There are three routes up to the Kahlersberg, two of them very difficult and very steep, and the third one, leading from the Hochgschirr saddle through a tricky passage known as the mousehole (the “Mausloch” in German) is the standard and technically least difficult way up. This trail, being entirely on Bavarian territory until the summit, is the one I will describe here on the page. Best time to do this hike: End of June until October.
Getting ThereStarting point of the hike to the Kahlersberg: Hinterbrand or Jennerbahn middle station above Berchtesgaden.
How to get to Berchtesgaden:
Nearest airports: Munich, Salzburg
Coming by car from Munich: Take the Munich-Salzburg motorway. Shortly before Salzburg, already within Austria, switch to the A 10 in the direction of Villach-Klagenfurt. After 8 kilometers, exit in Neu-Anif, following the signs to Grödig-Berchtesgaden. Just after St. Leonhard, the road crosses back into Germany and continues as B 305 through Marktschellenberg to Berchtesgaden. Distance: 154,8 kilometers; duration: 1 hour 39 minutes.
Coming by car from Salzburg: Follow signs to Anif or Grödig (from the airport, follow first the motorway in the direction of Munich-Innsbruck for about 2 kilometers, then switch to the A 10 in the direction of Villach-Klagenfurt. Exit at Neu-Anif, following the signs to Grödig-Berchtesgaden) and continue as above. Distance: 24,6 kilometers; duration: 28 minutes.
To the Jennerbahn telepherique, it’s another 5,1 kilometers; follow the B 20 to Königssee.
From Berchtesgaden to Hinterbrand by car: Follow the road in the direction of Königssee for about two kilometers, then turn left (sign to Faselsberg) and follow the road leading straight to Hinterbrand on 1100 meters. Parking lot.
Coming by means of public transportation: There are regular trains both from Munich and from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden Bahnhof (from Salzburg, there are also the regular busses of the RVO line no. 840. This goes much quicker than taking the train via Freilassing and Bad Reichenhall.). From here, use the busses of the RVO (link to all the timetables added under “links”)
Character: marked trail of medium technical difficulty, partly very exposed; in some places between Hochgschirr saddle and the summit it has via ferrata character. Below and above the Seeleinsee lake, as well as on the summit trail, the rocks (limestone) can be very slippery, even in dry weather. Non-fear of heights and exposure and an absolute security of step is definitely a must, and I strongly advise against going up Kahlersberg when there is risk of ice!
One other thing I noticed both times I went up Kahlersberg as well as the third time I went up the Hochgschirr saddle, is that it can get very hot in the Seeleinsee-Hochgschirr area! Once the sun comes through, the heat seems to really accumulate there. Even on October 8th (2010, when I went up last), the heat on Hochgschirr was like in Mid-July!
From Hinterbrand or Jennerbahn middle station via Priesbergalm-Seeleinsee-Windscharte:
Height gain: 1250 meters (4101 feet)
Overall mileage: about 8 kilometers
Follow trail no. 497 from Hinterbrand via Jennerbahn middle station – Strubalm – Branntweinbrennhütte to Priesbergalm on 1460 meters (beautiful scenery all along the way!). These first four kilometers are on a broad and only gently rising trail, except for a short steeper rise just before Branntweinbrennhütte. About 500 meters after Priesbergalm, take the trail that rises to the left – still no. 497 – through a steep valley, forested up until about 1760 meters height, then through rock and alpine grass to the beautifully situated little Seeleinsee lake on 1890 meters (just a bit above the lake, there is an emergency telephone).This section tends to be very muddy and slippery in October, as already in autumn this valley hardly gets any sun and therefore the water doesn’t evaporate from the ground. At Seeleinsee, turn right and follow trail no. 416 up the rubble-covered slope to the spectacular Hochgschirr saddle on 1949 meters.
Here, turn left and follow trail no. 496 first through a rubble and block field (no trail; follow the cairnds and the rather sparse red markings), then steeply up through grass and rock until the entrance of the Mausloch (Mousehole). Here, follow the markings up steep rock (rather precariously secured by a metal rope that hardly has any tension any more) and along a very giddy traverse (I would almost advise a rope and a karabiner here!), secured by a metal rope, but with about five centimeters of space to stand on just right above an enormous sheer drop. Once past this, continue following the trail oftentimes along particularly exposed points (in general, keep in mind as well that the limestone rock we are moving on can be very slippery! Always watch out for this, especially on the exposed bits!) around the mountain to the base of the very wide and now only moderately steep grass slope on the south side. Follow the trail up this slope, on which you will also see ibex colonies, to the highest point of the Kahlersberg.
A landscapewise really spectacular way of getting to the Hochgschirr saddle would be by first going up Schneibstein from the Carl-von-Stahl hut (route described in my mountain page), then descending down the other side along trail no. 416, very gradually and first along the summit plateau of the Schneibstein, then past the Windschartenkopf and through a gorgeous alpine high valley to the Seeleinsee lake. From here, rise as described above to Hochgschirr saddle and Kahlersberg. The overall mileage is about the same as the route from Hinterbrand, only you have to calculate first the 500-meter rise to the Schneibstein, then it’s a nearly 400-meter descent to the Seeleinsee, and from there another 560-meter rise to the summit of Kahlersberg.
Red TapeNone that I know of, except that due to the regulations of the Berchtesgaden National Park, there is a ban on camping on the mountain or on the way to it. Do not leave the marked trails, and take your garbage with you.
CampingMühlleiten in Schönau-Königssee.
GearNo extra gear needed, although there is one spot where it might not be such a bad idea to be roped.
MapsKompass no. 794 Berchtesgadener Land 1:25000
External LinksTimetable of the Jennerbahn telepherique
List of timetables for all the RVO busses in general
Timetable for RVO 838 Berchtesgaden-Hinterbrand (download the pdf file)