bothers me is the hard paved road, but before Farchant the trail branches off to the left from the biking route. I find myself on a narrow path that goes through a picturesque natural landscape dominated by pine trees. It feels much better when the bikers are no longer there. Not that I have anything against bikers, but it's just nice when you don't have to look back every time when you have to change from right to left.
Slowly but steadily, I approach Farchant. Here is the turnoff to the famous Kuhflucht Waterfalls, some of the highest waterfalls in Germany. I have already visited them before, so I will skip this detour for today. However, if you haven't seen them yet, this makes sense: the waterfalls are fantastic and the route to the viewpoint is also peppered with smaller drops and rapids. I continue to the village, however, the trail doesn't go directly into the center - instead, it takes me past the water power plant to the Philosophers' Trail.
The Philosophers' Trail ('Philosophenweg') forms the last part of this hike from Farchant to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In fact, the Philosophers' Trail is a hiking trail on its own, which is extremely popular with the locals and can be used for walks, short hiking tours or jogging. There are numerous benches along the way, so I take one of these for my second break and enjoy some shade under the trees.
What could be better than a cool alcohol-free 'Radler'? In this idyllic forest, it perfectly complements the birds twittering and the other hikers, whose voices and footsteps are heard from the distance. My 'Radler' gives me the energy boost I need, so in no time I'm ready for the rest of my tour. I always take a bottle on long hiking tours with me. For many people coffee is the best solution, others prefer a Coke or an energy drink, but for me it's definitely the 'Radler'. So it's now time for the last march to Partenkirchen, there we go.
The Philosophers' Trail is a familiar terrain, I've been here many times with my mother, alone or with friends of mine. After a short time I see the roofs of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the distance. In the meanwhile, the sky steadily gets gloomy. No wonder - the rain should come in a couple of hours, first a light shower, but it should develop to a bigger rainfall in the evening. Good that I would be at home by this time.
As I go past the 'Schützenhaus' inn, whose terrace is full at this time of the year, the Werdenfels Castle Ruin shows itself on the other side of the valley. I continue straight ahead and reach the junction at the St.Anton Chapel after a few hundred meters. Here it goes down to Partenkirchen.
In Partenkirchen I stay on the main street and head to the railway station. I've been dreaming of an ice-cream for some time already, and there's a great ice-cream parlour next to the station. Here I buy two scoops in a crispy waffle - mmh, this is exactly what I wanted, and I've deserved it after so many kilometers! This is my prize for this great hiking tour on the Spitzenwanderweg Trail. Theoretically I can go to Grainau on foot, but the Eibsee Bus should arrive in just a few minutes. Enough is enough, five more kilometers would be an overkill, so I grab the opportunity and go home by bus.
Tips & Infos:
- Declared section lenth: 16 km, actual length: 21 km
- Walking time without breaks: around 4 hours 15 minutes
- Moderate hike, mostly hilly landscape, along paved, forest and dirt roads
- The Tourist Office unfortunately provides no overview map of the Spitzenwanderweg route. The official Spitzenwanderweg website offers no digital map either. Therefore, the best navigation is here.
- Public transport: Take the Eibsee Bus from the Hotel am Badersee to the railway station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, then take a train to Eschenlohe. On the way back you can take the Eibsee Bus already in Partenkirchen (at 'Sebastianskirche') instead of walking to the station.
- The hike is possible all year round, the route is maintained in winter as well.
- There are restaurants in Oberau and in Farchant.
- You can divide the tour in two segments, from Eschenlohe to Oberau or to Farchant and then from Oberau or Farchant to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Arrival and departure by train. You can take a train to get back to Eschenlohe if you need.
- In summer take sunscreen and headgear with you, as large parts of the route are open spaces without shade.
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