I like to visit some mountains again and again. This is the case with Hochgern, the highest peak of “Chiemgauer Berge” subrange and a first row summit standing high above Chiemgau plain and overlooking the whole Chiemsee and its forelands. I do that hike most often in early spring when there is still snow higher up the slopes but the south ascent via Hochgernhaus, a very nice alpine mountain hut, is nearly snow free and all those spring and early summer blossoms can be seen for the first time. It is a sort of “winters end” for me, this Hochgern outing.
Located south of Chiemsee, Hochgern can clearly be seen as the dominant mountain bordering Chiemsee plain to the south. To the west there is a minor summit, Hochlerch, also called Zwölferspitz, and the valley of Grassau and Marquartstein and the Tiroler Achen river, to the south the Kaltenbach and Jochber valley system is the limitation of the mountain. The eastern neighbour summit is Hochfelln, separated from Hochgern by Weiße Achen valley. To the north several minor summits like Kobelwand and Zinnkopf lead down to the Chiemsee plain.
Hochgern is a hiking summit with several routes, some of them can be combined to loops and traverses. It is an easy mountain, which offers great views as it is the highest peak within a radius of 20 kilometers. Being alone up there is quite a miracle. But I don´t mind the crowd: the first warm sun on your skin, the first blossoms, the first green beech trees, a good beer at Hochgernhaus, a nap on the summit and a mating black cock on a clearing near the trail, ignoring all those laughing and talking people coming down from the summit, can be the reward of such a “winters end” day.
Getting ThereMain trailheads are:
You reach these trailheads by car
Trailhead Staudach / Grassau: Cross the Tiroler Achen river to Staudach and follow Bahnhofstraße, Marquartsteiner Straße and Hochgernstraße to the parking area.
Trailhead Marquartstein: Go on road number B 305 to Marquartstein, turn left on Alte Dorfstraße, crossing Tiroler Achen river, the left again on Burgstraße and follow this road straight on and up to its end at a huge parking area.
Trailhead Unterwössen: From Marquartstein still follow road number B 305 to Unterwössen; at the petrol station turn left on Hadergassen and Hochgernweg until you reach the hikers parking area.
The nearest railway station is Bernau am Chiemsee.
Bus number 9505 goes to the villages of the trailheads.
There are many routes to Hochgern summit. I will limit myself to three main routes; you may find more routes on the Alpenvereins map.
- From Staudach, east of Markt Grassau: parking area at the end of Hochgernstraße:
Take the forest road and the north ridge trail of Schnappenberg to the Schnappenkirche (mountain church); then trail to Staudacher Alm.
Staudacher Alm can be reached, too, by forest road (mountain biking) from Staudach through Alpbach valley.
Trail number 3, 5 ,10 goes up the north slopes to the north cirque of Hochgern, from there hike up the west slope trail to Hochgern summit. This is the ski route, too.
- From Marquartstein; huge parking area at the end of Burgstraße
Take the forest road up to Agergschwendalm and to Hochgernhaus. Follow the trail on the west ridge up to Hochgern summit; the summer trail uses the west slopes above the north cirque of Hochgern; the winter and spring route follows the west ridge south of it. The route is part of the Via Alpina, a long distance hiking trail of the Alps.
Alternatively from the parking area to Schnappenkirche (signposts) and the north slope trail to the summit; nice loop possible.
- From Unterwössen; parking area near the end of Hochgernweg
From the parking area up to Agergschwendalm following the route via Hochgernhaus to the summit.
Alternatively follow the forest road into Kaltenbach valley, to Jochberg Alm, then on trail number 5 to Grundbach Alm and up the south slopes to Hochgern summit. Another interesting loop.
Red Tape & AccommodationRed Tape
The south slope from Grundbachal to Hochgern summit is a Winter Protection Zone for rare animals. No trespassing on skies or snow shoes during the snow period.
All sort of accommodation can be found in
Gear & Mountain ConditionHochgern is a hiking summit for nearly the whole year round. In winter and early spring the north route can be done with skies, nevertheless Hochgern is not a ski touring summit.
You need normal hiking gear for spring, summer and autumn, hiking poles and gaiters in spring can be useful. The trails are all well maintained and marked.
The north slope is steep and an avalanche zone. Check the Bavarian avalange bulletin for your ski undertakings.
Paragliding is possible from a minor summit northeast of Hochgernhaus between Hochlerch and Hochgern.
Biking up to Agergschwendalm is allowed, the road to Hochgernhaus is closed for bikes.
MapsAlpenvereinskarte, Bayerische Alpen, number BY 18, Chiemgauer Alpen Mitte; with trails and ski routes, UMT-grid, scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2012
This is the best map available even if the austrian part is only an enlargement of the austrian maps, scale 1 : 50.000. The map is part of the “Alpenvereinskarten digital” edition.
Topographische Karten von Bayern, number UKL 50-54, Chiemsee, Chiemgauer Alpen, trails and MTB routes, UTM grid, scale 1 : 50.000, edition 2016
More maps are available at Kompass Verlag or Freytag & Berndt Verlag