Alps Scenic Hikes Series - Heimgarten to Herzogstand
This is a very well known day-tour in the German Alps. First hike up Herzogstand peak from where you get your first magnificent views over Walchensee and Kochelsee (there is also a cable car for everybody who does not want to walk 1.5-2h through cool forest overlooking the lake Walchensee). From there the trail leads you directly to the next peak, the Heimgarten. On the walk you have an incredible panorama over the Bavarian Alpine Foreland with the Staffelsee, Starnbergersee, Kochelsee, and Ammersee. From Heimgarten you can oversee the whole trail until Herzogstand peak and also again Kochelsee and Walchensee to its left and right. The last part of the walk goes just back down to your starting point.
Where to park your car ?
Herzogstand is located by Walchensee by the village of Walchensee. The trailhead is located at the parking lot of Herzogstandbahn. There you can park your car and when you come before nine o clock you don´t have to pay a parking fee. As this is a round tour you can also walk it the other way around.
The trailhead starts directly at the parking lot. The first two hours you walk through forest steadily upwards with some steep parts. As you get farther up the forest lightens up and you get first views of Walchensee from above. The trail ends as you walk out the forest and reach the Herzogstandhütte (a mountain Hut) where you can get yourself something to eat (Kaiserschmarn) or drink (beer). Here you will notice that it gets more crowded because this is where people are coming up with the cable car “Herzogstandbahn”. You walk the last few serpentines with mountain pines along your way. At the top the summit cross greets you with an amazing panorama. You can see from the Staffelsee near Murnau to the Starnbergersee (Lake Stanbergersee), Ammersee, Kochelsee and Walchensee and have a good view of the alps in the south! This is a truly great place to have a break and make a picnic before you continue your hike.
From the summit cross the trail leads you back down and you can already see the next destination, the Heimgarten peak and the whole trail that lays before you. For this part you shouldn’t be scared of heights because it leads along a ridge. As the walk is mainly even it is not very exhausting and you can enjoy the panorama. The last meters before you get to the Heimgarten peak, the trail gets steeper again and if it is a sunny day like ours was it can get really hot! But on the top you will be rewarded with a cool view over the trail to Herzogstand peak and the Kochel- and Walchensee to its left and right.
I would recommend to have another break and get yourself a Kaiserschmarrn (one of the best I’ve ever eaten, maybe better than the one my mom makes) and something to drink at the Heimgartenhütte. If you are lucky you catch a table with a good view down to Walchensee. The last part of the trail leads you back down to the parking lot. The serpentines can get a little boring in the end as it is a little bit longer than the walk up to Herzogstand. If you don’t like walking down you can also walk the trail the other way around and get down with the Herzogstandbahn (cable car).
Where to stay
There is one campsite at the lake which is quite nice. Also there are several Hotels and Restaurants in the Walchensee Village and the area where you can stay!
What to bring
- enough water as you can not fill up your water bottle at Heimgartenhütte
- proper hiking shoes
- good friends to enjoy the hike with
- Hat and sun cream on sunny days (there are no trees on the trail from Herzogstand to Heimgarten)