Chiemgau Alps

Page Type
Area/Range
Location:
Austria/Germany, Europe
Activities:
Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Scrambling, Skiing
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elevation:
6434 ft / 1961 m
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Chiemgau Alps
Created On: Jan 29, 2017
Last Edited On: Sep 12, 2018

Overview


The Chiemgauer Alps are a part of the Northern Limestone Alps and are denominated after the Chiemgau, the region around Chiemsee lake in southeastern Bavaria, Germany. Chiemsee lake is situated north of the mountains and is mainly famous for the royal castle of Herrenchiemsee, built by king Ludwig II in the 19th century and located on the island of the same name.



Chiemgau Alps

Panorama of Chiemgau Alps as seen from the south

The highest peak of Chiemgauer Alps is Sonntagshorn, 1961 m, 6433 ft, situated in the eastern part of the area. You see that Chiemgauer Alps do not belong to the higher and prominent parts of the Northern Limestone Alps. The whole area, however, is a wellknown, popular and therefor crowded mountain region.

The main part of Chiemgauer Alps belong to Germany, Bavaria, a minor part lays within Austria, divided between the Tirol and Salzburg counties.

Adjacent mountain areas are:


  • to the west the Bavarian Alps, also called Bavarian Prealps
  • to the southwest Kaisergebirge
  • to the southeast Loferer and Leoganger Alps
  • to the east Berchtesgaden Alps


  • Chiemgau Alps

    The eponymous Chiemsee lake

    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein, Hochries and Kampenwand area


    The geographical limitations are


  • to the north the Alpine outland between Rosenheim to the west, Chiemsee lake, Traunstein, Teisendorf and Bad Reichenhall to the east
  • to the east the valleys from Bad Reichenhall to Lofer (Saalach valley)
  • to the south (from east to west) Strubtal valley to Waidring, Griesbach, Erpfendorf and Kössener Ache valley to Kössen, Weißenbach, Walchsee and Niederndorf
  • to the west by Inntal valley from Niederndorf back to Rosenheim
  • Chiemgau Alps invite for a huge variety of outdoor activities and are a popular area for whatever outings:

    Hiking is a main acticity within Chiemgauer Alps as most summits and ranges are not very high and cragged. All summits can be reached within a day. Some long distance hiking routes like the Via Alpina or the European long distance trail number E4 traverse the area. Many mountain huts and cable cars add to a well built hiking infrastructure.

    Popular hiking summits are Sonntagshorn, Kampenwand, Geigelstein, Hochgern, Hochfelln, Rauschberg and Hochstaufen.

    Alpine climbs can be done at Kampenwand, Hörndlwand and Steinplatte.

    The most popular skiing areas are the Waidring – Lofer – Steinplatte region and the Kampenwand skiing area.

    Besides using ski lifts, most of the higher summits of Chiemgauer Alps are popular for ski tours or snow shoe tours in winter and early spring. Spitzstein, Hochgern, Sonntagshorn and Geigelstein are among the most popular ski tours.


    Chiemgau Alps

    Hochries, Spitzstein and Klausenberg: ski touring aims

    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein: prime ski touring aim


    Mountain biking can be done on most of the Chiemgauer mountains, some routes and forest roads, however, are closed for mountain bikes. Please respect those limitations.

    Paragliding and even delta-gliding is most common in the area. As far as I know there are no special restrictions for that sport.


    Getting There


    By car:


    Highway A 8, München to Salzburg, runs along the north side of the area. The following exits (from west to east) give way to the different regions of the area:


  • Achenmühle for the Heuberg / Hochries area
  • Frasdorf for the Aschau – Geigelstein and Kampenwand area
  • Bernau, Übersee and Grabenstätt for the Marquartstein – Schleching - Reit im Winkl area
  • Schweinbach, Traunstein / Siegsdorf for the Ruhpolding area
  • Bad Reichenhall / Pieding for the Bad Reichenhall area


  • Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein, Kampenwand and Hochplatte as seen from the south

    Chiemgau Alps

    Heuberg and Kranzhorn in winter


    Highway A 93, the Inntal valley highway, between Rosenheim and the exit Oberaudorf gives access to the western part of Chiemgauer Alps.

    From the exit Oberaudorf take the Austrian road number 172 to Niederndorf, Walchsee, Kössen and Reit im Winkl for the southern parts of Chiemgauer Alps.

    The German road number B 305 between Reit im Winkl, Inzell and Schneizlreuth gives access to the more southeastern part of the mountain area. German road number B 21 between Schneizreuth and Bad Reichenhall completes the loop.

    Some north-south connecting roads and many local roads complete the very good road infrastructure of the area.



    Chiemgau Alps

    Hochries and Spitzstein region

    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein and Kampenwand region


    Railway:

    The railway connections of the area are rather poor. All main railway stations are located near and not within Chiemgau Alps: Rosenheim, Bernau, Traunstein and Bad Reichenhall to the north and Oberaudorf / Kufstein to the west. From there you have to continue by bus.

    Only two regional railways are located at the northern rim of Chiemgau Alps:


  • Traunstein – Ruhpolding
  • Prien – Aschau / Chiemgau
  • Schedules can be found here.


    Busses:

    The bus connections are served by Regionalverkehr Oberbayern. All main valleys within Chiemgau Alps have their bus lines; look for busses number


  • 9502 (Bernau – Aschau – Sachrang)
  • 9505 (Prien – Marquartstein – Reit im Winkl)
  • 9506 (Inzell – Ruhpolding – Reit im Winkl)
  • 9507 (Reit im Winkl - Winklmoosalm), 9508 (Traunstein – Bergen - Marquartstein)
  • 9509 (Grassau – Schleching – Kössen – Reit im Winkl)
  • 9512 (Traunstein - Ruhpolding)
  • 9526 (Traunstein – Inzell – Schneizlreuth – Bad Reichenhall)
  • Subranges and summits


    Chiemgau Alps Overview



    Hochries Subrange

    The Hochries subrange is located in the western part of Chiemgauer Alps, ist highest summit is Spitzstein.

    The geographical borders of this subrange are:
    the northern foreland to the north, Inntal valley to the west, Prien valley to the east and the Niederndorf region to the south



    Chiemgau Alps

    Spitzstein and Klausenberg

    Chiemgau Alps

    Heuberg (left) and Kranzhorn

    Chiemgau Alps

    Spitzstein and Inntal




    Summits

    Dandlberg (890 m; 2920 ft)
    Sattelberg (820 m; 2690 ft)
    Kindlwand (1228 m; 4029 ft)
    Wasserwand (1337 m; 4386 ft)
    Heuberg (1338 m; 4389 ft)
    Kitzstein (1398 m; 4587 ft)
    Riesenberg (1449 m; 4754 ft)
    Hochries (1588 m; 5210 ft)
    Karkopf (1496 m; 4908 ft)
    Feichteck (1514 m; 4967 ft)
    Kranzhorn (1366 m; 4482 ft)
    Hammerstein (1280 m; 4199 ft)
    Laubenstein (1350 m; 4429 ft)
    Zellerhorn (1398 m; 4587 ft)
    Heuraffelkopf (1504 m; 4934 ft)
    Predigtstuhl (1494 m; 4902 ft)
    Klausenberg (1554 m; 5098 ft)
    Zinnenberg (1565 m; 5135 ft)
    Brandelberg (1500 m; 4921 ft)
    Spitzstein (1598 m; 5243 ft)

    Kampenwand subrange

    The Kampenwand subrange is located east of Hochries subrange and north of Geigelstein subrange. Its highest peak is Kampenwand.

    Its limitation is:
    Frasdorf and southern Chiemsee region to the north, Prien valley to the west, Klausengraben / Dalsenbach valley to the south, Grassau valley and valley of Tiroler Achen to the east.



    Chiemgau Alps

    Ammergauer Hochplatte

    Chiemgau Alps

    Kampenwand south faces

    Chiemgau Alps

    Gedererwand and Chiemsee




    Summits

    Reifenberg (981 m; 3219 ft)
    Haindorfer Berg (1123 m; 3684 ft)
    Schwarzenberg (1126 m; 3694 ft)
    Breitenberg (1047 m; 3435 ft)
    Gedererwand (1351 m; 4432 ft)


    Chiemgau Alps

    Kampenwand subrange as seen from Hochgern

    Chiemgau Alps

    Alm hut near Kampenwand



    Sonnenwendwand (1511 m; 4957 ft)
    Scheibenwand (1597 m; 5240 ft)
    Kampenwand
    (1694 m; 5558 ft)
    Hochalpenkopf (1494 m; 4902)
    Chiemgauer Hochplatte
    (1589 m; 5213 ft)
    Teufelstein (1435 m; 4708 ft)



    Geigelstein subrange

    The Geigelstein subrange is located east of the Hochries subrange and south of the Kampenwand subrange. The highest summit is eponymous Geigelstein.

    Geografical limitations are Klausengraben / Dalsenbach valley to the north, Prien valley to the west, valley of Tiroler Achen to the east, Walchsee and Kössen valley to the south.



    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein, Weitlahnerkopf

    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein subrange from the west

    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein and Schleching valley




    Summits

    Aschentaler Wände / Tauron (1738 m; 5702 ft)
    Weitlahnerkopf (1615 m; 5299 ft)
    Ahornkopf (1540 m; 5052 ft)
    Roßalpenkopf (1762 m; 5781 ft)
    Mühlhörndl (1518 m; 4980 ft)
    Mühlhornwand Wandspitz (1685 m; 5528 ft)
    Latschkogel (1589 m; 5213 ft)
    Geigelstein
    (1808 m; 5932 ft)


    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein southern meadows

    Chiemgau Alps

    Geigelstein summit

    Chiemgau Alps

    Typical Alm hut near Geigelstein



    Breitenstein
    (1661 m; 5449 ft)
    Wandberg (1454 m; 4770 ft)
    Brennkopf (1353 m; 4439 ft)
    Hochköpfl (1539 m; 5049 ft)
    Rescharkopf (1393 m; 4570 ft)
    Horauer Spitze (1117 m; 3665 ft)
    Rudersburg (1434 m; 4705 ft)
    Wetterfahne (1284 m; 4213 ft)



    Chiemgauer Berge

    This central subrange is located between Marquartstein / Tiroler Achen valley and Inzell. The highest mountain of the subrange is Hochgern.



    Hochgern

    Hochgern summit

    Chiemgau Alps

    Hochgern and Hochfelln




    Summits

    Ebgelstein (970 m; 3182 ft)
    Bairerkopf (1283 m; 4209 ft)
    Schnappenberg (1260 m; 4234 ft)
    Hochlerch (1633 m; 5358 ft)
    Hochgern
    (1748 m; 5735 ft)
    Silleck (1565 m; 5135 ft)
    Großer Rechenberg (1368 m; 4488 ft)
    Rehwaldkopf (1395 m; 4577 ft)
    Gleichenberg (1156 m; 3793 ft)
    Schleichenberg (1243 m; 4078 ft)
    Haargaßberg (1210 m; 3970 ft)
    Hochfelln (1671 m; 5482 ft)
    Toraukopf (1481 m; 4859 ft)
    Weißgrabenkopf (1578 m; 5177 ft)
    Groerkopf (1562 m; 5125 ft)
    Nesselauer Schneid (1440 m; 4724 ft)
    Haaralmschneid (1595 m; 5233 ft)


    Chiemgau Alps

    Hochlerch and Schnappenkirche

    Chiemgau Alps

    Reit im Winkl with Hochgern (right)

    Chiemgau Alps

    Religious signs



    Gründberg (1225 m; 4019 ft)
    Unternberg / Unternbergschneid (1425 m; 4675 ft)
    Sulzgrabenkopf (1521 m; 4990 ft)
    Hörndlwand (1684 m; 5525 ft)
    Gurnwandkopf (1690 m; 5545 ft)
    Hochscharten (1474 m; 4836 ft)
    Rachelspitze (1415 m; 4642 ft)
    Stuhlkopf (1264 m; 4147 ft)
    Mühlprachkopf (1331 m; 4367 ft)
    Dürrnbachhorn (1767 m; 5797 ft)
    Hochgimpling (1539 m; 5049 ft)
    Wildalphorn (1690 m; 5545 ft)



    Southern Chiemgau Mountains

    This rather small subarea is located in the Austrian part of Chiemgauer Alps south of the “Chiemgauer Berge” subrange. Highest peak is Steinplatte.

    The geographical limitations are the Saalach valley to the east, the Lofer creek valley to the south, the valley of Kohlenbach creek to the west and the Unken / Heutal valley to the north.



    Chiemgau Alps

    Steinplatte and southern Chiemgau peaks, Staufen and Sonntagshorn in the back

    Chiemgau Alps

    Fellhorn as seen from Unterwössen




    Summits

    Schwarzeneck (1556 m; 5105 ft)
    Steinplatte(1869 m; 6132 ft)
    Bernfarchtkogel (1537 m; 5043 ft)
    Fellhorn (1764 m; 5787 ft)
    Eggenalmkopf (1686 m; 5531 ft)
    Hiefelstein (1542 m; 5059 ft)

    Ruhpoldinger Subrange

     

    Chiemgau Alps

    Sonntagshorn and Reifelberg

    This subrange is located in the eastern part of Chiemgauer Alps and embraces the mountains around the town of Ruhpolding. The highest mountain is Sonntagshorn.

    Its limitations are the northern foreland, Weißbach and Saalach valley to the east, Unken / Heutal valley to the south and Urschlauer Achen valley to the west.

    Summits

    Zinnkopf (1227 m; 4026 ft)
    Vorderer Rauschberg (1645 m; 5397)
    Hinterer Rauschberg (1671 m; 5482 ft)
    Zenokopf (1603 m; 5259 ft)
    Seßseekopf (1153 m; 3783 ft)
    Ristfeuchthorn (1569 m; 5148 ft)
    Fischbachkopf (1694 m; 5558 ft)
    Reifelberg (1882 m; 6175 ft)
    Sonntagshorn (1961 m; 6434 ft)
    Peitingköpfl (1720 m; 5643 ft)
    Hochgseng (1544 m; 5066 ft)
    Hochgern (1740 m; 5709 ft)
    Aibleck (1756 m; 5761 ft)
    Ochsenhorn (1615 m; 5299 ft)
    Kranzhorn (1241 m; 4072 ft)
    Wendelberg (959 m; 3146 ft)

    Staufen subrange

    The easternmost subrange of the Chiemgauer Alps is the Staufen subrange with Zwiesel as the highest peak.

    It is located between the towns and villages of Bad Reichenhall to the east, Schneizlreuth and the adjacent valleys to the south and Inzell to the west. The northern limitation is the alpine foreland.



    Chiemgau Alps

    Hochstaufen

    Chiemgau Alps

    Mittelstaufen and Zwiesel

    Chiemgau Alps

    Zwiesel and Gamsknogel




    Summits

    Hochstaufen (1771 m; 5810 ft)
    Mittelstaufen (1680 m; 5512 ft)
    Zennokopf
    (1756 m; 5761 ft)
    Zwiesel
    (1781 m; 5843)
    Gamsknogel
    (1750 m; 5741 ft)
    Rabensteinhorn (1363 m; 4472 ft)
    Falkenstein (1181 m; 3875 ft)

    Geology


    Chiemgauer Alpen is a part of the Northern Limestone Alps and shows in its outcrops the different tectonic nappes of the northern Alps rim.


    The northernmost tectonic nappe which can be located at the north rim of Chiemgau Alps and which was thrusted onto the Alpine foreland sedimentary deposits (Molasse zone) is the Helvetikum and the Ultrahelveticum nappe. These sediments were deposited on the northern margin of the old Tethys ocean and build many summits and ranges within the Swiss Alps. In eastern Bavaria, however, Helvetikum and Ultrahelvetikum sediments are hardly to be found alongside a small outcrop on the northernmost slopes of the northernmost ranges.

    The next nappe to the south is the Flysch nappe, mostly sandstones and siltstones which were deposited in the northern Penninic trough in deep water. Being the relicts of mudflows and turbiditic flows these are not very solid rocks which build up the northernmost and not very prominent ranges of Chiemgauer Alpen.
    The Flysch zone can best be studied north of Ruhpolding. These ridges with low summits and dense woods, however, are not a preferred hiking region.

    The main part of Chiemgauer Alpen consits of the marls and limestones of the Bavarian and Tirolian Kalkalpin, the deposits of the south margin of Tethys ocean. The Kalkalpin of Chiemgauer Alpen is tectonically divided into several nappes which show many intense synclines and anticlines. Huge parts of the Chiemgauer Kalkalpin consist of “Hauptdolomit”, a dolomite rock build in huge lagoons and mudflats of the old Tethys ocean. The highest peaks of Chiemgauer Alps, Sonntagshorn and Reifelberge, are mainly built of Hauptdolomit.

     


    Chiemgau Alps

    Weitlahnerkopf with late triassic and early jurassic deposits

    Other Triassic deposits which nowadays form famous and striking landmarks are the coral and limestone algae reef remnants of Wettersteinkalk. Those can be studied at Kampenwand or Gurnwandkopf, both eye-catching rockfaces.

    Younger Kalkalpin sediment date of late Triassic and of Jurassic age, such as Kössener beds, Oberrhät limestone (coral reefs again) and Jurassic beds. Heuberg / Wasserwand is built up of an Oberrhät reef.  Later jurassic deposits form summits like Hochgern.

    The ice ages formed the Chiemgauer Alpen and the valleys intensely. There were not many peaks above the glaciers during the main glaciation times. Moraine remnants can be found even on the highest slopes of Chiemgau Alps. The hugest glacier of the area was a sidekick of the even huger Inntal glacier, called Aschauer glacier, which formed the Prien valley.

    Red Tape


     



    Chiemgau Alps

    Regulation panel for Nature Protection Zones within Geigelstein subrange

    Within Chiemgauer Alpen there are many protection zones. You have to distinguish three types of zones:


  • Protection zone for wildlife: no trespass within a defined period
  • Winter protection zone for wildlife: to respect voluntary by ski hikers and snowshoe hikers in winter and early spring; rest areas for winter active wildlife
  • Nature Protection Area: No entering within a defined period; outside this period: do not leave the trails; many other restriction like: no camping, no fire, no collection of plants and parts of plant, no litter, and so on
  • Some trails and ski routes are marked within the Nature protection areas and can be used in the restriction times.

    All protection zones are marked on the Alpenvereins maps, recommended below in the “Maps and Guid Books” - section.

    Hochries subrange:

    Winter protection zones: Riesenberg, Spielberg, Karkopf, Feichteneck, Abereck, Heuraffelkopf, Predigtstuhl, Klausenberg

    Protection zone: woods west of Aschau im Chiemgau, 15.10. until 31.05. of every year

    Kampenwand subrange:

    Winter protection zones: some parts north and east of the Hochplatte summit

    Geigelstein subrange:

    The subrange hosts the important Geigelstein Natural Reserve.
    No trespassing from 01.12. until 31.05. of every year, with the exception of one northern marked and signposted ski route and most of the southern ski routes and trails. Please stay on the marked routes and trails.

    Chiemgauer Berge subrange:

    Nature protection area: southern parts of Rehwaldkopf, most of Gurnwandkopf ridge

    Winter protection zones: south of Hochgern and Hasenpoint; Hochfelln east ridges (Strohnschneid and Torauschneid); South of Groerkopf; Haaralmschneid east ridge; South of Gurnwandkopf and Hörndlwand and south of east ridge of Hörndlwand

    Protection zone: The whole Gründberg from 01.11. until 30.04. every year.


    Southern Chiemgau mountains:

    Winter protection zones: South sides of Dürrnbachhorn and Hochgimpling, parts of Winklmoosalm and the Steinplatte northeast part: no trespassing from 01st of November through 15th june; corridors for ski touring to Dürrnbachhorn are marked.
    Fellhorn northern parts below Straubinger Hütte: no trespassing during snow cover

    Ruhpoldinger Subrange:

    Winter protection zones: Zenokopf south slopes; no trespassing during snow cover

    Nature protection area: The whole German part of the Ruhpolding subrange is a nature protection area!

    Staufen subrange:

    Nature protection area: Falkenstein area

    Accommodation

    Main villages

    on the west side of the area:


  • Rosenheim
  • Nußdorf/Inn
  • Niederndorf

  • Chiemgau Alps

    Aschau / Chiemgau

    Chiemgau Alps

    Unterwössen and Wilder Kaiser


    in the western part of the area:


  • Walchsee
  • Aschau / Chiemgau
  • Frasdorf
  • Kössen
  • Schleching
  • Unter- and Oberwössen
  • Marquartstein
  • Grassau
  • Bernau
  • in the central part of the area:


  • Reit im Winkl
  • Übersee
  • Siegsdorf
  • Ruhpolding
  • Erpfendorf
  • Waidring
  • Lofer

  • Chiemgau Alps

    Schleching valley

    Chiemgau Alps

    Kössen with Hochries and Geigelstein subrange


    in the eastern part of the area:


  • Inzell
  • Schneizlreuth
  • Unken
  • Bad Reichenhall
  • Piding
  • Anger
  • Teisendorf
  • Mountain Huts

     


  • Frasdorfer Hütte (1.100 m, privat hut)
  • Spitzsteinhaus (1.265 m, alpine club hut)
  • Hochfellnhaus (1.674 m, privat hut, highest inn of Chiemgauer Alps)
  • Steinplattenhaus (1.375 m, privat hut)
  • Hochgernhaus (1.510 m, privat hut)
  • Straubinger Haus (1.600 m, alpine club hut)
  • Hochrieshütte (1.570 m, alpine club hut)
  • Traunsteiner Skihütte (1.165 m, alpine club hut)
  • Klausenhütte (1.510 m, privat hut, actually closed)
  • Triesdorfer Hütte (1.100 m, privat hut, for members only)

  •  

     


  • Paul-Gruber-Haus (950 m, „Naturfreunde“ hut)
  • Unternbergalm (1.350 m, privat hut)
  • Priener Hütte (1.415 m, alpine club hut)
  • Wandberghaus (1.350 m, privat hut)
  • Reichenhaller Haus (1.750 m, alpine club hut)
  • Zwieselalm (1.390 m, privat hut)
  • Riesenhütte (1.345 m, alpine club hut)
  •  


    Cablecars


  • Hochries cablecar
  • Kampenwand cablecar
  • Hochfelln cablecar
  • Hochplatte cablecar
  • Rauschberg cablecar
  • Unternberg cablecar
  • Maps & Guide Books


    Besides all information of the internet:



    Maps

    Alpenvereinskarte, Bayerische Alpen, number BY 17, Chiemgauer Alpen West; with trails and ski routes, UMT-grid, scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2014

    Alpenvereinskarte, Bayerische Alpen, number BY 18, Chiemgauer Alpen Mitte; with trails and ski routes, UMT-grid, scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2012

    Alpenvereinskarte, Bayerische Alpen, number BY 19, Chiemgauer Alpen Ost; with trails and ski routes, UMT-grid, scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2014

    These are the best maps available even if the austrian part is only an enlargement of the austrian maps, scale 1 : 50.000. These maps are part of the “Alpenvereinskarten digital” edition.

    Topographische Karten von Bayern, number UKL 50-54, Chiemsee, Chiemgauer Alpen, trails and MTB routes, UTM grid, scale 1 : 50.000, edition 2016

    More maps are available at Kompass verlag or Freytag & Berndt Verlag



    Chiemgau Alps

    Ammergauer Hochplatte

    Chiemgau Alps

    Hochlerch and Kamprenwand subrange




    Guide Books

    There still are books with route descriptions available:

    Bergverlag Rother, Chiemgau; 60 routes, 9th edition 2015

    Bergverlag Rother, Chiemsee, 53 routes, 2nd edition 2012

    Kompass Verlag, Chiemgauer Alpen, 50 routes, edition 2009