Hochstaufen can be named as local mountain of the town of Bad Reichenhall. Standing high above Bad Reichenhall northwest of the town and showing an equally high rockface to the north Hochstaufen is, together with the western neighbour Zwiesel, the northernmost elevation of the Berchtesgaden Alps.
On sunny weekend hundreds of local people are flooding this prominent peak with its marvellous panorama. Offering five normal hiking routes and a difficult Via Ferrata, Pidinger Klettersteig, which overcomes the cold looking northern rocks of Hochstaufen, this mountain has multiple possibilities for traverses, ascents and descents.
And not to forget: what makes this summit so popular is Reichenhaller Haus, standing only some meters below the summit and offering food, drinks and lodging with a breathtaking view to the Berchtesgaden main peaks and spectacular sunsets and sunrises if you plan an overnight stay in this alpine mountain club hut.
Hochstaufen is near the European long distance hiking trail E 4 / Maximilianweg and thus a possible summit aim alongside this famous hiking route. And Reichenhaller Haus is for sure an alternative overnight stay for the E 4 hikers instead of the “regular overnight stay” at Zwieselalm, south of Zwiesel summits.
My favourite time for Hochstaufen (and Zwiesel) is May when I usually hike the Hochstaufen – Zwiesel traverse. The south sides and the Steinerne Jäger ascent are nearly snow free, the first spring mountain flowers are blossoming and the traverse tests your stamina: about 1800 m of altitude difference and 8 hours for the whole traverse; this is more than some high Berchtesgaden mountains can offer.
Main trailheads for Hochstaufen are:
Use highway A 8 from Munich or Austrian highway (toll road) A 1 to the exit Piding / Bad Reichenhall.
For Piding trailheads follow road B 20 a short distance in the direction of Bad Reichenhall. Leave this road to the west (Teisendorfer Straße) until you reach the little villages of Urwies (first trailhead) and Unterberg (second trainhead). There are parking areas for hikers and the via ferrata fans of Pidinger Klettersteig (signposts).
For Padinger Alm trailhead follow the road number 20 to Bad Reichenhall. Leave the road to cross the river Saalach at the signposts to Schneizlreuth, Karlstein, Nonn.
Immediately after the bridge turn right at the traffic light and follow the road to Nonn. Where the road turns to western direction take the first road to the right (signposts to Padinger Alm). The first trailhead, a small parking area in the woods, is to the right where the road ascends more steeply. The Padinger Alm trailhead is at the parking area below Padinger Alm at the end of the road.
For Adlgaß trailhead leave the highway A 8, München – Salzburg – at the exit Traunstein / Siegsdorf and follow the road number 306 to Inzell.
From Bad Reichenhall follow road number St2101 and 305 to Inzell.
At Inzell follow the local roads to the east, passing Würau, Eck and arriving at the parking area of Adlgaß.
Main Routes Overview
There are five main routes to Hochstaufen summit, which can be combined easily to interesting traverses.
Red Tape and Accommodation
There is no red tape as far as I know.
All types of accommodation can be found at
Mountain huts and inns
Gear, Mountain Condition & Maps
Hochstaufen is a spring, summer and autumn hiking mountain. The south routes can be snow free early in spring. The traverse Hochstaufen – Zwiesel is normally open in april / may until the first heavy snowfalls.
The hiking routes require full hiking gear, good shoes and – as to Steinerne Jäger route and Hochstaufen – Zwiesel traverse route – some rock scrambling experiences (UIAA grade I, mainly secured with fixed ropes).
Pidinger Klettersteig is a difficult via ferrata which requires some experience and full self belaying gear.
The following maps can be recommended:
Alpenvereinskarte Bayerische Alpen
Scale 1 : 25.000
Number BY 19, Chiemgauer Alpen Ost, Sonntagshorn
Scale 1 : 50.000
Number WK 14 Berchtesgadener Land-Chiemgauer Alpen ISBN: 3-85491-017-7
Check the weather forecast here.