Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Garmisch Partnachklamm Running Route

Click here for route map

Length 9 km (5.6 mi), terrain: slightly uphill but easy (gain 150 meters).

If you go to Germany, you'll probably stop in at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This scenic town is located at the foot of Germany's tallest peak, the Zugspitze (almost 3,000 meters high) and is the starting point for lots of memorable alpine hiking- and climbing trips.

Garmisch fountain
The fountain in the town center

One of the best sights in Garmish is the nearby Partnachklamm, a narrow gorge carved out of the alpine rock by a wild little river, the Partnach. The gorge has 90-meter-high cliffs on either side, and the walkway (mainly carved out of the cliffs) takes you right along the foaming water. I've hiked along a lot of amazing canyons in the American West, and I'd rate the Partnachklamm as being as scenic as just about any of them.

So here's an interesting idea for a running route from the town center out to the beginning of the klamm (gorge). Whether you turn around there, or you buy an entrance ticket and walk along the klamm trail and turn around at the end, or you could keep going out the far end (south) of the klamm to then follow a return trail above the gorge back to the beginning, that's your choice. The route map only shows the 9-kilometer way to the entrance. Add another couple of kilometers to hike the 700-meter-long gorge and run back on the return trail that takes you to back to the gorge entrance ticket house.

NOTE: Since this running route will take you to the gorge entrance anyway, I would recommend buying a ticket and seeing this really impressive natural wonder. You'll be glad you did! The gorge trail is open till 8 p.m. every day (it closes at 6 p.m. in the dark months) and entrance costs 6 Euros (you save a Euro if you are staying at a local hotel and have a guest card).

Along the gorge

This route will basically take you from the main street in Garmisch and then head south to the little farm roads out in the surrounding fields. At the Olympic winter stadium, the route connects into the klamm road and heads lightly uphill to the klamm entrance, going up and over a few small rises.

So, if you're ready to head out, lets meet at the starting point in the heart of town: Mohrenplatz, with its old fountain and biergarten. Looking at the fountain and biergarten, turn right and run northeast past the shops as the street curves to the right into Klammstraße. You now run south, past the St. Antonius Apoteke.

Garmisch Mohrenplatz
Mohrenplatz: head thataway!

You run past the stores, restaurants and hotels for the next few blocks, and cross the bigger street, St.-Martin-Straße. Keep running south along Klammstraße, but now it's quieter and greener. You can see the peaks of the Alps ahead in the distance.

You'll pass parking lots for the winter-sports arena, swimming pool and the cog-train to the top of Zugspitze (really worth visiting!) at the 1-kilometer-mark. Then Klammstraße ends after the parking lots and it continues as a paved pedestrian- and bike trail, heading between fields and small barns. You are already out in the exhilarating alpine vistas.

Into the fields
Heading into the fields

After you cross the train tracks for the Zugspitzbahn, turn left onto the paved trail called Hausberg. (NOTE: If you turned right, it would take you to other interesting spots, like Rießersee lake, some lifts to nearby peaks, and Eibsee, a big lake with a loop trail along its shores.) 

Hausberg trail
Hausberg trail

Heading east along the Hausberg trail, it follows the train tracks south of town. At about the 2.7-kilometer mark, the trail splits at a little barn. Follow the green arrow to the right, taking you towards the Partnachklamm.

Fork in trail
Fork in the trail: turn right!

At the 3-km-mark, the trail crosses the Partnach stream and ends at a little road, Wildenauerstraße. We're now right next to the Olympic ski jump straight ahead.

Olympic ski jump
Olympic ski jump straight ahead

Now turn right and head out Wildenauerstraße all the way to the gorge ticket house. There will be a lot of hikers who are walking to or from the klamm, and a few cars and horse carriages.



There are a few short rises that the road ascends, but no problem. Enjoy the scenery, listen to the whitewater cascading over the rocks, it's a great place to be.

Alpine view
Alpine view near the gorge entrance

There are a couple of small parking lots just outside the gorge entrance. The road crosses the Partnach just after the Klammhaus restaurant, and you'll find yourself at the ticket house.

This is the spot to either turn around and run the same way back home or to buy a ticket and walk (it's too narrow and slippery to run!) up the gorge. At the far end of the gorge, there is a gate. There you can exit the gorge and follow the dirt trail as it goes up and along the gorge back to the beginning, viewing it from above. Or you could just turn around and walk back along the gorge trail again.

I hope you enjoyed getting out into the fields and hills!

Monday, 3 May 2021

Best Canary Islands Running Routes

8 Island Discovery Runs

If you're heading to the Canary Islands, then you'll want to strap on your running shoes and discover the nearby towns, beaches and national parks. Here are eight great running routes on four of the most interesting Canary Islands: La Palma, Tenerifa, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.

Cumbrecita trail on La Palma

La Palma is my favorite Canary Island: no big hotels, lots of green hillsides, and a variety of scenery on one compact island. So I wrote up three routes to discover its amazing natural sites.

The Best Canary Runs

Barranco de las Angustias, La Palma: a route up into La Palma's huge volcanic caldera, following a river valley along rugged trails. Watch your step!
La Cumbrecita, La Palma: This scenic route follows a fairly flat trail along the side of the caldera, with gorgeous views at every turn.
Ruta de los Volcanes, La Palma: A run along a few of the newer volcanic cones along the south side of the island. A fascinating moonscape!
Agua Liques Trail, Fuerteventura: This flat, deserty trail crosses the sands of Jandia from Costa Calma to Playa del Agua Liques and the amazing cliffs along the west coast.
El Teide National Park, Tenerifa: This short but very scenic trail explores some of the impressive rock formations below El Teide Peak. Don't miss it!
Playa de las Americas, Tenerifa: Most folks stay in the sunny, beachy area of Playa de las Americas to the Costa Adeje. This waterside run lets you explore the area from its best side.
San Augustin, Gran Canaria: This beach run takes you north from the main tourist town of Playa del Ingles to nearby San Augustin, with its amazing cliffs.
Maspalomas, Gran Canaria: Maspalomas has its wide sand dunes and its lighthouse, and a nice stretch of beach. Explore it with this great route.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Kodachrome Basin Running Route

Click here for route map

Length 2.9 km (1.8 mi), terrain: flat and easy (gain 83 meters), but with occasional bad footing, watch your step!

Utah is really blessed with natural wonders. One of my favorite spots, Kodachrome Basin State Park, is magical enough to be a national park, if it were located anywhere else. But in Utah, with its five national parks and a multitude of national monuments, Kodachrome keeps a low profile, hiding in the canyons just east of Bryce.

One of the many rock chimneys

The basin is full of rock chimneys, and lined by spectacular cliffs, with red rock foundations and white peaks rising above. Ancient, weathered junipers dot the dusty basin floor. Abundant slickrock (smooth, pillow-shaped, solid-rock hills) make for inviting climbs. It's the perfect hangout for just about anyone of any age or condition.

Juniper before the slickrock

There are a variety of trails in Kodachrome. This route follows a flat trail called the Grand Parade Trail.

This is a short and easy trail, a great way to get out and explore a bit more of the park, right near the Basin Campground. There are several other trails right there that you can combine with this to create an even longer route:

  • The short but beautiful Nature Trail
  • Angel's Palace Trail, which heads up to a plateau with views above the basin floor
  • Panorama Trail, with two different loop distances available

Audobon quote
Great quote from John James Audobon on Nature Trail

You can start the Grand Parade from two spots: one is just 150 meters south of the Basin Campground, or you can also start at the parking lot for the Panorama Trailhead, along the park road.

The Panorama Trail heads west of the trailhead, the Grand Parade to the east. The trail is fairly simple to follow, the trail hikers and runners have worn deep ruts along a lot of the way. There are occasional dry washes that cross the trail, and you have to find the trail again after crossing.

View near the trailhead

This route loops it counterclockwise, but it doesn't really matter which way you go. There are two box canyons along the Grand Parade: box canyon is a canyon that dead-ends into an the surrounding cliffs. Make sure to turn into and explore them along the way!

So off we go, turning right at the first junction, and crossing first one wash, then another. The trial turns left and follows along the bottom of the cliffs, rounding a promentory and then heading east again towards our first box canyon.

The palisades

When you reach the mouth of the canyon, notice the old wooden palisade fence that was built by pioneers to use the canyon as a natural corral. You just head westwards, straight into the narrow canyon until the trail ends, and then run back out. The canyon end is at the one-kilometer mark.

After the palisades, take the fork in the trail to the right and continue following it through more open country, past a few rock chimneys.

second box canyon
Heading into the box canyon

Then, after hugging some more cliffs, we come to the entrance to the other box canyon, to the right. This one is really amazing, with gigantic cliffs rising along the back of the canyon, surrounding the huge amphitheater, with their white-rock-crowned cliffs. It looks a bit like a wall of skyscrapers.

In the amazing amphitheater of the canyon

After circling it, passing the 2-kilometer mark, head back out and continue with the loop. Soon we come to the junction where the feeder trail comes in from the campground, to the right. Just keep left and head southwards back towards the trailhead, running parallel to the park road, which is 100 meters to the west.

At a wash

We cross more washes, pass lots more junipers, have amazing rock formations lining the horizon in every direction. That's one nice run!