Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm in German) is a must-see destination on a visit to Garmisch-Partenkirchen – you could even make it a day trip from Munich! We tried to visit the gorge last year on our winter visit to Bavaria, and despite it being closed due to avalanches, we still climbed over part of it. We made the visit again this year in the summer, so we could walk the length of the gorge, and it was breathtaking.
Last year, there was a lot of snowfall in the area. This, combined with bad weather and some rock falls around the gorge, had forced the gorge to be closed off to tourists. With no one being around when we went, we scrambled up the snowy hillside to try and get a better view of the gorge running through. The volume of debris that had been cast down the mountainside made it very clear why the gorge was closed off to people.
Huge shards of ice were tumbling down the gravelly slopes and bouncing into the water, even as we stood there. Obviously not the safest thing to do, but it was exciting to clamber over these huge ice boulders on our short climb upwards!
Eventually we reached a point where we couldn’t go any further, the ice became too hazardous to walk on without slipping into the gorge below, so we called it a day and headed back down.
Fast forward a year (and to better weather), and we were back, this time to walk through the gorge itself.
It was wet, and there’s no avoiding getting a bit damp with the spray from the waterfalls and the dripping tunnels you walk through. The walk was like a spooky natural roller coaster – the narrow path winds through tunnels and along ledges inside the gorge, which is totally exhilarating. You can get some amazing shots with your camera as you go through!
Taller people should mind their heads going through the tunnels (not a problem for me) as some of the rock ceiling is quite low down.
Once you make it out the other side, there are several walks you can go leading you through the forests beyond the gorge. I’d highly recommend going a bit further once you’re through as there’s a section of hundreds of eerie cairns all sitting by the river bank after you cross the bridge. It’s hard to miss – just follow the river round to a ford on the left bank, and you’ll see the bridge. The rocks are just on the other side.
Partnach Gorge is a highly recommended walk if you like the idea of immersing yourself in one of Bavaria’s natural wonders!
Partnach Gorge Info
Adults – €6 (€5 with your GaPa Visitor’s card)
Children up to 17 years – €3
October to May: 08.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
June to September: 06.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m.
Last admission is 30 minutes before gorge closes!
Short notice closures sometimes apply due to things like weather/rockfall.
Top Visitor Tips
Bring a rain jacket, but not an umbrella. The passageways are narrow so umbrellas can be a bit of an inconvenience.
Dogs are welcome (we passed a few brave pooches!) but must stay on a lead.
The gorge is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, and buggies/prams, and bicycles are also not permitted.
For parking, you can use the car park at the Olympic Ski Station – from there, the entrance to the gorge is about a 25 minute walk.
Walking boots/footwear with grip is a must.
There are parts of the walk that are in darkness, bring a torch or use your phone to light the way if you’re not good with dark tunnels!
The walk isn’t particularly long, as you could walk through and back in under an hour. However, I’d make sure you leave plenty of time before the gorge closes to stop and take photos, and explore the other side!