High above the Chiemsee

Panoramablick über den kompletten Chiemsee vom Hochgern
This was one of the first tours i described on this blog, but never translated it into English. So I thought that I can make you dream in those times, where we can’t travel. This hike is a bit strenous at times but the reward will be a breathtaking view over lake Chiemsee and its surroundings.

I had a few days off and stayed at home. I do live in a region that is visited by millions of tourists every year, so why should I travel far. The weather was great and therefore there was no reason to stay at home other than writing a new post for you. 🙂

  • Ascent/Descent: 3,200 ft.
  • Length: 9,5 miles
  • Duration: approx. 5h

Getting there

It’s a bit difficult to get there by public transportation, so I took the car and drove to Marquartstein. Since I wanted to relax a bit, I didn’t take the highway and drove along side streets. There is a huge parking lot for hikers (2,050 ft.) in Marquartstein where a couple of tours are starting.

Ausflug zum Hochgern 001

Waldparkplatz Marquartstein

The strenous part

I opted for the Hochgern. It was already 11:30 a.m. when I started and it was pretty hot. But the trail led mostly through the shade of a forest.

Since I wasn’t in real good shape anymore I was short of breath real quick on this steep path. What am I doing here? Soon the path leaves the woods and I am walking along a road in bright sunshine that leads to the Agergschwendtalm. At least there still were some trees at times and I was able to walk in the shade every once in a while. After about an hour I did reach the Agergschwendtalm (3,400 ft.) .

And this was the point where I started to get great views of the surroundings. So I had a reason to stop a bit more often.

The trail continued steeply uphill and after a while my t-shirt was soaking wet and stuck to my body. But I really did enjoy the tour. It felt great to be in this beautiful landscape.

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The cross shown above was erected in memory of a worker that died in an accident here on the steep mountain slope. Such crosses are to be seen quite often across the Alps. After a while I did reach the spring you can see above. A most welcome refreshment. I first dig my arms into the cold water and then I cool down my head by splashing water over it. That feels great. I took this chance and sat down for a break and had a snack. But I hadn’t reached even the first goal, so I had to continue to drag myself uphill. At least it was getting a bit cooler up here. Finally I did reach a gate, telling me that I am coming close to a pasture. Shortly after I had this view:

Break with a view

I had brought two bottles of water but I did sit down on the terrace of the Hochgernhaus (4,800 ft.) and enjoyed a non-alcoholic beer. Actually I had planned to have a bite to eat here but I wasn’t hungry at all and so I just enjoyed the great view for another while.

The waitress looked at me with a pitiful eye since my t-shirt was really soaking wet by now. But there was a nice breeze up here and so it did try real quick. After about half an hour I continued my ascent. I guess that I have accopmplished the worst part of the tour since there were just about 800 ft. left to climb.

Up here I came across a few bizarre rock formations. I found this tree in the picture above the most impressing, fighting against the strong winds by growing crookedly. I have to admit that I didn’t walk all the way up to the summit. That would have been too much for me on this tour. And I realised that I will have to get in better shape. The fact that there weren’t that many people around up here did surprise me a bit. Most of the people I met were on the plateau here just beneath the summit.

Next to the trail there was this embankment leading to a rocky edge. I didn’t want to miss the vie from this point and had this WOW effect:

Blick auf den Chiemsee

Just brilliant and worth the effort

In front of me below my feet lies the complete Chiemsee. This is the third largest lake in Germany and is called the Bavarian Sea. This view alone was the biggest reward for the strenous ascent. Simply breathtaking!

The descent

At one point I had to let go this great view and start the descent. Since I didn’t want to take the same path as in the ascent, I decide to walk down via the Staudacher Alm. This path proved to be almost more difficult than the one I climbed uphill. It was very narrow and rocky and I had to concentrate on where I put my feet. But I did see a few more interesting things.

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At the Staudacher Alm I took another break and had another refreshment with a view of the forest and the rocky terrain I just had crossed. From here the tour became more of a stroll. Allthough the signs told me that I am still about 2 hours away from my car.

The pastures were filled with colorful flowers and the birds were singing. I can’t say for sure but in the middle of the mountain I heard a bird that sounded like a goose. I guessed it was a mountain cock. The tree trunk up above did catch my attention. The tree was dead but the form of the wood reminded me of two bears hugging each other. You can’t see it that well ont he picture, but if you use your imagination…

So I did reach the Schnappenkirche. Its official name is St. Wolfgang on the Schnappenberg. Nice to see that such a beautiful location would be named after me. 🙂

And again I had a view of the complete Chiemsee down in the valley.

The rest of this hike (about an hour) led over a small forest road through the woods. I had expected to be totally exhausted at one point, but with every step I felt better and did enjoy this easy stroll. Must be the crisp and healthy mountain air.

Here a few more impressions from along my way. And then came what I was hoping to see during this tour. Just when I turn around a bend I am standing in front of this alpine rose in full bloom. The locals call this bloom the „alp inebriety“, cause those flowers can turn a whole mountain in a sea of pink. Here there was just one bush so it wasn’t as impressive as I had seen it years ago in Austria. There I really came across mountains bathed in pink.

Ausflug zum Hochgern 059

So I finally did reach my car and surprisingly enough I wasn’t too exhausted. Here on the valley floor it was extremely hot and when I drove home over the highway I did open the window and enjoyed the fresh wind. What a beautiful day! That’s what a vacation has to be like.

I hope I have evoked some dreams in your imagination and that we can soon go out and see these wonders live again.


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