Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 47.54412°N / 11.19181°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 6844 ft / 2086 m
Sign the Climber's Log


EstergebirgeArea / Range overview

Estergebirge is a range within the so called Bavarian Prealps (nevertheless those mountains are all belonging to the Alps and are NOT a kind of foothills) and is often seen as an independent area or range. Nearly the whole range is a huge karst plateau. Thus, Estergebirge is part of the Northern Limestone Alps.

The highest summit of Estergebirge, Krottenkopf , is the highest summit of the Bavarian Prealps. And to ad to this, Weilheimer Hütte, the only alpine club mountain hut within Estergebirge, is the highest mountain hut of the Bavarian Prealps.

To the west Estergebirge is limited by the Loisach valley with the villages of

  • Eschenlohe

  • Oberau

  • Farchant

  • Burgrain

  • Partenkirchen

  • The Loisach river is one of the most important rivers of the region. Loisach valley offers several interesting geographical features (see below).

    The eastern limitation is built up by the Isar valley and the Einsiedel valley from Wallgau to Walchensee. The main villages of the east side are

  • Krün

  • Wallgau

  • Walchensee

  • To the south Estergebirge is limited by the valley which climbs steeply from Partenkirchen to Kaltenbrunn, Klais and Krün.

    The northern limitation is the Eschenlaine valley between Eschenlohe and Walchensee / Einsiedeln. This is a lonely and remote valley with a forest road closed to public traffic.

    The adjacent areas and ranges are:
    Ammergau Alps (to the west)

    Wetterstein range (to the south)

    Karwendel range (to the southeast)

    Walchensee mountains of the Bavarian Prealps (to the north and east)

    EstergebirgePanorama (Kramerspitz summit) with Estergebirge and Loisach valley in the center.

    Getting There

    EstergebirgeEstergebirge as seen from Alpspitze ascent

    Estergebirge can be easily reached from different directions; nearly all surrounding valleys and all main trailheads are easily accessible by car and even by train or public busses.

    From Munich

  • use highway A 95 and road number B 2 to reach the Loisach valley trailheads

  • leave highway A 95 at the exit Kochel and follow road number ST 2062 to Kochel and road number B 11 up to Walchensee, Einsiedeln, Wallgau and Krün

  • Wallgau, Krün, Klais and Kaltebrunn can be reached by car from Partenkirchen, too, by following road number B 2.

  • From Innsbruck

    or Inntal valley leave the highway A 12 (toll road) at the exit Zirl and follow the road number 177 to Scharnitz and B 2 to Mittenwald and Krün. From there choose B 2 to Partenkirchen and the Loisach valley or B 11 to Walchensee.


    The railway München - Innsbruck gives access to the Loisach valley and the Partenkirchen – Wallgau / Krün valley trailheads Eschenlohe, Oberau, Farchant, Partenkirchen, Klais. There are railway stations at these villages.

    See the railway schedule here .

    Regionalverkehr Oberbayern (RVO) runs the public bus lines in the valleys around Estergebirge. The lines number 9605, 9606, 9607 and 9608 do the service between Ohlstadt, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Klais and Walchensee.

    See the schedules here .

    Summit Overview

    Estergebirge is a more or less monolitic range with two exceptions: in the north and in the south there are subranges which are separated from the main range by hanging valleys.

    The summits from north to south:

    Simetsberg ridge

    This is an isolated, u-shaped small ridge at the northeastern limitation of Estergebirge.

  • Simetsberg (1836 m; 6024 feet),
    a well known mountain for summer and winter (ski) hikes

  • Main ridge

    EstergebirgeEstergebirge as seen from Eschenlohe

  • Platteneck (1804 m; 5918 feet),
    a lonely subsummit

  • Hohe Kiste(n) (1922 m; 6306 feet),
    wellknown to mountainbikers

  • Archtalkopf (1927 m; 6322 feet),
    offtrail struggle

  • Schindlerskopf (1940 m; 6365 feet),
    an offtrail dwarf pine hell

  • Krottenkopf (2086 m; 6844 feet),
    wellknown main summit, often crowded

  • Oberer Risskopf (2050 m; 6726 feet),
    easy stroll from Weilheimer Hütte

  • Kareck ((2046 m; 6713 feet),
    easy offtrail walk from Risskopf or Henneneck

  • EstergebirgeKrottenkopf, Bischof and Hoher Fricken as seen from Wank
    EstergebirgeArchtalkopf and Schindlerskopf

  • Henneneck (1964 m; 6444 feet),
    quick detour from the trail Hoher Fricken – Weilheimer Hütte

  • Bischof (2033 m; 6670 feet),
    easy hike from Hoher Fricken

  • Hoher Fricken (1940 m; 6365 feet),
    popular spring, summer and autumn hike

  • EstergebirgeEstergebirge panorama as seen from Wörnersattel

    Krottenkopf eastern subridge

  • Klaffen (1829 m; 6001 feet)

  • EstergebirgeKlaffen

  • Wallgauer Eck (1769 m; 5804 feet)

  • Wank ridge

  • Wank (1780 m; 5840 feet)

  • Rotenkopf (1685 m; 5528 feet)

  • Mountain Huts & Cablecars

    EstergebirgeLoisach valley and the central Estergebirge as seen from Kramerspitz

    Mountain huts

  • Weilheimer Hütte (1955 m; 6414 feet)

  • Wankhaus (1780 m; 5840 feet)

  • Esterbergalm (1264 m; 4147 feet)

  • Kuhalm (1603 m; 5259 feet)

  • Finzalm (1085 m; 3560 feet)

  • Krüner Alm (1621 m; 5303 feet)

  • Cablecars

  • Wankbahn

  • Geographical & Geological Features

    EstergebirgeA wintery view to Estergebirge from Pürschling

    Estergebirge is a huge, oblique plateau, inclined to the east. Consequently the highest summits are all in the west of the range. Thus Estergebirge drops down steeply over about 1.300 m of altitude difference to the west (Loisachtal). It builds a steep rock slope with only one trail overcoming it.

    To the east Estergebirge gets lower and lower reaching “softly” the valley ground between Walchensee and Krün.

    To the south there is a not very prominent subridge culminating at the Wank summit, a mountain which stands directly above Partenkirchen.
    The northern parts of Estergebirge around Eschenlaine valley are rather remote areas with the exception of the two northern main summits: Hohe Kiste and Simetsberg.

    Estergebirge consists mainly of the limestones and dolomite rocks of the triassic Hauptdolomit / Plattenkalk. These limstones were built in a sort of huge lagoon and are now full of karst formations thus forming the biggest karst plateau of the Bavarian Prealps. There are famous karst caves (Angerlloch, Frickenhöhle, both accessible only for experienced speleologists) and an interesting karst spring above Farchant, called Kuhflucht . This huge karst spring and the subsequent cascades are one of the sightseeing highlights of Estergebirge and thus well accessible by different trails.

    Kuhflucht has nothing to do with a cow that flees (which is the proper translation of this strange name) but derives from the altered Latin word “confluctum”, the confluence of this karst creek and the river Loisach. During the snowmelting period or after long rainy periods Kuhflucht spring has an immense delivery and builds a huge cascade formed by several adjacent springs which come directly out of the rockface. This spring drains nearly the whole Estergebirge (a catchment area of about 5 km²) which was proved with several tracer tests years ago.

    The whole Kuhflucht valley is a landslide area and the movements of the rock masses are monitored tightly.

    Hoher FrickenKuhflucht cascades

    Another beautiful geographical item is Loisachtal between Farchant and Eschenlohe. Whereas the road and the railway use the west side of the valley, the east side is a lonely moor and marshland full of interesting plants and animals. Near Eschenlohe there are several neighbouring springs with a huge delivery, called “Sieben Quellen”. There is a forest road between Eschenlohe and Farchent using the very eastern rim of Loisachtal to avoid the moor and marshland. This is a very popular hike and bike trail.

    Loisachtal groundwater supports Munich with fresh drinking water which is of top quality in Europe. The groundwater layers below the valley floor are several hundred meters thick.

    Another interesting feature can be observed on the southern slopes of Estergebirge near the valley floor at Gerold and Kaltenbrunn and around Mittenwald: the so called “Buckelwiesen”, meadows with countless little humps. It seems like those mountain meadows are getting goose bumps. Their formation at the end of the last ice age is rather complicated and is related to frost and melting processes and to the karst features existing in this region.

    EstergebirgeEstergebirge from Hoher Fricken to Hohe Kiste as seen from Karwendel

    If you feel like swimming after a hike through Estergebirge there are several lakes waiting for you. Wagenbrüchlsee, Barmsee, Tennsee and Grubsee, all between Gerold, Klais and Krün, are little moor and marshland lakes in depressions build by the melting glaciers of the last ice age. As moor lakes they have – despite of their height between 850 m and 920 m – warm water during summer times.

    Walchensee on the other hand is a real challenge even in hot summers; the water is always very cold and there are mainly windsufers on (and sometimes in) the lake.

    The Estergebirge hosts, despite of being a karst plateau, a little lake in a depression of the hanging valley between Platteneck and Klaffen: Wildsee. This, too, is a moor lake, a beautiful place amidst woods.


    Alpspitze ski hikeEstergebirge and Loisach valley as seen from Alpspitze summit

    Valley accommodations

    Hotels, Bed & Breakfast, restaurants and campgrounds can be found mainly in the following villages:

  • Eschenlohe

  • Oberau

  • Farchant

  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen

  • Krün

  • Wallgau

  • Walchensee

  • Mountain huts

  • Weilheimer Hütte (1955 m; 6414 feet)

  • Wankhaus (1780 m; 5840 feet)

  • Red Tape

    There are several protected sites (Naturschutzgebiete, Landschaftsschutzgebiete) with restrictions on the southern and western rim of Estergebirge. Walchensee, too, is a protected site. Respect the restrictions there.

    Besides that, there are, as far as I know, no further special restrictions for hikers and mountainbikers.

    Mountain Conditions

    EstergebirgeWank and the southern part of Estergebirge

    Estergebirge is an area for whole year activities.

    There are a lot of easy but nevertheless long hikes on all the main summits of the range. Only Simetsberg and Wank are shorter hikes. Only normal hiking gear is required. Because of its quick accessibility from Munich, Estergebirge tends to be rather crowded on fine summer and autumn days.

    In winter and spring there are many possibilities for ski tours or snowshoe hikes. Sleds can be used down from Esterbergalm.
    Mountainbikers love the Esterbergalm surroundings or the wellknown route Eschenlohe – Hohe Kiste.

    Maps & Guide Books

    Alpenvereinskarte, scale 1 : 25.000
    Blatt BY 9: Estergebirge, Herzogstand, Wank
    DAV, 2009

    Toporaphische Karte von Bayern, scale 1 : 50.000
    Karwendelgebirge Werdenfelser Land

    There is no special guide book available for Estergebirge. Nevertheless those trails and summits or mountainbike tours are described in many guidebooks covering the whole of the Bavarian Prealps. Just ask your Internet to get some ideas ….



    Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.