Oberammergau's Altherrenweg trail – the perfect hike for young and old
Nobody in Oberammergau knows anymore how the "old men's path" got its name. But there's one thing everybody does know: the trail is a relaxed hike with all kinds of interesting things for young and old to discover.
Flowery fields and giant dwarfs
The first stage runs from Oberammergau station to the WellenBerg swimming centre. During the summer, the gravel path that starts here leads you through meadows that are full of butterflies and grasshoppers. Wooden statues appear here and there beside the path: Ulf the giant dwarf is one of them. The works are part of a permanent outdoor exhibition organised by Oberammergau's woodcarving school. One meadow along the route has wooden benches and even a lounger so you can soak up the meditative peace around you.
A rustic hut with a majestic view
About an hour into your hike, the path reaches the Romanshöhe mountain inn. Heinz and Hildegard Baumgartl took it over in 1977 and turned it into a popular place for hungry hikers. Get a hearty snack and enjoy the view of Oberammergau and the nearby peaks of Laber and Notkarspitze.
A home for rare species
Your hike continues in the direction of Unterammergau. If you board the train here, you can shorten the walk's total time to just under 2.5 hours, but we think it's well worth following the river Ammer to complete the trail and then hiking back to Oberammergau. En route, you pass the Pulvermoos nature reserve. It is one of Bavaria's largest fens and home to scores of protected plant species. If you're here in the summer, you can see bog cotton and a lousewort called "Charlemagne's sceptre" in German. Though these rare plants aren't visible in winter, the circular trail is still great for a hike near Oberammergau during the cold months of the year.
The way to Oberammergau's Altherrenweg hiking trail
Starting in Munich, take the train for Garmisch-Partenkirchen as far as Murnau, and then change for Oberammergau. The hike starts right at Oberammergau station. Walk eastwards along Bahnhofstrasse for some 400 m. The street's name changes first to Dorfstrasse and then to Sankt-Lukas-Strasse. The route takes you through the picturesque centre of Oberammergau and along a small brook, Grosse Laine, before you go left at Kaspar-Schisler-Gasse. Take In der Breitenau some 40 m later, and a road called Himmelreich branches off to the right after about 300 m. Walk along Himmelreich until you reach the WellenBerg complex in less than 30 minutes. Keep to the left just after the pool centre – this is where the Altherrenweg path starts. Running through beautiful fields, the route includes gentle inclines and descents. You have a wonderful view of the Ammergau Alps throughout the entire hike. The path crosses the Pulvemoos nature reserve, where it takes a sharp turn to the left to bring you back in the direction of Oberammergau and its railway station.