Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm), Germany – Olympic hiking

When one thinks about Germany, the usual stereotypes that one has of German culture is from Bavaria, with its Oktoberfest, Lederhosen and Oom-pah music. One of the things that you think about with Alpine culture is the mountains. However, did you know that there are other famous geographical formations around the Alps? How about Partnach Gorge?

Near the small ski-resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, nestled in the bosom of the Alps, one can find Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm). It is very close to the 1936 Olympic Ski-Jumping stadium (the first Olympics to have this event).

The Gorge is actually one of three gorges in the area and a national monument; it has been since 1912. It is just over 700 m (approx. 2,300 feet) long and 80 m (approx 260 feet) deep.

If you are going to visit the Gorge (regardless of the time of year), make sure to take a raincoat with you. The Gorge has been worn away a long time due to the river; waterfalls of mist continue to pour over the sides from the forest on either side and you will get wet! Also, the temperature in the Gorge is cooler than the surrounding areas, so the jacket should also warm you to a degree.

You enter the Gorge (usually) from one end which is close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Olympic Stadium. You can reach this via a short hike along some stone roads that leads straight to the Gorge itself. Inside the Gorge, the hike is along paths carved into the rock. You might want to take some kind of lighting with you (torch/flashlight, mobile telephone, headlamp, etc.) as the parts entirely cut into the rock has no light source (and often pools of water). The path does have some handrails and barriers so that one doesn’t fall into the Gorge (at least, not without trying).

The end of the Gorge comes out into the forest that surrounds the Gorge and there is a nice stony beach where you can bathe in the river before it enters the Gorge (beware that this is mostly glacier runoff from the Alps so it will be freezing any time of the year). This part of the river is also a mix of two different waters which gives it a distinctive colouring. The two types of water mix:


If you look away from the Gorge, that is where you see the German/Austrian Alpine Magic:

Here are some more photos from the trip:

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