The big bulk of the Daumen Groaup of the Allgäu Alpsis located between two valleys which branch douthward from the spa resort Bad Hindelang, Retterschwanger Tal to the west and Hintersteiner Tal to the east. In the south Bärgündeletal and Oytal complete the enclosing valleys. However, to the north-west of the group, a single ridgeline lies outside those boundaries, starting at Nebelhorn and consisting of Entschenkopf, Schnippenkopf, Heidelbeerkopf, Sonnenkopf, Gehrenkopf and Sonthofener Hörnle.
Three of these summits, starting from Schnippenkopf go under the name of "Sonnenköpfe" and are very popular hiking destinations in summer and even more popular ski tour and snowshoe destinations in winter. Located high above the village of Fischen the summits offer wonderful views of the Daumen Group in the east and of Hörnergruppe in the west on the other side of the Iller Valley. Of these three summits, Sonnenkopf, though the lowest of the three, gave the name to the small group.
At 1712m Sonnenkopf is still lower than the timber line. While its summit is a bare roundtop, trees grow up to within 5m of it, thus blocking views to the east. The mountain is rather typical for the Allgäu Alps, a grass summit with steep and narrow ridges, which are easy to hike but can become challenging in wet or winter conditions. There are three routes to the top, the most interesting two along Oberallgäuer Rundwanderweg, a panoramic trail which traverses all three Sonnenköpfe. A third and equally popular ascent climbs the steep west slopes of the mountain.
As said above, Sonnenkopf is a very popular ski tour and snowshoe destination in winter. It is advertised as one of the finest tours on the Oberstdorf website and thus attracts lots of visitors. While the routes can in no way be called difficult they are still rather demanding. From Altstädten, for instance, it takes 1200m of elevation gain to the summit And some sections are very steep. The final ascent is moderately exposed - no issue in summer, but demanding on snowshoes, especially during descent. Ski tourers (those who start from the ski lift in Bad Hindelang) often ski down into Retterschwanger Tal across the east slopes of the mountain.
180° Summit Panorama
Sonnenkopf can be reached from the dead end Iller Valey in the Allgäu Alps. Trailheads are at Schöllang, Hinang and Altstätten. The closest airports are at Stuttgart and Munich, both cities being connected by motorway A8.
- Take motorway A8 to the intersection Kreuz Ulm-Elchingen.
- Turn onto motorway A7 south, direction Kempten and Füssen.
- At the intersection Dreieck Allgäu switch to A980.
- A few km later turn onto B19, direction Oberstdorf.
- At Sonthofen switch to OA4, direction Altstädten. All trailheads are located on this road.
Red TapeSonnenkopf is located on the western boundary of Naturschutzgebiet Allgäuer Hochalpen, a nature preserve which includes the majority of the German part of the Allgäu Alps. The usual restrictions apply.
You can choose between campgrounds, farm holidays, vacation homes and hotel rooms on most of the sites of the Allgäu villages. A Good starting point for your search is:
Maps & Books
- Allgäuer Alpen / Kleinwalsertal
Kompass Map WK 3
- Alpenvereinskarten : Allgäu-West
- Allgäuer Alpen und Ammergauer Alpen Alpin
- Allgäu 1 - Oberallgäu und Kleinwalsertal