If you drive to Oberammergau from Bad Kohlgrub you look directly onto a rough shaped nearly horizontal ridge called Sonnenberg or Sonnenberggrat. Translated into english this means "sun-mountain" or "sun-mountain-ridge". This about 5km long ridge nearly straight from east to west has two faces. The steep, grassy and wooded north slopes and a vertical drop of about 100m/300ft to the south.
The Sonnenberggrat consists of three major peaks called Brunnberg (1611m/5285ft), Zahn (1620m/5315ft) and Sonnenspitze (1622m/5322ft). Additionally there are some minor peaks called Sonnenberggrat (1556m/5105ft), Hinterer Rappenkopf (1404m/4606ft) and Vorderer Rappenkopf (4619ft). Kofel (1342m/4403) is some sort of final termination of the ridge to the east since Kofel (1342m/4403) drops down to the valley impressively. To the west the ridge simply joins with the slopes of Pürschling (1566m/5138ft).
The Sonnenberggrat offers a beautiful traverse which isn' t difficult if you' re sure-footed. But since the ridge is dropping quite steep to both sides you have splendid views into the Ammer-valley to the south as well as to the lower mountains and Oberammergau to the north. The traverse starts at the Kolbensattel (1258m/4127ft) and leads up to Zahn (1620m/5315ft) and along the ridge towards Pürschling (1566m/5138ft). You need about 1-2h to traverse Sonnenberggrat. The ascent to Kolbensattel may be eased by the chair-lift from Oberammergau. From Pürschling you may ascent Teufelstättkopf and Laubeneck as well.
If you want to traverse the hole Sonnenberggrat you have to ascent the trail to Kofel (1342m/4403). From there the Königssteig leads towards Kolbensattel. But shortly after leaving Kofelsattel (from where the final ascent to Kofel (1342m/4403) starts), a trail leads up the slopes to Vorderer Rappenkopf (1408m/4619ft). From there on you' re on the Sonnenberggrat.
Because of the views, each of the peaks of Sonnenberggrat are visited often the hole year. Especially the summit of Zahn (1620m/5315ft), since it offers a beautiful ski-tour. The traverse is mostly done during the summer months or as long there is no snow.
Maps and routes overview
- KOMPASS #5 Wettersteingebirge Zugspitzgebiet
A good overview map, which also covers the area around Oberammergau.
- KOMPASS #05: Oberammergau und Ammertal
A more detailed map of the Ammergauer Alps around the city of Oberammergau.
- Map #8432 - Oberammergau
A detailed map of the area is #8432 Oberammergau of the Bayerische Landesvermessungsamt München.
There are three routes on the Sonnenberggrat:
- Traverse of Sonnenberggrat
Starting at Pürschling or Zahn a marked trail leads along the Sonnenberggrat ridge. Both ends of the ridge trail (Pürschling or Zahn) can be reached from trail #233 which leads from Oberammergau to the summit of Pürschling along Kolbensattel.
- Traverse extension
The traverse may be extended by following the ridge between Zahn and Kofelsattel as well. This part is not marked. Additionally his variation offers the possibility to ascent Kofel (1342m/4403) from Kofelsattel.
- Ascent of Zahn
Starting at the Kolbensattel, follow either trail #233 or Königssteig until you reach a parting of the trails. The trail to the summit of Zahn is marked by a sign. Both trail meet shortly below the summit under the last steep slope.
The best trailhead to ascent Sonnenberggrat is Oberammergau. You may as well start your trip from the Ammer-valley, but increases the distance you have to hike, since there aren' t much possibilities to get back down to the Ammer-valley. There are several possibilities to get to Oberammergau.
- By car:
Road B23, which connects Schongau with Oberau runs through Oberammergau. From Oberau you have access to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and to the highway to Munich.
There is a parking lot at the chair lift to Kolbensattel. I think it is free, but I don' t know.
- By train:
Oberammergau has a train station with a train leaving about every hour to Murnau. From there you have trains to Munich, Innsbruck and Ehrwald/Füssen(Austria).
To get to the trailhead from the train station of Oberammergau you have to cross the street leading into the city and turn right. Shortly after leaving the train station you reach a street leading up to the chair lift to Kolbensattel. I think there is a sign, but I don' t remember.
- www.oberammergau.deMultilangual homepage of the area of Oberammergau. Lots of information about places to stay and activites
There are no fees, permits or seasonal closures.
Sonnenberggrat is part of the nature reservation area Ammergau Alps which is the biggest nature reservation area of Bavaria. Therefore you should only leave footprints on the mountains and stay on the trails. If you' re lucky you will see some chamois crossing...
Oberammergau is a touristic area with several hotels and places to stay. There is a camp ground at the foot of Kofel (1342m/4403).
For more information visit the multilangual homepage of the area. Additionally the Pürschlinghaus-hut, which is open the hole year, may be a nice place to stay.