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Winter Wonderland Mittenwald

Outdoors

‍“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold." - Aristotle

Quick Facts

What To Expect

Ingredients

Scenery

Adventure

Difficulty

General InfoS

   Distance ~10 km

     Total time needed ~4 hours

  Total elevation ~400 meters

How To Plan

Winter or Snowshoe Hike Mittenwald

Being in the middle of majestic mountains overlooking the Karwendel range, Mittenwald offers some of the most scenic hikes and views in all of Bavaria. I have been here in all seasons but I must definitely say - nothing beats a winter hike! Due to its location in the mountains and high elevation you will usually find loads of snow from November until March - sometimes even longer than that. I just love to see those huge pine trees covered in snow around Christmas time. And honestly, is there any better sound in nature than the crunching of snow under your feet? I think not.

Pro tip: Ice spikes come in handy on steep and icy trails!

The first time I went on this hike was a crisp December morning a few years back. It was still dark when I set off - the sky slowly lighting up. I wasn’t prepared at that time for how steep some parts of the hike up to Kranzberg were and I remember sliding back down on icy slopes a couple of times and laughing about myself. It was a week day I had taken off and not many people were around. The sun came out while I was making my way up. I remember - as if it was yesterday - that every time I turned around to enjoy the view I was astonished by how beautiful it actually was. Looking at something so beautiful makes you feel in complete awe and realize how small our own lives are in comparison. 


I remember how I felt that around every corner I came, winter wonderland was getting even more stunning. With gaining elevation there was more snow around as well. Luckily, more snow also meant less slippery trails for me - and so far I didn’t slip! So far I had been in a lighter forest. The further up I hiked, the trees were clearing and the views were becoming even more impressive - that would continue all the way to the top. Most hikes I had been on in Bavaria were rather the opposite - you have to earn your views and won’t be able to enjoy any really until you make it to the top. But this one was different - offering a beautiful panorama from the very beginning. 

The hike up takes roughly about an hour and a half depending on trail conditions and how regularly you hike or exercise of course. For winter hiking - and if you don’t have snow shoes on hand - I would recommend some simple ice spikes to apply to your winter hiking shoes. They are a real game changer and will make your life much easier on steep trails like this one. And you can easily put them away in your backpack when enough snow is covering the path.  


On the very last stretch of the hike up to peak Kranzberg you pass the Kranzberghaus where you can usually have a drink or snack. For some reason I have never been there though - I guess they wouldn’t have so many guests just after sunrise, ha! So I usually go up all the way to the top. You will find some benches there and the sun shining in your face. So wrap up in a blanket, have a hot drink and enjoy your breakfast views - or just close your eyes, feel the sun warming your face and listen to the sounds of nature. 

‍“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold." - Aristotle

‍“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold." - Aristotle

I have always enjoyed going on a hike by myself. It gives me peace and time to refocus on what is really important in life - moments like these. Additionally, it is quiet. Something which seems hard to find living in a big city like Munich. So every once in a while there is nothing better than spending just half a day on your own - no need to talk, letting your thoughts wander wherever they might go. I always return from those adventures completely exhausted - let me tell you, carrying a camera around your neck doesn’t always feel as great as it might seem - but happy and with a smile on my face. 


The way back down will be much longer and just as beautiful. On narrow paths you will continue through pine forests. These trails - with no civilization around - remind me a bit of how peaceful our planet can be. Every once in a while you will get a glance at the mountain range again. After the first part of the way down is over, the path leads alongside a small stream with tiny waterfalls along the way. No matter how beautiful this might be - I am now way more careful walking down a mountain through thick snow. Because, however much snow there might be on a trail - be sure there will be ice below that. And I can only tell you that it is absolutely no fun to slip and fall on that same ice. Not going into details here, but sitting wasn’t fun either for the next few weeks… But oh well, I guess that’s what makes an adventure even more memorable after all - by now I can only laugh about myself thinking back at this. 

Roughly 45 minutes in on the way down you will reach the first lake Ferchensee. From there on the path leads you back mostly on paved roads - also covered with snow though since there is few to no traffic at all this time of year. About 20 minutes later you will reach lake Lautersee which is the second spot I will take a break at - not always because I need a break - but because it is just a beautiful spot to cuddle up in a blanket, have another snack, watch the mountains while overlooking the lake - or snowfield in the winter. 


The last time I have been on this hike was last winter with my boyfriend and we sat on a bench at the lake and studied Spanish, drank tea and ate some almost frozen veggie wraps. Seriously one of the best hang out spots if you aren’t quite ready to head home after your hike. Once you are though, the last stretch of the way will lead you back up on smaller trails again and through the forest one last time before returning back to the start of the route in Mittenwald.

Pro tip: Bring a blanket & take a break to soak up some sunshine at one of the lakes!

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

November 19, 2020
                                       
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@hannaroams
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