*** Update 2021:
Please note that the gorge is closed until further notice due to the Covid-19 regulations and subsequent revision. Continue to check back at this Website for updates.
On our first overnight weekend getaway from our home village, we were itching to travel and find the gems Germany is known for. Since arriving in Germany a few months earlier, we wanted a place that offered skiing and snow in February. New to Europe, we wanted to keep it safe by staying in Germany before we venture out of the country.
We chose Garmisch-Paternkirchen in the Bavaria region of Germany as our first long weekend getaway; and our first stop, Partnach Gorge. There was so much hype and recommendations from many others about Partnach Gorge that we had to check it out! I had to Pinterest and Google the location. My jaw dropped as soon as I saw photos online, and I knew immediately this had to be on our list of things to do while in Garmisch.
What is the Partnach Gorge, you ask?
Situated one hour south of Munich is the idyllic German ski resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where you’ll find a natural monument (yes, it became this in 1912) of the STUNNING (emphasized) Partnach Gorge, aka Partnachklamm in Germany.
The Partnach River that runs through the gorge carved a 262 ft deep crevasse into pure rock. This resulted in one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the Bavarian region of Germany.
The incredible gorge is about 2,305 feet / 800 meters in length, with its walls rising to 263 feet / 80 meters.
Its impressive beauty with the Partnach waters running alongside the gorge, and water falling from the rocks, creating cascading waterfalls, makes it one of the most top-visited locations in the Alpine region.
At one point (like a long, long time ago), it’s been said that people who have tried to visit the gorge have risked their lives; but not to worry, there are safe pathways for visitors to walk along to enjoy the gorge.
How to Get There
You can walk, drive (which we did), or take the local bus from central Garmisch or Partenkirchen (BUS line # 1 or 2) to the Olympic Ski Stadium (Olympia Skistadion) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
There’s parking next to the Olympic SkiStadion for the Gorge (you will have to pay to park there via the parking meter).
We paid around 2,50 euros for parking (parking should be no more than 5 euros).
You can find more info for getting there HERE.
Restroom info, there is a WC (Watercloset aka bathrooms) located in the parking area.
There is a small fee (1 Euro) to use the bathroom, but for reference, there are bathrooms there.
I suggest now is a good time to use this bathroom because there won’t be any rest areas after this, to my knowledge.
Upon arrival to the parking area, be sure to check out the Olympic Stadium where the Winter Olympics in 1936 was held.
The huge Ski Jump is impressive to look at.
There’s some HISTORY to this place here, too, where Hitler watched the Olympics from the covered balcony of the Olympiahaus.
Plus, it was neat to check out the stadium with all the snow (they had a good 4 inches in the ground).
We did not have to pay a fee to view the inside of the stadium.
There is a small visitor informational desk before you go inside the stadium; I grabbed some free brochures of Garmisch.
To get to the gorge entrance, you must walk or take a nice horse-drawn carriage ride up that starts from the Olympic Stadium to the entryway (for a fee). So, driving to the entrance of the gorge isn’t really an option.
It is an easy 25-minute walk or 2km to the entrance of the gorge.
You’ll be able to see signs along the way to direct you to where you need to go.
We opted to walk the trail to the gorge.
It was a beautiful, scenic walk. The views were breathtaking and the horse-drawn carriage riding past us was almost like being in an idyllic dreamland.
There was still snow on the ground; there were still some ice and muddy areas along the way; we made sure to watch our step (especially for horse droppings).
At the end of the trail, you’ll come upon the entryway of the gorge where the ticket office is located to pay for your ticket. I’ll post the prices below.
Hiking the Gorge
The Partnach Gorge is the starting location for several hiking locations. I’ll post more on that below. For now, let’s take the well-known route through the gorge.
From the ticket office, we headed to the start of the gorge past the steel gate leading to the gorge’s caves.
Immediately, as we entered, the temperature was cool and misty. As we went in further… ahh ahh ahh (angelic voices), we were met with views of the majestic icicles hanging from the rocks of the caverns. It’s hard to describe, and pictures don’t do it justice, but it was one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to! A natural wonder for sure!
During the hike, it does get dark, so we turned our flashlights on (we used our phone light). The walls of the gorge were cold and icy.
Be prepared to take a good amount of time hiking through the gorge. We took our time taking photos along the way, though we let people behind us pass us by. There are several photo-op locations; though the lighting isn’t great, I didn’t care; I took as many photos as possible! That’s what Lightroom is for, right?
There are railings to ensure you don’t fall into the gorge and perfect to hang on to during your hike. For smaller kids, be sure to keep a close eye on them as the gap on the railings is quite big; a hiking or baby carrier would be ideal (be careful with low ceiling thresholds from the rocks, so you’ll have to duck your head). Also, be mindful, as there are two way traffics coming through from people walking back to the entranceway
***(update 2021, due to Covid restrictions, there is only a one-way route, so you will have to take a trail back to be able to hike back to your car).
Towards the end of the gorge, the hike does get slightly steep and slippery with the ice in the cave tunnel, but the railings are there for assistance.
Once you get to the end of the caves, you are rewarded with a stunning view of the river going into the gorge. Here is the view with the snow in the background.
During my research of this hike, I read there’s a rock formation sculpture viewing area after getting through the gorge, but I think it was underneath all the snow. Here, my little one is sitting in a rock chair.
From here, there is an option to hike further up to a hotel ForstHaus Graseck a 20-minute hike above the gorge. We opted to skip this as there was snow everywhere, and we had tennis shoes on that were not quite slip-resistant with the snow. The plan was to hike to the hotel, eat there, then go back down a funicular for around 3 Euros. Instead, we opted to go back through the Gorge instead of risk slipping up the hike to the hotel.
**** Update 2021: According to their website, Covid restrictions only allow taking a different route for this duration; no one is allowed to walk back the way they came in.
As per their website: The entrance from the south or a turn in the gorge is unfortunately not allowed. Hikers are asked to prepare for the longer and more strenuous way back via Vordergraseck, Partnachalm and others.
All in all, it took us a little over an hour to complete the gorge hike from the entrance and back. We took more photos on the way back; I wanted to make sure I had enough, lol. We hiked back to the car, but not before I bought my postcard—a small kiosk on the way back.
Other Hiking Locations:
As promised, there are several options to take when hiking the Partnach Gorge as the gorge is the starting point for many hiking routes.
The main gorge (the route we took)
Other hikes include the Ferchenbachtal Valley, the Reintal Valley up to Mount Zugspitze (the highest peak in Germany), and Mounts Eckbauer, Hausberg, and the hiking areas Kreuzeck.
Find more information on that HERE.
Good To Know
Opening Hours and Location:
*** Updated 2021 from the website
Please note that the gorge is closed until further notice due to the Covid-19 regulations and subsequent revision.
June – September
8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
October – May
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
*** the last admission is 30 minutes before closing time
Be sure to check their website for details of closures or openings. Sometimes closures happen due to security and safety reasons
***The Gorge is also closed after hours for safety reasons
Vacationers * & locals
Children / adolescents (6-17 years)
It’s easy to find it on your GPS as Partnach Gorge or Olympic Skistadion (or Olympic Ski Jump on google map) for Garmisch.
Per the website:
Suitable for families
Strollers are not allowed (I recommend a baby hiking pack or carrier for small toddlers and babies)- be careful with low rocks when hiking, so no one hits their heads.
Not possible for wheelchairs
Dogs on leash are welcome
Credit card payment is possible
If you are a hotel guest in the area, take advantage of the GAPA card for a discount. ( we didn’t know about this until after our visit)
Get there early or right before they close to beat the crowd! We arrived a little after 12p, due to the long drive we had to get here. However, we came during the winter season, so the crowd wasn’t too bad. I’d bet the summertime crowds are even crazier!
Bring a flashlight (or use your phone light). It’s hard. to see inside the caves in the dark. You could also bring a headlamp, this would help see through the dark areas.
Wear slip-resistant shoes; It can get very slippery.
Wear raincoats or water-resistant jackets; it can get wet in there. I got wet a few times with the icicles dripping on me.
I wouldn’t take an umbrella; it would just get in the way
Wear a jacket or lightweight jacket (during the summer)
Bring a baby carrier or hiking carrier for little ones, but watch for low ceiling thresholds. For small toddlers, keep them closeby as there are railings to hold onto during the hike, but there are gaps in between the rails, so I would recommend keeping your little on closeby.
Take plenty of photos! It’s so beautiful inside the gorge; we even saw a big glacier of ice from atop fall into the gorge! It was huge; no one was hurt, thankfully!
You don’t want to miss this! This Gorge is absolutely stunning; a jaw-dropping location. It’s such an easy, beautiful hike; it’s a hike like no other I’ve ever done before! We have only ever done it in the winter, so I am interested in returning for a summer/fall hike to see the gorge in its glory without the ice! It’s that beautiful, that I don’t mind doing a return trip! Plus, according to this SITE, there’s also a nighttime Torchlight tour you can take, which I am putting on my list! I hope this helps you plan your trip to Partnach Gorge. Until next time! Tschüss!