Sunrise at Hochalm


“The secret to a good morning is to watch the sunrise with an open heart.” - Anthony T. Hincks

Quick Facts

What To Expect





General InfoS

   Distance ~7.5 km

     Total time needed ~4 hours

  Total elevation ~560 meters

How To Plan

Sunrise Adventure Hochalm

The trailhead of this beautiful hike lies just a little ways from the beautiful Sylvensteinspeicher - a reservoir that might just remind you of Canada or the pacific northwest of the US. The scenery all around is therefore promising for a great hike with even better views. We just recently went on this hike and although November in Germany is usually rather gloomy and invites to stay home this sunday morning promised good weather and sunshine. The short review I had read about this hike had indicated that this would be a route rather crowded with families - especially on the weekend. So of course we went for sunrise in the hope that we would at least have part of the way up to ourselves. 

Pro tip: Always come here early enough to beat the crowds!

What we were definitely not expecting was the fact that we would make it all the way up without another living soul around. When we reached the top and the first light was popping up behind the mountains, we were the only people up there - so magical. It only lasted for about 5 minutes though before a few more couples joined us at the peak. It is a quite spacious peak and we could still enjoy our hot cocoa by ourselves this way - cuddled up in the blankets we brought waiting for the sun to warm our faces. 

I had been on many hikes before in this area - but to be honest, nothing ever came quite close. On one side you will see mountains for as far as you can look, giving you a feeling of infinity. Turning just a little you look over the Isar river with good weather probably as far as Munich. Turning even further you will see the Sylvensteinspeicher and behind that the top of Germany, Zugspitze. And next to it even more beautiful mountain ranges - all in front of a beautiful pink and purple morning sky. 

The first thirty minutes or so that we had been up at the peak sunrise wasn’t too spectacular due to not a single cloud on the sky. The sky had so far only changed its color from pitch black over blue and purple to a soft pink - beautiful not to argue - but I had hoped for a more impressive one. Then - all of a sudden - it happened though. As the sun came around the corner of a mountain and blinded us for a second - golden hour couldn’t come close to doing it justice. The mountains behind it were turning pink and red and the morning mist was giving way for mystical views. Alpenglühen got a whole new meaning right there. 

“The secret to a good morning is to watch the sunrise with an open heart.” - Anthony T. Hincks

“The secret to a good morning is to watch the sunrise with an open heart.” - Anthony T. Hincks

We weren’t the only people completely mesmerized with this dazzling golden light. We all just stood there in awe of this sight - magical views wherever you turned, mountain peaks that seemed to be on fire, golden rays giving everything a soft and warm touch. Is there a better place to start a new day? I honestly think not.  

Following a long breakfast and enjoying every single second of a beautiful sunrise, we took some more photos and decided to head back down. We had made the hike up in just a little under two and a half hours. The trail is only partly steep but over all well to hike and well maintained. Even in the dark we could assume as beautiful a scenery as we then found on the way down. Over roots, through forest, along tiny streams and crossing small waterfalls - this trail will lead you down beautiful nature offering breathtaking views every once in a while. 

After about 45 minutes of walking down the steepest part of this hike we reached the abandoned Hölleialm - a former hut that was shut down a while ago apparently. This hut is located on a small hill with beautiful views over Sylvensteinpeicher - where could be a better place for a second breakfast? We soaked up some more sunshine while watching what felt like a million people hiking up to Hochalm. Sitting at a distance from the trail we could still enjoy some solitude - the wind was helping to take all the chatter away from us. 

We made our way down in another 45 minutes from there, passing at least another million hikers - all longing to experience the same magic as we did. But I bet no view up there can beat the rising sun. We got back to our car tired, but our hearts filled with joy and a smile on our faces. With only a couple hours of sleep the previous night we were now more than ready to catch up on some well deserved sleep!

Pro tip: Bring a blanket and a little sunrise mountain picnic!

I hope you found this article helpful and enjoyed the sunrise as much as I did! I would love to hear your hiking adventures and if you have been on this hike - feel free to leave a comment below or contact me via email! 

November 21, 2020
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