Home Sights The Partnach Gorge: A Miracle of Geology

The Partnach Gorge: A Miracle of Geology

Das Wichtigste in Kürze

Where is the Partnach Gorge?

The Partnachklamm (“Klamm” meaning “gorge”) is located in the Bavarian Alps. Being close to the town of Garmisch, the gorge is a must-see for everyone who sets out to explore the south of Germany.

How do I get to the Partnachklamm?

From Munich, it is easy to drive to Garmisch by car, train, or bus. See here for more detailed information.

What is so special about the Partnach Gorge?

This gorge near Garmisch hosts a number of natural wonders, the most impressive being the spectacular waterfalls. Read here for an overview of what to expect when you hike through the gorge.

The Partnach Gorge near Garmisch is a stunning natural wonder located in the Bavarian Alps of Germany. It is a narrow, rocky chasm that was formed by the Partnach River, which runs through it. The gorge is over 700 meters (2,300 feet) long and up to 80 meters (262 feet) deep, making it one of the most impressive gorges in the region. The Partnach Gorge is a popular tourist attraction, and it’s easy to see why. The surrounding mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the gorge, and the clear, rushing waters of the Partnach River add to its beauty.

How to get to the Partnach Gorge

Located near Garmisch, the Partnachklamm is not to be missed when you set out to explore the Bavarian Alps.

The Partnach Gorge is located in the Bavarian Alps of Germany. It is situated in the county of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is in the southern part of the state of Bavaria. You can find the gorge near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is a popular ski resort and tourist destination.

From Garmisch, the gorge is easily accessible. It is just a short drive from the town, and there are also regular buses that run to the gorge from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and other nearby towns. If you are coming from further afield, the nearest major city is Munich, which is about an hour’s drive from the gorge.

Coming from Garmisch, Partnachklamm’s entrance is just a short distance away.

Here’s how to get to Partnach Gorge from Munich:

  1. By Car: The most convenient way to get to Partnach Gorge is by car. You can rent a car in Munich and drive to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which takes about an hour and a half. Once you arrive in Garmisch, the Partnach Gorge is just nearby. Follow the signs to the parking lot.
  2. By Train: You can take a train from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes. From the Garmisch-Partenkirchen train station, you can take a bus or walk to the Partnach Gorge. The bus stop is located near the train station, and the ride takes around 10 minutes.
  3. By Bus: You can take a bus from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes. The bus stop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is located near the train station, and from there, you can take a bus or walk to the Partnach Gorge.

Hinweis: Once you arrive at the gorge of Partnach, there is a short hike to the entrance, which takes around 15-20 minutes. The gorge is open from late April to early November, and the admission fee is around €5 per person.

Exploring the Partnach Gorge

Once you arrive at the Partnachklamm gorge, there are several options for how to explore it. You can take a guided tour of the gorge, which will take you along a narrow path that runs along the river and through the gorge. Or you can set off on your own.

The path is well-maintained, but narrow.

The entrance to the gorge is easily accessible from the nearby parking lot, and the trail is well-marked and maintained. However, it can be challenging in places. There are several steep sections and narrow footbridges that can be slippery, especially when wet.

Achtung: The hike is not recommended for those with mobility issues or for young children who are not used to hiking.

One of the highlights of the hike is the many waterfalls that can be seen along the way. The most impressive is the Partnachklamm Waterfall, which is over 260 feet tall and is one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Germany. This waterfall is located at the end of the gorge, and it is an impressive sight to behold. The water cascades down the rocky cliffs, creating a mist that rises up from the base of the falls.

Tipp: The waterfall is a popular spot for photographers, as it provides a beautiful and dramatic subject for their shots. Make sure to bring a camera for spectacular pictures!

The waterfalls in the Partnach Gorge create stunning sights all year round.

As you hike coming from Garmisch through Partnachklamm, you will be surrounded by towering rock walls that rise up to 80 meters above you. The gorge is a narrow passage, and the sound of the rushing water echoes off the walls, creating a unique and immersive experience.

The trail through the gorge is only one part of the hike. As you exit, the trail opens up into a beautiful forested area, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail continues through the forest, and you can take a break at one of the several benches along the way before you return from the gorge to Partnach. Enjoy a picnic or just take in the breathtaking scenery!

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As you exit the gorge, you will yourself in the beautiful landscape of the Bavarian Alps.


The geology of the Partnach Gorge is complex, with a variety of rock types present. The walls of the gorge are predominantly made up of limestone.


Limestone is a rock that is formed from the accumulation of the remains of marine organisms such as shells and coral that settle on the ocean floor and are compacted over time.

The limestone in the Partnachklamm’s gorge was originally formed in a shallow marine environment during the Jurassic period, which occurred approximately 145-200 million years ago. During this time, the area that is now the Bavarian Alps was covered by a warm, shallow sea. Over millions of years, the remains of marine organisms accumulated on the ocean floor, forming a thick layer of limestone.

Hinweis: This means that, if you pay close attention, you might be lucky enough to find a fossil!

As the Alpine mountain range was formed by tectonic activity, the limestone layer was pushed up and exposed to the elements. This resulted in the limestone being subjected to the forces of erosion by weathering, physical and chemical breakdown, and hydraulic action by flowing water. These processes have resulted in the creation of the unique features of the Partnachklamm, including the narrow and steep-sided gorge, potholes, and waterfalls.

The flowing water of the Partnach River has been the primary agent of erosion in the formation of the Partnachklamm. The river’s erosive power has carved its way through the soft limestone rock, creating the steep-sided walls of the gorge. The constant flow of the river has also created unique features such as deep grooves and channels in the rock, as well as potholes that have been carved out by the swirling water.

The limestone rock that forms the walls of the Partnachklamm’s gorge is particularly susceptible to erosion by water because it is relatively soft and porous. The water that flows through the gorge dissolves some of the minerals in the rock, causing it to gradually erode over time. The resulting features are spectacular and attract millions of visitors each year to the Partnachklamm.

In addition to the limestone, the gorge also contains other rock types, such as sandstone and shale. These rock types were formed in different geological periods and have different characteristics, which can be seen in the different layers and patterns that are present in the walls of the gorge.


The Partnach Gorge is a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including many that are endemic to the region. The gorge is surrounded by the Bavarian Alps, which are known for their rich biodiversity, and the ecosystem of the Partnach Gorge is a microcosm of the larger Alpine ecosystem.

The river hosts a number of fish and other aquatic species.

The Partnach River, which flows through the gorge, is a cold and clear mountain stream that supports a variety of aquatic life. The river is home to several species of fish, including brown trout and grayling, as well as insects such as mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies, which are an important food source for the fish. The clear waters of the river also provide a habitat for amphibians such as common toads and European tree frogs.

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The rocky walls of the gorge provide a habitat for several bird species, including peregrine falcons, which are known for their impressive diving speeds and are the fastest animals in the world. The walls of the gorge also provide a nesting site for the alpine swift, a bird species that spends most of its life in the air and only lands to breed.

The forested areas around the gorge are home to several larger mammal species, including red deer, roe deer, and chamois, which are agile mountain goats that can be seen scaling the rocky slopes of the surrounding mountains. The forests also provide a habitat for several smaller mammal species, including red squirrels and European badgers.

A Must-See for Hikers

In early spring, the ice has not fully receded yet and creates stunning visuals.

The Partnach Gorge is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Bavarian Alps. Its natural beauty and impressive size make it a truly awe-inspiring place. Whether you are a nature lover, a photographer, or simply someone who enjoys exploring new places, the Partnach Gorge is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

Partnach Gorge – FAQ

How long does it take to hike through the Partnach Gorge?

A hike through the gorge takes about 30 minutes. If you start from Garmisch-Patenkirchen, that’s another 20 minutes.

When can I visit the Partnach Gorge?

The gorge is open from June to September between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. From October to May, opening hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The last entry is 30 minutes prior to the closing hours. Short-notice closings are possible due to safety concerns. There is a small entry fee.

How accessible is the Partnach Gorge?

The hiking paths are well-maintained and good to walk. The gorge is family-safe, but parents should watch their children. The paths are too narrow for baby strollers or wheelchairs.