Hiking in Germany: TOP 5 Single-Day Trails

A panoramic view of a sunset over mountainous Feldberg, Germany

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Hiking in Germany lets you experience breathtaking natural beauty. From the majestic Alps to the rugged coasts of the North Sea, this land of medieval castles and legendary forests invites adventurers to explore.

In this post, we’ll take you on a journey through Germany’s diverse hiking trails. We’ll provide tips for an unforgettable outdoor experience and highlight the best day hikes for your next adventure.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.


Want a longer trek? See our backpacking in Germany guide where we list the best multi-day trails.

Top 5 Hiking Trails in the Germany

Explore the top day hikes in Germany for exciting adventures:

1. Eibsee Loop

Wonderful morning light bathes the Eibsee with a view of the Zugspitze, known as the Bavarian Caribbean, in Bavaria, Germany

Length: 4.5 mi / 7.2 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 2 hours
Elevation Gain: 692 ft / 211 m
Location: Grainau
Permissions and Fees: None
Active Calorie Burn: 500 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This popular 4.5-mile loop trail takes around 2 hours to complete and circles the beautiful blue Eibsee lake in the Bavarian Alps, providing amazing views of the lake, small islands within it, and the famous Zugspitze mountain peak.

While rated as moderately difficult with some steeper sections, the trail is doable for active people and has a mostly gravel/dirt surface.

Highlights include going right along the lakeshore, sandy beach areas for swimming, rental boats to go out on the lake, and a halfway restaurant pavilion.

However, the scenic trail is extremely crowded, especially on nice days, so get there early if you want a more peaceful experience in nature.

2. Feldbergsteig

A serene lake reflects the surrounding trees and mountains, creating a magical mirrored scene at Feldsee, Feldberg, Germany

Length: 7.7 mi / 12.4 km
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,860 ft / 567 m
Location: Southern Black Forest Nature Park
Permissions and Fees: None
Active Calorie Burn: 1150 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This popular 7.7-mile loop in the Black Forest takes around 4 hours and is moderately challenging. The scenic trail provides stunning panoramic views and impressive natural scenery throughout.

Highlights include the Bismarck monument, stopping at the Baldenweger Hütte restaurant, the idyllic Feldsee lake, and potential wildlife sightings.

The path has many narrow sections along steep rock faces with an almost alpine feel. Clear day views may span from the Zugspitze to Mont Blanc.

However, the high elevation means potentially cold, windy weather. The trail has some steep, strenuous portions but rest stops along the way.

3. Zugspitze from Garmisch-Partenkirchen Via Ferrata

Green trees carpet a mountain peak piercing through white clouds in the daytime sky

Length: 13.9 mi / 22.4 km
Type: Point to point
Difficulty: Hard
Duration: 9-11 hours
Elevation Gain: 8,546 ft / 2605 m
Location: Naturschutzgebiet Schachen and Reintal
Permissions and Fees: Small fee for Partnach Gorge entrace
Active Calorie Burn: 5800 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This extremely challenging 14.2-mile hike leads to the 9,718 ft summit of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak.

It begins in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, going through scenic Partnach Gorge before a strenuous 8-mile climb to mountain huts, passing a waterfall.

The brutal final 4 miles gain around 5,000 ft on loose, rocky terrain, culminating in an exposed via ferrata climbing section that can be bypassed by cable car. The 360° Alpine views from the summit are incredible.

Plan for a grueling 9-11 hour hike requiring proper gear, ample food/water.

4. Höllentalanger Hut via Höllental

A river carves its way through a valley nestled between towering mountains

Length: 6.8 mi / 10.9 km
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: Hard
Duration: 6-9 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,395 ft / 730 m
Location: Grainau
Permissions and Fees: Small admission fee + extra for parking
Active Calorie Burn: 2500 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

This challenging yet rewarding 6.8-mile out-and-back trail near Grainau, Bavaria offers diverse scenery and stunning mountain views.

The route leads through sunny meadows before entering a picturesque gorge with a well-marked, secured path that can be wet and crowded.

After the gorge, the trail becomes less traveled, providing breathtaking vistas of peaks like the Zugspitze. The endpoint is the Höllentallagerhütte mountain hut.

While generally easy with proper footwear, hikers should bring a waterproof jacket, check gorge accessibility, and carry cash for any entrance fees.

Despite some monotonous stretches, the panoramic views, chance to stop at huts, and beautiful natural scenery make this a very popular and worthwhile hike.

5. The Goethe Trail to the Brocken Summit

A misty morning shrouds the Brocken peak in Wernigerode, Germany, with layers of rolling fog enveloping the forested mountains

Length: 11.1 mi / 17.9 km
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: Hard
Duration: 5 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,715 ft / 523 m
Location: Harz National Park
Permissions and Fees: For parking only
Active Calorie Burn: 2000 calories
More Details: See on AllTrails

Named for the poet who climbed it in 1777, this challenging yet immensely popular 11.1-mile hike in Harz National Park wows with a boardwalk over Torfhausmoor bog and routes alongside the historic Brockenbahn railway.

The strenuous uphill trek culminates in awe-inspiring panoramic views from the 3,743-foot summit of legendary Brocken peak.

Other highlights include the Torfhaus Visitor Center and crossing the UNESCO Upper Harz Water Management system.

While difficult in parts, the trail’s natural splendor and historical significance make it a worthy bucket-list adventure for avid hikers.

FAQ

What are the most popular national parks in Germany?

Among the most popular are the Bavarian Forest National Park, located in southeastern Germany along the border with Czechia, known for its ancient forests, crystal-clear lakes, and diverse wildlife. The Saxon Switzerland National Park, situated near Dresden, boasts dramatic sandstone rock formations and challenging hiking trails. The Jasmund National Park, on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen, features striking white chalk cliffs, beech forests, and coastal landscapes.

Why should you hike in Germany?

Hiking in Germany offers a unique opportunity to experience the country’s exceptional natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and countless health benefits. With 16 national parks and well-marked trails winding through diverse landscapes from the majestic Alps to ancient forests, Germany provides breathtaking scenery and excellent hiking infrastructure. Many routes pass through charming villages, allowing you to immerse yourself in local traditions while enjoying scenic vistas that rejuvenate the mind and body.

Do U.S. citizens need a visa to hike in Germany?

U.S. citizens do not need a visa for recreational purposes like hiking if their stay in Germany is less than 90 days. However, they must have a valid passport and meet the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows visa-free travel to Germany and other Schengen countries for tourism or business for up to 90 days.

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Why you should trust us

At Hikinglite, we're all about helping you hit the trails with lightweight and ultralight outdoor gear that won't weigh you down. Our crew of content creators? Real outdoor enthusiasts who've logged countless miles on the trails.

Leading the pack is our editor-in-chief, Alex Jardine – an ultralight evangelist who's hiked over 10,000 trail miles across the globe. He's basically a walking outdoor encyclopedia. This dude loves testing out the latest and greatest products, so you can trust his recommendations are always well-informed and reliable.

We treat all our suggestions like advice from close trail buddies. No fluff, just real insights from folks who live and breathe the outdoor life.

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