This year we’ve spent much of our time in the Garmisch area exploring hikes that are doable with our 4 and 7-year-old boys, so it makes sense to share what we’ve learned! Today we decided to head to Partenkirchen to take the Eckbauer Bahn cable car 1,236 meters up to the top of the Eckbauer mountain.
We planned the same trip last year, but at that point Noah still needed a stroller or to be carried. There are very few legitimate hikes that are stroller friendly, and the top of the Eckbauer would be difficult to navigate with a stroller as well. Last year we took a ride to the top, had a drink at the biergarten, and then rode back down - the kids could barely tolerate the walk across a meadow to get a drink.
What a difference a year makes! Eckbauer Bahn remodeled their buildings, including brand new cable cars AND we don’t need a stroller anymore! This time, we bought a one way ride up to the top of the mountain with the intention of hiking back down to the valley and passing through the Partnachklamm (or Partnach gorge).
As I mentioned, there is a restaurant with biergarten at the top of the mountain. It was packed with locals and tourists, and most people were drinking beer or some locally made buttermilk. They also serve a lot of traditional Bavarian dishes, so if you’re hungry, this is a convenient place to eat. With the kids in mind, there is a small playground next to the biergarten. The views from the top of the mountain and the restaurant are incredible.
The path down to the valley starts right next to the playground and heads down the mountain via a series of switchbacks. It was easy walking, and even little Noah was able to keep pace. After 30-45 minutes of winding down the mountain, you turn right onto a barely used gravel road and the view opens to show mountain peaks and meadows with cows and goats grazing.
The road continues downhill, passing through Grasseck - at this point you have the choice to take a cable car back to the valley, or you can continue walking toward the Partnachklamm. In Grasseck there is also a restaurant and biergarten with restrooms if you need a break. You’ll pass by another restaurant, the Kaiserschmarrn-Alm, before you get to the gorge.
At this point you hit the end stretch before the gorge, and it includes a lot of stairs. This is also the point that Noah decided he wanted a nap, and proceeded to fall asleep on Youness’ lap while we were taking a quick break. This 40 minute interlude gave me an opportunity to hike all the way down to the water with Jakob, who loves any opportunity to throw rocks into or over bodies of water.
Since we were here on a weekend in August, the Partnachklamm was very busy. Visitors to the gorge have to make their way along a narrow walkway that runs along the rushing river, and since the gorge was packed with people, everybody was moving slowly. The walkway includes tunnels, water dripping from above and lots of puddles - if it’s a wet or cold time of year, it makes sense to bring rain gear. This is a beautiful place, but nature is wild, and you definitely need to keep a tight grip on your child.
After we made it out of the gorge, we walked another 2 miles back into the center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There was definitely some of the expected complaining from the kids, and Youness did carry Noah for a bit at this point, but we remain amazed at the fact that they walked as much as they did. This may be an unexpected outcome of all the walking we did over the last year of travel! I also packed a bag of sandwiches, snacks and drinks that helped keep energy levels up at crucial points down the mountain.
All in all, we definitely recommend this hike. From the tops of the mountains to the massive Partnach gorge, the natural beauty of this area shouldn’t be missed!