Hochgern summit on a winters end day
I like to visit some mountains again and again. This is the case with Hochgern
, the highest peak of “Chiemgauer Berge
” subrange and a first row summit standing high above Chiemgau plain and overlooking the whole Chiemsee and its forelands. I do that hike most often in early spring when there is still snow higher up the slopes but the south ascent via Hochgernhaus, a very nice alpine mountain hut, is nearly snow free and all those spring and early summer blossoms can be seen for the first time. It is a sort of “winters end” for me, this Hochgern outing.
Located south of Chiemsee, Hochgern can clearly be seen as the dominant mountain bordering Chiemsee plain to the south. To the west there is a minor summit, Hochlerch, also called Zwölferspitz, and the valley of Grassau and Marquartstein and the Tiroler Achen river, to the south the Kaltenbach and Jochber valley system is the limitation of the mountain. The eastern neighbour summit is Hochfelln, separated from Hochgern by Weiße Achen valley. To the north several minor summits like Kobelwand and Zinnkopf lead down to the Chiemsee plain.
Hochgern is a hiking summit with several routes, some of them can be combined to loops and traverses. It is an easy mountain, which offers great views as it is the highest peak within a radius of 20 kilometers. Being alone up there is quite a miracle. But I don´t mind the crowd: the first warm sun on your skin, the first blossoms, the first green beech trees, a good beer at Hochgernhaus, a nap on the summit and a mating black cock on a clearing near the trail, ignoring all those laughing and talking people coming down from the summit, can be the reward of such a “winters end” day.
Hochgern dominating over Chiemgau plains
Spring green beech trees
Main trailheads are:
You reach these trailheads by car
Trailhead Staudach / Grassau
Marquartstein as seen from Schnappenkirche
Unterwössen with Geigelstein
Staudach and Staudachalm
: Cross the Tiroler Achen river to Staudach and follow Bahnhofstraße, Marquartsteiner Straße and Hochgernstraße to the parking area.
: Go on road number B 305 to Marquartstein, turn left on Alte Dorfstraße, crossing Tiroler Achen river, the left again on Burgstraße and follow this road straight on and up to its end at a huge parking area.
: From Marquartstein still follow road number B 305 to Unterwössen; at the petrol station turn left on Hadergassen and Hochgernweg until you reach the hikers parking area.
Alm hut on the south slopes of Hochgern
A memorial plaque for a certain Anton Blank, farmer of Unterwössen, who was struck by a lightning in may 1920 on the slopes of Hochgern
The nearest railway station is Bernau am Chiemsee
Bus number 9505
goes to the villages of the trailheads.
There are many routes to Hochgern summit. I will limit myself to three main routes; you may find more routes on the Alpenvereins map.
- From Staudach, east of Markt Grassau: parking area at the end of Hochgernstraße:
Take the forest road and the north ridge trail of Schnappenberg to the Schnappenkirche (mountain church); then trail to Staudacher Alm.
Staudacher Alm can be reached, too, by forest road (mountain biking) from Staudach through Alpbach valley.
Trail number 3, 5 ,10 goes up the north slopes to the north cirque of Hochgern, from there hike up the west slope trail to Hochgern summit. This is the ski route, too.
Schnappenkirche - north route
North route above Staudacher Alm
Upper north route as seen from Hochlerch
- From Marquartstein; huge parking area at the end of Burgstraße
Take the forest road up to Agergschwendalm and to Hochgernhaus. Follow the trail on the west ridge up to Hochgern summit; the summer trail uses the west slopes above the north cirque of Hochgern; the winter and spring route follows the west ridge south of it. The route is part of the Via Alpina, a long distance hiking trail of the Alps.
Alternatively from the parking area to Schnappenkirche (signposts) and the north slope trail to the summit; nice loop possible.
Ascent slopes of Marquartstein route
Upper Marquartstein route with summit
Upper Marquartstein route
- From Unterwössen; parking area near the end of Hochgernweg
From the parking area up to Agergschwendalm following the route via Hochgernhaus to the summit.
Alternatively follow the forest road into Kaltenbach valley, to Jochberg Alm, then on trail number 5 to Grundbach Alm and up the south slopes to Hochgern summit. Another interesting loop.
Grundalm, south route from Unterwössen
Upper south route from Unterwössen
Summit view to the southeast
Red Tape & AccommodationRed Tape
The south slope from Grundbachal to Hochgern summit is a Winter Protection Zone for rare animals. No trespassing on skies or snow shoes during the snow period.
All sort of accommodation can be found in
Gear & Mountain Condition
Hochgern is a hiking
summit for nearly the whole year round. In winter and early spring the north route can be done with skies
, nevertheless Hochgern is not a ski touring summit.
You need normal hiking gear for spring, summer and autumn, hiking poles and gaiters in spring can be useful. The trails are all well maintained and marked.
The north slope is steep and an avalanche zone. Check the Bavarian avalange bulletin
for your ski undertakings.
Daphne mezereum near the summit of Hochgern
Trollius europaeus on the slopes of Hochgern
is possible from a minor summit northeast of Hochgernhaus between Hochlerch and Hochgern.
up to Agergschwendalm is allowed, the road to Hochgernhaus is closed for bikes.
Alpenvereinskarte, Bayerische Alpen, number BY 18
, Chiemgauer Alpen Mitte; with trails and ski routes, UMT-grid, scale 1 : 25.000, edition 2012
This is the best map available even if the austrian part is only an enlargement of the austrian maps, scale 1 : 50.000. The map is 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
Biscutella laevigata near the summit rocks of Hochgern
Beautiful Ranunculacea on the slopes of Hochgern
Clous swirling around Hochgern