Hoher Kranzberg (1391 meters) is a panoramic mountain above the town of Mittenwald in Upper Bavaria, Germany. It’s an attractive hiking destination, because it’s accessible all-year-round and affords dramatic views of the Karwendel Westkamm chain and Wetterstein peaks.
This Hoher Kranzberg circuit trail strings together two lakes, several mountain restaurants, lovely forest trails, and several lookout points.
Starting at the Kranzberg chairlift valley station in Mittenwald, the trail ascends through birch and spruce forest to the chairlift mountain station. The hike continues to the Berggasthof St. Anton mountain restaurant and then up to the grassy summit of Hoher Kranzberg, crowned with a small shelter and loungers.
The trail drops down the forest to Lake Ferchensee, where there’s a cozy lakeside restaurant. Gasthof Ferchensee serves warm food between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm and only accepts payment in cash. From here, continue along the road (or trail) to Lake Lautersee and circuit back to Mittenwald.
This hike isn’t strenuous. It’s a pleasant half-day excursion for anyone who wants fresh air, mountain views, and warm food along the way.
Kranzberg, Mittenwald: Easy Winter Hike in Upper Bavaria
- Trailhead: Parkplatz Hoher Kranzberg | Google Maps
- Distance: 10.1 km circuit
- Time Needed: 3:30 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 465 meters
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum Elevation: 967 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 1389 meters
- Where to Stay in Mittenwald: Pension Karner (budget), Post Hotel Mittenwald (midrange), or Alpenhotel Rieger (luxury)
- Where to Stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Olympiahaus (budget), Bader Suites (apartments), or Werdenfelserei (luxury)
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Hoher Kranzberg, Mittenwald Hiking Map
When to Hike to Hoher Kranzberg
It’s possible to hike to Hoher Kranzberg anytime of year.
We hiked this circuit trail on Christmas Day (December 25th).
If you hike this route in winter, it’s a good idea to pack microspikes like these CAMP Snowline Chainsen lightweight mircospikes.
There are several restaurants and huts along the trail, some of which are open in winter. Check opening times, because they change throughout the season.
It’s typical for many hotels/restaurants/huts in this region to close between November and mid-December (“Betriebsferien”). Most restaurants and huts only accept payment in cash.
- Berggasthof St. Anton – open in winter
- Kranzberghaus – closed for renovations
- Gasthof Ferchensee – open in winter
- Lautersee Stub’n – open May through October
- Seehof Lautersee
- Lautersee Alm – open in winter
Where to Start the Hoher Kranzberg Hike
Kranzberg Car Park / Kranzberg Chairlift Valley Station
The hike starts at the Kranzberg-Sessellift chairlift valley station in Mittenwald.
There’s a pay-and-display car park at the valley station: Parkplatz Kranzberg. You can pay in EUR coins or with the EasyPark mobile app. When we visited, the parking fee was 1 EUR per 1 hour (5 EUR for 5-9 hours).
Those arriving in Mittenwald by bus, or by train, should follow signs to “Wandergebiet Kranzberg.”
Shortcut. It’s possible to trim off most of the ascent by taking the chairlift (7 EUR/person). However, it’s a slow chairlift, which makes for a cold ride (in winter). And, it somewhat defeats the purpose of this hike. That being said, the best part of the hike is the second half, so if you have less time, by all means take it.
Hoher Kranzberg Trail Description
Hoher Kranzberg Chairlift Valley Station to Hoher Kranzberg Chairlift Mountain Station (40 minutes)
Locate trail 830 to Hoher Kranzberg (signed 1:35 hours), which starts directly at the Kranzberg car park, left of the chairlift station.
The trailhead is marked with a large trail map and the opening statuses of nearby huts and mountain restaurants. “Geöffnet” means open and “Geschlossen” means closed.
Trail 830 rises along paved and gravel pathways, at a very moderate gradient.
After passing an alpine chapel, the trail weaves up a beautiful birch forest, more or less beneath the chairlift line.
After about 20 minutes, trail 830 veers left to Hoher Kranzberg (signed 1 hour) and levels out for a while, before ascending once again to the chairlift mountain station.
Hoher Kranzberg Chairlift Mountain Station to Hoher Kranzberg (30 – 40 minutes)
Continue left to Berggasthof St. Anton and Hoher Kranzberg (signed 40 minutes).
Walk around the St. Anton restaurant to enjoy the views of the Karwendel Mountains and Lake Lautersee at the foot of the Wettersteinspitzen peaks.
The ascent continues behind the mountain restaurant up to Kranzberghaus and Hoher Kranzberg.
The summit overlooks Mittenwald, backed by the Karwendel Mountains, a subrange of the Northern Limestone Alps.
This impressive range lies mostly in Austria. In fact, it’s the same mountain range, which towers over Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol.
If you’re visiting in summer, also consider exploring more of the Karwendel range. We recommend visiting Grosser Ahornboden, a picturesque valley studded with maple trees and home to the picturesque alpine village (Eng Almdorf). Keen hikers can summit Gamsjoch Peak. Hut to hut hikers ought to consider the Karwendel High Trail.
Hoher Kranzberg to Lake Ferchensee (1 hour)
Winter Tip: When we hiked this circuit, the conditions were very mild (not a lot of snow/ice), so we continued to Lake Ferchensee. If there’s a lot of snow, it’s recommended to return to St. Anton and then descend to Lake Lautersee from there.
Retrace your steps down to Kranzberghaus and then follow signs to Ferchensee and Lautersee.
The path crosses the plateau along a flat trail in the direction of the Wettersteinspitzen peaks.
After 10 minutes, the trail enters the forest and gently descends. It’s a lovely, well-maintained path with no difficulty.
At various junctions, follow signs to Ferchensee.
Eventually, the path eases and intersects with the Ferchensee road. Turn left onto the road and walk to Gasthof Ferchensee – check opening times.
This is a great place for lunch. Just remember to bring cash.
Lake Ferchensee to Lake Lautersee (40 minutes)
Continue following the forest road in the direction of Lautersee.
In winter, this valley does not get a lot of sunlight, so the road is often encrusted with ice. Walk carefully and wear microspikes if needed.
The trail leads down to the lakeshore, where there are a few lakeside restaurants and swimming areas.
Lake Lautersee to Mittenwald (30 minutes)
Follow trail 828 to the “Mittenwald Sessellift.” This easy path leads to a few viewpoints overlooking Mittenwald.
If you didn’t park at the Kranzberg Car Park, you can descend to Mittenwald earlier along the Mittenwald über Laintal trail, which follows the Lainbach stream.
Where to Stay
With its fabled setting at the foot of the Karwendel Westkamm chain, Mittenwald is one of the dreamiest alpine villages in the Alps. The Altstadt is made-up of a pedestrian zone (Obermarkt street) lined with beautiful colorful buildings with intricate Lüftlmalerei (“air paintings”).
Budget | Pension Karner is a dog-friendly B&B in Mittenwald, very close to the Laintal Valley trail. This traditional guesthouse offers basic rooms with views of the Karwendel mountains. Guests love the breakfast, the host, and the quiet location.
Midrange | Alpenhotel Rieger is a 3-star-superior hotel at the end of the pedestrian street of Mittenwald with traditional alpine-style rooms and a wellness area (swimming pool, Finnish sauna, and steam bath). Guests can book half board or breakfast-only. Parking is free.
Midrange | Post Hotel Mittenwald is advantageously located in the storybook old town of Mittenwald. This traditional, family-run Bavarian hotel offers clean and functional rooms, an indoor swimming pool and Finnish sauna, and a charming on-site restaurant. Breakfast and parking are included.
Look for accommodation in Mittenwald.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is an alpine resort town in Upper Bavaria, close to the border of Austria. It’s a well-known destination for skiing in winter (late December to late March) and hiking and mountain biking in summer (June – mid/late September). During your stay, dine at Zum Wildschütz in Garmisch, explore the natural wonder of Partnach Gorge and Lake Eibsee, hike through Höllental Gorge, and climb up the Alpspitz Via Ferrata.
Budget | Olympiahaus is a traditional Bavarian guesthouse located at the historical Olympic stadium (where the ski jump is) and at the Partnach Gorge trailhead. The Olympiahaus features an on-site restaurant, breakfast buffet (optional), and free on-site parking.
Upscale Apartments | Bader Suites offers tastefully-furnished apartments (1-2 bedrooms) with well-equipped kitchens in Garmisch, walking distance to the pedestrian zone. Each unit is outfitted with air-conditioning, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. Guests enjoy free underground parking (e-charging station available) and the use of lockable sports equipment and bicycle storage.
Luxury Mountain Getaway | Das Graseck is a mountainside hotel set above Garmisch-Partenkirchen, accessible by the hotel’s own cable car. It’s a unique getaway perfect for those seeking a quiet wellness retreat. The spa is adults-only. The room rate includes breakfast and dinner.
Luxury | Werdenfelserei is a standout boutique hotel which artfully combines traditional and modern alpine design. Highlights of staying here include the Zugspitze-facing rooftop pool, on-site restaurant, spa and wellness area, breakfast (included), and creative architecture.
More options: Hotel Schatten (budget), Central Garden-Mountain Apartment (midrange), aja Garmisch-Partenkirchen (midrange-luxury), Obermühle 4*S Boutique Resort (luxury), Private Spa & Garden Alpi (luxury).
Look for accommodation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Bavarian Alps Travel Essentials
Bavarian Alps Road Trip
The best place to start a Bavarian Alps road trip is in Munich, where there’s an international airport. Here’s our recommended Bavarian Alps & Austrian Alps itinerary.
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in Germany. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.
Guided Adventures in Bavaria
- Day Trip from Munich: Full Day Tour to Germany’s Highest Peak: Zugspitze
- Day Trip From Munich: Zugspitze Tour: Groups of 4 or More
- Day Trip From Munich: Neuschwanstein Castle Full-Day Trip
- Guided Via Ferrata Hike in Garmisch:Alpspitze via ferrata guided tour (mid June – late September)
Self-Guided Multi-Day Adventures in Bavaria
- 8-Day Cycling Tour: Munich to Venice on a Touring Bike – Active
- 13-Day Cycling Tour: Munich to Venice on a Touring Bike – Relaxed
- 11-Day Cycling Tour: Breweries of Bavaria Bicycle Tour
- 8-Day Cycling Tour: Across the Alps on a Touring Bicycle: Garmisch to Lake Garda
- Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest
- Hiking Guide: Walking in the Bavarian Alps: 70 Mountain Walks and Treks in Southern Germany
- Hiking Map: Werdenfelser Land, Staffelsee – Kochelsee – Walchensee – Zugspitze 1:50 000
- Hiking Map: Hiking Map Freytag & Berndt WDK 4: Garmisch Partenkirchen
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Tamron 17-70mm 2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
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- Best Hikes around Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Hochplatte Summit Hike, Ammergau Alps
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Travel Guide
Germany Travel Guides:
- Germany Travel Guide
- Black Forest Travel Guide
- Upper Middle Rhine Valley Travel Guide
- Moselle Valley Travel Guide
- Ahr Valley Travel Guide
- Eifel Region Travel Guide
- Cologne City Guide
European Alps Hiking & Travel Guides:
- Best Day Hikes in Austria
- Ehrwald, Austria: Lake Drachensee Hike
- Ötztal, Austria: Aqua Dome Thermal Baths