Alpine garden on the Schachen

Indigenous alpine plants and rarities from the Himalayas

For more than 100 years, the Munich-Nymphenburg Botanical Garden has been in charge of remote station in the Wetterstein massif: the Alpine Garden on the Schachen. The location at an altitude of 1,860 m enables the cultivation of over 1,000 plant species from a wide variety of high mountains, from the local Alps to the distant Himalayas. The Alpine Garden is supervised from mid-June to early September by staff from the Munich-Nymphenburg Botanical Garden.


Opening hours & entrance fees

The Alpine Garden is open annually from mid-June to early September. During this time it is accessible 7 days a week from 8 am to 5 pm.

Entrance fee: 3,50 €
Guided tour of the Alpine Garden: €25 (max. 12 people per tour, advance booking required).

Location

Between the upper Isar and the upper Loisach, about 90 km south of Munich, rise the Wetterstein Mountains. One of the two large valleys in the heart of the Wetterstein Mountains is the Reintal, on whose southern flank, at an altitude of 1,860 m, lies the Alpine Garden on the Schachen.

Ascent to the Schachen

The Alpine Garden on the Schachen can be reached via three different routes:

1. From Elmau Castle (parking lot for hikers)

The most frequently used route starts at the hikers’ parking lot near Elmau Castle (1,010 m). Heading in a southwesterly direction, it first follows the Kaltenbach and then continues along the forested Königsweg. Shortly before the Wettersteinalm (1,465 m), the trail turns right in the direction of Schachen (signposted).

JourneyTour dates
Take the B2 to Klais (between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mittenwald); from there, take the private road to Schloss Elmau; hikers’ parking lot (Wanderparkplatz) 1 km west of Elmau Castle.– walking time: 3 to 3.5 hours
– distance: just under 10 km
– altitude difference: 850 m, without major climbs

Variant to 1: Directly behind the Wettersteinalm, a path leads into a valley with open forest and ascends to the Schachentor on the saddle. The Schachentor offers a panoramic view of the entire Schachen area and surrounding mountains. The trail continues over scree below the Frauenalplkopf. There are a few steeper switchbacks in the ascent to the Schachentor. Due to the lack of shade in high summer, hikers should avoid the midday. The path over the scree is not paved. So hikers need to be sure-footed, have a good head fpr heights and be wearing appropriate hiking boots.

2. Through the Partnach Gorge

The scenic ascent to the Schachen through the Partnachklamm gorge and along the Kälbersteig trail is more strenuous. After passing the 700 m long gorge, one follows the Partnach and cross the Ferchenbach, which flows from the left. On the opposite bank you come to a forestry road, which is crossed diagonally to the left. In the steep, wooded slope, the signposted ascent via the Kälbersteig begins. At an altitude of 1,660 m, the Kälbersteig trail joins the Königsweg trail leading to the Schachen, which one follows to the right.

JourneyTour dates
Parking at the Olympic Ski Stadium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (by car: to the right before the end of town in the direction of Mittenwald; by public transport: from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen train station, take bus line 1 or 2 in the direction of the Kreiskrankenhaus).– walking time: 4 to 4.5 hours
– distance: 9 km
– altitude difference: 1,150 m, steep sections in Kälbersteig

Variant to 2: Continue to follow the Partnach River, which is crossed twice on bridges. Shortly after the second bridge, turn left into the Oberreintal. After a switshback trail up the forested mountainside, the Teufelsgsaß rises in front with its almost castle-like protrusions. The path into this steep face branches off to the left before reaching the Oberreintal (signposted). The plateau of the Schachen is reached just next to the lookout pavilion. Especially in wet weather surefootedness is required. Caution is required in particular at overflowing places and wooden footbridges, which are equipped with rope safety devices.

3. From Mittenwald

A hiking trail also leads to the Schachen from the east. It starts at the western end of Mittenwald and leads past the Lautersee and Ferchensee lakes. The continuously wooded Bannholzweg ends at an altitude of 1,260 m at the Königsweg, on which one continues to the left in the direction of the Wettersteinalm and up to the Schachen.

JourneyTour dates
By train or car to Mittenwald.– walking time: 4 to 4.5 hours
– distance: 13 km
– vertical meters: 950 m, without major climbs


Catering and accommodation options

Wettersteinalm

The Wettersteinalm, which was first mentioned in 1396, is located at 1,464 m above sea level. The rustic guest room of the alpine farm is still heated today with an open fireplace. The view of the Wetterstein cliffs invites you to take a break and enjoy a hearty snack before the final stage of the hike.

Schachenhaus and Königshaus

The Schachenhaus – a mountain guesthouse built in 1870 – is located only a few metres below the very striking and unique Königshaus. This is also called Schachenschloß and was the retreat of Ludwig II.
The Schachenhaus originally served as a supply house for the royal family. The accommodation is a popular resting place for visitors to the Alpine Garden as well as for hikers who would like to spend the night in small rooms or in a mattress dormitory. The Leitenbauer family from Farchant has been the innkeeper of the Berggaststätte am Schachen since 2006.


Wanderbegleiter

In Form von zwei Wanderbegleitern wollen wir Ihnen die Vegetationstypen im Schachengebiet entlang der zwei meistbegangenen Routen mit charakteristischen, leicht erkennbaren Pflanzenarten vorstellen.

Wanderbegleiter | Wettersteinalm

In diesem Wanderbegleiter werden Ihnen Pflanzenarten aus den Lebensraumtypen vorgestellt, die Sie auf Ihrem Weg zur Wettersteinalm durchqueren werden.

Wanderbegleiter | Meilerhütte

In diesem Wanderbegleiter werden Ihnen Pflanzenarten aus den Lebensraumtypen vorgestellt, die Sie auf Ihrem Weg zur Meilerhütte durchqueren werden.

Weiterführende Informationen

Kleine Zeitreise durch den Alpengarten am Schachen

Mit Fotos und Zitaten aus der über 100jährigen Geschichte des Alpengartens möchten wir Sie auf einer kleinen Entdeckungsreise in die Vergangenheit begleiten.

Übersicht | Arktisch-alpine Gärten in Europa

Arktisch-alpine Gärten sind über ganz Europa verteilt, von der Tundra Russlands bis zum Ätna. Alleine das Alpengebiet beherbergt über 25 dieser einzigartigen Pflanzensammlungen.