Beautiful hike in Oberstdorf (Bavaria) - Hike to Gaisalpsee with a dog
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Fantastic waterfalls, a mysterious, green high mountain lake and the rugged peaks of the Nebelhorn and Rubihorn towering above you - the hike to the lower Gaisalpsee is not one of the most beautiful in the Allgäu for nothing. In addition, this hike has a level of difficulty that can also be mastered by less experienced hikers, provided they have good equipment, sure-footedness, some stamina and stamina. Accordingly, the hike is also possible for (sporty) dogs, we did it with our Frieda.
- Starting point: Reichenbach hiking car park near Oberstdorf
- Length: 8 km (there and back, no circular route)
- Altitude difference: 650
- Difficulty level: medium-difficult
- Suitable for dogs: Only for sporty dogs
Hike to the lower Gaisalpsee: arrival and parking from Oberstdorf
The hike begins in the small town of Reichenbach, around 3.5 kilometers from Oberstdorf, where you will find three small hiking car parks (subject to a fee). What we particularly liked: You don't need an (expensive) cable car for the hike, you can simply start walking from the parking lot. The small parking fee of five euros for a day ticket hurts a lot less. Street parking is prohibited. By the way, between seven and eight in the morning we were among the first to arrive at the parking lot. However, it can fill up significantly in the morning. Alternatively, you can park in the large visitor car parks P1 or P2 in Oberstdorf, from where you can take line 45 to the starting point in Reichenbach.
First section: On the Tobelweg along the waterfalls to the Untere Richteralpe
The first part of the hike takes you through a dense forest. The special feature: along footbridges, stairs and bridges you follow a stream that repeatedly feeds fantastically beautiful waterfalls. Honestly, we couldn't stop being amazed. Just be aware that some of the stairs are made of grating, which is why we carried our bitch in places. Incidentally, this section of the route is called Tobelweg and can also be walked around. In that case you walk a simple forest path. Unfortunately, you have to do without the numerous waterfalls in this case, but there is another one waiting for you at the top of the Gaisalpsee.
Second section: From the Untere Richteralpe over the Alm with places to stop for refreshments
Once you have arrived at the managed Untere Richteralpe, the landscape changes dramatically. You are now at an altitude of 1165 meters, which is where the mountain path to the Gaisalpsee, which is at 1508 meters, begins. You leave the forest behind you, instead you continue over the Alm, the rugged peaks are already piling up on your right. I have to admit, we were so blown away by the new landscape that a stop at the inn with its sun terrace was unthinkable. Especially since you have only walked 45 minutes up to this point and the big ascent is still ahead of you. The Richteralpe is definitely a great stopover on this hike. The Berggasthof Gaisalpe, which is even open in winter, is only a stone's throw away. We would have liked to have visited an inn on the way back, but had to hurry a bit due to an imminent thunderstorm. Otherwise I wouldn't have had anything against a cyclist, a coffee or a piece of cake with a fantastic view. Maybe it works the next time.
So we ran straight on and now had to overcome one or the other cow pasture. We experienced the cows as very, very peaceful and tame, but caution is always advised when you meet cows with your dog. Keep your dog close to you and shield him if possible.
Third section: From the Alm to the Hochalm to the Gaisalpsee
Already you have left the cow pastures behind you. Now the path becomes steadily rockier and steeper, sometimes even a bit exposed. And I have to admit, the section up to the Gaisalpsee can be exhausting if you're not used to alpine hiking. But the incredible mountain scenery that surrounds you here should serve as a motivational aid. At Komoot, part of this section is marked as dangerous. Caution is definitely required. But the path is well secured at all times. You should note that there are passages where you have to cross a stream or climb over rocks and sometimes have to grab a safety rope. And since the path is very narrow in places, you should be patient and let oncoming hikers pass.
By the way, our Frieda was able to prove on this section that there is a little mountain goat in her. Skilled dogs can handle the section well, but it should be said that it is quite challenging. Small dogs can easily be carried over the obstacles. I did not perceive the path as dangerous, but it is not well suited for hikes in rain or fog.
Probably the most beautiful photo motif in Oberstdorf: the Gaisalpbach waterfall
Now comes our absolute highlight of the hike: the Gaisalpbach waterfall, which appears suddenly and out of nowhere. We tried not to get in the way too much as we took numerous photos. Only then did we walk the last, short section to Gaisalpsee, our actual destination.
The destination for the day: Lower Gaisalpsee with the option to continue hiking
I haven't even mentioned that there are actually two Gaisalp lakes. The lower and the upper. Our goal was the lower Gaisalpsee. It is set dramatically in a cirque overlooked by the rugged peaks of Rubihorn and Nebelhorn. With its green color it is a dreamlike sight. You can take a scenic break around the lake. If you also want to admire the much smaller upper Gaisalpssee, which is around 250 meters further up the mountain, you can now continue your hike, maybe even in combination with a climb of the Nebelhorn or Rubihorn. For us, however, the hike ended here. Well, not quite, after all we had to hike all the way back.
Conclusion: Lower Gaisalpsee - the most beautiful hike in the Allgäu (Bavaria)?
We absolutely loved this hike. The hike to the lower Gaisalpsee is extremely varied, offers a fantastic view of the Allgäu mountains and is also very easy to reach (without a mountain railway). For us it was an absolute hit and was by far the most beautiful hike with a dog that we did during our entire Bavaria vacation.
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