Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm in German) is a narrow river gorge in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Upper Bavaria, Germany. It’s a spectacular natural landmark defined by steep, massive rock walls and icy-blue water.
This justifiably popular attraction captivates over 200,000 visitors each year. Kati and I usually shy away from such places, but I’m so very glad we didn’t overlook this one. Walking through the Partnachklamm feels like stepping into Rivendell, or some such high-fantasy epic setting.
A beautifully-engineered path cuts through the 700-meter-long Partnach Gorge, allowing easy access for visitors of all ages. Though the path is mostly level and easy, it’s important to wear sturdy shoes with grip, to avoid slipping.
The hike through Partnachklamm gorge only lasts 20 minutes. However, it take an added 20-25 minutes to reach the Partnach gorge entrance from the Garmisch Olympia Stadium (Olympia-Skistadion in German) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The hike starts at the Olympia Stadium, because it’s not possible to drive, or take a bus, all the way to the Partnach Gorge entrance.
Most visitors will hike the Partnach Gorge trail out-and-back (1:20 hours). However, we recommend extending the Partnachklamm gorge hike to Berggasthof Eckbauer and Wamberg. This delightful circuit trail takes 4 hours.
For those of you deciding between the Partnachklamm Gorge and the wilder Höllentalklamm gorge, we’d urge you to visit both.
Complete Guide to the Partnach Gorge Hike in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Trailhead: Garmisch Olympia Stadium | Google Maps
- Distance: 12.1 km circuit
- Time Needed: 4:10 hours
- Difficulty: Easy / Suitable for Children and Dogs
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 449 meters
- Minimum Elevation: 725 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 1230 meters
- Where to Eat & Drink: Kaiserschmarrn-Alm, or Berggasthof Eckbauer
- Toilets: There are public restrooms at the Karl-und Martin-Neuner-Platz, Partnach Gorge ticket area, and the various huts and restaurants along the route.
- Where to Stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Olympiahaus (budget), Quartier – Lodges Biohotel (midrange-luxury), or Werdenfelserei (luxury)
- Where to Stay in Grainau: St. Anton (budget), or Hotel Längenfelder Hof (midrange-luxury)
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Partnach Gorge Hiking Map
Visiting Partnachklamm Gorge
The Partnach Gorge is open all year long. However, the gorge can close unexpectedly due to weather conditions or sudden rock falls.
The opening times vary slightly during the year.
- June – September: 8 am – 8 pm
- October – May: 8 am – 6 pm
The last admission to the gorge is 30 minutes before the closing time.
When to Visit the Partnach Gorge
The most popular time of year to visit Partnachklamm is in summer.
In peak season (July – August), the gorge is teeming with visitors. To avoid the crowds, start walking to the gorge from Garmisch Olympia Stadium between 7:40 am and 8 am. Alternatively, visit 1 hour before closing.
Fall foliage combined with fewer tourists makes Fall an ideal time to visit Partnachklamm.
Winter is possibly the most dramatic time to visit Partnach Gorge. The water freezes, creating frozen cascades of icicles.
Early Spring is the most risky time to visit the gorge. Snowmelt may cause authorities to close the gorge for safety reasons.
- Adults: 6 EUR
- Locals and Guests with Valid Visitors Card: 5 EUR
- Children (ages 6-17): 3 EUR
- Children (ages 0 – 5): Free
- Persons with Disabilities: 4 EUR
- Dogs: 1 EUR
Tip: You can visit Partnach Gorge for free on your birthday. Bring your ID card to receive free admission.
You can purchase Partnach Gorge tickets with cash or by credit card.
The ticket machines are located close to the gorge entrance.
Hold onto the ticket for the duration of your visit. You must scan your tickets in order to enter and exit the gorge area.
For safety reasons, it’s not permitted to bring strollers, wheelchairs, bicycles, or boats (kayaks, etc…) into the gorge.
Dogs are permitted in the Partnach Gorge, but they must be leashed.
Where to Start the Partnach Gorge Hike
Garmisch Olympia Stadium
The Partnach gorge hike begins at the Garmisch Olympia Stadium (Olympia-Skistadion) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the site of a massive ski jump.
If you’re driving, park your car at the pay-and-display Olympia-Skistadion Parkplatz at Karl-u.-Martin-Neuner-Platz.
- Exact Location: Google Maps
- Parking Fee: 5 EUR for 24 Hours
- Payment Method: Credit Card or EUR Coins
From the Garmisch Partenkirchen Train Station, take bus line 1 or 2 (Ortsbus) to “Skistadion”. It runs every 25 minutes and takes 9 minutes. A one-way ride costs 2.60 EUR.
Alternatively you can walk 25 minutes (1.9 km) to the Garmisch Olympia Stadium.
Partnach Gorge Hike Description
Olympia-Skistadion Car Park to Partnach Gorge Entrance (20-25 minutes)
From the Olympia-Skistadion Parkplatz (car park), head to Wildenauer Strasse road.
Wrap around the Olympia Stadium, passing the Olympiahaus (budget accommodation). Soon you’ll reach the Partnach River, which you’ll follow all the way to the gorge entrance.
Continue along the Wildenauer Strasse road, following signs to Partnachklamm, Klammhaus, Graseck, and Eckbauer.
Shortly after pasing the Das Graseck Hotel parking lot and the Klammhaus restaurant and beer garden, you’ll arrive at the Partnachklamm ticket area and public restrooms. There are self-service ticket machines as well as a ticket booth.
After purchasing your ticket, continue following the river in the direction of the gorge. Pass the Pitzner Hütte dating back to 1895. Soon, you’ll reach the gated entrance, where you’ll need to scan your ticket to gain entry.
Partnachklamm (20 minutes)
The path steers you into the gorge, passing through a few tunnels.
The level walking path, secured with railings, hugs the left wall of the gorge, just above the rushing Partnach River.
Trees top the rock walls, while moss and other flora line the walls. In summer, parts of the gorge are remarkably verdant.
In other places, water sprays and trickles down from above, creating a staggeringly beautiful scene.
The end of the Partnach gorge trail is marked by a series of tunnels. While a headlamp is not necessary, you may want to use the flashlight on your phone to illuminate your path, if it’s too dark. .
Partnach Gorge Exit to Vordergraseck (20 min)
Exit the gorge and follow the wide gravel path along the river. After a few meters, turn left in the direction of Graseck (20 minutes) and Eckbauer (1:30 hours).
The forest trail, bolstered by wooden steps, bridges and railings, steadily ascends.
The path leads to Vordergraseck, a small mountain hamlet defined by alpine pasture huts, rolling alpine pastures, and even a hotel.
Pass the Kaiserschmarrn-Alm, another option for lunch and refreshments along the trail, and walk to Hotel Graseck – mountain hideaway & health care (luxury accommodation).
Vordergraseck to Berggasthof Eckbauer (1 hour)
At the crossroads directly in front of Hotel Graseck, turn right and follow signs to Berggasthof Eckbauer. Please observe the signs:
- Wiesen betreten verboten – Entering meadows is prohibited.
- Freilaufende Tiere! Hunde an die Leine – There are free-roaming animals. Dogs must be leashed.
Follow the paved path across the meadow towards the forest. Off to the right, there are unobstructed views of the Wetterstein mountain range.
At the next trail junction, take the left path, again following signs to Berggasthof Eckbauer (signed 45 min).
The forest path ascends along a series of switchbacks. There are benches planted along the trail.
The trail divides just before Berggasthof Eckbauer. You can take either path.
With its large scenic terrace, the self-service Eckbauer mountain restaurant offers the perfect setting for a mountainside lunch. Order your food and grab a seat and enjoy the views of Musterstein (2476 m), Partenkirchner Dreitorspitze (2633 m), Hochwanner (2744 m), Stuibenkopf (1924 m), Hoher Gaif (2288 m), Alpspitze (2628 m), and Zugspitze (2962 m).
Berggasthof Eckbauer to Wamberg (50 min)
Pass the Bergstation Eckbauerbahn (Eckbauer cable car mountain station) and follow signs to Wamberg.
After 300 meters, leave the main track and steer left onto the meadow trail, which ascends to a hilltop. Atop the grassy hill, a few benches signal to look behind you and enjoy the wonderful mountain view.
The meadow trail rejoins the lower gravel path.
Soon, the trail forks. Take the left path to Wamberg (signed 30 minutes).
The descent is accompanied by views of sloping alpine pastures, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the Ammergau Alps.
Wamberg to Olympia-Skistadion Car Park (45 min)
Wamberg is small mountainside hamlet clustered around Church of St. Anna, a white structure with an onion dome.
In Wamberg, turn left and follow the rocky forest path through the Wamberger Graben (Wamberger trench) downhill.
To reach the parking lot, pass the Kranzenbad swimming pool and follow the road on the sidewalk to the Olympia Skistadion.
Where to Eat around Partnach Gorge
There is a rich selection of eateries, restaurants, and alpine pasture huts along this trail. You will not go hungry. However, most eateries are not open daily.
Klammhaus is a riverside restaurant and beer garden located along the Wildenauer Strasse, the road that connects the Olympic Stadium with Partnachklamm gorge.
Pitzner-Hütte is a self-service hut set along the Partnach River, situated just before the gated entry point to the Partnach Gorge.
Kaiserschmarrn Alm is an alpine pasture hut located at Vordergraseck. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm.
Berggasthof Eckbauer is a self-service mountain restaurant with a large terrace facing the Wetterstein mountains. This is the most scenic place to dine along the route. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.
Where to Stay near Partnachklamm Gorge
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).
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, Höllental (Valley of Hell) and Höllentalklamm gorge (Valley of Hell Gorge), and the high summits of the Wetterstein Mountains, 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.
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
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
- Photogenic Mountain Lake: How to Visit Lake Eibsee
- Gorge Hike: Kreuzeck to Höllentalklamm Gorge Hike
- Via Ferrata Route: Alspitz 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: