Hiking up the Kampenwand in Germany – insider tip
(Last Updated On: 28. May 2019)
In this article I’d like to introduce to you one of my favorite hiking trails I walk almost every year. Usually, I use this trail as a preparation for upcoming hikes I do during the summer and the fall. The great thing about the Kampenwand is the fact that this place is not crowded like other tourist places in Germany. And this is a possibility for you to spend a great time hiking to that place. Therefore, I consider this place as an insider tip and if you look for things to do in Germany, especially in southern Bavaria, this outdoor activity might be interesting for you. So read on, folks.
What is the Kampenwand and how to get there
Kampenwand is spelled out [ k a m p ə n v a n t ] and it’s a mountain in southern Bavaria. The word “Wand” means “wall”. The word “Kampen” has no exact translation but it derives from the word “Kamm” which means cockscomb. So freely translatad, Kampenwand means “The cockscomb wall”, because the peak ridge of this mountain reminds a bit of a cockscomb.
The highest point of the peak ridge is about 1669 m (apprx. 5475 ft) high, and during the winter time, the area around the Kampenwand is a popular ski area. During the warm seasons this place is also great for hiking and other activities, like paragliding or mountain biking.
Kampenwand is located very close to a small tourist village called “Aschau im Chiemgau”. The easiest way to get to Aschau is to take a flight to Munich* and then take a rental car* or go by train. From Munich there are about 114 km (apprx. 70 miles) to Aschau, and thanks to a good traffic connection, you would need about 1 h 15 min to reach your destination. Check out the map below, folks.
Hiking trail data
There are several possibilities how to hike to the Kampenwand but I’ll show you my favorite route.
- Type: Circular trail
- Length: about 15 km (apprx. 9,3 miles)
- Level of difficulty: sporty beginners to advanced hikers. Good endurance is required.
- Duration: in total about 5 hours (breaks excluded)
- Requirements: hiking boots* are recommended as you would walk over rocky terrain at the last stage. If you have hiking sticks*, you should take them with you as the descent is from time to time pretty steep, and could be exhausting for your knee joints.
- Best time: mid-May to October (before the rainy time)
How to get to the starting point
As mentioned, the starting point of the hike is located in the idyllic town Aschau im Chiemgau. Therefore, if you arrive by car, enter in your GPS “Aschau im Chiemgau, Kohlstattweg 17”. You will know that you at the right place when you see the parking lot at the picture below. You can park there for free and start with your hike from there.
You can also arrive by train but in this case you would need to walk about 15 minutes from the train station to the address I gave you above. If you never traveled by train in Germany, please read my article about this. Especially, a special ticket could be interesting for you when you arrive as a group.
The ascent to the Kampenwand
When you arrived at the parking place, take a look for the yellow sign with the inscription “Kampenwand”, and walk in that direction.
During the first part of the ascent, you will walk a paved road for about 30 minutes which leads you into the mountain forest. This first part is pretty steep and you will need a good endurance.
After 30 minutes, the paved road will go over to a gravel road you will walk for about 10 minutes. At a certain point you will come to a fork.
At this point turn to the right and follow the wooden sign with the inscription “Zum Lift-Stüberl”. You will also see a green sign “Kampenwand” but this would be another route. You can follow this green sign anyway but as I didn’t walk this route, I cannot tell you what you would expect.
Following the sign “Zum Lift-Stüberl”, continue to walk the gravel road until you see this green sign which you need to follow:
At a certain point, the gravel road will end, and you will start to walk along a rocky and rooty terrain within the forest for about 40 minutes.
Follow this path as long as you see a yellow sign with the inscription “Kampenwand über Steilingalm”, and walk in that direction. When you see this sign, you will know that you walked about the half of the way. Good job!
But from that point, the hiking trail will become a bit pathless. If you have difficulty to determine the way, just follow the markings as you can see below. You will find them at frequent intervals either on the trees or the rocks along the way.
After about another 30 minutes, you will leave the forest and follow a narrow path for about 40 minutes. Very soon, when you left the forest behind you, you already will see the peak of the Kampenwand (look at the pic below). But before you reach the peak, your next milestone would be to arrive at the mountain pasture called “Steilingalm”. Once there, you can decide if you make a break in the pasture’s inn, or if you continue your hike.
My experience showed that it’s always advisable to do a break after the ascent. The reason for that is that after a longer hike, your legs will feel wooden if you continue your hike uphill. This would make the ascent much more arduous. Therefore, deny the break at the pasture, finish your hike to the Kampenwand, and then have a great break at the pasture’s inn. If you are looking for a typical German cold beverage except of beer, you should try the one called “Radler”. It’s beer mixed with lemonade. Every time I talk about it abroad, the people wrinkle their noses. But you should try it anyway as Radler is real good thirst quencher.
If you need to do a break despitely, you should do it at the place where you leave the forest. The ascent there is not as steep as the area in front of the Kampenwand and you would get it easier.
At the last section, beginning at the pasture, it would be the steepest ascent. Here you would need a bit of alpine experience, like sure-footedness and head for heights. Depending on your condition, you would need about 35 to 50 minutes to the cross at the peak. From this point, you will get a great view over the alpine landscape. At cloudless days, you would also see the famous lake Chiemsee (which is for sure worth to be visited, as there is a small island with a splendid palace built by the Bavarian King Ludwig II who also built the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle).
The descent from Kampenwand
First, you need to walk the same way back you came from, for about 5 minutes. Then follow the sign you see below. The inscription is weathered but it says “Aschau über Schlechtenbergalm”. Follow this way for about 30 minutes. Taking this route, you will meet a bunch of other hikers and mountain bikers (just for your infromation). At this point, you should use the hiking sticks* I mentioned earlier.
At a certain point, the other hikers might turn to the left. Don’t follow them. As I wrote at the beginning, there are several routes leading to the Kampenwand. The most hiker park at the cable way station. But I decided to take another way to give you an experience only few hikers would get. Therefore, you need to follow the way until you see the green sign below. Your interim destination is the “Maisalm” (another pasture). You will need another 30 minutes to get to that place. Going towards this pasture, you will arrive to the fork you’ve been at your ascent, and where you saw the sign “Zum Liftstüberl”.
After the fork, you will pass the Mailsalm and soon you will see the paved road you came from during your first section when you were hiking upwards. From that point, you would need about 15 to 25 minutes to the parking place.
Okay folks, this was the hike to the Kampendwand. I wish you a great time there. If you are interested in more possibilities for hiking in Germany, I can recommend you to read my other articles.
Where to stay over night in Aschau
Just in case you would like to stay more than one day in Aschau, you check the site on booking.com* to find a hotel. I’ve never slept over in Aschau and therefore, I unfortunately cannot give you a recommendation.
But in case you are willing to book a hotel at another place, I can recommend you a hotel in the small town called “Bernau am Chiemsee”, just a couple of miles away from Aschau (Check the map below). There is a guesthouse called “Alter Wirt“* (engl. Old Innkeeper) where I spent a couple of nights and which I can recommend. Just check it out, maybe it’s something for you, folks.
*Affiliate link: when you click on this link, no additional costs would arise for you and the product or the service will not become more expensive. When you decide to buy the product or use the service, I’ll get a little benefit from the provider which I would reinvest to keep this blog alive.
I was wondering who makes those markings? Thanks for sharing this information.
A good question, Melissa. Those markings are made by the German Alpine Club. If you would like to know more about this club, check the article on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Alpine_Club
How about the snow? It is lying all the time there?
Actually no. It’s different every year. Last year I’ve been in May there, and the snow was almost gone. This year we had a colder spring and therefore, in May there was a lot of snow as I was hiking up the Kampendwand.
Thx for sharing, Max.