Alps scenic Hikes - Hike to Archenkanzel at Lake Königssee

Alps scenic Hikes - Hike to Archenkanzel at Lake Königssee

One of the most famous views over the Königssee besides Jenner and Malerwinkel offers the viewpoint at Archenkanzel. From there you can see down to St. Bartholomä and the Königssee and to the mountains of the Steinernes Meer. Easier hiking trails from Schönau as well as a more challenging and scenic trail the Rinnkendlsteig from St. Bartholomä lead in a half-day hiking tour to the viewpoint.


There are various hiking trails for the ascent to the Archenkanzel. Our favorite variant is the ascent from St. Bartholomä via the Rinnkendlsteig, from which you can repeatedly enjoy fantastic views of the turquoise-blue Königssee even before you reach your actual destination. The trail leads in some places along the steep rocky flanks (head for heights required) and requires a little easy scrambling. For the descent, you can then take the same path back, but then you have to catch a boat back to Schönau. Alternatively, you can take the easy hiking and forestry trail back to Schönau via the Kührointalm. For those who prefer mountain biking, this route can also be easily covered by bike.

The starting point for our tour is the chapel of St. Bartholomä at Königssee. To get there you take a boat from Schönau. Departure times and prices can be found on the Königssee Schiffahrt website here. St. Bartholomä is accessible by boat all year round (except when the Königssee freezes over). The trip by boat to St. Bartholomä is a dream. In good weather you can admire the reflection of the Watzmann east face in the lake and get to hear the famous echo from Königssee.

boat trip st. bartholomä königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany
Boat trip to St. Bartholomä at Lake Königssee

Arrived at St. Bartholomä, take the lakeside path past the church and follow the signs in the direction of Rinnkendlsteig. After a short time, the path leaves the lakeshore and leads into the forest. In serpentines the trail leads uphill in the forest. Further up, you reach the end of the forest and encounter some rocky passages from which, you have a first view of the lake further down. The path now continues along the rock with some more exposed passages. While following the path to the right, you can already see the destination, the Archenkanzel, at the top.

shoreline path st. bartholomä königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany
View over Lake Königssee from the shoreline trail in St. Bartholomä

The path now leads in a gully steeper uphill, where you have to scramble a bit. At the top, the path becomes somewhat flatter again. Here you get a great view of St. Bartholomä and the lake, similar to that of the Archenkanzel, which is now almost directly above us. Continuing along the path, you reach the forest again and after a short while you meet the other hiking trail. Here you turn right and after another 10 min you reach your destination, the Archenkanzel.

rinnkendlsteig archenkanzel st. bartholomä königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany
First View back to St. Bartholomä from the Rinnkendlsteig

Framed by the larches all around, you have a fantastic view of the Königssee from here. You have the most beautiful light in the afternoon when the lake still glistens turquoise blue in the sun and the mountains of the Steinernes Meer are illuminated by the sun. Who wants to enjoy the view as alone as possible should come early in the morning or evening.

hiking trail rinnkendlsteig archenkanzel königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany viewpoint rinnkendlsteig archenkanzel königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany

For the way back we take the route via the Kührointalm back to Schönau. First you follow the path back. At the turnoff to the Rinnkendlsteig and to St. Bartholomä you follow the path straight ahead to Kührointalm. As soon as you reach the forest road, you will meet some cyclist. The forest paths here are perfect to shorten some hiking tours with bike and hike or simply for a quick mountain bike tour.

viewpoint rinnkendlsteig archenkanzel königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany
View from the Archenkanzel to St. Bartholomä and to the Königssee

Whereever possible, it is best to follow the hiking trail that repeatedly branches off from and crosses the forest road. The first junction is shortly after you have passed the Kührointalm. The trail leads further downhill on a more direct path. Further down we cross it once and finally meet the forest road again in the end. From there you follow the forest road.

autumn st. bartholomä watzmann königssee berchtesgaden bavaria germany
View to the church St. Bartholomä and the Watzmann east face in autumn colors

When you reach the junction to the Grünstein via ferrata, it is not far down to Schönau anymore. After two large serpentines, the path leaves the forest. On the meadow next to the toboggan run you continue downhill to the bridge over the Königsseer Ache and have now reached the Königssee again. Back to the parking lot in Schönau you follow the signs from here.

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