Hike from Sylvensteinspeicher


"As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords." - Mark Twain

Quick Facts

What To Expect





General InfoS

   Distance ~27 km

     Total time needed ~8 hours

  Total elevation ~1100 meters

How To Plan

A feeling of Canada

On a hot summer day this year we just wanted to take a short hike before settling down by the lake, taking a dip and soaking up some sunshine. We came here just right after sunrise to take some instagram worthy pictures of the Sylvensteinspeicher. When we reached the parking lot the fog was hanging low and we couldn’t even see the lake or the mountains surrounding it. Still we went back to the bridge waiting a while for the fog to lift - we were rewarded with pure magic. 

Pro tip: Bring a swimsuit and take a dip in the lake!

This moody scenery gave way for a feeling of the Pacific Northwest and Canada - pine trees as far as you could see, clouds hanging low in them, golden sun rays breaking through and the bluest water. We stood on the bridge for a while - taking it all in - not quite sure where to look first. When the clouds had vanished almost completely, we went back passed the parking lot and started our walk as we thought back then - without a clue what this day would be bringing. 

More than halfway through with the hike we came across a junction and - well it was still pretty early and not quite the temperature to get in the icy water. So we decided to just go for it and catch some views of the area and shoot some photos. This might have not been the best idea… 

Since the plan was to just go for a walk we weren’t really prepared for a longer hike. We did bring enough food, sunscreen an our swimsuits - but what we did not bring or wear were hiking boots. So in our sneakers we went up the mountain and would end up on the longest hike ever. The trail became a little sketchy pretty fast but we felt comfortable enough to continue our journey to the Grasköpfl. Instead of amazing views over Sylvensteinspeicher we rather ended up in the forest getting a glimpse of the mountains surrounding us every once in a while. 

The trail up was still beautiful leading up in small serpentines, along some small springs, offering just the right mix of sun and shadows for a hot summer day as it was getting warmer and warmer. We gained elevation pretty quickly and the higher we got the better were the views of the mountains. However we were pretty much heading in the opposite direction of the lake. But if you know me you know that I wouldn’t give up the hunt for an amazing view just yet. Every so often we would check our watches for how far in we had hiked - trying to decide if we should turn around. 

When our tracker reached the 10 kilometer mark and the first 4 hours we were still somewhere in the forest and I was not quite ready to give up. I figured we couldn’t be too far from the top and so we said we would continue until we reached the peak. About half an hour or so later we reached a beautiful meadow and could finally see the top - which was also more of a meadow than an actual peak. We continued on for the last stretch which was offering amazing views over the Isar river all the way to Jochberg and even lake Walchensee. A few more turns led us to the top where we rested for a second breakfast - in complete solitude - before heading back down after about 13 kilometers, 4.5 hours and more than 1000 meters of elevation gain - and it was still before noon! 

"As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords." - Mark Twain

"As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords." - Mark Twain

We headed back down the same way we came up - exhausted, sweaty and tired but happy. We really couldn’t wait for a dip in the hopefully cold lake which was at least 3 hours away though. Most of the trail was covered with small or sometimes larger gravel and we were careful not to slip and fall. Not careful enough though. About 15 minutes before we reached the unpaved road we had initially taken for our roundtrip walk this morning it happened. There wasn’t even gravel there but somehow I had managed to slip and had twisted my ankle. My other leg was bleeding and of course we only had water to rinse that out. Without any other choice we continued our way down until we reached the road. Fortunately, I wasn’t on a solo adventure this time and so Chris ran ahead to get the car and pick me up. I limped after him because there was literally nowhere to even sit down. 

Our plans to jump in the crystal clear water were cancelled - at least this time. After limping for 2 weeks or so, I was back to normal a little while later. We returned to the Sylvensteinspeicher on another beautiful day and took off right where we left the previous time - jumping in and enjoying a swim and the sunshine. Feeling like a summer vacation in Canada.

Pro tip: Get there when the fog lifts!

I hope you found this article helpful and enjoyed this little adventure through what felt like the Pacific Northwest as much as I did! I would love to hear your outdoor adventures and if you have been on this hike - feel free to leave a comment below or contact me via email!

November 24, 2020
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