Herzogstand is a mountain just a bit more than one hour from Munich. The hike up is easy but the view is the most breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps! Truly it is one of the greatest views of the Alps in my opinion.
Herzogstand is a mountain with a big tradition and 1731 m above sea level and located northwest of Lake Walchen, which forms part of the stunning view.
My hike to the most breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps
When my alarm rang on Sunday at 6 am I was about to switch it off and continue sleeping. Outside it was still dark and foggy, but you could guess the sky clearing soon and I knew that getting up right now is gonna be rewarded later in the day.
And I was right: After I left Munich and took the highway towards the south, I could already glimpse the mountains in the horizon at dusk. From this moment my brain started to relax and forget about the stress of the last weeks and started being excited about the day. While driving wafts of mist arose from time to time and created this fairytale atmosphere I love so much about the mountains. Also when passing lake Kochel which is located at the foot of the mountain it was still covered by swirling fog – wonderful!
When I arrived at the parking lot where my hike was supposed to start it was completely empty. Is this the wrong parking? I thought, knowing my sense of direction is really bad. Or am I just lucky and really the first one? The sign pointing towards „Herzogstand“ confirmed me.
The first steps of the hike were really hard because it was still early in the morning and my body was not ready yet. But the mystique atmosphere which was still there, created by the mist and the fog, made me walk.
The first part of the hike is a wide gravel road which leads through a forest. It was so lovely quiet, even the birds were still sleeping. And the morning dew combined with some fog made me feel like in a fairytale again.
After some minutes of fast walking I reached the first viewpoint which was supposed to offer a great view already in the beginning of the walk – theoretically…according to my guidebook…if it would not have been foggy. But in reality, I could just see dense fog – not a breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps yet. Anyways if you do the hike, look for the sign „Ausblick“ which normally offers a great view at lake Walchen.
Even more motivated now to finally glimpse a view of the mountains and my surrounding I kept walking fast, further and further. After 1.5 hours the way leading out of the forest to a more flat terrain. After few minutes walking, I reached a little hut. If you pass to the right here, just through the field, you’ll be rewarded by another stunning view at lake Kochel which I passed on the way to the parking already – same here, if it is not foggy. Slowly I started liking this waft of mist creating this very special atmosphere:
But I really wanted to reach the peak now before thousands of other people would arrive, I thought.Because so far not a soul was on my way. And I finally wanted to see this breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps which I saw on pictures many times already. I could already see the peak with its summit cross, which meant it couldn’t be that far to walk anymore. But when I approached the twisting way leading towards the top I realized that there were crowds of people heading to the top before me. How could that be? I meet no one on my way. I walking while brooding over the crowds when I realized that there was a cable car giving people a lift up. But for me, the journey is the reward!
After passing the restaurant „Herzogstand“ a steep twisting way starts and represents the last hundred meters before reaching the peak. And finally, I reached the summit cross and this stunning, far-reaching view at lake Walchen and Karwendel mountain range in Austria. I was really rewarded for getting up that early! Definitely the most breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps!
The summit cross was not the highest point. A little path few meters up lead to a pavilion which represented the real peak. From here a 360° panorama is waiting for you with a great view of Lake Walchen and Karwendel mountains, as well as the other direction.
After enjoying the cool breeze and the first rays of the sun at the top, I decided to climb another little peak called „Martinskopf“ which is just next to mount Herzogstand. A little way on the right side leads up there in between the twisting way to Herzogstand and the restaurant. You can’t miss it as you saw it already all the way up and from the peak.
After a hike of 15 minutes, I already reached the top and could finally escape the crowds from Herzogstand. It is really worth it to go for this peak as well, even if the view is not as stunning as before. I found myself a comfortable rock to settle down for a while, enjoy the fresh air of the mountains, soak up the warm sunlight while gazing into the distance. What a wonderful spot to enjoy nature and a breathtaking view in the Alps!
Where to eat at Herzogstand?
Before heading down I went to the restaurant „Herzogstand“ at the flat terrain before the steep way to the summit starts. The restaurant looks back onto a wealth of traditions and history. It was built in the 18th century by the Bavarian king Ludwig II as his residence. After his death in 1886 the building was assigned to the free state of Bavaria. The state rented it to Alpine Club Munich which made a guest house out of it. In 1990 a big disaster happened: the whole house burnt down due to a damaged chimney. The reconstructions took almost two years but today the restaurant which also offers few rooms became a very welcome spot for a break with a great terrace and a wonderful view.
The way down was the same way I came in the morning. Normally I don’t like hikes where this is the case because you know the way already and it is quite boring to walk the same way again. But this time it didn’t bother me at all because I couldn’t enjoy the two view points on my way up due to the fog. That is why I was even excited on my way down.
Happily and fascinated by the beauty of nature which is just one hour away from Munich I drove home. On the way home I stopped another time at Lake Kochel to enjoy the sunny weather for some more time. There is a little restaurant directly at the lake called „Grey bear“ (Grauer Bär) which was the perfect spot to round off the day with a coffee and cake.
Completely happy, balanced, with inner peace and full of vitamin D I arrived at home. Every time I’m surprised how relaxing one day in the mountains is.
In the following paragraph, I listed all important information about the hike.
Summary of the hike to Herzogstand
⁃ Level of difficulty: easy
⁃ Altitude difference: about 850 meters
⁃ Length: around 4.5 hours in total; up: around 2.5, down: around 2
⁃ Route: same ascent and descent. When leaving from the parking lot always follow the signs direction to „Herzogstand“. The first half of the track is a wide gravel road with some steep sections. After about 1.5 hours on this way which leads through the forest, you will leave the forest areal and arrive at a more flat terrain. Always follow this way and you’ll pass the restaurant „Herzogstand“ and arrive at the final section of the trek, a steep twisting way which leads to the summit cross. This way is a bit more challenging because it is quite narrow and with some rocks. Surefootedness is required. After half an hour on this path, you will arrive the summit and at the most breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps
How to get to the most breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps?
– around 75 kilometres south of Munich
⁃ Address of the parking lot: Kesselbergstraße 7, 82431 Kochel
⁃ How to get there by car: take highway 95 from Munich towards Garmisch-Patenkichen, take exit Murnau/Kochel. Now follow the signs to „Kochel am See“ and drive towards „Walchensee“ to „Kesselberg“. There are more parking lots on the street „Kesselbergstraße“. The easiest way is to take the highest one.
⁃ How to get there by public transport: You can take the train from Munich to Kochel am See. From the train station in Kochel, you have to take a cap to the parking lot where the hike starts (about 7 kilometres).
This is one of my favourite hikes because it is quite easy and the view is just mind-blowing! My personal most breathtaking view in the Bavarian Alps!