Hoellentalklamm Waterfalls

Grainau / Garmisch-Partenkirchen District, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany

About Hoellentalklamm Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 6.6km round trip
Suggested Time: 3.5-4 hours

Date first visited: 2018-06-26
Date last visited: 2018-06-26

Waterfall Latitude: 47.44424
Waterfall Longitude: 11.04138

The Hollentalklamm Waterfalls (or Hoellentalklamm Waterfalls as well as Höllentalklamm Wasserfälle in German) were my introduction to the kind of gorge hiking that turned out to be quite common throughout the mountains of Southern Germany and Austria.

In this instance, the “Hell Valley Gorge” happened to be where the Hammersbach drained the snow and glaciers of Germany’s tallest mountain in the Zugspitze.

Hollentalklamm_204_06262018 - One of the Höllentalklamm Waterfalls
One of the Höllentalklamm Waterfalls

Therefore, all that volume of water resulted in the hydraulic forces that drilled into the mountainside and created this deep chasm.

Indeed, I’ve pluralized the word waterfall because there were quite a few of them spilling into the gorge.

At the same time, there continued to be other cascades and rapids on the Hammerbach continuing the drilling action and deepening the gorge.

The gorge itself is said to be about a kilometer in length, but in order to even access it, I had to go on a bit of a strenuous uphill hike before the fun begins.

Hollentalklamm_156_06262018 - Another one of the Höllentalklamm Waterfalls on the Hammersbach with a giant boulder wedged above
Another one of the Höllentalklamm Waterfalls on the Hammersbach with a giant boulder wedged above

All told, I spent a solid 3.5 hours away from the car on this excursion, which should give you an idea of how much time to budget.

Höllentalklamm Trail Description – hiking up to the entrance

I began the Höllentalklamm hike from a parking lot between the towns of Grainau and Hammersbach (see directions below).

I then walked alongside the Höllentalstraße towards the town of Hammersbach for about 500m.

After crossing a bridge over the Hammerbach Creek, I then took the path paralleling the east bank of the rushing creek.

Hollentalklamm_013_06262018 - Approaching the trailhead for the Hoellentalklamm, which was just across from this bridge over the Hammersbach shown in this photo
Approaching the trailhead for the Hoellentalklamm, which was just across from this bridge over the Hammersbach shown in this photo

It didn’t take long before the trail started climbing in earnest.

The trail would continue its steep initial climb for the next kilometer as it continued alongside the Hammersbach.

Eventually, the ascent calmed down a bit once I got to a Jesus crucifix carving.

At that point, it seemed like I joined up with an unpaved road, and thus I continued on a more gradual uphill trajectory as the trail now coincided with this road.

Hollentalklamm_037_06262018 - This was the crucifix that marked the end of the steep initial climb and the start of a reprieve in the ascent as I was now about to follow a wider unpaved road
This was the crucifix that marked the end of the steep initial climb and the start of a reprieve in the ascent as I was now about to follow a wider unpaved road

The reprieve in the uphill climbing lasted for about 1.2km.

The tree cover of this stretch of trail ensured that this wouldn’t be too brutally hot, but that also limited the views of the surrounding mountains that loomed over the gorge.

Every so often, I might catch a glimpse of the Zugspitzbahn going up to Zugspitze from Garmisch-Partenkirchen or a distant seasonal cascade tumbling down a cliff.

Eventually, when I got past the end of the road where there were what appeared to be shuttered food shacks, the trail then climbed in earnest once again.

Hollentalklamm_047_06262018 - Context of the reprieve from the uphill hiking as I followed along a road leading up to the Hoellentalklamm
Context of the reprieve from the uphill hiking as I followed along a road leading up to the Hoellentalklamm

This climb persisted for the next 400m, and if the earlier climb didn’t take much out of you, this section surely would.

That said, as the trail continued its ascent, the views got better and better.

Ultimately, the trail climbed above the tree line while passing beneath rockfall shelters, netting, and switchbacks.

Eventually, I reached the Höllentaleingangshütte, where there was a turnstile and kiosk to pay 5 euros for non-members as of my visit in June 2018.

Hollentalklamm_067_06262018 - Context of the final ascent leading up to the Höllentaleingangshütte with some ephemeral cascades tumbling on the opposite side of the gorge
Context of the final ascent leading up to the Höllentaleingangshütte with some ephemeral cascades tumbling on the opposite side of the gorge

A couple of scenic but light-flowing cascades were tumbling down a cliff opposite the entrance as I looked back towards the valley.

There was also a little cafe, which was kind of amazing considering how remote this place was.

It kind of reminded me of some of the hikes I did in Morocco where they had set up cafes in some of the most unlikely of places clinging to mountainsides.

Heck, even the trail to get up there was difficult without hauling gear nor supplies!

Höllentalklamm Trail Description – inside the gorge

Hollentalklamm_110_06262018 - Context of the path following along the Höllentalklamm Gorge as waterfalls persisted on the Hammersbach below
Context of the path following along the Höllentalklamm Gorge as waterfalls persisted on the Hammersbach below

Anyways, after paying my admission and going through the turnstile, I was now in the Höllentalklamm Gorge.

Now, the trail was a combination of ledges and wooden slopes as well as stone steps bringing hikers just above the rush of the Hammersbach which was now a constant cascading rush of water.

Where it would be too dangerous to have a trail in the narrowest or landslide-prone sections of the trail, there were tunnels going beneath those trouble spots.

In some cases, I had a choice of taking an outside ledge trail (where some temporary waterfalls might spill onto the trail itself) or staying in the tunnel.

Hollentalklamm_180_06262018 - Ephemeral waterfalls spraying the Höllentalklamm Gorge pretty much meant that it was a good idea to have rain gear while doing this excursion
Ephemeral waterfalls spraying the Höllentalklamm Gorge pretty much meant that it was a good idea to have rain gear while doing this excursion

And all throughout this exhilarating hike were some impressive plunging waterfalls on the Hammersbach itself.

Eventually after I spent nearly an hour of going up to the start of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge, I reached my turnaround point even though the trail appeared to keep on ascending.

I then returned the way I came, which went by a lot faster now that it was mostly downhill and I already had seen what I needed to see.

It only took me about a half-hour to return to the museum and the entrance area of the gorge.

Hollentalklamm_193_06262018 - The Höllentalklamm Trail allowing me to choose between the shelter of a tunnel or out in the elements to really get the full gorge experience
The Höllentalklamm Trail allowing me to choose between the shelter of a tunnel or out in the elements to really get the full gorge experience

After leaving the paid part of the Hoellentalklamm, I then continued back down the hiking portion of the trail.

Then, after around 45 minutes, I finally made it back to the car park.

All told, I spent about 3.5 hours away from the car on this solo hike.

But even though I was doing this hike alone, I was by no means alone on this trail as it was very popular.

Authorities

The Höllentalklamm Gorge Waterfalls reside next to the town of Grainau in the state of Bavaria (Bayern), Germany. It may be administered by the Grainau government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.

Hollentalklamm_008_06262018 - From the Hoellentalklamm car park, I was able to look in the direction of Zugspitze before even starting the hike to Hammersbach and ultimately to the Hoellentalklamm itself
Hollentalklamm_009_06262018 - Walking along the Hoellentalstrasse towards the town of Hammersbach from the P2 car park
Hollentalklamm_011_06262018 - Continuing the walk along the Hoellentalstrasse towards the town of Hammersbach
Hollentalklamm_017_06262018 - Walking up the trail from the town of Hammersbach along the creek leading up to the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_019_06262018 - Continuing the ascending trail from Hammersbach to an unsealed road with the peaks of the Zugspitze area in the background
Hollentalklamm_024_06262018 - Continuing the walk along the Hammersbach Creek towards the unsealed road with the mountains around the Zugspitze in the background
Hollentalklamm_026_06262018 - Context of the hiking trail alongside the Hammersbach Creek leading up to the unsealed road as the terrain was a bit more forested though the trail was starting to incline
Hollentalklamm_029_06262018 - On the other side of the Hammersbach Creek while still climbing up to the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_030_06262018 - Now the trail to the Hoellentalklamm along the Hammersbach was really starting to ascend
Hollentalklamm_032_06262018 - Continuing on the steep initial climb up in the first third of the hike up to the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_035_06262018 - Looking up at the same trio of hikers that were going about the same pace as me while continuing their ascent in the initial first third of the trail up to Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_038_06262018 - After making it past the Jesus crucifix, I now had a reprieve from the steep climbing as I followed this unpaved road towards the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_041_06262018 - Continuing on the relatively flat part of the hike up to Hoellentalklamm in what I'm calling the second third of the hike
Hollentalklamm_043_06262018 - Continuing along the unsealed road part of the hike to the Hoellentalklamm as the imposing peaks started to become more visible though the trees made them harder to see
Hollentalklamm_045_06262018 - Looking ahead towards the head of the valley where I knew the Hoellentalklamm was hidden within
Hollentalklamm_048_06262018 - Looking up at cable cars that I believe were bound for either the Zugspitze (Zugspitzbahn?) or the Alpspitze as seen from the Hoellentalklamm Trail
Hollentalklamm_050_06262018 - Context of the Hammersbach along with the unsealed road leading to some building en route to the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_055_06262018 - Another contextual look at the unsealed road backed by one of the imposing peaks near the mouth of the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_058_06262018 - Looking across at some cascades on the Hammersbach as the Hoellentalklamm Trail started climbing once again
Hollentalklamm_059_06262018 - Looking back at a group of hikers making their way back down from the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_061_06262018 - Looking towards a pair of food shacks that were closed right at the start of the next steep part of the ascent up to the mouth of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_063_06262018 - Now that I was beyond the end of the unpaved road, the Hoellentalklamm Trail was narrow while it started climbing again in earnest
Hollentalklamm_068_06262018 - Looking across the mouth of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge towards some tall ephemeral cascades as the trail was rising up to the entrance hut
Hollentalklamm_069_06262018 - Looking towards a pretty nice cascade opposite the gorge from somewhere near the Hoellentalklamm Gorge Entrance
Hollentalklamm_071_06262018 - As the trail got even higher up the head of the valley at the mouth of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge, I now started to see more of the context of the cascades that I was seeing earlier on in the hike
Hollentalklamm_075_06262018 - Looking back towards the context of a mountain slope with an attractive thin cascade as seen from the mouth of the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_079_06262018 - The Hoellentalklamm Trail was now pretty much cliff hugging as it was ascending up to where the tree cover was getting less and less
Hollentalklamm_086_06262018 - Looking back down the Hoellentalklamm Trail with its cliff-hugging context as I was nearing the mouth of the gorge itself
Hollentalklamm_088_06262018 - Looking back down the valley from the Hoellentalklamm Trail near the mouth of the gorge
Hollentalklamm_090_06262018 - A switchback on the cliff-hugging part of the trail leading up to the mouth of the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_093_06262018 - The Hoellentalklamm Trail continued to ascend up more of these stone steps as it proceeded further along its cliff-hugging switchbacks
Hollentalklamm_094_06262018 - Finally approaching the remote entrance hut and cafe of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_096_06262018 - Looking back at the Hoellentalklamm Entrance and Turnstile after having paid my admission to get in
Hollentalklamm_097_06262018 - Looking across the Hoellentalklamm Gorge at some thin cascades as seen from near the entrance hut
Hollentalklamm_098_06262018 - Looking up at more of the ephemeral cascades across the Hoellentalklamm Gorge as seen from near the entrance area
Hollentalklamm_100_06262018 - Just beyond the entrance turnstile was the Hoellentalklamm Museum
Hollentalklamm_104_06262018 - Context of the Hammersbach and the verticality of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge along the trail leading deeper into its narrow confines
Hollentalklamm_105_06262018 - Approaching a tunnel with the context of the Hammersbach while hiking within the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_109_06262018 - Another contextual look at an attractive waterfall on the Hammersbach with the verticality of the Hoellentalklamm rising above it
Hollentalklamm_117_06262018 - Looking back towards the entrance again as I went deeper into the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_118_06262018 - The Hoellentalklamm Gorge Trail was now clinging precariously to the ledge just above the rushing watercourse of the Hammersbach within the confines of the deep gorge itself
Hollentalklamm_121_06262018 - The Hoellentalklamm Gorge Trail continued to ascend up stone steps and bridges, but there was so much to see here that I didn't even notice
Hollentalklamm_125_06262018 - Context of the Hammersbach being traversed by the Hoellentalklamm Gorge as I passed through a tunnel and then a bridge
Hollentalklamm_129_06262018 - About to cross a bridge over the Hammersbach as the creek rushes over more cascades deep in the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_131_06262018 - Context of the Hoellentalklamm Trail beyond the bridge and continuing its upstream trajectory from the other side of the Hammersbach Creek
Hollentalklamm_136_06262018 - Passing through one of the tunnels within the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_139_06262018 - Looking back at the output of one of the tunnels as the trail continued to hug precariously alongside the Hammersbach within the narrow Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_142_06262018 - Looking towards a cascade within the Hammersbach while continuing up the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_146_06262018 - Continuing further up along the Hoellentalklamm as I passed by more rushing cascades on the Hammersbach
Hollentalklamm_150_06262018 - Context of a couple of cascades on the Hammersbach with the cliff-hugging Hoellentalklamm Trail on the right
Hollentalklamm_158_06262018 - Context of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge Trail climbing past another nice waterfall on the Hammersbach deep within the gorge
Hollentalklamm_163_06262018 - Portrait view of that nice waterfall on the Hammersbach dropping alongside the Hoellentalklamm Trail
Hollentalklamm_165_06262018 - Looking back at a particularly narrow part of the Hoellentalklam Gorge with overhanging cliffs as seen from near one of the nice waterfalls on the Hammersbach
Hollentalklamm_166_06262018 - The Hoellentalklamm Trail about to pass beneath some side waterfalls and some weeping cliffs high up in the gorge
Hollentalklamm_178_06262018 - Context of people coming down the steps beneath the side waterfall spilling past the Hoellentalklamm Trail
Hollentalklamm_183_06262018 - Looking back at some people in rain gear getting past a particularly wet part of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge hike
Hollentalklamm_187_06262018 - Approaching a section of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge where there was still snow or ice on the Hammersbach
Hollentalklamm_188_06262018 - Looking back at a tall and interesting side cascade high up the Hoellentalklamm Gorge as I was getting closer to my turnaround point
Hollentalklamm_194_06262018 - Still continuing further up the Hoellentalklamm though the presence of greenery in the background is hinting that I was getting close to the upper end of the dramatic part of the hike
Hollentalklamm_198_06262018 - Looking up at the context of the tallest waterfall that I saw within the Hoellentalklamm Gorge with some suspension bridge high above
Hollentalklamm_201_06262018 - Context of an impressive waterfall on the Hammersbach in the Hoellentalklamm perched beneath what appeared to be a bridge traversing the gorge itself
Hollentalklamm_219_06262018 - Broad view of the impressive waterfall on the Hammersbach within the Hoellentalklamm Gorge flanked by another tunnel on the right side
Hollentalklamm_226_06262018 - Context of a weeping side cascade with a tunnel fronting the tallest waterfall that I encountered on the Hammersbach high up in the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_228_06262018 - Continuing beyond the high waterfall on the Hammersbach towards more tunnels and ledges in the upper Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_233_06262018 - Looking back at the highest waterfall on the Hammersbach in the Hoellentalklamm Gorge with lots of falling water from above from a different weeping part of the cliff
Hollentalklamm_241_06262018 - More walking high up the Hoellentalklamm Gorge with lighting as I continued through overhanging cliffs towards the upper end of the best part of the gorge
Hollentalklamm_250_06262018 - About to climb up above one of the uppermost of the waterfalls on the Hammersbach within the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_253_06262018 - Looking back at someone descending alongside the Hammersbach as he was headed back down but he was also checking out the interesting waterfall near the head of the interesting part of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_256_06262018 - This was the upper end of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge, and it was my turnaround point. As you can see, I had the option of taking the tunnel or taking the open air path
Hollentalklamm_259_06262018 - Looking further upstream at where the Hoellentalklamm opened up once again
Hollentalklamm_260_06262018 - Checking out a sign marking the end of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_268_06262018 - Returning back the way I came within the Hoellentalklamm as I followed this interesting tunnel
Hollentalklamm_275_06262018 - Passing by an interesting mossy wall of the cliff of the Hoellentalklamm as I continued my return walk
Hollentalklamm_276_06262018 - Continuing the wet descent along the Hoellentalklamm Gorge en route to the entrance again
Hollentalklamm_281_06262018 - Continuing my quick descent as I was making my way out of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge back towards the entrance and ultimately back to the car park
Hollentalklamm_282_06262018 - Context looking down at the rushing Hammersbach as I crossed over the bridge en route to the entrance of the Hoellentalklamm Gorge on the return hike
Hollentalklamm_316_06262018 - Colorful look back into the valley from the entrance to the Hoellentalklamm Gorge
Hollentalklamm_317_06262018 - After what seemed like a pretty long descent, I finally made it back to the town of Hammersbach towards the bottom of the long descent
Hollentalklamm_319_06262018 - Continuing the walk back to the P2 car park after having had my fill of the Hoellentalklamm
Hollentalklamm_321_06262018 - Walking back along the Hoellentalstrasse towards the Wanderparkplatz P2
Hollentalklamm_323_06262018 - Looking back towards Zugspitze as I was almost done with my epic hike to the Hoellentalklamm

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We managed to drive to the car park for the Hoellentalklamm hike starting from Fussen and eventually making our way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

I’ll spare you the details of that drive.

Instead, I’ll start the driving directions from Garmisch-Partenkirchen from the east and from Ehrwald, Austria from the west.

You can use GoogleMaps to link these towns from other cities or towns further afield.

Driving from Ehrwald, Austria to the Hoellentalklamm car park

From the Ehrwald, Austria (the town accessing Obermoos where we took the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn) turnoff on the B187, we drove north on the B187 Road as it became the B23 after crossing the border into Germany.

We took this road towards a sharp right turn onto Schmölzstraße (there were signs pointing the way to Höllentalklamm at this point) at about 17km from Ehrwald.

Once we made a right turn, we kept right immediately to stay on the Schmölzstraße, which then became the Zugspitzstraße.

Then, we followed this road for about 1.5km since leaving the B23.

Hollentalklamm_002_06262018 - This was the Wanderparkplatz Hammersbach P2 car park, which was where I started the hike for the Höllentalklamm
This was the Wanderparkplatz Hammersbach P2 car park, which was where I started the hike for the Höllentalklamm

Finally, we turned left onto the Höllentalstraße where we drove the remaining 350m to the P2 car park entrance for the Wanderparkplatz Hammersbach.

The entrance was shortly after a railroad crossing.

Overall, it took us about 30 minutes to do this drive.

Driving from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to the Hoellentalklamm car park

From Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we went west on the B23 towards the west end of town.

Then, we turned left onto the Schmölzstraße at Schmölz.

This turnoff was about 6.5km from where the B2 and B23 intersected just north of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen city center.

Hollentalklamm_324_06262018 - Looking back at the large P2 car park for the Hoellentalklamm hike, which was between the towns of Grainau and Hammersbach
Looking back at the large P2 car park for the Hoellentalklamm hike, which was between the towns of Grainau and Hammersbach

From there, we followed the directions as given above to get to the Hoellentalklamm car park between Grainau and Hammersbach.

For context, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was about 23km (around a half-hour drive) northeast of Ehrwald, Austria, 59km (about an hour drive) east of Füssen, 64 km (a little over an hour drive) north of Innsbruck, Austria, and 89km (well over an hour drive) south of Munich.

Checking out a pair of cascades before entering the Hollentallklamm


Checking out some nice cascades within the fee area around the first tunnel


Checking out a waterfall near a section beneath some wedged rocks and natural arches

Tagged with: grainau, garmisch-partenkirchen, zugspitze, hoellentalklamm, hollentalklamm, hammersbach, germany, waterfall



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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