hiking the Stone Sea in Germany

Jeni and just about everyone else told me to travel to the most beautiful lake in the country. It looks like a fjord.

Königssee
Königssee

map-GermanyYou get there from Berchtesgaden, 30km south of Salzburg. Hitler’s mountain residence, the Berghof, was located near here though Der Fuehrer rarely visited due to security worries. Today the Nazi Eagle’s Nest is a restaurant.

Nationalpark Berchtesgaden was established in 1978 and has gradually become one of the region’s largest tourist draws. While technically in Germany, this spot is surrounded on 3 sides by Austria.

The day I was at the lake a boatload of tourists disgorged every 10min to visit a famed pilgrimage church.

St. Bartholomä
St. Bartholomä

From the church I climbed up an interesting gorge to Kärlingerhaus, a popular mountain lodge.

Kärlingerhaus

Nice. But my real goal for the day was to reach the Steinernes Meer. The stone sea. A bleak and rocky plateau.

Stone-Sea

Weird. Geologically ineresting. And beautiful.

At Riemann-Haus I could have escaped back down to the valley.

Riemann-Haus

Instead I had a beer on their deck. And listened to some Army mountain climbers sing group songs before setting out for the cliffs.

beer

Immediately after … I got badly lost. (A gorgeous sidetrip, as it turned out.)

What direction would you go if your guidebook told you to take route 411?

mountain-hiking-sign

A highlight of this hike for me personally was seeing many Chamois up close. For the first time.

Chamois

Chamois2

Even better was crossing a high mountain pass alone to meet Mt. Watzmann.

Rick-and-mountain

What a great evening I had up there!

This is the best hike in the Bavarian Alps. A hiking region surrounded and overshadowed by more famous neighbours: Dolomites, Austrian Alps and the Swiss Alps.

But I’ll be adding the Stone Sea to our list of the best hikes in Europe.

It’s fantastic.

I posted 80 photos from this 3 day hike on flickr.

There’s only one guidebook in English: Walking in the Bavarian Alps. It’s one of the weakest Cicerone guidebooks I’ve used.

One Reply to “hiking the Stone Sea in Germany”

  1. Brought a little tear to my eye, seeing your photos. Great memories for me. So glad you enjoyed the trip. Hopefully you are meeting lots of nice people too. It seems every night at each “haus” brought dining with new, interesting people. Travel Safe! – Jeni

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