Partnachklamm Gorge: Why Winter is the Best Time to Visit It

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Located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, the Partnachklamm Gorge is at its finest in winter.

What is better than snow-covered trees, massive icicles and a frozen waterfall while your hiking? Partnachklamm Gorge is all of those things. And the best thing about it is that it is one of the only gorges that are open in winter. Weather depending of course.

Where is the Partnachklamm Gorge

The Partnachklamm gorge is located  1 hour from Munich and is easily accessed from the Bavarian Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is a natural conduit for the Partnach river. The Partnachklamm gorge follows the historic route used by lumberjacks and leads through tunnels and overhanging cliffs.

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What Is The Partnachklamm Gorge?

Although the Partnachklamm is fairly short it still makes for great hiking. It is 700m and 80m deep and you can easily change your route to make the hike more strenuous if you like. When it comes to areas where you’re sure to find water, its always good to check your footing. The fact that it can get pretty slippery can sometimes make it a little more technical than you would think.

The Partnachklamm Gorge was made a natural monument in 1912. Before the 2 pathways were established, visiting the Partnachklamm was a perilous affair.

Why Should You Visit Partnachklamm Gorge?

Gorges, in general, are always a beautiful site to see. The same can be said for the Partnachklamm. The flow of the Partnach River has created galleries and tunnels along the side of the rock wall over time. Visitors can walk along the river and duck behind beautiful waterfalls during the summer. In winter, several parts of the river rush through in water rapids. In some areas, though you’ll see tranquil water basins. The iron bridge which was built in 1914 gives visitors a great place to take in the views of this amazing gorge.

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Why I Enjoy Visiting Partnachklamm In Winter

The other advantage of going to the Partnachklamm in winter is that we saw only a few other hikers on the trail, giving us the illusion that we had the entire gorge to ourselves.  Torchlight tours of the gorge are also available, although we did a self-guided tour.  I would definitely return to do a torchlight tour if I have the opportunity.

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The Partnachklamm was simply stunning covered in icicles. The icicles vary in size and when I visited the first time they were not exceptionally big because of the weather. But when it is colder you can be assured to see much bigger icicles. This is probably the only reason I wish for colder weather when I plan my trips to Partnachklamm.

A Welcome Detour

I almost always extend my hike by 20 minutes to make a stop at the Forthaus Graseck Hotel. It’s a great place to warm up and have a bite to eat. You can go back down the same way or you can have a little fun and try out the Graseckseilbahn. It is a self-operated funicular that’s waiting for you just steps from the hotel.

Having no prior funicular operating experience, I was a bit nervous but relieved to learn that it self-started upon closing the door.  Even I could manage that with my limited machine operating experience! It’s quite old and a little scary, especially if you’re afraid of heights. But even with this, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity for the bragging rights. It’s not every day that you can say you’ve been a “funicular operator”.

Plus the views on the way down were worth it.  There’s no such thing as a free ride though – at the bottom, the operator collects your €3.50 per person fee.

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What To Know Before You Go To Partnachklamm

  • Visitors can choose between walking or taking a horse-drawn carriage (weather dependant) from the Olympic Ski Stadium. You can also park your car in the parking lot here.
  • Ensure that you are wearing warm, waterproof clothing as well as shoes with a good grip as the path gets wet and slippery.
  • The gorge is open from June to September between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm and between October to May between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.
  • Dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed.
  • The gorge is closed for a short time during Spring when the snows are melting for safety reasons. There are other short times that are closed for maintenance. It is a good idea to check the Partnachklamm website to check for closures.
  • If your visiting in Spring and Fall the nearby Höllentalklam, (Hell Valley Gorge) is longer and also offers longer hiking possibilities. I would recommend doing the Höllentalklamm sometime between Spring and Fall. It was simply amazing in winter, for two different, but equally inspiring hikes.
  • Learn more about the Partnachklamm (Gorge) history.

Visiting the Partnachklamm Gorge in winter is a yearly must for me. I can never get enough of this beautiful place, it’s my version of a perfect day out.