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!

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