Höllentalklamm (Valley of Hell Gorge) is a wild, narrow gorge located near the village of Grainau, at the foot of Zugspitze in Upper Bavaria, Germany. A thrilling, well-secured path leads through the gorge, rewarding hikers with a full-sensory experience of one of Bavaria’s greatest natural wonders.
Most visitors hike to Höllentalklamm gorge from the Hammersbach hamlet in Grainau, close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This is the fastest and most direct route (1 hour to the gorge entrance). However, a far more dazzling approach begins at the Kreuzeck cable car mountain station.
This moderate circuit hike is mostly downhill, which is a perfect option for hot summer days and acclimatization.
This Kreuzeck to Höllental valley hike strings together a panoramic peak, an incredible ledge trail, the Höllentalangerhütte mountain hut, and of course the Höllentalklamm gorge. It’s a short day hike which keeps on giving.
If there’s one hike you do around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, do this one.
Höllentalklamm Gorge Hiking Guide
- Starting Point: Kreuzeck Cable Car valley station | Google Maps
- Trailhead: Kreuzeck Cable Car mountain station
- Distance: 13 km circuit
- Time Needed: 4:30 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 587 m
- Elevation Loss: 1476 m
- Minimum Elevation: 735 m
- Maximum Elevation: 1815 m
- Refreshments & Toilets: Höllentalangerhütte and Höllentaleingangshütte
- Route: Kreuzeckbahn cable car valley station – Kreuzeckbahn gondola mountain station – Hupfleitenjoch (saddle) – Schwarzenkopf (optional peak) – Knappenhäusern (unmanaged huts) Höllentalangerhütte (managed mountain hut) – Höllentalklamm (gorge) – Höllentaleingangshütte (hut) – Hammersbach (hamlet) – Kreuzeckbahn cable car valley station
- Where to Stay in Grainau: St. Anton (budget), or Hotel Längenfelder Hof (midrange-luxury)
- Where to in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Olympiahaus (budget), Quartier – Lodges Biohotel (midrange-luxury), or Werdenfelserei (luxury)
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Höllentalklamm Gorge Hiking Map
Visiting Höllentalklamm Gorge
The Höllentalklamm Gorge is open from late May until late October, depending on weather and snow conditions. If there is snow, the gorge is closed.
During the open season, the gorge is open 24 hours a day.
Regular Prices (Nichtmitglieder)
- Adults: 6 EUR
- Children (ages 7 – 17): 2 EUR
- Children (ages 0 – 6): Free
German Alpine Club Members (DAV-Mitglieder)
- Adults: 2 EUR
- Children (ages 7 – 17): 1 EUR
- Children (ages 0 – 6): Free
As Austrian Alpine Club Members, we also paid the discounted price. To learn more about joining an alpine club, read our guide to Hiking in the Alps.
Where to Start the Höllentalklamm Gorge Hike
Kreuzeck Cable Car Mountain Station
This Höllentalklamm Gorge hike begins with the Kreuzeckbahn gondola ascent.
- Address: Kreuzeckbahn, Am Kreuzeckbahnhof 1, 82467 Gramisch-Partenkirchen | Google Maps
- One-way Ticket Price: Adults: 19 EUR | Youth (ages 16-18): 15 EUR | Children (ages 6-15): 10 EUR | Children (0-6): Free | Pricing
- Hours of Operation: May – June: 8:30 am – 5 pm | July – September: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm | October: 8:30 am – 5 pm
- Parking: There is free parking at the Kreuzeckbahn valley station.
Note: The Kreuzeckbahn gondola is next to the Alpspitzbahn cableway valley station. Make sure you take the right cable car.
Kreuzeck to Höllentalklamm Gorge Trail Description
Kreuzeckbahn Cable Car Mountain Station to Hupfleitenjoch Saddle (45 minutes)
Exit the cable car mountain station and follow signs to Hupfleitenjoch (45 min), Höllentalangerhütte (2:30 hrs), and Hammersbach (4 hours).
The wide gravel track leads towards the distinct Alpspitze peak. After about 10 minutes, the trail to Hupfleitenjoch and Höllentalangerhütte splits off to the right.
This narrow path comfortably traverses forested slopes brimming with wildflowers. Along the route, there are fabulous views of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Loisach valley, and surrounding Ammergau Alps.
With the Alpspitzbahn mountain station visible ahead, the path gently ascends to the Hupfleitenjoch saddle.
The saddle affords views of the Knappenhäusern miner’s houses (unmanaged), the steep Höllental river valley, and mighty Zugspitze (2962 m) – the highest mountain in Germany.
Schwarzenkopf Peak (20 minutes out-and-back)
When you reach the Hupfleitenjoch saddle, note the unsigned path to the right. This well-defined trail leads to the summit of Schwarzenkopf in 10 minutes.
The panoramic peak offers a stellar view of the Wetterstein massif and the Ammergau Mountains. It’s a worthy detour.
Hupfleitenjoch Saddle to Knappenhäusern (45 minutes)
Hupfleitenjoch (or Schwarzenkopf) marks the highest point along this Höllentalklamm day hike. From here, it’s a steady and continuous descent all the way down to Höllental valley.
Descend along the series of serpentines and then follow a dramatic ledge to the Knappenhäusern miner’s houses (private / not managed).
Along the wide ledge, sections of the trail are secured with cables. In dry conditions, these cables aren’t needed.
Knappenhäusern to Höllentalangerhütte (30 minutes)
The trail dips below the treeline and crosses the slopes of the Höllental.
After descending for about 6 minutes, the trail crosses a wide rocky stream bed. An iron rung and cable help you ascend to the trail on the other side of the steam bed.
The descent continues easily all the way to the Höllental valley floor and the Höllentalangerhütte mountain hut.
Höllentalangerhütte is a modern mountain hut (renovated in 2015) with unbeatable terrace views of the Wetterstein mountains, including Zugspitze, Kleine Riffelwandspitze, Riffeltorkopf, Schönangerspitze, and more.
We highly recommend eating lunch here, before continuing your descent. They offer a wide variety of Bavarian and Tirolean specialties.
- Payment method: cash only
- Seating: You don’t need to be seated. Grab any table you want.
Höllentalangerhütte to Höllentalklamm Gorge Entrance (40 minutes)
The path leads down the valley and crosses the stream bed three times, before reaching the entrance to the Höllentalklamm gorge.
Shortly before the gorge entrance, the trail splits. There’s an option to follow the Stangensteig route, which avoids the gorge altogether. If the gorge is open, there is no good reason to take this alternative trail.
Stay on the main trail and continue to the Höllentalklamm gorge entrance, following signs to Hammersbach über Klamm. Note: there’s a sign indicating whether the gorge is open (“geöffnet”) and another sign listing out the entrance prices. You’ll pay the fee upon exiting the gorge.
These will be the best 6 EUR you spend in Germany!
Höllentalklamm Gorge to Höllentaleingangshütte (20 minutes)
A series of tunnels and stairways cut through the narrow gorge, alongside the powerful Hammersbach river.
At certain points – including the very onset – the gorge path divides. You can opt for the tunnel, or the “outside” path. We always chose the outside path, as we wanted to see the gorge walls and Hammersbach river at every opportunity.
As you descend through illuminated tunnels and carved out ledge trails, you’ll hear the rushing water and feel it too. Water drizzles and sprays from above. Getting wet is part of the experience.
The Höllental gorge path is well secured with railings. However, it’s slippery. Please exercise extra caution.
Shortly before reaching the exit, you’ll cross the magnificent Eiserne Brücke bridge. This is an attraction that is by no means overrated. It’s pure magic, even with all the people.
Höllentaleingangshütte to Hammersbach (1 hour)
After paying the fee, you’ll exit the gorge and arrive at the picturesque Höllentaleingangshütte hut, which is a very tempting place to eat a second lunch, or perhaps dessert.
It takes 1 hour to descend to Hammersbach. The trail more or less follows the Hammersbach river, mostly in forest.
This part of the hike drags on, but at least it’s shady.
Hammersbach to Kreuzeckbahn Cable Car Valley Station / Parking Lot (20 – 25 minutes)
When you get to Hammersbach hamlet, turn right on Kreuzeckweg road, passing the Maria Himmelfahrt chapel and Berghotel Hammersbach.
Follow the Kreuzeckweg road for 380 meters. Cross the train tracks and turn right on the Hammersbacher Fussweg cycling and pedestrian path.
This paved path crosses a dreamy pasture dotted with hay huts.
Follow this pedestrian path for 1.1 km. Turn right at the paragliding landing area to complete the circuit to the Kreuzeckbahn Cable Car Valley Station and parking lot.
Where to Stay near Höllentalklamm Gorge
Grainau is a village within the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, located at the foot of the Zugspitze massif. Though quieter and more secluded than neighboring Garmisch, Grainau is perfectly positioned for exploring Lake Eibsee, Höllentalklamm gorge and Höllental valley, and the high summits of the Wettersteingebirge, including Alpspitze.
Budget | St. Anton is a top-rated guesthouse with Lüftlmalerei (art murals) and traditional furnishings. Set in a wooded area with mountain views, this charming accommodation looks like a scene from Hansel and Gretel. Double rooms and apartments are available.
Midrange-Luxury | Hotel Längenfelder Hof is a lovely, family-run hotel surrounded by meadows and facing the Wetterstein Mountains in Grainau. This idyllic 4-star hotel features spacious chalet-chic rooms, a wellness area, an indoor swimming pool, rich breakfast buffets, and complimentary afternoon tea and cake.
Luxury | Eibsee Hotel is a 4-star hotel located on the shores of Lake Eibsee, at the foot of Zugspitze. Stay here for the idyllic location, lake and mountain views, and wellness facilities (indoor swimming pool, multiple saunas, sun deck, garden, hotel-guest-only beach). Welcome extras include free use of kayaks, canoes, and SUPs, the Guest Card Grainau, and free on-site parking (including day of departure). Breakfast is included and half board is available.
In winter, guests have access to a free ski shuttle, Snowshoes, ice skates and toboggans, and a 20% discount off ski equipment.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the best-known alpine resort in the Bavarian Alps. Lying on the confluence of the Loisach and Partnach valleys, this all-year-round destination offers the most in terms of dining and shopping. During your stay, stroll along the famous Ludwigstraße in Partenkirchen, dine at Zum Wildschütz in Garmisch, and explore the natural wonder of Partnach Gorge.
We also recommend taking a day trip to Oberammergau and nearby Linderhof palace.
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.
Midrange-Luxury | Quartier – Lodges Biohotel is a modern hotel with nature-inspired minimalist interiors. Suites feature untreated stone pine paneling, natural bed linen, and metal-free beds. Breakfast is included. The hotel restaurant serves contemporary regional specialities, Tuesday to Saturday, 2 pm – 9:30 pm.
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).
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 can 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
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
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- Alpine Town: Best Things to Do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Mountain Lake: How to Visit Lake Eibsee
- Easy Gorge Hike: Partnach Gorge
- Via Ferrata Route: Alpspitz Ferrata
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: