The Allgäu Alps, though certainly not one of the highest mountain groups of the Alps, is one of the most popular ones. In Germany it is probably number one in popularity, at least equal to the Wetterstein Group around Zugspitze. Though mainly considered a German part of the Alps the Allgäu Alps on their southern side stretch out into Austria and about two fifth of the range are on Austrian territory.
Due to the moderate height of its mountains there are no glaciers in the group. You will find some permanent snow fields on some of the north faces, however. The range itself is rather varying in its appearance which might be one of the reasons for its popularity. The valleys have been used for cattle grazing for eternities and thus have a very open and sunny aspect. To the north you can find the Allgäu Prealps, high hills rising out of the pastures, which in themselves are interesting hiking destinations mainly because of the perfect views they offer into the higher parts of the group.
The second aspect of the group has to do with mountains with grassy slopes on one side, mighty faces on the other. Most of these mountains are located around the central town of Oberstdorf and these are the most popular and famous hiking destinations. You will barely find a summit on the Fellhorn-, Höfats- or Daumen Ridges which cannot be hiked to using one (or several) marked trails.
And finally, the further to the south you get you will encounter Dolomite-like rock faces, the highest summits of the Group like Krottenkopf, Mädelegabel or Biberkopf. The Dolomite resemblance is not accidental: all of these summits are composed of the so-called Hauptdolomit (Main Dolomite), a grey considerably solid type of rock which nevertheless tends to form deep crevices and gullies.
The Allgäu Alps are located on the German – Austrian border and are bounded by deep and in some cases important valleys on all sides. To the south and east the valleys of the Lech and Bregenzer Ach Rivers form the border, to the north the Vils and Konstanzer Ach do the same. To the west the boundary is a bit fuzzy as the mountains there are rather low and the valleys not profound. The border here would be an imagined line between the town of Bad Oberstaufen in the north and Au to the south.
And having spoken of rivers the main river of the Allgäu Alps has to be mentioned. The valley of the Iller River cuts through the range and dominates all aspects of it.Formed at the conjunction of the Breitach and Stillach Creeks near Oberstdorf it divides the Allgäu Alps in two unequal parts. The eastern one is home to all of the highest summits while the western one stops short at about 2200m (with one notable exception: Widderstein). Politically the group is home to two expatriate Austrian regions: Kleinwalsertal in the south-west and Jungholz to the north. Both can be reached only from German soil with no direct connections to their home country. The Langholz enclave is even more astonishing as the connection to Austria is only 1m (3 feet) wide!
The subdivision on this page follows the suggestions by the German Alpine Club, as put down in the Alpenvereinsführer (see Maps & Books Section). Mountains, which already have been submitted to SP are listed within their corresponding subgroup.
The prealpine summits west of the Iller River present themselves as round-topped muntains, mostly covered by grass. The underlying rock is called Flysch, a kind of rapidly eroding limestone. The mountains are perfect for skiing purposes which is why you will find a lot of chair lifts in the area. Still the mountains are very popular as hiking destinations during the summer months, mostly due to easy access and excellent views to the central Allgäu Alps. There are two subranges, Nagelfluhkete in te norh and Hörnergupe in he south.
For more information see the Nagelfluhkette and Hörnergruppe separate page
The prealps to the east of the Iller river cover only a small area. The main mountain is Grünten, which towers over the city of Sonthofen. It is the first impressive mountain you can get a glimpse of as you travel from the north.
Best known for its status as an Austrian enclave surrounded by German soil, Kleinwalsertal Valley is one of the best known tourist sites of the Allgäu Alps. Very popular during winter as a skiing region, over summer the Fellhorn ridge draws thousands of visitors. Again it is the great views towards the central Allgäu Alps which draw hikers towards the area. The dominating mountains of Kleinwalsertal are Hoher Ifen to the west and Widderstein to the south-east.
This is the remotest part of the Allgäu Alps. You can reach these mountains best from the upper Lech Valley in Austria. Aside from Mädelegabel and Hohes Licht most mountains are remote and solitary. Climbs for most of them are far from easy.
The "Tannheimer Berge" are a subgroup to the north-east of the Allgäu Alps which are located completely on Austrian soil. They are more or less all located on a single ridge which is bounded by the Vils river to the north and Tannheimer Tal Valley to the south. The mountains are composed of solid limestone (the sort which you find in the Wetterstein Group) and is the main sportsclimbing area of the whole range.
Sometimes considered part of the Tannheim Mountains this subgroup of the Ötztal Alps is located right across Tannheimer Tal on its southern side. As the same infers, the group surrounds the Vilsalplsee Lake. Most mountains can be reached by hiking trails, the group is rather popular.
Großer Daumen, the highest summit of this Group, is by far not the best known or most important. This honour goes to Nebelhorn, which can be reached by a three stage cablecar from Oberstdorf. Consequently the whole group is very crowded. It with Rubihorn and Entschenkopf it contains two other very well known peaks both of which are part of the panorama as seen from the towns and villages around the Iller River. The Daumen Ridge can be traversed using a ferrata, the Hindelanger Klettersteig, also very popular and crowded at all times of the climbing season.
As a curiosity: On the slopes of Schattenberg, just above Oberstdorf you will find the Oberstdorf ski jumping arena.
Quite in contrast to the neighbouring Daumen Group the Höfats / Rauheck Group is rather solitary. Yes, there is a hut and there are easy access trails from the valleys but the ridges themselves are somewhat exposed and see much less hiker traffic. The group is located at the centre of the Allgäu Alps and consequently offers great views all around.
Very solitary and hard to reach from any side, the Hochvogel / Rosszahn Group offers some interesting climbing destinations. Hochvogel itself is the exception to the rule. The mountain is served by Prinz Luitpold Hut and sees many ascents.
Saved for last: the highest Group of the Allgäu Alps. The Hornbach chain is a single ridgeline which separates from the main ridge near Mädelegabel. There is only one hut in the group and the summits are very hard to reach. The main Dolomite rock is chossy so that reaching the summits, while being far from difficult is considerably dangerous. Still a high alpine trail traverses the group and it makes for a good solitary hiking destination.
The closest international airports are at Munich, Stuttgart. Both cities are connected by motorway A8 (notorious for traffic jams). Almost in the middle between the cities at Ulm there is a motorway intersection (Kreuz Ulm) with A7, which you need to drive in southerly direction. At Kempten take A980 west, which ends after a couple of miles/kms where you have to switch to B19 south. The road takes you to Oberstdorf the principal town of this part of Allgäu. Oberstdorf can also be reached by train. See here for the train connections.
You can also take A7 to its end near Füssen and from where you can reach the eastern ranges. Take B178 into Austria and at Reute turn onto B198 into Lechtal Valley. Depending on your destination at Weißenbach you need to decide between B199 (Tannheimer Tal) and B198 (Lechtal)
The closest international airport on the Austrian side of the border is at Innsbruck. Take motorway A12 westward (toll!!, alternatively take B171) to the Mötz exit. Gain B189 west towards Nassereith where you need to switch to B178 north. At Reute turn west again on B198 into Lechtal and - if applicable - onto B199 into Tannheimer Tal.
As you can see from the listing below, finding a place to eat or sleep in the Allgäu Alps is far from difficult. However the line between hut, restaurant and alm (farm with food and sometimes lodging) is hard to draw. Especially in the prealpine part of the Allgäu Alps and also in Kleinwalsertal Valley you will find a lot of "Gasthäuser", restaurants, open to the hikers during the day. The deeper you get into the mountains the more of the regular huts you will find.
From Oberstdorf a number of valleys reach out towards all parts of the Allgäu Alps. At the end of these valleys you will always find a "Gasthaus", some of which take guests over night.
|Refuge / Hut||Height||Summer||Winter||Tel.|
|Allgäu Prealps West|
|Kemptener Naturfreundehaus||1415m||all summer||all winter (w/o Nov.||+49 8323 2123|
|Bärenfalle||1100m||all summer||closed||+49 8323 389|
|Alpe Obere Kalle||1302m||May - Oct||Dec - Mar||+49 8325 487|
|Kuhschwandalpe||1000m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8325 1313|
|Schwandalpe||936m||May - Oct||Dec - Mar||n.a.|
|Berggasthütte Hündle||1050m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8386 1720|
|Staufner Haus||1634m||May - Oct||X-mas - March||+49 8386 8255|
|Obere Stiegalpe||1178m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8386 8178|
|Falkenhütte||1420m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8386 8113|
|Imberghaus||1218m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8386 8106|
|Alpengasthof Vordere Fluh||1191m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 08386 8466|
|Scheidwangalpe||1316m||June - mid Oct||n.a.||+49 8321 3324|
|Hörnerhaus||1385m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8326 639|
|Schwabenhaus||1310m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8326 438|
|Wannenkopfhütte||1325m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8322 978520|
|Allgäu Prealps East||Grüntenhaus||1535m||all summer||all winter||+49 8327 7474||Buronhütte||1170m||all summer||all winter||+49 8365 290|
|Mahdtalhaus||1100m||all summer||closed in Nov||+43 5517 6423|
|Gasthaus Auenhütte||1275m||all summer||all winter||+43 5517 5265|
|Ifenhütte||1586m||mid June - mid Oct||Xmas - Easter||+43 6643 400693|
|Bergadler||2010m||n.a.||n.a.||+43 8329 54240|
|Schwarzwasserhütte||1620m||June - mid Oct||Xmas - mid March||+43 5517 30210|
|Neuhornbachhaus||1650m||May - Oct||mid Dec - end March||+43 66453 67595|
|Gasthaus Freibergsee||934m||all summer||all winter||+49 8322 2285|
|Kanzelwandhaus||1520m||mid May - mid Oct||mid Dec - Easter||+49 8322 3346|
|Fellhornbahn Bergstation||1967m||all summer||all winter||+49 8322 96000|
|Kanzelwand Bergstation||1957m||all summer||all winter||+43 5517 52740|
|Fiderepasshütte||2065m||end May - end Oct||closed||+43 5517 20626|
|Mindelheimer Hütte||2013m||mid June - mid Oct||closed||+49 8322 700153|
|Widdersteinhütte||2009m||June - mid Oct||closed||+43 664 3912524|
|Bühlalpe||1422m||n.a.||n.a.||+43 5517 5579|
|Central Main Ridge||Einödsbach||1115m||all summer||all winter||+49 8322 98454||Enzianhütte||1780m||June - mid Oct||closed||+49 8322 700150||Rappenseehütte||2091m||mid June - mid Oct||closed||+49 8322 700155||Waltenbergerhaus||2084m||June - Oct||closed||+49 8322 700156||Kemptner Hütte||1844m||mid June - mid Oct||closed||+49 8322 700152||Tannheim Mountains||Ostlerhütte||1838m||all summer||all winter||+49 8363 424||Bad Kissinger Hütte (Pfrontner Hütte)||1788m||May - Oct||winterroom||+43 676 3731166||Vilseralm||1226m||all summer||closed||n.a.||Otto Mayr Hütte||1528m||May - Oct||Christmas||+43 5677 8457||Füssener Hütte||1528m||May - mid Oct||closed||+43 5675 6041||Musaueralm||1290m||mid May - mid Oct||weekends||+43 676 3423236||Gimpelhaus||1659m||beg May - beg Nov||closed||+43 5675 825||Tannheimer Hütte||1713m||May - Oct||closed||+43 676 5451700||Gehrenalm||1620m||end May - end Oct||closed||+43 664 1634116||Vilsalplsee Mountains||Willersalpe||1459m||May - Oct||closed||+49 171 9939847||Landsberger Hütte||1805m||May - mid Oct||closed||+43 5675 6282||Ödenalpen||1672m, 1714m||all summer||closed||+43 676 5427880||Krinnenalpe||1527m||mid May - mid Oct||mid Dec - Easter||+43 5675 8189||Daumen Group||Gaisalpe||1149m||n.a.||n.a.||+49 8326 7917||Edmund Probst Haus||1930m||May - beg Oct||Christmas - Easter||+49 8322 4795||Schwarzenberger Hütte||1380m||All summer||closed Nov - Chistmas||+49 173 3927766||Giebelhaus||1065m||all summer||Closed Oct - Nov||+49 8324 8146||Höfats / Rauheck Group||Gasthaus Oytal||1006m||all summer||all winter||n.a.||Gasthaus Gerstruben||1146m||all summer||all winter||n.a.||Spielmannsau||990m||all summer||all winter||+49 8322 3015||Hochvogel / Rosszahn Group||Prinz Luitpold Haus||1846m||end May - beg Oct||closed||+49 8322 700154||Hornbach Chain||Gasthaus Bernhardseck||1812m||May - mid Oct||closed||+43 5634 6218||Barthhütte||2129m||mid June - end Sept||closed||+43 5634 6671||Kaufbeurer Haus||2005m||June - beg Oct||closed||+49 8269 91996|
AccommodationYou can choose between campgrounds, farm holidays, vacation homes and hotel rooms on most of the sites of the Allgäu villages. Here I include the sites of the large towns and valleys:
Red TapeParts of the Allgäu Alps have been declared natural preserves so behave as is expected. The area is used for extensive cattle grazing. All the valleys as well as most of the summits of the prealps are used as pastures. Close all gates and try to leave no trace, even if some of the mountains are crowded as hell.Weather ConditionsAll of the towns and villages of Allgäu have their web sites, most of them with weather information and live cams. Here is a selection
Maps & BooksMaps